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  The Grant of Arms to Bayley-Worthington

On 16-May-05 16:02:30 British Summer Time the digital hammer fell on the auction of a Victorian Grant of Arms. The auction, held on Ebay, was fiercely fought between just two bidders who made a total of twelve bids; the hammer finally falling at £220.00 to a bidder using the alias of "caputcygni". The Ebay description was that of "A Rare Grant of Arms Manuscript - Bayley of Sharston Hall" and the description given as:

From the reign of Queen Victoria, a rare and beautiful College of Arms manuscript document, granting the arms of Bayley-Worthington to Gibbon Bayley of Sharston Hall, Northenden, Cheshire.

The full coat of arms is superbly painted in the top left corner (photo) of the letters patent in colour and gold, along with other arms at the top. The grant is signed and sealed by the Garter Principal King of Arms and Norroy Kings of Arms with their seals contained in gilt skippets attached by the original blue ribbons. It appears to be parchment rather than vellum but I am no expert.

The whole is in remarkably good condition and would make an excellent addition for a collector of heraldry and heraldic items as well as those with a family history or genealogical interest. The document would also be superbly decorative in a frame and add a touch of history to any room.

The reserve price is lower than you would expect for a unique historical document.

"caputcygni" bought was the "Letters Patent granting licence to Gibbon Bayley of Sharston Hall in the parish of Northenden in the county palatine of Chester, in compliance with the Will of Thomas Worthington, to assume the surname of Worthington in addition to and after that of Bayley, and to bear the arms of Worthington as now exemplified, namely, Ermine, three tridents sable, each handle encircled by a chaplet of roses proper, and for a crest, A goat passant argent semee of estoiles sable, in the mouth a sprig of laurel proper; witnessed, signed and sealed by Charles George Young, Garter, and Walter Aston Blount, Norroy, 30 March [1864], 27 Vict.; painted on parchment, with the arms emblazoned in the upper left-hand margin, and the illuminated arms of the Earl Marshal, the Queen, and the College of Arms, in the upper margin; the seals in red wax encased in gilt skippets pendent on blue silk laces" *.

It is always sad to learn of a document such as this leaving the family of the original grantee or assignee but I am reassured that it has found a good and appreciative home and as a result the details have, possibly for the first time, come under the public gaze. This is however not the first time this document has been offered for sale in a short period of time; it was put up for auction with the chartered surveyors and auctioneers Mullock & Madeley of Ludlow Shropshire on 21st October 2004. At that earlier auction the document (Lot 67) was described as: "A superb Grant of Arms document" and details given as: "Grant of Arms superb document on vellum granting the arms of Bayley-Worthington to Gibbon Bayley of Sharston Hall, Northenden, Cheshire, written in a flowing hand on a single large leaf of vellum, with the Coat of Arms displayed in the top left hand corner, executed in colour and gold, signed and sealed by the Garter and Norray Kings of Arms with their seals contained in gilt skippets attached by original blue ribbons, the whole contained in its original case adorned with the gilt device of Queen Victoria, slight wear to edge of case but document and seals in fine condition. A superb and highly decorative document. (1)"

Mullock & Madeley, perhaps rather optimistically, estimated the guide price as between £500 to £800. It would appear that it didn't sell - or if it did, it sold quite soon afterwards at a loss. I prefer to think that the earlier auction was unsuccessful and the lot remained unsold until the second Ebay auction found it a new home. It would appear though that although the box seems to be with the document in 2004 it seems to be missing by 2005. Perhaps it was after all sold in 2004; the purchaser simply requiring the box and selling on the document?

Questions from other buyers for this listing  
Q: Hello This is a letter of introduction and I would like to welcome you to this fantastic e-bay community. I wish you all the best. I am quite familiar with these armorials as I own several myself. I have noticed in your explanation that you seem very familiar with items from the college of arms. I have a few questions and will number them below. 1) Are the blue ribbons attached firmly to the document and firmly through the slots and under the seals in the 2 skippets? 2) These grants of arms originally came in a very beautiful leather presentation box - is the one that came with this grant of arms lost to history? 3) Could you tell me if the wax inside the skippets is cleanly and sharpley embossed? 4) The wax that is used by the college of arms is made by the hindes sealing people in Wales. Is the wax red in color? Thanks you. Sincerely, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
A: Thank you for your message and questions which I will answer as best I can, though I have no expertise in grants of arms. 1 Yes, ribbons firmly attached and under seals. 2 There is no box. 3 The wax inside the skippets is cleanly and sharply embossed and in good condition. 4 The wax is red (slightly orangey red). You might also be interested to know that the document was written in 1864. The Garter King is Charles Geo. Young and the Norroy King is Walter Aston Blount. On the back of the grant is an inscription singed by the Somerset Registrar stating that the grant is recorded in the College of Arms. Hope this information is helpful. Good luck with your bid!

* details of the grant kindly provided by the purchaser.

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