Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

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Chris Green
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Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Chris Green » 02 Aug 2015, 09:36

I was doing a bit of research on Sir Arthur Plantagenet KG, 1st Viscount Lisle (4th creation), who was the illegitimate son of King Edward IV, and the last male Plantagenet. His arms as recorded on his Garter Stall Plate at Windsor are these:

Image

Blazon: Quarterly of four: 1st: Quarterly 1st and 4th France modern and 2nd and 3rd England (royal arms); 2nd & 3rd: de Burgh; 4th: Mortimer; over-all a bend sinister; over all an inescutcheon of pretence of Grey, Viscounts Lisle, quarterly of six, 1st: Barry of six argent and azure in chief three torteaux (Grey, Viscount Lisle); 2nd: Barry of argent and azure, an orle of martlets gules (Valence, Earl of Pembroke), 3rd: Gules, seven mascles or conjoined 3, 3, 1 (Ferrers of Groby); 4th: Gules, a lion rampant within a bordure engrailed or (Talbot); 5th: Gules, a fesse between six crosses crosslet or (Beauchamp); 6th: Gules, a lion statant guardant argent crowned or (Lisle) Crest: On a cap of maintenance gules turned up ermine, and inscribed in front with the letter A, a genet guardant per pale sable and argent, standing between two broom-stalks proper.


Thus the fourth (Mortimer) quarter shows: Or three bars azure on a chief of the first three pallets between two gyrons of the second, over all an inescutcheon argent. This matches the Mortimer arms described in Boutell (pp 58/59). However the Wiki page also provides an image of Lisle's arms before his marriages:

Image

with the following blazon:

Arms of Arthur Plantagenet before his 1st marriage. They are his paternal arms, with baton sinister azure for bastardy, of Edward, 4th Duke of York, Later King Edward IV: Quarterly 1st: Arms of King Edward III; 2nd & 3rd: Or a cross gules (de Burgh), 4th: Barry or and azure, on a chief of the first two pallets between two base esquires of the second over all an inescutcheon argent (Mortimer)
[My emphasis]

Somehow the Or three bars azure on a chief of the first three pallets between two gyrons of the second, over all an inescutcheon argent. has been transmogrified into Barry or and azure, on a chief of the first two pallets between two base esquires of the second over all an inescutcheon argent. Moreover the same error seems to have been perpetrated with all the Mortimer Earls of March, including Edward Plantagenet who later became King Edward IV (and Viscount Lisle's father). And what on earth are "two base esquires"? Gyrons I understand, but "base esquires"?

I have put all this to the originator of the emblazonment, who goes by the moniker "Sodacan". He is a prolific provider of heraldic material to Wikimedia, so who knows, we may learn something. Meanwhile does anyone here know the correct blazon for the arms of Mortimer, and what (if anything) are "base esquires"?
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 02 Aug 2015, 11:45

A base esquire is the square parted per bend or per bend sinister that is often used with compony bordures to “turn the corner”.

This might help:

base esquires.JPG


Guillim, gives the following:
Guillim.jpg



See also:
https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts ... /id/596015
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby JMcMillan » 02 Aug 2015, 12:29

I would suggest, regarding "barry" vs "or three bars," that in the early 1500s the distinction would have been a matter of intense indifference, particularly in a quartered emblazonment where the bottom stripe might be reduced to invisibility by the steeper or flatter curve of the shield.
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 02 Aug 2015, 12:33

I agree.
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Chris Green » 02 Aug 2015, 13:02

A base esquire is the square parted per bend or per bend sinister that is often used with compony bordures to “turn the corner”.


Obviously deeper research needed here!

Boutell does not refer to such a charge as an esquire. He does recognise both gyron and sinister gyron.

Friar says that "a single gyron is sometimes blazoned esquire".

Scott-Giles says: As a charge, the gyron (sometimes termed an esquire) is very seldom found.

Parker's "Glossary of Terms Used In Heraldry" (1894) gives the following confusing info:

Esquire, equire, esquierre, or squire(fr. esquerre, or équerre): a figure similar in form to a gyron. The chief examples are those in the arms of MORTIMER(earls of March), which are variously blazoned, each successive heraldic writer attempting to improve upon his predecessor. The following its the description in the Siege of Carlaverock, and it has been thought well to give the English in a parallel column.
Epuis Rogiers de Mortemer, |And next Roger de Mortimer,
Ki, deca mer e dela mer, |Who, on both sides the sea,
A porté quel part ke ait alé |Has borne wherever he went
L'escu barré au chief palé |A shield barry with a chief paly
E les cornieres gyronnées, |And the corners gyronny,
De or e de asur enluminées, |Emblazoned with gold and blue,
O le escuchon vuidie de ermine. |With the escutcheon voided of
Roll of Carlaverock. |ermine.
Next are given the varieties of blazoning, the same, or nearly the same, arms in different rolls of arms, as well as one or two more recent examples.
Roger de MORTIMER, barre, a cheif palee a corners gerone, d'or et d'azur, a ung escuchon d'argent--Roll, temp. HEN. III.
Sire Rog. de MORTIMER, barre de or e de azure od le chef palee les corners geroune, a un escuchon de argent--Roll, temp. EDW. II.
Sire Rog. de MORTIMER, le oncle, meyme les armes, od le escuchon de ermyne--Ibid.
Roger de MORTYMER, barre dor et dazur al chef pale al chantel gerone a un escochon dargent--Roll, temp. HEN. III., Harl. MS. 6589.
Per pale azure and argent, two bars, and in chief a pale between as many esquires based dexter and sinister all counterchanged; an escutcheon of the second--MORTYMER[as blazoned by York Herald, Harl. MS. 807, from Hagley Ch., Worcester].
Barry of six or and azure, on a chief of the first, three palets, between two based esquires[some say gyrons or gyronnies] of the second; over all an inescutcheon argent--MORTIMER.
On a chief azure between two cantons per bend or and the last, dexter and sinister, as many palets gold--MORTIMER.


If Parker is to be believed the "esquire" is "similar in form to a gyron". "Similar" usually implies "not quite the same but nearly". Not in this case apparently since the geometry is precisely the same: the isosceles triangle created by bisecting a square with a diagonal line.

So the heraldic term "esquire" may refer to a gyron. If so, why not use gyron, which is readily comprehensible to anyone who has got no further in heraldic studies that the first few pages of Boutell, rather than a term which someone with the same degree of heraldic understanding might assume referred to an armiger ranking between a knight and a gentleman?
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 02 Aug 2015, 14:01

Chris Green wrote: If so, why not use gyron, which is readily comprehensible to anyone who has got no further in heraldic studies that the first few pages of Boutell, rather than a term which someone with the same degree of heraldic understanding might assume referred to an armiger ranking between a knight and a gentleman?


Why worry about it? Much of this comes from a time when tinctures were also blazoned as precious stones. Many blazoning terms have been modernised (mostly for the better).
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 02 Aug 2015, 15:26

An "Esquire" is "similar to" - but not identical with - a gyron in a gyronny pattern because in the gyronny pattrrn all the pieces radiate from the center of the shield while the base esquire in arms like Mortimer are the same shape but smaller and don't reach to the center of the shield.
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Chris Green » 02 Aug 2015, 15:46

Michael F. McCartney wrote:An "Esquire" is "similar to" - but not identical with - a gyron in a gyronny pattern because in the gyronny pattrrn all the pieces radiate from the center of the shield while the base esquire in arms like Mortimer are the same shape but smaller and don't reach to the center of the shield.


But a single gyron can be of any size.
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby JMcMillan » 03 Aug 2015, 13:38

If nothing else, the Mortimer arms put paid to the canard that ease of blazoning is a test of good heraldry.
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Re: Arms of Mortimer (Earls of March): A Wiki conundrum

Postby Chris Green » 03 Aug 2015, 16:48

JMcMillan wrote:If nothing else, the Mortimer arms put paid to the canard that ease of blazoning is a test of good heraldry.


So true!
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