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Category Archives: heraldry

Morgan Colman’s big genealogy of James I and Anne

Browsing in my own hard drive I just unearthed Morgan Colman’s huge 1608 genealogy of King James I and his Queen, Anne. Of all the congratulatory heraldic and genealogical stuff prepared early in James’s reign, this might be the most impressive piece of genealogical diagrammatic typography. Great pity that a better version of this is […]

fortis non ferox

This morning I gave an exam to three students in the ‘Pavilion Room’, a formal dining room or parlor added to the Victorian house at Brown University which now houses the History Department. And I brought my camera to photograph the wood coat of arms, on the amazing scallop-shiplapped chimney hood: More or less argent […]

potential Indiana baronet — Stirling of Glorat

From the papers, the fascinating story of the (apparent) heir to the Scottish baronetcy of Stirling of Glorat (William J. Booher, “Tracing Family Tree Turns into a Title Search: Greenwood man has some details to confirm before becoming baronet,” Indianapolis Star, 19 March 2009). Coat of arms from the frontispiece to Bain (1883). The coat […]

update on the Crosbie-Pitcairn pistols

I’ve now found confirmation of Captain (later General) William Crosbie’s place in the Anglo-Irish gentry Crosbie family which bore the swords-and-snake crest found on the pistols traditionally identified as Major Pitcairn’s (see my previous post, linked here). I had suggested that he belonged somewhere in the Ardfert Crosbie family found in Burke’s 1866 Dormant, Abeyant, […]

Pitcairn’s pistols were Crosbie’s—heraldry on a famous revolutionary artifact

The first spoils of the Revolutionary War are surely the handsome pair of Murdoch pistols long attributed to Major John Pitcairn, who is said to have lost them on April 19 1775 during the harrowing return from Concord to Boston (they were variously said to have been in the baggage train, or on his horse). […]

tewkesbury tiles: medieval heraldic dingbats

One of the hidden treasures that has rewarded my browsing in The Ancestor (of which I recently bought a set of all twelve volumes in their original publisher’s bindings), is a handsome set of cuts made after fourteenth-century encaustic floor tiles from Tewkesbury Abbey. See Hal Hall, “Notes on the Tiles at Tewkesbury Abbey,” The […]

seals and medieval family identity

In Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak’s review of Ted Evergates’ Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300 (U. Penn. Press, 2007), just out in American Historical Review 114 (2009):192-3, she is not the first to point out how Evergates contradicts Duby’s orthodoxy by showing that the most important aristocratic family unit is not the lignage, but rather […]

Oswald Barron, The Ancestor, and Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed.

Not everyone agrees with all of Oswald Barron‘s opinions, but he is one of the revered champions of the golden age of critical genealogy (and other auxiliary historical disciplines) in late Victorian and Edwardian England. His own short-lived journal, The Ancestor, is a splendid readable collection of critical genealogy—Horace Round was a regular contributor. All […]

George Thorold and a lost legacy

In the Rhode Island Historical Society library is a strange heraldic treasure — a grant of arms, from 1631, to a George Thorold of Boston, Lincolnshire. It is a copy, probably from the beginning of the 18th century, darkened and greasy with long handling and haphazard storage. The copy is inexpert—the lettering is unstudied, and […]

the Delafield quarterings (English arms for Americans)

John Ross Delafield (1874-1964), a scion of New York’s pre-Gilded Age oligarchy, appears to have been the man who invented the 20th-century practice of honorary grants of arms by the College of Arms for the use of Americans of English (or British) descent. Delafield as a general; frontispiece to Delafield: The Family History, vol. 2 […]