Change the system!!

Is it legal? Does it matter? Discuss it here.
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Peter Harling
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Change the system!!

Postby Peter Harling » 19 May 2013, 20:09

At a meeting yesterday I had the opportunity to have a chat with Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms).

Now while the situation I outline here does in no way affect my own personal circumstances, I do feel quite concerned for armigerous families that have produced only daughters! Consequently, on the marriage of the said daughters; bearing in mind the husbands of the marriages are not armigers; the family from hence forth will lose the right to bear their mothers arms. That is of course unless one goes to the great expense of a Royal Warrant!

I put this point to Mr Woodcock who immediately suggested that the wife should encourage her husband to apply for a grant of arms. Fine! problem solved (quartered arms eventually). But! Not every husband can afford the £5,000 pounds said I.

So I suggested .... What if the wife kept her maiden name and any child born of the marriage hyphenated with mother and father's surname, surely this would get over the stumbling block in Mr Woodcock's objection that the arms should stay with the name!

At this point Mr Woodcock warmed a little to my proposal and to my surprise said he would discuss it with the other heralds.

Now I don't think anything will come of it. But you never know!

What do others think?

Regards ........... Peter
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J Duncan of Sketraw
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby J Duncan of Sketraw » 20 May 2013, 02:08

Peter, What if the wife kept her maiden name and the husband changed his to that of his wifes?

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Chris Green
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby Chris Green » 20 May 2013, 07:39

Whether an (armigerous by descent) man changes his surname to that of his (non-armigerous) wife or not is surely irrelevant. In such a case it is the blood-line descent that matters not the name.
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J Duncan of Sketraw
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby J Duncan of Sketraw » 20 May 2013, 11:47

Chris, I must be reading Peter's post all wrong. I was thinking on the Scottish system where arms can pass down the female line.

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Chris Green
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby Chris Green » 20 May 2013, 12:16

This particular thread should try to restrict itself to English custom since it is Garter who is going to discuss the question with his colleagues. As ever we risk branching off into other customs and end up confusing ourselves and others mightily!
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J Duncan of Sketraw
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby J Duncan of Sketraw » 20 May 2013, 14:17

I agree Chris, We should restrict ourselves in this particular thread to English custom, but I am somewhat also confused by "In such a case it is the blood-line descent that matters not the name." I would suggest that it was everything to do with the name.

Jonathan Webster
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby Jonathan Webster » 20 May 2013, 15:09

I must say I am somewhat sceptical of Arms being transmitted via inheritance by any other means other than the present one. It's all very well clamouring for gender equality, and that is a good and fine notion, but at the same time, it is perhaps a very healthy thing that Arms sometimes die out. Making arms transmissable, as is done for example in Canada, would mean that there are more people inheriting Arms, which would result in more armigers marrying armigers, which ould result in more arms being quartered. Hardly in the spirit of heraldry, which should be about simplicity.

In my own personal opinion, if you are going to have inheritance of Arms that js gender-neutral, I much prefer the Portuguese system, where an armiger selects his Arms from amongst his armigerous ancestors, then adds a small canton in dexter chief to show through which line the arms have come. Much better than the Canadian system, which, and I mean no disrespect to the CHA, was not thought out properly and will result in some not very pretty results within a few generations.

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Chas Charles-Dunne
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 20 May 2013, 15:20

There are times when it is not advisable to be 'all things to all men (or women)'. The Canadian system is one of those times.

If arms die out, then they die out. Not all couples are fertile and there is no law that says that they have to have a son as first child.
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Jonathan Webster
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Re: Change the system!!

Postby Jonathan Webster » 20 May 2013, 15:35

My point precisely Chas.

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Re: Change the system!!

Postby Jonathan Webster » 20 May 2013, 15:39

J Duncan of Sketraw wrote:Peter, What if the wife kept her maiden name and the husband changed his to that of his wifes?


To be fair we effectively already have this with name-and-arms clauses.
You're just substituting one name (and Arms) with another.


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