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.
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.