"Equality of Arms" campaign

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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 14 Jul 2019, 15:58

Jeremy Fox wrote:Current rules of inheritance are much more equitable, both as regards the gender of children and of the marital status of their parents. Heraldry used to relate to practical realities. If it is anything other than an exercise in vanity, it should do so still.


The Equality of Arms movement is not satisfied with the current situation.

I agree that the inheritance of arms should be practical. That said, there are still titles and fortunes that are inherited by the first born son. I would not find it practical if, for example, the next Duke of X was unable to inherit arms of his father because he had an older sister.

I also, think the value of arms comes from the fact that they are exclusive (everyone can have arms, but not everyone can have your arms). Of every daughter of an armiger was an heraldic heiress, than every child of two armigerous people would have quartered arms.

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JMcMillan
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby JMcMillan » 14 Jul 2019, 21:49

Ryan Shuflin wrote:I would not find it practical if, for example, the next Duke of X was unable to inherit arms of his father because he had an older sister.


All the sons already inherit the arms, not just the oldest (except in Scotland). How would allowing their sisters to inherit the arms as well derogate from any rights of the eldest son?
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Jeremy Fox
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby Jeremy Fox » 14 Jul 2019, 22:14

To be equitable every child of an armiger should be entitled to inherit the parental arms, differenced according to order of birth. Inherited titles, likewise, should pass to the eldest child. Even if one wishes to argue from mediaeval principles, the basis of patrilinearity was that only a male could be expected to bear arms and defend territory. Women have now openly and officially proved their right to bear arms on the field of battle, in the front line. There is no excuse to deny their right to inherit arms or titles equally with men.
If inheritance of arms were restricted to children of one gender, simply in order to reduce the proliferation of arms, then inheritance of arms should be through the female line. The male line is a matter of courtesy only, discourteous though it be to say so.

Ryan Shuflin
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 15 Jul 2019, 09:16

JMcMillan wrote:
Ryan Shuflin wrote:I would not find it practical if, for example, the next Duke of X was unable to inherit arms of his father because he had an older sister.


All the sons already inherit the arms, not just the oldest (except in Scotland). How would allowing their sisters to inherit the arms as well derogate from any rights of the eldest son?


I agree, this is only an issue so far as cadency is used/required.

Jeremy Fox wrote:To be equitable every child of an armiger should be entitled to inherit the parental arms, differenced according to order of birth. Inherited titles, likewise, should pass to the eldest child. Even if one wishes to argue from mediaeval principles, the basis of patrilinearity was that only a male could be expected to bear arms and defend territory. Women have now openly and officially proved their right to bear arms on the field of battle, in the front line. There is no excuse to deny their right to inherit arms or titles equally with men.
If inheritance of arms were restricted to children of one gender, simply in order to reduce the proliferation of arms, then inheritance of arms should be through the female line. The male line is a matter of courtesy only, discourteous though it be to say so.


I believe patrilineal succession is tied to patrilocality. That is that a newlywed couple lives with the groom's parents either in the same house or in the same village. As far as battlefields are concerned, if that was relevant, than I suggest arms be restricted to veterans that have seen combat.

In reality, women have used coat of arms for a long time now. The question here, is not "Can a women have arms" but rather can "can a women transmit arms"

As far as titles, I am not against the exclusion of women from inheriting them, but in many cases, it is assumed just because someone's father has a title, his children have a right to it. It depends on the title, but in the case of many, the grant excludes women. In the same sense all children of a life peer are excluded. If King James II granted the title of Baron and gave it to John Doe and his heir males, the John Does heirs female are in the same situation as I am, in that no one granted them a title. I have no problem if Her Majesty granted new titles to the daughters of title holders of extinct titles.


Also, I find it inconsistent to complain about the smallest discrimination by sex and have no problem with discrimination by birth order. The inheritance of titles and the fortunes that often accompany them are not fair, they are arbitrary. We should not delude ourselves to think that they are otherwise. I am no socialist, and the rule of the law and equality before the law are much more dearer principles to me than fake equality.

The basis for the current practice is not the middle ages, but continuous practice from then till now. I find it good that women can be granted arms, and that having been granted arms they are treated as heraldic heiresses and that they can pass on their arms to their children.

What I am arguing against is that if John Doe marries Jane Smith, their children will in 9 out of 10 cases be Does and not Smith. That John Doe jr. only has a right to the Doe arms and not the Smith arms, does him no injury.

Now lets say that Jane Smith is the oldest child with a younger brother, Jack. According to the system you suggest, as I understand it; Jane Smith bears the Smith arms with a label, till her father dies. John Doe jr, quarters his father's arms (with label?) with the Smith arms (also with label). Eventually he will quarter the Doe and Smith arms undifferenced. Jack Smith will still have the Smith arms with a crescent. Or I have I misunderstood? The result would be very confusing.


I have no clue what you mean what talking about the male line only being courtesy.

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Jeremy Fox
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby Jeremy Fox » 15 Jul 2019, 13:33

The basis for the current practice is not the middle ages, but continuous practice from then till now.

Of course it is, the usages of heraldry have adapted over the years and will continue to do so. However, the origins of heraldry, and of the customary rules of inheritance that prevailed until recently, lie in the feudal age and are based on the ability of a man to fight for and defend his property. The fact that women can now receive the Queen's commission and lead men in battle means that even by the strictest interpretation of the laws of arms, women have a de facto right to bear them, transmit them and inherit them equally with their brothers. The restriction of coats of arms to fighting men had disappeared beyond dispute by the time of the Tudors, with shields of arms used by clergy, merchants, farmers, tailors or brewers, and even a playwright or two. There should not, in justice, have been any discrimination against women in terms of arms or inheritance from the 14th century at least, but now the last shred of an excuse has gone.

As far as perpetuating the original terms of grants is concerned, if the grants were made by a monarch, there would be nothing to stop the present or future monarch from declaring that wherever any grant stated "heir male" or "heirs male," the term "male" should be replaced by the term "human."

The inheritance of titles and the fortunes that often accompany them are not fair, they are arbitrary.

The inheritance of fortunes should be fair. Time was when a title needed a fortune to sustain it, but that time is past. The titles we are talking about, however, are indivisible so cannot be shared amongst the children with each one getting a bit. To that extent, "first come first served" is the simplest rule of inheritance.

You have understood the system I described. I think it no more confusing than the current arrangement where, in the absence of male heirs, all the females transmit the arms undifferenced.
There is also the consideration which is frequently seen in practice, that a quartered coat is not the same as a single coat, so quartering (or impaling) is often enough sufficient difference to make marks of cadency unnecessary.

children of Sir Thomas Freke.jpg


And we should recognise the practical usage which makes the undifferenced coat of arms effectively a family coat of arms. Over time a single coat of arms will be used concurrently by multiple members of a family, causing no problem whatever provided that the one person nominally entitled to the undifferenced arms does not object. Professional heralds may object on grounds of loss of income, but the families themselves seem to cope happily enough.


That the "male line" is just a courtesy is just a matter of biology. It is usually obvious who the mother of a child might be. The father is known only to the mother and God, sometimes only the latter. The courteous assumption is that women are always true to their given word; no man would be crass enough to dispute the paternity of his wife's child without some extreme reason.
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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 16 Jul 2019, 12:50

I feel like you are repeatedly attacking a strawman and ignoring my actual reasoning. You also keep mentioning the right for women to bear arms, which no one is disputing.

You say that the only argument against women transmitting their arms, or better said children inheriting their mother's arms, is that women were on the battlefield. That ignores the argument that I made. I find it disrespectful that you indirectly declare my argument not to exist. Attack my argument on its merits, or even dismiss it as nonsense, but don't imply that I don't make it.

My argument is that coat of arms are seen as belonging to patrilineal kinship groups. I also argue that the current rules effect children of both sexes equally, that children that only inherit their father's arms are not disadvantaged. Thus, there is no discrimination, and not sexual discrimination.

It horrifies me that you would suggest that the Sovereign change a grant. A grant, well should be taken for granted. A doubt that the Queen alone can change a grant, but of course the Queen in Parliament can do everything. That doesn't mean they should. If the rights of Dukes aren't safe, then none of ours are.

Also, the idea that there has to be perfect equality in inheritance, is contradictory in so many ways. Changing the rules for the inheritance of titles won't make them more equal. Inequality is the point. As many of the current title holders have inherited over a female, that won't be corrected by giving their eldest daughter a title.

You say that the inheritance of fortunes should be fair. I say that is impossible, and this fairy tale is what I am pushing against. I have nothing against wealthy heirs, but they should know that they neither earned nor deserve their fortune.

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Chris Green
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Re: "Equality of Arms" campaign

Postby Chris Green » 16 Jul 2019, 13:10

I am tending to the view that this thread has run its course. The IAAH neither makes the rules of inheritance, heraldic or otherwise, nor has any influence on those who do. Individually we can be pleased with the status quo or advocate root and branch changes. Most of the membership in any case live in countries where no heraldic regulation exists and where the general rules of inheritance make no distinction between genders or seniority of siblings. I suggest that we wait to see what changes if any are made to the laws of inheritance in England and how, if at all, these impinge on the right to inherit arms.
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