Monday, 21 May 2018

The Right to Bear Arms

Coats of Arms to be exact. 

Some people pepper their family tree with coats of arms for all their ancestors.  It may be pretty and all, but it is NOT right. It is maybe fine for those that don't really care about accuracy and just want names on their tree, and perhaps use the coat of arms image to differentiate their line, but don't go copying that practice just because. 
This is use "without authority or right"!

A coat of arms was granted to a person, not a family surname.  The Royal Proclamation of 1417 stated more or less: no man should assume arms unless he held them by right of inheritance or by the donation of some person who had the power to give them. 

My ancestor came to Canada from Ireland as a soldier in the 1820s, bringing with him a drawing of the Seale coat of arms. He was a carpenter and carved the coat of arms on the backs of the dining room chairs he made for his new home in Kingston. (I'd love to find one of those chairs!!)

I sent a copy of the drawing to the Herald at the College of Arms in London and asked him to look into it for me. I wrote a post on the results here.

The Queen authorized Coats of Arms for Princes William and Harry on their eighteenth birthday, as was her right. In September 2013 the Queen authorized a conjugal coat of arms for William and Kate. There is no news as of this date on the College of Arms website page for new grants for a conjugal coat of arms for Harry and Meghan. 
Some companies will sell you a coat of arms and other items "relating to your family" even though it is hooey... they just want to make money by preying on people interested in Heraldry. There is nothing wrong with having these items in your home as long as you don't pass them down as authorized, and they have no place in your ancestry, unless authorized. 

You can apply for a grant of arms by submitting a memorial to the College of Arms, along with the sum of £6,075 (roughly $10,500 CDN).  Check with the Heraldry Society of your country to see how to apply. (see post titled Disclaimed Gentlemen)

Related posts:

Disclaimed Gentlemen

Report From the College of Arms


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