14 January 2011

Ordinariate Up in Arms

According to Papworth and Burke, the Arms of the old Augustinian Priory of our Lady at Walsingham were Argent on a cross sable five billets of the first: i.e. a silver shield with a black cross and on the black cross five silver rectangles. In use at the newly restored Shrine for donkey's years - I suspect Fr Fynes Clinton may have had a hand in all this; Heraldry was the sort of thing he was into - were the arms Silver; black cross; on the cross five lilies ... or so I think; I am going by memory. Also, in the first quarter was a golden representation of the Holy House: a breach of the usual convention that something gold cannot heraldically sit on something silver. However, this convention was very occasionally breached for overwhelmingly compelling reasons - such as in the Arms of Jerusalem. My theory is that HP or FC thought that the dignity of our Lady's shrine provided another overwhelmingly compelling reason! Incidentally, I have no knowledge whether the College of Heralds granted these arms; my hunch is that they were adopted without anybody troubling Queen Victoria Street.

None of us is supposed to use the arms of somebody else (not even if they have the same surname as ourselves!). If you have genuine connexion with some person, place or institution you may have arms which are like theirs but with some change to show the 'difference'. Thus the Holy See granted the see of Westminster arms indistinguishable from those of Canterbury except that they were 'differenced' by having the shield red rather than blue. The Holy See does not, I think, nowadays grant arms; although it does apparently expect bishops and those who in law are equivalent to bishops to have arms. The English heralds do still grant arms, but there are said to be legal reasons why they cannot grant arms to RC dioceses.

If anyone were ever to want arms - I can't think why they would - which were related to those of the Priory and/or shrine at Walsingham, the silver shield with a black cross and the lilies on the cross would be a good start; you could then 'difference' it by changing the colour of the cross.


APL said...


You may find this link interesting!

Chris said...

Note that the golden house sits on a canton azure, thus the rule concerning colours and metals is not broken.

FootmanUK said...

Speaking as one who is armigerous (Arms granted by the College of Arms in 1998) there is no such thing as the "Smith" family Arms, or the "Brown" family Arms. A Grant of Arms is given to an individual who may pass them on to direct family members and descendants.

Those tourist shops which purport to sell "family" Arms are misleading people who think they have a right to bear the Arms of those who share the same surname. Should I find someone using my Arms I could take them to the Earl Marshal's Court at the College of Arms. I'm not entirely sure what the Duke of Norfolk would do other than telling the offender to stop it and don't do it again!

As a matter of interest (and knowing Fr Hunwicke's love of Latin) the Earls of Strathmore and I are connected through our armorial mottos. The Strathmore motto is "In te, Domine, speravi" and mine is "Non confundar in aeternum". Isn't that interesting!