Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 16 Sep 2012, 11:33

I think that the concept of arms being limited and restricted by jurisdiction is a modern concept. I think most people would say "here are my arms, and they continue to be my arms where ever I go."

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Chris Green
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Chris Green » 16 Sep 2012, 12:05

... most people would say "here are my arms, and they continue to be my arms where ever I go."

Precisely. An English knight travelling through the Holy Roman Empire to fight in the Crusades against the pagans of Lithuania would hardly apply to the HR Emperor for new arms because he was fighting under his banner, or to the King of Hungary because he was going to fight the Turks. In the very unlikely event of his arms being the same as those of a knight from somewhere else, the heralds on the spot would presumably work out an ad hoc solution. In the highly unlikely event of an accommodation not being possible one or other knight might I suppose go home in a huff.

A knight emigrating permanently to another realm, or his sons born in the new country of residence, would however seek confirmation of their arms from the new jurisdiction. This happened on several occasions with Scottish and to a lesser extent English armigers (many of whom fought in the Thirty Years War) who settled in Sweden. Prominent Swedish families such as Bruce, Douglas, Fraser, Hamilton, Montgomery, Murray, Ramsay and Stuart spring to mind.
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Jonathan Webster
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Jonathan Webster » 16 Sep 2012, 12:23

What if a foreign prince decided to grant a non-national of his particular realm a grant of arms? I can think of at least one example: John Smith (he of Pocahontas fame) received a grant of arms from the Prince of Transylvania.

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Chris Green
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Chris Green » 16 Sep 2012, 12:37

John Smith (he of Pocahontas fame) received a grant of arms from the Prince of Transylvania.


But John Smith was not, I think, armigerous when he was granted arms by Sigismund Bathory. He claimed descent from an ancient Lancashire family of Smiths but no more. His own origins were relatively humble, as the son of a tenant farmer. Whether his Transylvanian arms (which he cretainly earned by a remarkable feat of arms) were ever recognised by the English College of Arms I do not know. But his Transylvanian knighthood was apparently not recognised in England as he was always known simply as Captain John Smith.
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Arthur Radburn » 16 Sep 2012, 15:16

Jonathan Webster wrote:What if a foreign prince decided to grant a non-national of his particular realm a grant of arms? I can think of at least one example: John Smith (he of Pocahontas fame) received a grant of arms from the Prince of Transylvania.

Countless other examples too, e.g. College of Arms grants of honorary arms to Americans and other non-UK citizens.

Chris Green wrote:Whether his Transylvanian arms (which he certainly earned by a remarkable feat of arms) were ever recognised by the English College of Arms I do not know.

They were. Woodcock and Martin discuss and illustrate them in the Oxford Guide to Heraldry.
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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 16 Sep 2012, 19:45

I think as a general rule monarchs recognized the authority of their brother sovereigns, as long as it didn't conflict with their own interests.

As far as knighthoods go in England, I am not sure how the rule changed from any knight could knight another knight, to the current system where only certain knights could be made by the Sovereign.

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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Chris Green » 17 Sep 2012, 06:53

As far as knighthoods go in England, I am not sure how the rule changed from any knight could knight another knight, to the current system where only certain knights could be made by the Sovereign.


Queen Elizabeth I was very sparing in the distribution of honours. Her favourite Robert Devereux Earl of Essex however used his status as Lord Liutenant of Ireland to create a large number of knights, hoping to bind them to his political cause. He was only in Ireland for six months of 1599, but by the time he left, against the express instructions of the Queen, he had created so many knights that more than half of the entire knighthood of England owed their status to him. His Irish enemies, whom he had singularly failed to defeat, scoffed that Essex only drew his sword to dub a new knight.

Whether any subject was bold enough to continue the tradition of an army commander knighting valiant soldiers in the field I do not know. But my guess is that Essex's largesse was the last gasp of a dying tradition.

As a footnote, it would be interesting to know whether knighthoods were granted by Cromwell or other parliamentary leaders during and after the English Civil War. I know that under the Commonwealth the College continued to function with a Garter King of Arms appointed by parliament (the true Garter being in exile with King Charles II). Arms granted under the Commonwealth were declared null and void following the Restoration so any Commonwealth knights would certainly have lost their spurs.
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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 17 Sep 2012, 09:47

Was there some sort of Royal Decree or Act of Parliament restricting recognition of knighthood?

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Chris Green
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Chris Green » 17 Sep 2012, 10:45

Was there some sort of Royal Decree or Act of Parliament restricting recognition of knighthood?


Honours are not regulated by Act of Parliament. The Sovereign as the fount of honour gave or withheld honours as he/she wished. This right has been restricted by the convention that, with some important exceptions (e.g. the Garter, Thistle and Victorian Order), the Sovereign acts on the advice of the Government.
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Re: Two arms in right of two different jurisdictions?

Postby Jonathan Webster » 20 Feb 2013, 23:13

Ryan Shuflin wrote:I think as a general rule monarchs recognized the authority of their brother sovereigns, as long as it didn't conflict with their own interests.


-I can think of another example actually. I can't for the life of me recall the name of the individual in question (it is mentioned in Fox-Davies' 'Art of Heraldry'), but due to some great service he rendered to the nation of Argentina, the government there decided to augment his already-existing Arms with the Arms of Argentina itself. I believe this was allowed with Royal Warrant, but I don't have the book immediately to hand but I will check once I get the opportunity.


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