Sir George Arthur

Heraldry in Canada.
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Arthur Radburn
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Sir George Arthur

Postby Arthur Radburn » 19 Feb 2019, 18:01

Came across this in the CHA online register :

Arthur, Sir George -- CoA 1837-38 CHA 2012.jpg

The CHA registered these arms in the name of George Arthur of Toronto, Upper Canada, in 2012 -- 158 years after his death.

He was Lt Gen Sir George Arthur (1784-1854), who was lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada (later Ontario) from 1838 to 1841. Before that, he had been lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land (later Tasmania) for four years.

The design is interesting. The clarions are a traditional charge in the arms of Arthur families, the swords no doubt refer to his military career, and the kangaroo to his time in Tasmania.

But what are we to make of the chief, displaying a horse courant Argent which looks very much like the "white horse of Hanover"? At first glance, it could be taken for an augmentation of honour, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Any thoughts?
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Chris Green
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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Chris Green » 19 Feb 2019, 20:47

Sir George Arthur Bt was a Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order (KCH) which was the approximate Hanoverian equivalent of the Order of the Bath. British subjects were often awarded knighthoods in this order by Kings George IV and William IV on their own initiative as the British government had no influence over it, being considered a foreign order of chivalry. (GCHs and KCHs were not permitted to use the title "Sir" unless they had a British knighthood as well.)

In Arthur's case one may surmise that King William IV considered that Arthur had been treated harshly over his handling of the "Black War" in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) of which he had been Lieutenant-Governor. Arthur was recalled from Tasmania in October 1836 and awarded his KCH only a few months later, having received no British award. Arthur's baronetcy was granted in 1841 in recognition of his services in Canada.

I can only guess that the designer of the arms "awarded" Arthur the chief of Hanover to reflect his KCH, though he had no direct connection with Hanover and had certainly done nothing for Hanover which deserved an augmentation of honour.
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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Chris Green » 19 Feb 2019, 20:55

I read in Wiki that the baronetcy still exists, though the heir presumptive has to date not proved his right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_baronets
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Jeremy Fox
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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Jeremy Fox » 19 Feb 2019, 23:29

The arms were not granted recently. My 1907 copy of Debrett shows that they were used by the 3rd baronet, so I would guess that they were granted to Sir George himself. I do not understand what "registering" implies in this context.

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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Chris Green » 20 Feb 2019, 06:31

Indeed Jeremy. Having woken and realised that the CHA didn't "grant" but "register" the arms, I like you have had recourse to Debrett, in my case the 1868 edition. This shows the second Baronet as bearing these arms, including of course the Baronet's red hand.

Or on a Chevron Azure between two Clarions in chief Gules and a Kangaroo sejant in base proper, two swords the points upwards also proper points and hilts of the first, in chief of the third a Horse courant Argent. Crest: In front of two Swords in saltire proper pommel and hilt Or a Pelican in her piety Sable the nest Or.
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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Arthur Radburn » 20 Feb 2019, 09:18

The arms were granted in 1837/38, i.e. around the time of the award of the KCH.

Which raises the question : why did the CHA register the arms in 2012? Are there descendants in Canada who want them on record to confirm their entitlement to them? Or is there a project to register the arms of historical figures?
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Iain Boyd
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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Iain Boyd » 20 Feb 2019, 20:45

I believe that there is a project to register the arms of historical figures.

I have seen a number of registrations of the arms of former Canadians and individuals associated with the historical development of Canada.

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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Arthur Radburn » 20 Feb 2019, 21:30

Iain Boyd wrote:I believe that there is a project to register the arms of historical figures.
I have seen a number of registrations of the arms of former Canadians and individuals associated with the historical development of Canada.

Thanks for solving the mystery, Iain. Sir George's arms are in Vol VI of the Register, and a quick search of that volume reveals quite a few other early 19th-century arms from 'Upper Canada' and 'Lower Canada', which have been registered in recent years.
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Re: Sir George Arthur

Postby Chris Green » 20 Feb 2019, 22:35

An interesting project. I hope that these registrations set out when the original grants were made and by whom. Sir G Arthur was of course never a Canadian citizen.
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