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Members' Submitted Heraldry

Posted: 27 Apr 2017, 09:21
by John Olliff-Cooper
We know and accept that Lyon, the College, and Chief Herald of Ireland, have the final say in the matter of grants. My question - how have experienced members got on with their own (one supposes properly considered and compliant) preferred designs when applying for grants? Clearly, designs must be proper heraldry, within the established rules, and must be unique.

Do individual Heralds vary in their enthusiasm for knowledgable enthusiasts' enthusiasms?

Re: Members' Submitted Heraldry

Posted: 27 Apr 2017, 10:47
by Chris Green
A very apt question for members of the IAAH. Some of us went through the process of seeking a grant of arms years ago. Others may be considering that big step now.

In my case, I approached the College of Arms with two concepts, but no "ready-to-use" blazon. I wanted to indicate travel (I was a diplomat), and I wanted to show my strong link to the County of Sussex. York wouldn't go for six martlets three two and one as being too near the Sussex martlets and to the arms of the ancient families of Arundell. But he suggested that three martlets volant would meet the bill, both for the Sussex connection and the idea of travelling. Add flaunches vert to represent two land-masses plus barry wavy azure and argent for the sea and "Robert is your father's brother" so to speak. As for the crest: an iron fist holding a velvet glove and a further link to diplomacy is made. The crest was 100% my idea and was accepted without amendment (even the ermine lining). So I didn't get exactly what I had in mind, but York worked around my concept and came up with something which is in fact better.

I think in general heraldic authorities appreciate educated proposals. But one should bear in mind that they are professionals and may have ideas which are far better than one's own. One need look no further than some of the recent grants on the College of Arms' web-site to see some of the unusual designs that have been approved in recent times:

It would I think be a brave herald who would rule out every element of the arms proposed by one of our members (or anyone else with a reasonable knowledge of heraldry), assuming that one had met the established rules and traditions of heraldry and made a good effort to ensure uniqueness. But applicants should approach the process with a mind open to considering alternatives.

Re: Members' Submitted Heraldry

Posted: 27 Apr 2017, 11:53
by Martin Goldstraw
My personal (English) arms were entirely devised by the then Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, now Garter, who was kind enough to ask me for my thoughts and then provide suggestions (which formed the basis of the final design). I was clear that I wanted the overall colour scheme to be red and white with a chevron as this formed the basis of the Goostrey arms (Argent, a chevron between three squirrels Gules) . My initial thoughts were along the lines of replacing the squirrels in the Goostrey arms with two geese in chief and an oak tree in base with the crest somehow representing the fact that I was a Justice of the Peace and perhaps something else representing my profession however, Mr. Woodcock persuaded me, quite easily, that the goose and the tree together would make a good crest. Having accepted the crest, alternative designs were tabled for the shield and I preferred the one finally adopted.

This is the painting of the draft that was finally accepted by me.
goldstraw-arm low res.JPG

The observant among you will notice that I quickly abandoned the motto and adopted a new one. Unlike Scotland, in England mottoes are not part of the actual grant (although they are painted on the Letters Patent). The motto I now use is Ab Initio Goostrey and this has been accepted, by Lyon, in the Scottish matriculation of my English arms.

Commercially I also have a stake in the arms of The Armorial Register Limited. The armorial bearings of The Armorial Register Limited were designed by the directors of the Company (John and me) and the design was graciously accepted and granted, without alteration, by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland. The Armorial Register Limited is a company registered in the Kingdom of Scotland and it is a legal requirement that all armorial bearings used in Scotland must be recorded in the Register of All Arms and Bearings of Scotland kept by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. It is unlawful in Scotland for anyone to use arms unless they have been so recorded. We are extremely proud that the company is now lawfully an armigerous corporation.

The shield was designed by me, editor and director, and the crest was designed by John Duncan of Sketraw, web master and director. In a moment of inspiration I came up with the motto as being appropriate to the work of The Register.

The thoughts behind the design are:

Arms: The predominant colours represent the home of the Company, Scotland, with each escutcheon representing an entry in the Register all linked together to form the Register itself which is published in book form as each volume is filled.

Crest: The lion is, arguably, the most recognisable of all the heraldic beasts. Here, he is attempting to stretch his grasp around the world.

Motto: Fulfilment by Achievement.

The motto is worthy in its own right as a corporate motto but it also alludes to the fact that each volume of the register is added to achievement by achievement until it is ready (fulfilled) for publication as a book.



John and I have also been privileged to have had accepted by the Lord Lyon (in some cases with minor alteration) a number of designs we have submitted on behalf of clients (three of which have recently been accepted and are currently awaiting production of letters patent). Lyon will only deal either directly with the petitioner or via a solicitor (or a herald or pursuivant of the Court) representing the client so we liaise with the client in the design process and the client's solicitor then petitions Lyon. In the case of our own petition (Armorial Register) we were able to petition on our own behalf.

As an after thought, we should all, always, acknowledge the fact that both the College of Arms and the Lyon Court continually deal with applicants who are ignorant of heraldry and who have taken no previous advice. The "official" heralds and Kings of Arms are of course professional experts and have a wealth of knowledge and resources to help new petitioners design arms anew. They are good at it.

Re: Members' Submitted Heraldry

Posted: 27 Apr 2017, 14:12
by Martin Goldstraw
Of course, if you consider yourself to be good at designing arms you could always apply for the present vacancy:

The College of Arms is seeking to recruit a research assistant (trainee) for a period of six to twelve months. The successful candidate will learn how to deal with heraldic and genealogical enquiries arising from members of the public and various organisations, how to process applications for new grants of arms and about other work undertaken by the College. Upon completion of this training period, the candidate will be assessed with a view to appointment as an officer of arms. If appointed, he or she will be able to run an independent heraldic and genealogical practice within the College generating his or her own income. ... tship-2017