A Complete Guide to Heraldry/Chapter 36

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CHAPTER XXXVI

OFFICIAL HERALDIC INSIGNIA

The armory of all other nations than our own is rich in heraldic emblems of office. In France this was particularly the case, and France undoubtedly for many centuries gave the example, to be followed by other civilised countries, in all matters of honour and etiquette.

If English heraldry were entirely destitute of official heraldic ensigns, perhaps the development elsewhere of this branch of armory might be dismissed as an entirely foreign growth. But this is far from being the case, as there are some number of cases in which these official emblems do exist. In England, however, the instances are governed by no scale of comparative importance, and the appearance of such tokens can only be described as capricious. That a more extended usage might with advantage be made no one can deny, for usage of this character would teach the general public that armory had a meaning and a value, it would increase the interest in heraldry, and also assist greatly in the rapidly increasing revival of heraldic knowledge. The existence of these heraldic emblems would manifestly tend towards a revival of the old and interestingly excellent custom of regularly setting up in appropriate public places the arms of those who have successively held various offices. The Inns of Court, St. George's Chapel, the Public Office at the College of Arms, and the halls of some of the Livery Companies are amongst the few places of importance where the custom still obtains. And yet what an interesting memorial such a series always becomes! The following list may not be entirely complete, but it is fairly so as far as France is concerned, and I think also complete as to England.

The following are from the Royal French Court:—

The High Constable of France: Two swords held on each side of the shield by two hands in armour issuing from the clouds.

The Chancellor: In saltire behind his arms two great maces, and over his helmet a mortier or cap sable crossed by two bands of gold lace and turned up ermine; thereon the figure of a demi-queen as an emblem of France, holding a sceptre in her right hand and the great seal of the kingdom in her left.

The Marshal: Two batons in saltire behind the arms azure, semé-de-lis or.

The Admiral: Two anchors in saltire behind the arms, the stocks of the anchors in chief azure, semé-de-lis or.

The General of the Galleys: Two anchors in saltire behind the arms.

Vice-Admiral: One anchor in pale behind the arms.

Colonel-General of the Infantry: Under his arms in saltire six flags, three on each side, white, crimson, and blue.

Colonel of the Cavalry: Over the arms four banners of the arms of France, fringed, &c., two to the dexter and two to the sinister.

Grand Master of the Artillery: Two field-pieces of ordnance under the arms, one pointing to the dexter and one to the sinister.

The Superintendent of the Finance: Two keys imperially crowned and endorsed in pale, one on each side of the arms, the dexter or, the sinister argent.

Grand Master of the Household to the King: Two grand batons of silver gilt in saltire behind the arms.

Grand Almoner: Under his arms a blue book, on the cover the arms of France and Navarre within the Orders of St. Michael and the Holy Ghost, over the Orders the Crown.

Grand Chamberlain: Two keys, both imperially crowned or, in saltire behind the arms endorsed, the wards-in-chief.

Grand Esquire: On each side of the shield a royal sword erect, the scabbard azure, semé-de-lis, hilt and pommel or, the belts folded round the scabbard azure, semé-de-lis or.

Grand Pannetier, who by virtue of his office had all the bakers of Paris under his jurisdiction, and had to lay the king's cover at his table, bore under his arms a rich cover and a knife and fork in saltire.

Grand Butler or Cupbearer: On each side of the base of the shield, a grand silver flagon gilt, with the arms of the King thereon.

Gamekeeper to the King: Two bugle-horns appending from the ends of the mantling.

Grand Falconer: Two lures appending from the ends of the mantling.

Grand Wolf-hunter: On each side of the shield a wolf's head caboshed.

Captain of the King's Guards: Two small batons sable, headed gold, like a walking-cane.

Captain of the Hundred Swiss Guards: Two batons in saltire sable, headed argent, and under the arms two black velvet caps with feathers.

First Master of the Household: Under his arms two batons in saltire.

Grand Carver to His Majesty: Under his arms a knife and fork in saltire proper, the handles azure, semé-de-lis or.

Grand Provost of the Household: Under his arms two Roman fasces or, corded azure.

Grand Quartermaster: A mace and battle-axe in saltire.

Captain of the Guards of the Gate: Two keys in pale, crowned argent, one on each side the arms.

The President of the Parliament: On his helmet a black cap with two bands of gold lace.

Under the Empire (of France) the Vice-Connétable used arms holding swords, as had been the case with the Constable of the Kingdom, but the swords were sheathed and semé of golden bees. The Grand Chamberlain had two golden keys in saltire, the bows thereof enclosing the imperial eagle, and the batons of the Maréchaux de French were semé of bees instead of fleurs-de-lis.

The Pope bears a cross with three arms, an archbishop one with two arms, a bishop one with a single arm. Besides this, two crossed keys appertain to the Pope, the golden key to bind, in bend dexter, the silver key to loose, in sinister bend. British archbishops and bishops will be presently referred to. Ecclesiastical princes, who were at the same time sovereign territorial princes, bore behind their shield a pedum or pastorale (crosier), crossed with the sword of penal judicature. A bishop bears the crosier with an outward bend, an abbot with an inward bend, thus symbolising the range of their activity or dominion. The arch and hereditary offices of the old German Empire had also their own attributes; thus the "Erztruchsess," Lord High Steward (Palatinate-Bavaria), bore a golden Imperial globe, which arose from a misinterpretation of the double dish, the original attribute of this dignity. The Lord High Marshal of the Empire (Saxony) expressed his office by a shield divided "per fess argent and sable," bearing two crossed swords gules. The Hereditary Standard-bearer (Würtemberg) bore: "Azure, a banner or, charged with an eagle sable"; the Lord High Chamberlain (Brandenburg): "Azure, a sceptre or," while the Hereditary Chamberlain (Hohenzollern) used: "Gules, two crossed sceptres or."

In Italy the Duca de Savelli, as Marshal of the Conclave, hangs on either side of his shield a key, the cords of which are knotted beneath his coronet.

In Holland Admirals used the naval Crown, and added two anchors in saltire behind the shield.

In Spain the Admirals of Castile and of the Indies placed an anchor in bend behind the shield.

The instances I am aware of which have official sanction already in this country are as stated in the list which follows:—

I have purposely (to make the list absolutely complete) included insignia which may possibly be more properly considered ensigns of rank, because it is not particularly easy always to distinguish offices from honours and from rank.

The Kings of England (George I. to William IV.), as Arch Treasurers of the Holy Roman Empire, bore: Upon an inescutcheon gules, in the centre of the arms of Hanover, a representation of the Crown of Charlemagne.

An Archbishop has: (1) His official coat of arms, which he impales (placing it on the dexter side) with his personal arms; (2) his mitre, which, it should be noted, is the same as the mitre of a Bishop, and not having a coronet encircling its band; (3) his archiepiscopal staff (of gold, and with two transverse arms), which is placed in pale behind his escutcheon; (4) two crosiers in saltire behind the escutcheon. It is curious to note that the pallium which occurs in all archiepiscopal coats of arms (save that of York) is now very generally conceded to have been more in the nature of an emblem of the rank of Archbishop (it being a part of his ecclesiastical costume) than a charge in a concrete impersonal coat of arms for a defined area of archiepiscopal jurisdiction. In this connection it is interesting to observe that the Archbishops of York anciently used the pallium in lieu of the official arms now regularly employed.

A Bishop has: (1) His official coat of arms, (2) his mitre, (3) two crosiers in saltire behind his escutcheon.

The Bishop of Durham has: (1) His official coat of arms, (2) his coronetted mitre, which is peculiar to himself, and (which is another privilege also peculiar to himself alone) he places a sword and a crosier in saltire behind his arms. Reference should also be made to the chapter upon Ecclesiastical Heraldry.

A Peer has: (1) His coronet, (2) his helmet of rank; (3) his supporters, (4) his robe of estate.

A Scottish Peer has, in addition, the ermine lining to his mantling.

A Baronet of England, of Ireland, of Great Britain, or of the United Kingdom has: (1) His helmet of rank, (2) his badge of Ulster upon an inescutcheon or canton (argent, a sinister hand erect, couped at the wrist gules).

A Baronet of Nova Scotia has: (1) His helmet of rank, (2) his badge (an orange tawny ribbon, whereon shall hang pendent in an escutcheon argent, a saltire azure, thereon an inescutcheon of the arms of Scotland, with an imperial crown over the escutcheon, and encircled with this motto, "Fax Mentis Honestæ Gloria," pendent below the escutcheon).

A Knight of the Garter has: (1) His Garter to encircle the shield, (2) his collar and badge, (3) supporters. The Prelate of the Order of the Garter (an office held by the Bishops of Winchester) is entitled to encircle his arms with the Garter. The Chancellor of the Order of the Garter encircles his arms with the Garter. Formerly the Bishops of Salisbury always held this office, but in 1836 when the county of Berks (which of course includes Windsor, and therefore the chapel of the order) was removed from the Diocese of Salisbury to the Diocese of Oxford, the office of Chancellor passed to the Bishops of Oxford. The Dean of Windsor, as Registrar of the Order, displays below his shield the ribbon and badge of his office.

A Knight of the Thistle has: (1) The ribbon or circlet of the order, (2) his collar and badge, (3) supporters. The Dean of the Chapels Royal in Scotland, as Dean of the Order, used the badge and ribbon of his office.

A Knight of St. Patrick has: (1) The ribbon or circlet of the order, (2) his collar and badge, (3) supporters. The Prelate of the Order of St. Patrick was as such entitled to encircle his escutcheon with the ribbon or circlet of that order, from which his official badge depends. The office, of course, came to an end with the disestablishment of the Irish Church. It was held by the Archbishops of Armagh. The Chancellor of the Order of St. Patrick is as such entitled to encircle his escutcheon with the ribbon or circlet of that order, from which his official badge depends. This office, formerly held by the Archbishops of Dublin, has since the disestablishment been enjoyed by the Chief Secretaries for Ireland. The Deans of St. Patrick's were similarly Registrars of the Order, and as such used the badge and ribbon of their office.

Knights Grand Cross or Knights Grand Commanders of the Orders of the Bath, the Star of India, St. Michael and St. George, the Indian Empire, or the Victorian Order, have: (1) The circlets or ribbons of their respective Orders, (2) their collars and badges, (3) their helmets of degree, (4) supporters, if they incline to pay the fees for these to be granted.

Knights Commanders of the aforesaid Orders have: (1) The circlets or ribbons of their respective Orders, (2) their badges pendent below the shield, (3) their helmets of degree.

Commanders of the Victorian Order have: (1) the circlet of the Order, (2) the badge pendent below the shield.

Companions of the aforesaid Orders, and Members of the Victorian Order, as also Members of the Distinguished Service Order, the Imperial Service Order, the Order of Merit, the Order of Victoria and Albert, the Order of the Crown of India, and those entitled to the Victoria Cross, the Albert Medal, the Edward Medal, the Conspicuous Service Cross, the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal, the Royal Red Cross, the Volunteer Officers' Decoration, the Territorial Decoration, and the Decoration of the League of Mercy, are entitled to suspend their respective decorations below their escutcheons. The officers of these orders of knighthood are of course entitled to display their badges of office. The Dean of Westminster is always Dean of the Order of the Bath.

Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders of the Bath, if of the Military Division, are also entitled to place a wreath of laurel round their escutcheons.

Knights of Justice of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England are entitled to place upon their escutcheons a chief of the arms of the Order (gules, a cross throughout argent, embellished in the angles with a lion guardant and a unicorn, both passant or).

Knights of Grace and other Members of the Order suspend whatever badge they are entitled to wear below their shield from a black watered-silk ribbon.

[Some members of the Order display their arms upon the Cross of the Order, as was done by Knights of the original Order, from which the present Order is copied, but how far the practice is sanctioned by the Royal Charter, or in what manner it is controlled by the rules of the Order, I am not aware.]

The Lord High Constable of England is entitled to place behind his escutcheon two batons in saltire similar to the one which is delivered to him for use at the Coronation, which is now the only occasion when the office is enjoyed. As the office is only held temporarily, the existing privilege does not amount to much.

The Lord High Constable of Scotland is entitled to place behind his escutcheon, in saltire, two silver batons tipped with gold at either end. The arms of the Earl of Errol (Hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland) have only once, at an early period, been matriculated in Lyon Register, and then without any official insignia, but there can be no doubt of the right to the crossed batons.

The Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland (I am not sure this office still exists): Two golden keys in saltire behind the escutcheon.

The Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England places two batons of gold tipped with sable in saltire behind his arms.

[A Deputy Earl Marshal places one similar baton in bend behind his shield.]

The Earl Marischal of Scotland (until the office was extinguished by attainder) placed saltirewise behind his shield two batons gules, semé of thistles, each ensigned on the top with an Imperial Crown or.

The Hereditary Marshal of Ireland (an office for long past in abeyance) used two batons in saltire behind his arms. According to MS. Harl. 6589, f. 39: "Les armes des office du Mareschall d'Ireland sont de Goulz et cinque fucelles bendes d'Argent." These certainly do not appear to be the personal arms of those who held the office, but there is other record that some such coat was used.

The Hereditary Lord Great Seneschal of Ireland (the Earl of Shrewsbury) places a white wand in pale behind his escutcheon.

The Duke of Argyll places in saltire behind his arms: (1) In bend dexter, a baton gules, semé of thistles or, ensigned with an Imperial Crown proper, thereon the crest of Scotland (as Hereditary Great Master of the Household in Scotland); (2) in bend sinister, a sword proper, hilt and pommel or (as Hereditary Justice-General of Scotland) (vide Plate III.).

The Master-General of the Ordnance (by warrant of King Charles II.), bears on each side of his arms a field-piece.

The Lord Justice-Clerk of Scotland places two swords in saltire behind his shield.

The Lord Chief-Justice of England encircles his arms with his Collar of SS.

The Walker Trustees place behind their shield two batons in saltire, each ensigned with a unicorn salient supporting a shield argent, the unicorn horned or, and gorged with an antique crown, to which is affixed a chain passing between the fore-legs and reflexed over the back of the last, for the office of Heritable Usher of the White Rod of Scotland, now vested in the said Trustees. Before the recent Court of Claims the claim was made to exercise the office by deputy, and such claim was allowed.

The Master of the Revels in Scotland has an official coat of arms: Argent, a lady rising out of a cloud in the nombril point, richly apparelled, on her head a garland of ivy, holding in her right hand a poignard crowned, in her left a vizard all proper, standing under a veil or canopy azure garnished or, in base a thistle vert.

Serjeants-at-Arms encircle their arms with their Collars of SS.

Garter King of Arms has: (1) His official coat of arms (argent, a gules, on a chief azure, a ducal coronet encircled with a Garter, between a lion passant guardant on the dexter, and a fleur-de-lis on the sinister, all or); (2) his crown; (3) his Collar of SS (the collar of a King of Arms differs from that of a Herald, inasmuch as it is of silver-gilt, and on each shoulder a portcullis is inserted); (4) his badge as Garter pendent below his shield. His sceptre of silver-gilt has been sometimes placed in bend behind his escutcheon, but this has not been regularly done. The practice has, however, been reverted to by the present Garter.

Lyon King of Arms has: (1) His official coat of arms (argent, a lion sejant, erect and affronté gules, holding in his dexter paw a thistle slipped vert, and in the sinister a shield of the second, on a chief azure a St. Andrew's cross—i.e. a saltire—of the field); (2) his crown; (3) two batons, representing that of his office in saltire behind his shield, these being azure semé of thistles and fleurs-de-lis or, tipped at either end with gold; (4) his Collar of SS; (5) his triple chain of gold, from which depends his badge as Lyon King of Arms.

Ulster King of Arms has: (1) His official coat of arms (or, a cross gules, on a chief of the last a lion of England between a harp and a portcullis, all of the first); (2) his crown; (3) his Collar of SS; (4) his two staves in saltire behind the shield; (5) his chain and badge as Ulster King of Arms; (6) his badge as Registrar of the Order of St. Patrick.

Clarenceux King of Arms has: (1) His official coat of arms (argent, a cross gules, on a chief of the second a lion passant guardant or, crowned of the last); (2) his crown; (3) his Collar of SS.

Norroy King of Arms has: (1) His official coat of arms (argent, a cross gules, on a chief of the second a lion of England passant guardant or, crowned with an open crown, between a fleur-de-lis on the dexter and a key on the sinister of the last); (2) his crown; (3) his Collar of SS.

Bath King of Arms has: (1) His crown; his Collar of SS.

I am not aware that any official arms have been assigned to Bath up to the present time; but if none exist, there would not be the slightest difficulty in obtaining these.

An English Herald encircles his shield with his Collar of SS.

A Scottish Herald is entitled to do the same, and has also his badge, which he places below the escutcheon pendent from a ribbon of blue and white.

An Irish Herald has his Collar of SS, and his badge suspended from a sky-blue ribbon. An Irish Pursuivant has a similar badge.

The Regius Professors (or "Readers") in the University of Cambridge, for "Phisicke," "Lawe," "Devinity," "Hebrew," and "Greke," have official arms as follows (see grant by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux, 1590, Genealogical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 125):—

Of Phisicke: Azure, a fesse ermines (? ermine) between three lozenges or, on a chief gules a lion passant guardant of the third, charged on the side with the letter M sable. Crest: on a wreath or and azure, a quinquangle silver, called "simbolum sanitatis." Mantling gules and argent.

Of Lawe: Purpure, a cross moline or, on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant of the second, charged on the side with the letter L sable. Crest: on a wreath "purple and gold," a bee volant or. Mantling gules and argent.

Of Devinity: Gules, on a cross ermine, between four doves argent, a book of the first, the leaves or, charged in the midst with the Greek letter θ (Theta) sable. Crest: on a wreath "silver and gules," a dove volant argent, with an olive-branch vert in his beak. Mantling gules, double argent.

Of Hebrew: Argent, the Hebrew letter ת (Tawe) sable, on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant or, charged on the side with the letter H sable. Crest: on a wreath "silver and sables," a turtle-dove azure. Mantling gules, double argent.

Of Greke: Per chevron argent and sable, in chief the two Greek letters Α (Alpha) and Ω (Omega) of the second, and in base a "cicado" or grasshopper of the first, on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant or, charged on the side with the letter G sable. Crest: on a wreath "silver and sables," an owl argent, legs, beak, and ears or. Mantling gules and argent.

The following insignia of office I quote subject to the reservation that I am doubtful how far they enjoy official sanction:—

The Lord Chancellor of England: Two maces in saltire (or one in pale) behind the shield and the purse containing the Great Seal below it.

The Lord Great Chamberlain of England: Two golden keys in saltire; and

The Lord Chamberlain of the Household: A golden key in pale behind the shield.

At Exeter the Dean, Precentor, Chancellor, and Treasurer have used official arms impaled with their own insignia. These were:—

The Dean: Azure, a stag's head caboshed and between the horns a cross patée fitchée argent.

The Precentor: Argent, on a saltire azure a fleur-de-lis or.

The Chancellor: Gules, a saltire argent between four crosslets or.

The Treasurer: Gules, a saltire between four leopards' heads or.

The Dean of the Chapel Royal, Savoy, may perhaps employ the complicated coat of the chapel to impale his personal arms, placing the escutcheon on the breast of an eagle sable, crowned or.

Many English Deaneries claim to possess arms which presumably the occupant may use to impale his own coat with, after the example of the Dean of Exeter. Such are London, Winchester, Lincoln, Salisbury, Lichfield, Durham, which all difference the arms of the see with a letter D of gold or sable.

St. David's reverses the tinctures of the arms of the see.

Norwich and Carlisle carry: Argent, a cross sable.

Canterbury: Azure, on a cross argent the monogram Complete Guide to Heraldry Canterbury Monogram.png sable.

York differences the arms of the see by changing the crown into a mitre, and adding three plates in flanks and base.