Category Archives: Non-Ecclesiastical

Conrad Swan, R.I.P.

swanSir Conrad Marshall John Fisher Swan KCVO FSA (born 13 May 1924) was a retired long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Having been first appointed to work at the College in 1962, he rose to the office of Garter Principal King of Arms in 1992, a position he held until 1995. He was the first Canadian ever to be appointed to the College of Arms. He was first appointed Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary in 1962 and six years later became York Herald of Arms in Ordinary. In these capacities, he was among the Earl Marshal’s staff for the State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969, and was Gentleman Usher-in-Waiting to Pope John Paul II during his visit to the United Kingdom in 1982.

Swan was appointed Garter Principal King of Arms in 1992 on the retirement of Sir Alexander Colin Cole. His own retirement came in 1995, after having been diagnosed with cancer.

Swan was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1994 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO). He is also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Nation of Antigua and Barbuda (KGCN), Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta, Cross of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas (Lithuania), Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I (GCFO) and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Lion of Rwanda.

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He was also a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor (1995–2000); Commander (with Star) of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit; Grand Cross with Grand Collar of the Imperial Order of the Holy Trinity (Ethiopia); Coronation Medal of the King of Tonga. He received the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005.

May he rest in peace.

More Clergy With Multiple Versions of Their Arms

A couple of years ago I wrote about clergy who make use of more than one version of their coats of arms depending on offices held or circumstances of use. Once again I’ve come across a fine example.

The current Lord Lyon King of Arms, the principal heraldic authority for Her Majesty in Scotland is not only a heraldic expert and a jurist but he is also an ordained clergyman in the Scottish Episcopal Church (a.k.a. the Anglican Church north of the border). The Rev. Canon Dr. Joseph John Morrow, CBE, KStJ, QC, DL, LLD possesses a very nice coat of arms of his own.

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This coat of arms can be displayed all alone or, as Lord Lyon sometimes has chosen to do, with the helm, mantling and crest of the typical armorial achievement.

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However, sometimes this coat of arms is also displayed with the external ornaments proper to the Office of Lord Lyon King of Arms.

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Additionally, the Office of Lord Lyon has its own armorial bearings which may be used by the incumbent of the office of Lord Lyon in a “greater” form:

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as well as a “lesser” or smaller version.

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Finally, the current Lord Lyon may choose to impale his personal arms with those of Lord Lyon and display them with the external ornaments of the office, including the red lion supporters:

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or he may impale his personal arms with the arms of office and display them with some of the external ornaments of Lord Lyon as well as his own crest and supporters.

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Same man; same arms; many versions.

Duchess of Sussex Coat of Arms

Despite my speculation in a previous post the newly-created coat of arms for the Duchess of Sussex was released today!

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According to the website of the Royal Family:

A Coat of Arms has been created for The Duchess of Sussex. The design of the Arms was agreed and approved by Her Majesty The Queen and Mr. Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England), who is based at the College of Arms in London.

Her Royal Highness worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both personal and representative.

The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words.

Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.
It is customary for Supporters of the shield to be assigned to Members of the Royal Family, and for wives of Members of the Royal Family to have one of their husband’s Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication.

A Coronet has also been assigned to The Duchess of Sussex. It is the Coronet laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves.

The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield.

Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms said: “The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms. Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London. ”

The Duchess of Sussex

The coat of arms which will eventually be used by the new Duchess of Sussex may very well use a similar arrangement as the arms of the current Duchess of Gloucester (pictured). That is to say that rather than her father’s arms impaled on the same shield with her husband’s arms a coat of arms granted to her in her own right will be placed on a smaller escutcheon placed over her husband’s coat of arms.
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It was reported in “The Daily Mail” that the reason a coat of arms devised for her father to be used by her as well did not appear in the days before the royal wedding is that the Queen decided the process for justifying such a grant was “too complicated” and that it would be better to do what had been done in the case of the Danish-born Duchess of Gloucester. At the time of her marriage in 1972 her husband, Richard, was the previous Duke’s second son. His older brother, William, was killed 6 weeks after their July, 1972 wedding making Richard the heir to the Dukedom (which he inherited on the death of his father in 1974).
 
Birgitte, the current Duchess, with no ancestors of British origin, was granted a coat of arms of her own by Royal Warrant in July, 1973, about a year after she married Richard.
 
So, it is not hard to imagine that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex will, similarly, be given a coat of arms of her own in due course and that it might very well be displayed on a smaller shield placed over her husband’s coat of arms. The precedent has been set for such action.
 
The story in “The Daily Mail” said, “Mr Markle will not have his own coat of arms,’ confirms a senior source at the College of Arms, which acts on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry.
 
‘We were told it would be too ‘complicated’.
 
‘The Palace has instructed us to use the example of the Duchess of Gloucester and give Meghan Markle her own coat of arms instead.”
 
It will be interesting to see how this eventually works out but I’ll bet they do something similar for the Duchess of Sussex as was done for the Duchess of Gloucester who was also a non-armigerous foreigner who married into the Royal Family.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

This past week it was announced from Buckingham Palace that HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh would be withdrawing from public engagements due to his advanced age. This led not a few of my friends, the the real kind and the Facebook kind, to write or comment on the Duke’s well-known coat of arms (below).

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In addition, as seems to be the case all the time now, there ensued a discussion about how the coat of arms presently used by HRH, and used by him since 1949, was not the original design.

In 1947 the arms devised for him were these:

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This coat of arms combined the coat of arms of the royal house of Greece, into which Prince Philip was born, those being Greece with an inescutcheon of the royal arms of Denmark because that family, Oldenburg-Glücksburg, was also the royal family of Greece. When the Greek monarchy was established they solicited a Danish prince to become King George I of the Hellenes rather than any Greek citizen. In addition to the Greek royal arms a small inescutcheon of the arms of Princess Alice, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was included in dexter chief.

This coat of arms was used by him at the time he married Princess Elizabeth of York and was created Duke of Edinburgh.

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However, in 1949 the College of Arms revised the design of the Duke’s coat of arms as the earlier design was deemed too busy. They came up with the design currently in use which combines quarters for Denmark, Greece, Battenberg (because his mother, Princess Alice, was also a Battenberg, a name later changed to Mountbatten which is the family name used by Prince Philip and assumed by him when he became a naturalized British citizen and renounced any claim to his Greek and Danish titles) and the arms of the city of Edinburgh for his title.

However, just for fun, because this is how heraldists have fun, I drew up a rough little sketch and cut-and-pasted it together with a black and white drawing of the Duke’s original arms to depict something of what I might have proposed for the design of the arms of HRH in 1949 when it was decided to try and simplify the achievement.

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Here I have combined quarters for Denmark (1) and Greece (4) reflecting that he was born a Prince of Greece with Danish ancestry. There is also a quarter (2) depicting what is usually on the smallest inescutcheon of the Danish royal arms, namely, the dynastic arms of Oldenburg-Glücksburg, the cadet branch of Oldenburg which succeeded to the Danish throne and the paternal family of Prince Philip. I have included a quarter for Battenberg for his maternal family. Finally, the allusion to his title of Edinburgh is placed on an inescutcheon overall. It’s not as simple as the Duke’s current arms but it is still a simplification over the arms he originally bore and it displays connections to the countries of his origin as well as the family arms of both sides of his family while including a mention of his title. It was just a bit of fun.

 

Armigerous Candidates for US President

This is one of those posts that has absolutely nothing to do with the heraldry of the Church. Those do come up occasionally on this blog but I try to keep them to a minimum. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass, however, to discuss how, for what must be the first time in a quite a while (although its not unprecedented) both of this country’s major party candidates are heraldically connected, so to speak.

The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is well known as a business man with hotels and resorts around the world. One such property is the golf course he built and owns in Scotland. To make it “look good” a logo for the place in the form of a coat of arms (not a particularly good one, in my opinion) was devised and used on their promotional materials. The problem is that Scotland happens to be one of the few countries where they take heraldry and the public use of heraldry very seriously.

The body that regulates heraldry in Scotland is the Court of Lord Lyon and indeed it is a standing civil and criminal court under the Scottish legal system. The incumbent of the office of Lord Lyon King of Arms is usually a lawyer well versed in the laws affecting genealogy and heraldry and he sits as judge over cases of dispute. By contrast the English Heralds are incorporated into a College and while there is Her Majesty’s High Court of Chivalry which has existed since the 14th C. and sits as a civil court to regulate all matters of English and Welsh heraldry it rarely sits. The last time was in 1954 for the case of Manchester Corp. v. Manchester Palace of Varieties, Ltd. Prior to that the court hadn’t sat for 200 years!

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Trump’s self-designed and adopted coat of arms (above) ran afoul of the Scottish legal system in 2008 when it was asserted that he had no right to use the coat of arms. In 2012 the Court of Lord Lyon ruled in Trump’s favor and now he may make use of the coat of arms originally designed for his Aberdeen golf course. Trump’s mother is of Scottish origin and Lord Lyon claims jurisdiction worldwide over any Scot, even expats, or anyone with Scottish ancestry. Unfortunately, I do not have an image of the coat of arms in full color. I wonder if anyone in the Trump organization even bothered to have one made in full color since this is primarily used as a logo.

The Democrat Party candidate, Hillary Clinton, does not, as far as I know, have a coat of arms in her own right, but her husband does. In 1995, at the request of the Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister), Mr. John Bruton, the Chief Herald of Ireland devised and granted a coat of arms to Mr. Clinton whose mother was of Irish ancestry (below). It was presented to him as a gift on his state visit to Ireland. As I say, Mrs. Clinton does not have a coat of arms in her own right, at least not yet. Who knows? It is possible that another head of state may be asking another heraldic authority to grant her a coat of arms at some point in the future. Only time will tell.

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Of course the way the election on November 8 will turn out remains to be seen and there is a great deal of speculation on both sides. It does seem to be far from certain even at this very late stage in the campaign. But, one thing is, nevertheless, absolutely certain. Regardless of the result of the voting that will take place across the United States next Tuesday one of the two people mentioned above, Trump or Clinton, come next January 20th will be able to make use of yet another old and venerable means of identification that employs the ancient and respected use of heraldry as a large part of its symbolism. It’s an armorial seal…

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King of Thailand, RIP

With the death of King Bhumibol of Thailand, who was the world’s longest reigning monarch at the time of his death, the country enters into a period of mourning under a regent until the accession of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. According to Thai law Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council, assumes the regency until the accession of the new king.

While the former Kingdom of Siam made use of an emblem a bit more similar to the western idea of a coat of arms the current royal emblem or “arms”, which appears on the yellow royal standard, is the Buddhist Garuda.

Appearing in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, Garuda is the mystical firebird who serves as the mount of the god Vishnu. Garuda appears as the coat of arms of the Republic of Indonesia as well as the royal emblem of the Kingdom of Thailand.

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Yet More on Variations

Again, a continuation of this examination of different versions, as opposed to merely different renderings of the exact same version, of the coat of arms of one armiger used at various times, for certain occasions, for a specific place or group or to either add to or subtract from the elaboration of the display. We turn once again to the glorious Imperial arms of the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, later to be the Austro-Hungarian Emperor.

First we have the “small” arms of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine (displaying the arms of Habsburg, Babenberg and Lorraine impaled together on the shield.

13726824_10208089859297016_8059400258853156733_nThe second image shows the “medium” common coat of arms of Austria Hungary with the shields of (counterclockwise): Hungary, Galicia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Carinthia & Carniola, Silesia & Moravia, Transylvania, Illyria and Bohemia. This was used from 1867-1915.

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Third, we see the “small” arms of Hungary.

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Fourth is the “medium” coat of arms of Hungary also displaying: Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Transylvania, the city of Rijeka and the Kingdom of Hungary on the inescutcheon.

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Next, the fifth example is the “medium” coat of arms of Austria.

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The sixth is the small common coat of arms of the dual monarchy from 1915-1918.

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Finally, the seventh is the “medium” common arms used 1915-1918.

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One Emperor: lots of versions of his coat of arms all of which are his.

More Variety

Another in this kind of series I’m doing on single armigers with various versions of their coats of arms. This time it is Elizabeth II, well, really the British Sovereign regardless of who it is. The first is a “small” version. You can see this one carved in stone on the facade of Buckingham Palace but it shows up most frequently on Letters Patent for a grant of arms.

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The second is a kind of “middle version” and it is versions like this frequently used by the government on documents and signage.

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The third is, of course, the “large” or full armorial achievement.

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Next is the Royal arms as used in Scotland (same sovereign but a different version of the arms).

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Fifth is the Royal arms OF Scotland as opposed to the Royal arms of the U.K. as used IN Scotland.

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Finally, one used by the sovereign for the Duchy of Lancaster. (By the way even though the Queen is a woman she is still the “Duke” of Lancaster).

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Varying Versions

A recent Facebook post of mine on the arms of three English Kings of Arms on a College of Arms devisal for the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama piqued my interest about how some armigers employ different versions, not just renderings by different artists but actual different versions, of their armorial achievements. Sometimes this reflects added honors; sometimes the exercise of a new or different office (appointed or elected); sometimes it’s a version to be used specifically on certain occasions or under specific circumstances or only for use within a particular group, etc.

One of the Kings of Arms whose coat of arms appeared in that post was the late, great John Brooke-Little. Here we see his full achievement as Norroy & Ulster King of Arms:

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Brook-Little’s own personal coat of arms were used by him without any extras. Here the arms are rendered by Anthony Wood:

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In addition, we see that sometime he added quite a bit to the achievement to indicate offices held such as a bookplate depicting his coat of arms and banner as Richmond Herald (1967-1980) including both the Richmond Herald badge and the badge from when he had been Bluemantle Pursuivant (1956-1967):

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Finally I include one probably not seen by many: a version of his arms impaled with those of The Heraldry Society which he founded and served for many years as chairman and later as president. This last one was simply for use within that Society:

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All his life his own coat of arms remained as it is depicted in the second image. In other words he did not “change” his coat of arms. However, throughout his life and career he did employ various versions of his achievement some of which included personal honors, some ornaments of office and others additions for private use. This is a good thing to know about and an idea that many interested in heraldry, especially the various uses for a coat of arms, too often overlook. A coat of arms as a personal mark of identification may be employed in various ways to suit the various things one does in life. The armorial achievement does not have to be singular and include everything from every aspect of the life of the armiger. To be sure there are those who prefer this “maximum display” theory. However, an equally meritorious theory is one that makes use of varying versions or varying achievements suited to the time, place, group or activity in which the armiger is engaged.

Here is another example, again from the English College of arms, using the coat of arms of Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, Bt. which are:

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Sir Henry, when he was still just plain old “Mister” served the College as Rouge Croix Pursuivant from 1983-1993 and the as York Herald from 1993-2010. In that latter capacity and prior to the death of his father and his inheriting the title “Baronet” he used the following achievement:

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Sir Henry was appointed Norroy & Ulster King of Arms in 2010 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2014. Here is a version of the shield of his arms from that time:

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Finally, another example of a different version for private use and also only for a set period of time. From 2012-2013, for just a year Sir Henry served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners and impaled his arms with the arms of the Company for use in that capacity while at the same time also using the version above and the version in the first photo:

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Again we see that he maintained the personal arms he had inherited from his father and did not “change” his coat of arms. Rather, he chose to display it in varying versions to suit the role of the moment or group.

The world at large already, for the most part, sees heraldry as effete but there are many within the (for lack of a better term) heraldic community, that is to say, the rather small group of people in the world who account themselves heraldic enthusiasts, who, through their own ignorance, misunderstand the concept I’m illustrating here. The advent of the internet has increased the possibility for communication between such enthusiasts throughout the world but has also made for a rash of self-appointed heraldic “experts” who don’t wish to engage in any scholarly pursuit of the heraldic arts and sciences and, either accidentally or purposefully, seek to limit the possibilities for heraldic display accusing anyone who deviates from their own preconceived notions as guilty of self aggrandizement.

It strikes me as slightly ironic that in a modern world that eschews heraldry as an anachronistic pretense anyone possessing a coat of arms themselves could accuse others of self aggrandizement. Then again, ignorance and irony can, at times, be seen to be cousins.

Recent Commission

Below is a coat of arms for a woman that I was recently commissioned to do. The ribbon surrounding the woman’s oval shield has personal meaning to her and is decorative. The common practice in heraldry is that women don’t use helm and mantling in their achievements which leaves them looking rather empty artistically. Decorative knots, ribbons and wreaths are often employed to surround the shield. If you are wondering if you’re seeing things, yes, that is a whisk in the horse’s mouth. It alludes to the armiger’s love of cooking.

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