Palmer family arms

Heraldry in Canada.
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Arthur Radburn
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Palmer family arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 20 May 2017, 18:30

This is a recent grant by the Canadian Heraldry Authority to Dr Dale Palmer. The blazon is : Azure, a palm leaf throughout, a chief enarched Argent. The crest is a basset hound resting a baseball bat entwined of a serpent on its shoulder.

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The grant includes cadet shields for Dr Palmer's three sons. Son Sean is heir to the arms, so has only a label; the other two have permanent differences. Each has his own crest.

At the same time, the CHA granted arms to Dr Palmer's wife, Glenda King-Palmer, with cadet shields for the three sons. In this case, son Jason is heir to her arms, so his differences are, presumably, also temporary. Here's the whole family :

Image
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Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

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Chris Green
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Re: Palmer family arms

Postby Chris Green » 20 May 2017, 19:43

I'm afraid, try as I may, I don't see how son Jason can be heir to his mother's arms. The boys should quarter their parents' arms - unless the Canadian Heraldic Authority is trying to reinvent inheritance of arms. If so heaven help us all if any of the Canadians so affected emigrates to the UK, where such eccentricities are not recognised practice.
Chris Green
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JMcMillan
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Re: Palmer family arms

Postby JMcMillan » 20 May 2017, 21:35

Chris Green wrote:I'm afraid, try as I may, I don't see how son Jason can be heir to his mother's arms. The boys should quarter their parents' arms - unless the Canadian Heraldic Authority is trying to reinvent inheritance of arms. If so heaven help us all if any of the Canadians so affected emigrates to the UK, where such eccentricities are not recognised practice.


Well, this has been in place for quite a while, so they're not "trying" to reinvent the inheritance system, they've already done it. But how much of a reinvention is it? The English, Scots, and Irish have long permitted this on a case by case basis, provided that the name is changed to match the arms. And I know there are medieval cases--although don't ask me to name them off the top of my head--where a son inherited the arms of a mother whose family was considered more powerful, richer, better than his father's.

Anyway, allowing arms to be inherited equally/indifferently from either parent was a response to the prohibition against any form of discrimination on the basis of sex contained in Canada's 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Lots of aspects of heraldic practice have historically been justified by reference to laws affecting non-heraldic things; the traditional English requirement that a married woman could not display her paternal arms alone was justified by the common law principle of couverture, by which a married woman had no independent legal standing. The supposed requirement of differencing for cadency was justified by the common law principle of primogeniture inheritance. Bastards couldn't automatically inherit anyone's arms because they were legally nullis filii. I'm not terribly fond of innovation in much of anything, but doesn't it make sense for heraldic practice to adapt according to changes in the legal regime of the country in which it's used?
Joseph McMillan
Alexandra, Virginia, USA

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Michael F. McCartney
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Re: Palmer family arms

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 21 May 2017, 04:47

You can think of the Canadian approach as a variant of an English or Scottish Name & Arms clause, minus the Name ;)

It is, as Joe notes, an approach to rendering armorial inheritance gender-neutral - not the approach I would have chosen, but somehow my royal appointment as Governor-General seems to have been lost in the mail. ;)

As for flocks of armigerous Canadians migrating to England, that's not the immigration crisis that's been in the news lately; though apparently Lyon has denied matriculation of Canadian arms in Scotland because the lack of link between Name and Arms is not compatible with the nature of arms in Scottish law. (Others can confirm, clarify, or correct as necessary.). All of which is great spectator sport from Baja BC!

For the record, the Canadian approach is not the only inevitable way to reconcile heraldically inheritance with gender equality, so long as we remember that Heraldry is a tool to signify identity - that is, identity is the dog, Heraldry is the tail. In the English-speaking world, at least, the primary social and legal identifier of family has been & still is the surname; and in modern times at least, the choice of surname, and therefore of primary family identity, is a personal choice. Traditionally, that has been the father's name before marriage and then the husband's; but nowadays, children may be given either or both parents' name; and married couples may bear either or both surnames. Most families still follow the traditional pattern, but that is by choice, not legal or societal mandate.

That's the situation nowadays, before reaching the question of which arms to bear, since that choice is secondary to choice of name. If the function of arms is identity, then use whichever arms actually reflect the identity - the surname - that each individual or family has chosen to assume and bear. To my mind, bearing the coat of arms tied to one side of one's family while bearing the surname of a different side of the family fundamentally fails the basic purpose of arms as an accurate identifier of who and what the bearer us, both legally and socially. There are other ways to signify family​ connections of differing surnames - impalement, quartering, and composition come to mind - which allow for the emotional connections without sacrificing the connection between Name and Arms which give the display meaning as an identifier.
Michael F. McCartney
Fremont, California


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