Cheshire Heraldry Web Journal (Blog)

A journal of the activities of an Amateur Armorist.

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It really doesn’t do to copy

September 1st, 2015 · No Comments

Now, I realise that I have occasionally been accused of being an expert on Cheshire Heraldry and sometimes, I have, perhaps somewhat immodestly, played along with the impression that I may well be, but even I would never admit to being infallible; I have been known to make mistakes and when I do I’m either the first to notice or, when someone else notices, I’m usually quite ready to be grateful that my mistake has been pointed out to me so that I can correct it.

Today, I had a very pleasant email from a lady by the name of Wickstead which was followed up by an equally pleasant telephone call from the lady’s mother, the family genealogist (also a Wickstead). Although the subject of their contact was, for them, rather frustrating, it brought to my mind the old warnings we used to get from our teachers not to copy the works produced by other pupils and it made me smile.

Apparently the new owners of The Wickstead Arms, Nantwich, decided to have their pub sign repainted following the reopening of their business and it seems that whoever did the job for them simply lifted the image from my website and slavishly copied it in its entirety without asking. How do I know this?

Well, because I now know that the original image I made, the one copied by the pub, was incorrectly emblazoned. The blazon is correctly recorded on my website as Wicksted, of Nantwich, Arms: Argent, on a bend Azure, between three Cornish choughs proper, as many garbs Or. However, for some reason which now entirely escapes me, when I made the image (quite a while ago) I depicted the birds as something more akin to a generic heraldic bird with the colourings of a female blackbird with white wings – don’t ask me why, I simply can’t remember. It seems a strange depiction as I know full well that a Cornish chough is a blackish bird with a curved red beak and red legs!

Here, on the left is the original image from my website and on the right is the newly painted pub sign. Similar? Too much of a coincidence I suggest.


Here is what the correct depiction of the arms should look like.


I would like to believe that had I been officially consulted about the arms (and asked for permission to copy the image) I would have double checked and discovered my mistake in good time to prevent mishap. As it is the only lesson to be learned here is that warning so often given by generations of good teachers.

My thanks to the Ladies Wickstead for pointing out my mistake and allowing me the opportunity to correct it on the website; good luck with contacting the publican. I fully understand your frustration but you must forgive me if I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for the owners of the Wickstead arms, I shall have a quiet chuckle to myself when I next see “their” sign.


→ No CommentsTags: Heraldry

Thomas Arthington Esq – Bookplate

August 13th, 2015 · Comments Off on Thomas Arthington Esq – Bookplate

The latest addition to my collection is the bookplate of Thomas Arthingron Esq (F. 753  Size: 10.5 x 8cm) from the Greenwood Album*


An 18th c. bookplate of Thomas Arthingron Esq of Arthington Yorkshire.

The Arthingtons were around in the 12th century , when Peter de Arthington gave a grant to fund the establishment of a Cluniac nunnery.


The seal of Arthington Priory ( National Archives)

The family history seems to be lost in the mists of time, although Thomas is listed as the Sheriff of Yorkshire 1767-1768 and that his will was proved in the Court of York 5 December 1801.

*Called the Greenwood Album, after the album’s manufacturer rather than the albums previous collector(s). This is because exact provenance is a little mixed. It is believed that many of the plates are duplicates from the John Simpson collection which sold at Bonhams in May 2005 and the album came to the present owner by way of Dr. Geoffrey Vevers, a past secretary of the Bookplate Society.

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Non heraldic – heraldic pubs.

August 11th, 2015 · Comments Off on Non heraldic – heraldic pubs.

On my journey, now undertaken as often as I can, to Tywyn, I always pass a country inn called The Cross Foxes* and I often wonder whether its patrons are aware that the name has an heraldic, and therefore historic, significance. The name, Cross Foxes, refers to the charges in the armorial bearings of Wynnstay and whilst there is absolutely nothing on the facade of this particular inn to hint at its origins, there are, perhaps by way of compensation to us heraldry addicts, quite a few hotels and public houses in and around Wales illustrating the arms of this family.


As I write this note, The Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Heol Maengwyn, Machynlleth, is being advertised for sale by Rightmove. I hope it finds a good owner who will look after it and improve it (and retain the original armorial Inn Sign).



Cross Foxes – Bar Grill Rooms, Dolgellau, Gwynedd LL40 2SG

Comments Off on Non heraldic – heraldic pubs.Tags: General · Heraldry

A new armorial standard from South Africa (part 2)

August 11th, 2015 · Comments Off on A new armorial standard from South Africa (part 2)


Back in June I wrote a small piece about a new armorial standard from South Africa and I’m please to report that one of my readers, who wishes to remain anonymous, has provided me with a generous response. I can do no better than quote it in full:

“Residing in South Africa as I do, I have a keen interest in local heraldry and of course the work of the Bureau of Heraldry. An invaluable resource in this regard that you may not be aware of is the National Archives of South Africa’s† database of the Bureau of Heraldry on registered heraldic representations. This database is available and searchable online using the National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAIRS).‡ NAIRS’ web interface is archaic and cumbersome by today’s standards, the database itself does not seem to be entirely complete and there seem occasionally to be some transcription errors, but it is a valuable resource nonetheless and certainly better than nothing at all.

In pursuit of your query I decided to search for ‘quast’ as it seemed to me, in the South African context at least, a rather rare name. As I had hoped, this turned up results belonging to but one person, a Mr Rudolph Andries Ulrich Juchter van Bergen Quast. However, there were only two records: the badge and standard with the references 3371 and 3372, respectively, presumably corresponding with the certificate numbers you mentioned. Both were registered in 2003, the record for the arms themselves unfortunately does not appear to be in the database. In any event the blazon for the badge in question is given in the record as:

‘Upon a [sic] oval, fesswise pean, an Indian elephant statant Or, armed Argent, strapped over the belly, hump and rump Sable, cottised Or, charged on the left flank with a rose Gules, barbed Vert, seeded Or; seated on his neck a mahout, in his sinister hand a stick in bend sinister Argent.’

The blazon for the standard is given as (all sic):

‘In the hoist the arms of Rudolph Andries Ulrich Juchter van Bergen Quast and in the fly pean, Gules and Gules, between two transverse bands Or, fimbriated Argent, bearing the motto NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT in letters Sable, cottised Or, charged on his left flank with a rose Gules, barbed Vert, seeded Or; seated on his neck a mahout, in his sinister hand a stick in bend sinister Argent; in the second compartment two leopard faces snarling in pale Or; in the third compartment a leopard face snarling Or; the sleeve Or and fringed compony Gules and Or.’

I can only surmise that there has been an error in transcribing the blazon of the standard into the database and that the blazon of the standard should in fact read:

In the hoist the arms of Rudolph Andries Ulrich Juchter van Bergen Quast and in the fly pean, Gules and Gules, between two transverse bands Or, fimbriated Argent, bearing the motto NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT in letters Sable, in the first compartment an Indian elephant statant Or, armed Argent, strapped over the belly, hump and rump Sable, cottised Or, charged on his left flank with a rose Gules, barbed Vert, seeded Or; seated on his neck a mahout, in his sinister hand a stick in bend sinister Argent; in the second compartment two leopard faces snarling in pale Or; in the third compartment a leopard face snarling Or; the sleeve Or and fringed compony Gules and Or.

Although there is some ambiguity as to whether the tincture of the letters really is sable, as the record could have been cut off after either the word ‘letters’ or the word ‘Sable’. Sable could refer the tincture of the elephant’s straps or the lettering.

This would be the most serious error that I have thus far encountered in the database, the others being minor typos, perhaps I should write to the relevant database administrator (I can keep you apprised of any updated if I do).

‡ Available at
select ‘HER’ for the heraldic database.
Submit = Submit”

I am most grateful to my reader.

Comments Off on A new armorial standard from South Africa (part 2)Tags: Flying Heraldry

Here’s to “Nationhood”

August 7th, 2015 · Comments Off on Here’s to “Nationhood”

As my reader will know, I’m spending as much time as I can nowadays at the seaside in Tywyn (Merioneth) and one of the things I notice when visiting Wales (it’s the same in Scotland) is the preponderance of the national flag when compared with those flown in England, where we only tend to see the appearance of the English flag when there is the usual run of International football matches on the goggle box (and the odd one appearing on or around St.George’s Day) and even then, for some inexplicable reason, it appears to be necessary that the actual word “England” is emblazoned upon the flag; possibly as a safeguard to ensure that it is identifiable as our national flag because we see so little of it.

When we drove down (or should that be across?) to Tywyn last weekend our route was noticeably strewn with Y Ddraig Goch, the national flag of Wales; it was the week of the National Eisteddfod which is the largest cultural event of its kind in Europe and takes place annually during the first week of August. This year it’s being held in Meifod, Montgomeryshire, between 1-8 August.

The Welsh are not shy when it comes to flying their national flag and seeing all of those flags on our journey reminded me of the row over the replacement of the Welsh flag with one designed to represent the town of Tywyn by the Tywyn Tourist Organisation. I remember thinking at the time that at least they were flying a flag which is more than can be said for the majority of English towns.


While on the subject of flags, of which Tywyn should be commended, the Parish Church of Saint Cadfan, Tywyn, which contains the oldest known example of written Welsh, often flies the flag of Merioneth at the same time as the National flag of Wales.



Whether it’s a “weird concoction” or a national flag is, perhaps, somewhat irrelevant, the important thing is that at least there is a flag and it’s being flown. Others could learn a lesson from such proud displays.

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Now it really is set in stone

August 6th, 2015 · Comments Off on Now it really is set in stone

So now it is set in stone. (With thanks to Hamish Bell and all concerned)


All hand carved with no power tools used at all.

I haven’t quite made my mind up whether it will live inside or out. If I decide to place it outside, it will first have a weatherproof coating.

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The Armorial Register Flag

August 5th, 2015 · Comments Off on The Armorial Register Flag

The Armorial Register Banner flying at the Head Office at Sketraw.

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Prince, of Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.

August 1st, 2015 · Comments Off on Prince, of Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.

As a slight diversion from Cheshire heraldry, and a little closer to home, I had occasion today to produce a version of the arms of Prince, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.Prince-certificate-1

Grant of Arms to Richard Prince of Abbey Foregate in the County of Salop under the hand and seal of Robert Cooke, Clarenceaux, of date 20th November 1584 and further confirmed in the Heraldic Visitations of Shropshire undertaken in the year 1623 by Robert Treswell, Somerset Herald, and Augustine Vincent, Rouge Croix Persuivant of Arms: Marshals and Deputies to William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms, and are further recorded in The General Armory of Sir Burnard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, in the name of Prince, of Shrewsbury and Abbey Foregate.

Arms: Gules, a saltire Or surmounted by a cross engrailed Ermine. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet Or, a cubit arm erect, habited Gules, cuffed Ermine, in the hand Proper three pine-apples of the first, stalked and leaved Vert.

Comments Off on Prince, of Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.Tags: General · Heraldry

Gerald Lysaght Bookplate for sale at £100

July 29th, 2015 · Comments Off on Gerald Lysaght Bookplate for sale at £100

I have only recently become familiar with the world of armorial bookplates and have embarked upon a small and growing collection of my own however, some desirable plates are, I confess, way beyond my purse.

Presently for sale on Ebay is the bookplate of Gerald Lysaght, a major backer of the tragic 1921 – 22 Shackelton/Rowett expedition. It is an attractive plate in its own right but no doubt the history behind its owner has prompted a buy it now price of £100; this is too rich for my meager budget.


If my memory serves me correctly, one of these plates (possibly even this one) was included in an auction held by the Bookplate Society a few years ago with a guide price of £10. It is likely to have gone for far more than £10 and I remember being tempted then but feeling, even at that price, that it was likely to be too expensive for me! It looks as though I’m going to have to confine my collecting to the also-rans.


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An unfortunate new armorial hybrid created by “Shrewsbury university”.

July 25th, 2015 · Comments Off on An unfortunate new armorial hybrid created by “Shrewsbury university”.

You would think that if anyone is going understand the principles behind a science it would be a university but, regrettably when it comes to business (and nowadays, it does seem that universities are forced to become streamlined businesses) even these institutions leave their academic brains at home and hand the marketing of their brand to bright young things who, of course, know best. I beg to differ.

When The University of Chester and Shropshire Council got together to establish The University Centre Shrewsbury “to increase Higher Education prospects and offer a vibrant and rounded student experience” they also created an unfortunate armorial hybrid which is really a logo attempting to pass itself off as a “crest” [sic].  Someone came up with the bright idea of “combining” a portion of the arms of  The University of Chester with the armorial bearings of the Town Council of Shrewsbury (despite the fact that this is a Shropshire Council initiative, they still took the arms of the town and not the Shropshire arms).



As a logo I don’t suppose it’s too bad however, I have absolutely no doubt that whoever created it wanted it to be heraldic or at least heraldic in nature and many will indeed believe that it is a “coat of arms” so if you want a coat of arms, why not actually have a coat of arms? In terms of the science of heraldry something resembling a shield which is dissected in the middle by a wavy line with the top half floating above the bottom half  isn’t and can’t be an heraldic shield. If it were actually one piece (joined together) it would be considered to be truly heraldic but the fact is that it isn’t!

If someone recreated something in any other field of science there would be some professor or other looking over their shoulder pointing out the fact that they completely ballsed up the formula. I have a completely novel idea; if someone wants to create something heraldic, why not consult someone who knows something about it?

Comments Off on An unfortunate new armorial hybrid created by “Shrewsbury university”.Tags: Fakes and Fables