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Plate I. 





Fig. I. 

ARMS OF 

THE BOROUGH OF COLCHESTER 

as recorded at the College of Arms, August 1558. 



ANCIENT FORM OF COLCHESTER 
BOROUGH ARMS 

as emblazoned on Borough Charter, 
July 1413. 




ARMS FOUNDED ON THE 
ANCIENT ''raven SEAL " OF COLCHESTER. 

USED AS THE ARMS OF THE PORTREEVE 
AND OF THE BOROUGH AS A PORT AND 
HARBOUR AUTHORITY. 



ESSEX BOROUGH ARMS 

AND THE TRADITIONAL 

ARMS OF ESSEX '^''^' 



AND THE 

ARMS OF CHELMSFORD DIOCESE. 




COLCHESTER rOROUGII ARMS. 



NINE COLOIjKED PLATES AND FORTY OTHER 
ILLUSTRATIONS. 



By VV. GURNEY BENHAM. 



Beniiam and Company, Limited 

High Street, Colc?tester. 

1916. 



INDEX. 






Admiralty Seal of Maldon, plate 2, 

description of, 19, 20. 
Angles, East, see East Anglia. 
Anne of Cleves, 48. 
Arthur, King 74. 
Athill, C. H., Richmond Herald, 

13- 
Atkinson, Dr. J. P., 47. 

Bacon, Francis 11, 34, 

Barron, O., 61. 

Bayne, Baron J. de., quoted, y-], 

78- 
Beaufort badge, 36. 
Beck, Rev. Mr., 78. 
Belgium, scramasaxes in, 78. 
Beowulf, yy, 78. 
Best, John, 10. 
Bramston, Francis, 14. 
Braybrooke, Lord, Hist, of Audley 

End, 40, 41, 
Bret, Richd., 20, 21. 
• Briteyne, Kings of, 75. 
Brother ton, Thomeis de, lord of 

Harwich, 34. 
Brute, King, 74, y:,. 
Burke's Armory, 64. 
Bysshe, Sir E., 7, 14, 42, 51. 

Cecilia, mother of Edward IV., 

50. 
Charles H. at Harwich, 35, 36. 
Chaucer's reference to Stratford, 

60. 
Chelmer, ford of the, $2^. 
Chelmsford, Arms of. Coloured 

illustration, plate 6 ; descrip- 
tion of, 52-54. 
Chelmsford, incorporation of, 52. 
Chelmsford See of. Coloured 

illustration of arms, • plate 8; 

description, 7 ; reference to, 52. 
Christy, Miller, 49. 
Cimabue, 11. 
Clacton-on-Sea, Arms, used by. 

68, 69; (illus.) 69. 
Clacton Urban District Council, 

use of arms of, 08. 
Clare, Honor of, 49, 50. 
Clark, Dr. Andrew, 44 note ; 46. 
Clement, St., ^y. 
Coe, John, 15. 

Coel (Coilus) King, 5, 7, 74. 
Coke, Sir E., 34. 
Coker, Edwd., 20, 21. 



Colchester, Arms of. Coloured 
Illustration. Plate I. (Frontis- 
piece) ; as shown on Borough 
Charter, July 1413. ditto ; arms 
of Portreeve founded on Raven 
seal, ditto ; account of Borough 
Arms, I -1 2, recorded on Charter 
of 1 41 3, 4 ; at Visitation, Aug. 
2G. 1558, 4 ; Visitation 1664- 
-68, 7 ; (illus.) 9 ; ancient 
tricks of (2 illus.), 10. 

College of Arms, 7, 13, 61, 64. 

Cologne, 5 ; arms of, 5. 

Constantine the Great, 5 6. 

Cook, Robert, Clarenceux, 15 ; 
confirmation of Maldon Anns 
by, 1569, 26 ; y^ note. 

Crest of West Ham, a rising sun, 
60. 

Crests inappropriate for boroughs, 
61. 

Croye, with masts, 25. 

Cursor Mundi, 0. 

Cutlery industry at Thaxted, 49. 

Danes, raven an emblem of, 9. 

D'Arcy family and Clacton, 68. 

Dethick, Sir Gilbert, grant of 
arms to Maldon, 15 ; strange 
confirmation by, 23 ; illus. from 
his ' Guiftes ' 24 ; lists of his 
grants, 25. 

Dethick, Sir William, 25. 

Dovercourt, manor of, 34. 

East Anglia, arms of, y},, y~^ ; 
unconnected with Essex, 70. 

East Ham, Arms of, 4. Des- 
cription and illus., 62, 63. 

East Ham, incorporation of, 62. 

East Saxons, Reputed Arms of. 
Coloured illus., plate 9 ; des- 
scription and explanation of, 
71-78. 

East Saxons, shield of, as ines- 
cutcheon in Southend (former) 
arms 55, 56 ; Clacton arms, 69. 

Eastwood (Southend) ^y. 

Ebblewhite, E. A., 57. 

Edward III. and Halstead Col- 
lege, 67 ; his coronal emblems, 
67. 

Edward IV., badge of, 50. 

Egbert, King, arms of, 73. 



134 



INDEX. 



Elizabeth, queen of Henry VII., 

50. 
EUe, arms of, 75. 
Elliot, Rev. H. L., 2. 7, 19, 32, 64. 
Erkenwyne, King, 71, 72, 73. 
Essex and Suffolk ' Insurance 

Society, old fireplate of ( llus.), 

76, 77- ^ . 

Essex Archaeolog.cal Society, use 

of East Saxon arms, 76. 
Essex, County Arms, see East 

Saxons. 
Essex County Council, 7O. 
Essex Militia, use of East Saxon 

arms by, 77. 
Essex, suggested arms of, 76. 
Essex Volunteers, early, use of 

armorial bearings by, 77. 

Farrye Clerk at Little Maplestead, 

.O7. 
Fetterlock, 50. 
Fiske, T. H.. 40. 
Fitch, E. A., 27. 
Fords in Essex, 53. 
Fowler, K. C, Oo, 67. 
Fox-Davics, A. C, 37, 49. 
Fraire Clerk, 66, 67. 
Furbank, A. J., 52. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth, 7.^. 
Gibbons, Rev. T. G., 05 note ; 

66, 67. 
Gournay, Francis, 14. 
Grimston, Sir Harbottle, 11. 
Guild at Saffron Walden, royal 

licence of incorporation, 15, 14, 

46. 

Hales, Sir Roger, 34 ; Alice, 34 ; 

Bridget, 34. 
Halstead, alleged arms of, 64, 

67 ; illustrations, 65. 
Halstead, Bourchiers' College at, 

64, 67. 
Halstead, Fraire Clerk. 66, 67. 
Halstead mr rket, 65 ; court leet 

6() ; Moot hall anrl guild Hall, 

66. 
Halstead Urban District Council 

seal, 64. 
Ham, East, see East Ham. 
Ham, West, see West Ham. 
Hammers of West Ham, 60. 
Harlxjltle, T. H., 7-]. 
Hart, John, 14, 15. 
Harwich Akms ok, 34-38 ; appear 

on borough mace, i(j69. 35 ; 

coloured illus., plate ^ (facmg 

P- I30.) 



Harwich, incorporated in 1318, 
34 ; its Portreeve, 34, ^^ 
Charter of, 1604 ; 34, livery 
buttons at, 38 ; motto, 38. 

Hastier, E. (Maldon), 14, 20. 

Helena, St., her connection with 
Colchester Borough Arms, i ; 
legends of, 5, 6 ; guild of, 5 ; 
and Nottingham, 7. 

Hengist, 72, y}^, 78. 

Heptarchy, arms of, 73, 74. jj,. 

Hertfordshire, suggested arm-; of 
76. 

Hervey, William, Clarenceaux, 21, 
30. 

Heylyn, Peter, 74. 

Hjlman, William, of Halstead, 
65, note ; 66. 

Holme, Randle, 75- 

Hope, Sir W. H.' St. John, 61. 

Horsenaile, Thos., 15. 

Howard, J. J., LL.D., 30, 31, 43, 

51- 
Humphreys, Robt., 48. 
Humphry, A. P., 49, 51. 

Isse, EUesen of, 75. 

Jam2s I., charter to Thaxted, 48. 
James II. at Harwich, 36 ; char- 
ter to Saffron Walden, 43. 
.Jam2s, St., emblem of, 6g. 
Jennings, John, 15. 

Kent, arms of, 73; 75. 

Kings, Three Holy see Magi. 

Krohn, Aid. H. A., 19 note. 

Lancaster, borough of, 39. 
Laurence, St., emblem of, ^^7: 
Leche, JoHh, of Saffron Walden, 

40. 
Leigh-on-Sea, 37, 58. - 
London, Maurice, bishop of, 52 ; 

William, bishop of,' 60 ; Bishops 

of, lords of Clacton, 68. 
London-over-the-Border, 60. 
Lucius, legendary son of Helena, 7. 
Lyvynge, Christopher, 14, 26. 

Magi, relics of the, 5. 

Maldok, Arms of. Coloured 
illustrations, plate 2 ; Account 
of 13 — 33 ; at visitation f.f, 
1 61 4, 14 ; at Visitation- oi, 
i6()4, 14, 15 ; corrupt versions 
of, 21, 21, 22, trick of 1558 
(illus.), 21 ; strange version, 
(illus.) 23 ; drawing, April 30, 
1362, 24 ; trick in Harl M.S. 



INDEX. 



2198 (illus.), 26 ; erroneous des- 
cription of, bv W. C. Metcalfe 
(■llus.), ly, tri'ck in Harl. M.S., 
O0O5 (illus.) 28 ; spurious arms 
in Dr. Howard's Visit of Essex 
(1888.) 

Maldon, seals ol, see Seals. 

Maynard, Guy, 47. 

Maynard, John, 10. 

Meantys, Sir Peter, 11. 

Mercia, arms of, 73, 75. 

Metcalf, Walter C.^ 27. 

Middlesex, arms of, 76. 

Mildmay arms, 52, 53. 

Monmouth, Duke of, 30. 

Montfitchct, William de, .59 ; arms 
of, 59- 

Moore, Wm., Mayor of Colchester, 

9- 
Morant, Philip, 20, },-], 48. 
Mottoes : Clacton-on-Sea, 09. 
Mottoes : Chelmsford, 52. 
Motto of Southend (discarded) ^^ ; 

present motto, 5O, 57, 58. 
Motto of West Ham, 59. 
Motto of East Ham, 03. 
Mottoes : Beau forts', }^'j ; Wem- 

man family, 38 ; Harwich (?) 38. 
Moulsham, manor of, 53. 

Nails, the Holy, legends of, 5 ; 
in arms of Colchester (illus), 10 ; 
number of, 11 ; part of Col- 
chester arms in 1558, 12. 

Northumberland, arms of, "]},, 75. 

Nottingham, arms of (illus.), 7. 

Oath Book of Colchester, 9. 
Osyth, St., Priory, arms of, 75. 

Parkeston, 38. 

Parr, Wm., Marquis of^Northamp- 

ton, 67. 
Plume, Saml. 15: 
Portcullis (Harwich), 30. 
Portreeve and Port of Colchester ; 

arms in use, Plate i, fig. 3 ; 

Sea! of (illus.), 8. 
" Pretensed " arms, 21, 30. 
Prittlewell church, 56, '^y. 
Prittlewell, priory at, ^7. 

Railing, Philip, 14. 

Raven, John, Richmond Herald, 

13 ; his visit of Es.sex, 1614, 

26 ; drawing of Ma.ldon arms 

(illus.), 26. 
Raven Seal of Colchester (illus.) 

8 ; description of, 9. 
Robinson, Reuben, 14, 15. 



Round, J. Horace, LL.D., 18 

53, 61. 
Ruffe, 26, 27. 
Rutland, Edward, Earl of, his 

seal (illus.), 19. 

Saffron culture in Essex. 42 ; 
Dr. A. Clark's article on, 46, 
colour of crocuses, 4O. 

Saffron Walden Abbey, see Walden. 

Saffron Walden, Apms or. 
coloured illus. of, plate 4 ; 
description of, 39-47 ; shown 
on borough mace (illus.), 44 ; 
erroneous idea of a crest, 47 ; 
tinctures. 46, 47. 

Saffron Walden, charter (1549), 
39 ; guild of, 39-41 ; commis- 
sioners at, 40 ; a borough, 43 ; 
fanatics at, 43 ; mace of, 
43 ; arms on (illus.) 44. 

Saffron Walden Seals, see Seals. 

Saixe, a steel tool. yy. 

Salmon's Hist, of Essex, 26 note, 
42, 49. 

Saxons, name derived Irom Seax, 

71, 72, 77- 

Saxons, South, arms of, y},, yf,. 

Saxons, West, arms of. yj^. 

Scramasaxe, weapon of war, yy , 78. 

Seals : Colchester. Early seal 
(c, 1189), I ; illus. 3 ; seal of 
early 1.5th century (illus.) 2 ; 
Halstead Urban District Council, 
64 ; Harwich 34 ; (illus.) plate 
3 ; Lord High Admiral (c. 
1400) (illus.) 19 ; Maldon 
(Admiralty), plate 2; Maldon 
Borough (ancient), 15-19; 
(illustrations), 16 ; (modern), 28- 
33 ; (illus.) (29) ; (ditto) 31, 
Raven (Colchester) (illus.) 8 ; 
Saffron Walden : early seal 
(illus.) 39 ; account of, 39, 40 ; 
seal of 1549 (illus.) 41 ; account 
of 41, 42 ; (illus.) 43 ; seal of 
1688 (illus.) 45 ; seal of 1836 
(illus.), 45 ; Thaxted, 48 (illus.) ; 

Seaxes, The Three, 71 ; y^,, etc. 

Sebbi, King, 75 note. 

Ship provided by Maldon, 18, 19. 

Smith, Miss C. Fell, 33. 

Smith, Roach, yy. 

Smyth, John, 41. 

Smyth, Sir 'Jhos., 41. 

Southchurch (Southsea), 57. 

Southend, Arms of, 55-58 ; dis- 
carded arms (illus.) 55 ; modern 
arms (1915) (illus.) 56. 



INDEX 



Speed, John. Hist, of Great 
Britain, -j}, ; his illu.strations of 
arms ojf the East Saxon Kings, 

7y 

Starling, Jas., 14, 15. 

Stratford Abbey, owner of East 
Ham, O3 ; arms of Abbey, 59. 

Stratford Nunnery, Chaucer's re- 
ference to. Oo. 

SupjxDrters of Southend Arms, 58. 

Sussex, see " Saxons, South." 

Sussex, arms of, y^. 

Symonds, Henry, 15. 

Thames Ironworks, 60. 
Thaxted, Arms of. Coloured 

illus., plate 5 ; description of, 

48-51 ; borough seal 48 ; (iJus.). 

50. 
Thaxted church, 48, 49, 50. 
Thaxted, earliest charter of, 48 ; 

herald's visitation, 48. 
Tufnell, W. M., 54. 

Vernon, Wm. 28, 29. 



Verstegan, Richd., 71, 72, yy. 

Victoria Docks, Oo. 

Victoria Hist, of Essex, 47. 

33, 60, by. 
Volunteers, yy. 



4y, 



Walden Abbey, arms of, 47. 
Warburton, John, Somerset Herald, 

30, 31, 43- 
Ward, A. J. H., Town Clerk of 

Harwich, 38. 
Wenman, Viscount, 38. 
Wessex, see Saxons, West. 
West Ham, Arms of, 59-61 ; 

Coloured illustration, plate 0. 
West Ham, incorporation of. 59. 
Westminster Abbey, 63. 
Westminster, Abbots of, 53. 
Wilkinson, Christopher, y^. 
Woden, King, 74; 75. 
Worwood, H. J., S7. 
Wright, A. G., ly' 
Wright, Paul. 74. 
Writtle, 52. 
Writtle Loyal Volunteers, yy. 



INTRODUCTORY. 

The heraldic emblems of Cities and Boroughs contain much 
interesting history and legend, and are of recognised value 
and utiUty in association with local government. Unfor- 
tunately they often suffer mutilation and indignity from a 
want of knowledge as to their meaning and the correct 
manner of displaying them. This work is intended to give 
information on these points so far as the armorial bearings 
used by Essex Towns are concerned. 

In regard to the article on the ancient arms of the Borough 
of Colchester, the following supplementary information will be 
of interest. 

Following the advice of many eminent heralds and anti- 
quaries, the Colchester Town Council unanimously decided on 
March 3, 1915, to assume and revert to the original arms of 
the town as shown on the Borough Charter in the year 1413, 
and as used at the same period— and ever since — in the com- 
mon seal of the Corporation. 

The official description of these arms is as follows : — 

* Gules, between three crowns or, a cross raguly couped, vert, com- 
posed of four portions joined together in the centre of the cross in the 
manner shown in the coloured drawing on the Royal Letters Patent of 
July 7, 1413, the mortising being in the form of a fylfot ; each of the 
two crowns in chief surnjounting a nail, sable, point downwards, the 
point ot each nail piercing the arm of the cross beneath it ; the third 
crown enfiling the vertical staft of the cross in base and surmounting 
a third nail, also sable, piercing the cross in base diagonally, from 
dexter to sinister ; the raguly proj?ctions of th'^ arms of the cross all 
pointing to sinister.' 

These armorial bearings are shown on the title-page, and 
also (in colour) in Plate i., fig. 2. 

In regard to the so-called ' Essex ' arms — the traditional 
arms of the ancient Saxon Kingdom of Essex — Mr. Wilson 
Marriage, of Alresford Grange, a member of the Essex County 
Council, brought forward a proposal, in 1914, that the County 
Council should consider the question of formally adopting 
these.— or such variant of them ^s might be authoritatively 
decided upon as appropriate and correct — as the armorial 
device of the modern County of Essex. A special Committee 
was ap])ointed to consider the matter., but the intervention 
of the European War led to the question being indefinitely 
postponed. It is to be hoped that it will, in due time, be 
reconsidered. W. G. B. 



Erratum.— On pages 7 and 9 for "Sir William Bysshe " read 
" Sir Edward Bvsshe." 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 



I.— COLCHESTER. 



THE earliest record of the armorial bearings of the borough 
of Colchester is to be found in a coloured representation 
of them, on the Charter granted to the town by Henry V., in July 
1413. It must be added though, that the arms also figure in the 
fine old Common Seal ot the Borough of about the same period — 
probably a year or so later than the charter itself. Whether 
the arms were first granted at this period cannot be stated, for 
there is no record of the original grant in the College of Arms, 
nor amongst the archives of the Corporation of Colches(ter. 
Presumably the town had no borough arms when its first Comriion 
Seal was engraved, some time after the earliest of the charters 
of the town was granted in 1189. A representation of tjiat 
early seal is given on page 3. It bears inscriptions!. — 
(i) QuAM Crux insignit Helenam Colcestria gignit (Col- 
chester gives birth to Helena whom the Cross makes famous) ; 
and (2) Colcestrensis sum Burgi commune sigillum /l am 
the Common seal of the Colcestrian borough). 

It will be seen that it has no armorial bearings upon it. 
Probably at that remote period very few boroughs or cities 
possessed any coats of arms. 

The Colchester Charter of 1413 is elaborately and beautifully 
illuminated. A reproduction is given in Benham's " Guide 
to Colchester" (6d.). Under a representation of St. Helena, 
the arms are given as now reproduced, Plate I., Fig. 2. 
It will be seen that each of the three crowns surmounts 
a large nail and each nair pierces the cross, which is formed of two 
' raguly ' staves coloured green. Note that this is not a * cross 
raguly.' If so, the ragged projections from the two arms of 
the cross would point right and left. In the design on the charter, 
these projections on the horizontal staff of the cross all point 
in the same direction, viz., to the sinister side of the shield, 
which implies that this portion of the cross was of one piece, 
^ut ther^ is another puzzling peculiarity about thi? early drawing^. 



^ ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS 

Carefully depicted in the centre of the cross are certain marking? 
which seem to denote that each of the two staves has been cut 
into two pieces, and that the four portions have been joined 
together in the centre. 

At first glance, heralds are apt to surmise that these markings 
are intended for that mysterious sign, known as the ' fylfot.' 
This may be so. On the other hand the markings may be merely 




COMMON SEAL OF BOKOUC.H OF COI-CHKSTER 
(KAkLY I5TH CENTURY). 

meant to show the junction or morticing of the four limbs of a 
cross. The Rev. Henry L. EHiot, of Gosfield, well known as a 
high authority on matters heraldic, has kindly given me his 
opinion. He regards the markings as a fylfot, intended to 
emphasize the junctures of four pieces of a cross.* 

•Mr. Elliot adds :' This figure is soinrtimca called a Gainmadion, from the Greek letter 
gamma (r). This is the way it is carved on thr doorway given on the cover of the /ixs-.r 
Heview. I do not know whether the drawing of the ' swastica ' on the charier is the more 
correct, or that 00 the door; or whether it was considered immaterial in which direction 
be flexure of the limba of this fylfot cross was made.' 



COLCHESTER. 



It should be added that the old Borough Seal of the same 
period shows these projections in the same way, and also shows 




FlkSr COMMON SEAL OF BOROUGH OF CiLCUKSlER 
(?I1TH OR I2TH century) OBVERSK. 




REVERSE OF SEAL. 



the three nails. It does not show the markings in the centre 
of the cross, for (as may be seen in the illustration) the desii(n 
is too small to allow these markings to be represented. 



4 AkMs OF Trtfi EfeSEX feOROUGrtS. 

Before further considering the design of this old version 
of Colchester's arms, I will give the description of the Borough 
Arms as in use up to modern times, and as entered in what is 
known as the Visitation of 1552, though it will be seen that 
the entry is six years later : — 

COLCHESTER. 

THE ARMES OF THE TOWNE OF COLCHESTER. 

Gules, two staves raguly and couped, one in pale surmounted by the 
other in fess, both argent, between two ducal coronets in chief or, the 
bottom part of the staff [in pale*] enfiled with a ducal coronet of 
the last. 

Taken in the tyme of John Best and John Maynard Bayly ffes the xxvjth 
of August 155S. 

It is not necessary to translate the heraldic terms, as this 
is the description of the arms shown in Fig. i of coloured 
Plate I. 

Why were these arms different from the older form ? Why 
had the three nails vanished, why had the two staves become 
argent (silver or white) instead of green, and why were they 
simply crossed instead of being conjoined ? 

There is every reason to suppose that the motive for these 
alterations, or at any rate for two of them, is to be found in the 
famihar cry of * No Popery.* At the time of the Reforma- 
tion, the College of Arms had instructions, presumably from 
high quarters, to purge armorial bearings, when opportunity 
occurred, of what had become regarded as Romish superstitions. 
Many cases are on record — notably, the arms of the Merchant 
Taylors' Company of London — of coats of arms which were 
' reformed ' in this way. The movement Lad begun in the 
reign of Henry VIII. , and had no doubt continued with 
additional vigour during the time of Edward VI. It need 
not. therefore, be regarded as strange that the record of the 
altered arms happens to be dated in the last month but three 
of the reign of Queen Mary. The alteration was no doubt 
some years earher, and the entry of 26th August 1558, only 
professes to be a record of arms existing and recognised at 
that date. 

What then was the hidden meaning of the older Arms of 
the Borough ? It is not at all difficult to elucidate, and it is 

• Thc»e words have been accidentally omitted. 



COLCrtESTER. 5 

worth elucidation, for those arms are really a beautiful, 
ingenious, and at the same time decorative specimen of 
heraldic symboHsm. 

Clearly they must be considered in conjunction with the repre- 
sentation of St. Helena which accompanies them both on the 
charter and on the borough seal. On the charter in a scroll 
round the figure of Helena is the inscription : ' Sancta Elena 
nata fuit in Colcestria. Mater Constantini fuit et Sanctam 
Crucem invenit Elena.' (St. Helen was born in Colchester. 
Helen was the mother of Constantine and she found the Holy 
Cross.) There is plenty of other evidence to show that Helena 
was regarded as the patron Saint of Colchester, and that the 
legend of her birth in the town (she was reputed to be the daugh- 
ter of King Coel Godebog) was devoutly believed, and was 
regarded as the great glory of Colchester: The story of Helen 
and of her discovery of relics, held in extraordinary veneration 
throughout Europe, had greatly impressed the imagination of 
all Christendom. Her chief exploits were the finding of the Holy 
Cross and of the three Holy Nails, and last, but not least, her 
discovery of the bodies of the three Holy Kings, otherwise the 
Magi, whose reputed remains are still magnificently enshrined 
in Cologne Cathedral. The arms of Colchester seem to have 
been clearly intended to represent the Holy Cross, the three 
Holy Nails, and (by means of the crowns) the Three Holy Kings, 
who are similarly indicated by three crowns in the City Arms of 
Cologne. 

No one has hitherto tried to explain the markings in the centre 
of the ' cross,' dividing it into four portions. 

The legends about the Invention of the Cross were well 
known to clerics and laity in all Christian countries, and were 
doubtless specially well-known in Colchester in medieval times, 
for Colchester swarmed with ecclesiastics. The cult of St. Helen 
was an inherited tradition ; there was an important Guild of St. 
Helen in the borough, and also a church specially dedicated to 
her. 

There are many versions of the story of her discovery of 
the Cross, and it is not necessary here to labour the 
slight points of difference between them and to show how 
embelUshments and corruptions varied the original story. 
As accepted in England in the fifteenth century the story was 



6 AkMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

that the cross when discovered, was in four pieces — (i) the 
upright portion. (2) the cross beam which supported the arms, 
(3) the socket in which the base of the cross was fixed, and (4) 
the tablet or inscription board. Thus the actual cross consisted 
of two beams. The well-known ' Cursor Mundi,' of which 
numerous manuscript copies were dispersed throughout England, 
says that the mystic tree from which the cross was originally 
made (a tree whose curious legendary history is too long to 
be narrated here) was still in the temple at Jersualem when 
Helena miraculously found the True Cross. It ' gave out a 
sweet smell ' which indicated its connection with the cross. A 
Jew informed Helena of this fact and she prayed for guidance, 
and especially as to what she should do with the cross. Then 
(according to the * Cursor Mundi ') an angel was sent to her by 
our Lord. The angel bade her divide the cross into four parts 
— one was to be left in the temple at Jerusalem, one to be sent 
to Rome, one to Alexandria, and the fourth portion she was to 
take herself to her son, the Emperor Const antine.* 

This legend of the division of the cross seems to explain 
sufficiently the partition of the cross in the Colchester Borough 
Arms into four portions. In fact the designer has contrived 
to indicate the two legendary details (i) that the cross itself 
consisted of two separate beams ; (2) that it was divided by 
Helena into four pieces. 

These legends were at the time of the Reformation regarded 
as fantastic superstitions to be rooted out. So the reforming 
heralds omitted the nails. They chose to call the crowTis ' ducal,* 
though these were of the form which had always been known 
as royal. They changed the tincture of the cross from green 
or ' proper ' to argent (silver) . One excuse for doing this was 
that it is not correct heraldically for colour to be placed upon 
colour. The original intention of the green colouring (as of 
the ragged projections) was presumably to indicate wood. 
By converting this tincture into metal (argent) the symbolism 
of the * True Cross ' was partially destroyed. To further destroy 

*Other versions state that it was the sacred tree in the temple — and not the cross itself — • 
which Helena by divine guidance cut into four pieces and sent to the four quarters of the 
world. This seems to be the genuine legend, but that which appears in the ' Cursor Mundi ' 
was prevalent in England an.i was no doubt generally accepted there. On the other hand 
it may be an open question whether the cross' in the arms was intended not for the 
• True Cross ' but for the * Holy 1 ree.' It is more likely, having regard to the inscription 
on the old Borough seal and the inscription (already mentioned) on the Charter, that the 
cross wu intended. 



COLCHESTER. 7 

the resemblance the * cross ' was not described as such, but was 
made into two staves one placed over the other. By this time 
the heralds no doubt felt that they had purged the design of 
all the Romish allusiveness. They were not far wrong. For 
over three centuries the arms have been used in this mutilated 
condition, and though it was vaguely surmised by Morant and 
others that the crossed staves were in allusion to Helena, the 
rest of the symbolism has remained unsuspected and forgotten. 
Perhaps the time has now come when the ancient design might 
be safelv restored to use. 




ARMS OF NOTTINGHAM. 

Identical with those authorised for Colchester in 1558 

except that the staves forming the cross are ' vert ' 

(green), instead of ' argent ' (whit3 or silver). 



As to the resemblance between the arms of Nottingham aiid 
Colchester, it is only necessary to state that there are iwo 
ancient traditions which connect Nottingham with Coel and 
Helena. One of these alleges that Nottingham was the 
burial-place of Coilus, the . British king. The other affirms 
that Lucius founded Nottingham and that he was son of 
Helena. 

Finally it may be added that the proper way of representing 
the excrescences branching out from the horizontal staff in the 
arms is as shown in coloured Plate I. (Fig. i), namely, pointing 
to the sinister side of the shield. The College of Arms has 
insisted on sending drawings to Colchester in which these 
projections are made pointing to the dexter. This error is 
founded on a drawing in Sir William Bysshe's ' Visitation 
ol Essex,' 1664 — i6b8 (see p. 9), which contains other 
inaccuracies of drawing (referred to under the account of th^ 



8 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

Maldon arms and seal). It is clear that the staff should be 
laid across the field of the shield in the same way as a sword 
or other charge of similar kind, pointing from the dexter side 
to the sinister. Moreover, this direction is correctly observed 
in drawing the horizontal staff of the cross in the arms on the 
Colchester Borough Charter of 1413. 

THE ' RAVEN ' OF COLCHESTER. 

In his ' History of Colchester * (1823), Thomas Cromwell 
remarks that * the arms of the town, as a port, are a raven.' 




This was not strictly correct. The real fact is that the most 
ancient of all the known seals of Colchester bears an excellent 
representation of a raven, depicted in somewhat heraldic fashion. 
The legend on the seal is : * Sigill. Cijstod. Port. Colecestr.' 
(' Seal of the custodian of the Port of Colchester ' — i.e. of the 
Portreeve). This seal (shown in the illustration) is appended 
to a deed of the year 1341. Apparently the seal was of a very 
much earlier date (nth or 12th century), and was in use 
in the time when the royal demesne of Colchester had no 
chartered rights, but was ' farmed ' for the king, the chief 
officer being known as ' Custos Portus ' or * Portreeve.' 
That the seal remained in use long after the Charter of 
Richard I. was granted in 1189 is shown by its being 
appended to the deed of 1341, and also by an interesting 
JLatin entry (probably earlier than 1413), in the Re4 Parcb.- 



COLCHESTER. 9 

ment Book (or ' Oath Book ') of Colchester. This entry, 
still extant, is as follows : — 

Memorandum quod scriptura in sigillo de le Rayene sic continetur in 
bordare sigilli predicti : 

Sigill. custod. port. Colecestr. 

Et in alio sigillo communi sic continetur in bordar' : 

Colecestrensis sum Burgi comune sigillum — super le Castelside. 

Translation : Memorandum that the \mting upon the seal 
of the Raven is thus contained in the border of the aforesaid 
seal : ' Seal of the Custodian of the Port of Colchester'. And on 
the other common seal is thus contained in the border : ' I am 
the common seal of the Borough of Colchester ' — upon the 
Castle side of the seal. 

At various times Colchester was under the government of the 
Danes, and the Raven is supposed to be an emblem of their rule. 

At any rate, the Raven, placed upon a gold field, has now 
been used for many 3^ears as the flag of the Port of Colchester, 
and as the armorial badge of its modem Portreeve. The Raven 
is represented, as on the seal, facing to the sinister side. (See 
Pig. 3 on coloured plate.) 




CTolcijeftter. 

COLCHESTER P.OROUGH ARMS. 

As drawn in Sir William Bysshe's * Visitation of Essex,' in 1664, 

in the Mayoralty of William Moore. The horizontal staff is here 

made pointing to the dexter side of the shield, instead of to the 

sinister side in the ordinary (and correct) manner. 



lO 



POSTSCRIPT. 

On folio 13 of ' Add. MS. 7098 ' (British Museum) is the 
drawing of the Colchester arms here reproduced. Mr. Metcalfe in 
his Preface to his Visitations of Essex (Harleian Society, 1878) 
states that this MS. and Had. MS. 1137 were the sources from 
whence he took his record of the Visitations 1552-1558. Yet he 
has no mention whatever of this remarkable drawing, and 
merely gives the 'ofhcial' coat of arms, which, it appears, the 
College preferred to record as the correct arms of Colchester. 




---ot 







FROM ADD. MS. 7098. 



FROM HARL. MS. I484. 

fo.55. VISITATION OF 

ESSEX, 1558. 



Kaih 0/ llicsc (irmi'tiifii has a note slaliuii tlinl it rt'/);vsc»/s ' The anncs of the Toxvne of Col- 
<hester taken in the tvnie of John Hest and John Maynnard, Bayly ffes, the 26 August, 1558.' 

Tills * trick ' of the arms is of great interest. It shows a cross 
raguly vert (green) on a field gules (red) with two crowns or 
(gold) in chief and one in base encircUng the lower portion of 
the cross. In each of the four extremities of the cross is a nail, 
marked * h,' which means blue or axure. We should have ex- 
pected the nails to be sable. No attempt is made to show any 
mortising of the cross in the centre. The drawing is corroborated 
by a * trick ' of the arms in Harleian MS. 1484, folio 55, alsoheie 
reproduced. It is not an exact copy of the other picture, but 
is evidently from the same source. The tincture of the cross is 
again given as vert, and the drawing indicates a * cross raguly ' 
more obviously than the other trick, the projections on the cross 
bearil l:)eing shown pointing left and right, whereas in the other 
MS. these projections seem to be }X)inting all to the sinister, as in 
the drawing on the 1413 Charter of Colchester (see Frontispiece 



COLCHESTER. II 

E.R. xxiii., 89). The Essex portion of this latter MS. (No. 1484) 
begins with a new numbering and is headed : 

The vereitation {sic) of William Harvy esqre als Clarencieulx King of 
Amies begone at Sr Peter Meautys liowse *the tenth day of August 
ano 1558 in 5 & 6 yeere of the reignes of King Phillipe and Queene Mary. 

The question of four nails as against three was a matter of 
ancient controversy. The early and authentic arms of Colchester 
on the Royal Charter of 1413 (as well as on the contemporary 15th 
century seal) show three nails, one under each of the three crowns. 
On the seal St. Helena is shown holding three nails with her 
right hand. Why four nails are shown in these drawings is a 
difficult question to answer. 

The subject of the number of the Holy Nails is fully dealt 
with in Legends of the Holy Rood, edited by Richard Morris, 
LL.D., for the Early Enghsh Text Society (1871). Some of the 
old legends have illustrations, and two examples are given, 
one with lour nails and the otlier with three. The version with 
four nails is older than that with three, and it may be that some 
Colchester ecclesiastic had been a stickler for the number of four. 
There is a considerable list of authorities on each side, but it 
must be confessed that the older authorities (and the more 
numerous) are in favour of four. In his Lives of the Saints 
the Rev. S. Baring Gould quotes Moses Khorene. the Armenian 
chronicler (between a.d. 450 and 477). as stating that Helena 
found the cross ' and five nails.' 

In these old drawings of the Colchester Arms the fourth 
nail added at the top of the cross may be intended for the 
nail which held the inscription tablet, which also was one of 
the chief relics found by St. Helena. 

' F.C.H.,' in 'Notes and Queries (Series 3, vol. iii., p. 392), 
says it appears that before the 13th century four nails 
were shown on crucifixes and in representations of the 
crucifixion, but ' in consequence of some anterior discussions the 
feet from this period were placed over each other and attached 
by a single nail, it having been settled that three nails only 
were used.' Cimabue is said to have been the first painter to 
adopt this arrangement. 

•Sir Peter Meautys or Mewtis of West Ham, knighted by Henry VI H. He died Sept 8, 
1562. His grandson, Sir Thos. Meautys, was secretary to Francis Bacon, Lord Verulara, and 
his widow, Lady Meautys, became the second wife of Sir Harbottle Grimston, Bt., ALP. 
or Colchester, Speaker of the House of Commons (1060) and .Master of the Rolls (1660 to 1685). 



12 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

The chief interest of these drawings is that they show that 
in August 1558 (the last year of Phihp and Mary) the nails 
were regarded as part of the arms of Colchester. It 
would appear in fact that there is no pre-Ehzabethan 
authority for the arms without the nails. It seems probable 
that the arms of Colchester were not definitely settled on 
26th August 1558, when WilUam Hervey visited Colchester. 
Possibly they were not recorded officially for some months later. 
On 17th November 1558, Queen Mary was succeeded by Queen 
Elizabeth, a fact which may have had something to do with the 
change in the arms of Colchester, and the omission of the 
* Romish ' emblems. 



II.— MALDON. 

WHILST there is no doubt about the present rightful arms 
of the Borough of Maldon, quite a number of specious 
pretenders have made their appearance from time to 
time, all backed with a certain semblance of authority. The 
only official records at the College of Arms seem to be clear 
and consistent. The correct arms, which are shown in the 
coloured illustration, have been recognised in that form at 
any rate for three centuries. They are founded on the 
ancient heraldic seal of Maldon, which is known to have been 
in use in the fourteenth century. All the charges in that seal 
have been carefully embodied in the arms. The armorial bear- 
ings of Maldon may thus be regarded as being from 500 to 600 
yeais old — perhaps even older. They proclaim the fact that 
Maldon was a royal borough, and remind us of its ancient glory 
as a port and of its immemorial duty to provide a ship, when 
called upon, for the service of King and country. Altogether 
the arms of Maldon have a distinguished pedigree, and the 
borough should take a pride in preserving them in their integrity. 
By the courtesy of Mr. Charles H. Athill, Richmond Herald, 
I have been enabled to inspect the official records at the College 
of Arms, relating to Maldon. The entries are two in number, 
and I give them in full. 

Arms of Maldon recorded by John Raven, Richmond 
Herald, April 9, 1614. 
In the original folio volume of the Visitation of Essex, in 1614, 
preserved at the College of Arms there is given a careful drawing 



14 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

ot the arms ' in trick ' {i.e., in pen-and-ink outline), the tinctures 
or colours being indicated in the usual way in writing upon the 
drawing. There is no other written description, but the arms are, 
in every particular, as shown in the coloured plate accompanying 
this article. As it may be convenient to supply a description 
of the drawing in heraldic terms, I append one as follows : 

Party per pale azure and argent, on the dexter side three lions 
passant gardant in pale or, and on the sinister on waves of the sea 
in base proper, a ship of one mast sable, the mast surmounted by a 
fieur de lis or, and from the masthead a psnnon flotant to the sinister 
gules, the sail furled argent and from a turret at the stern a flagstaff 
erect, surmounted by a fieur de lis gold, and therefrom a banner 
to the sinister, charged ' azure three lions passant gardant in pale or.' 

Beneath the drawing of the arms in the Visitation is this 
official record : 

These Armes was allowed accordinge to the Blason there of in the 
tyme of the visitation of Essex taken a° dom. 1569 by Robt. Cooke 
Esqure, als Clarenciux Kinge of Armes. In witnes where of he hath sett 
to his hand & seale the 9th of Marche 1569. 

Veed and sene by me John Raven, als Richmond Martiall to Claren- 
ciux Kinge of Armes this 9th daye of Aprill, 1614. 

Edward Hastler and Christopher Lyuinge being Baliffes of the 
Towne of Maiden. 

Received for the towne fee of the sayde Bayliffs, 40s. 

More for the clarke, 55. 

Visitation of Essex by Sir Edward Bysshe, Clarenceux, 

1664. 
The other official record is in the volume containing the 
account of the Visitation of Essex in 1664. On this occasion 
it seems that the ' seals ' of Maldon were inspected, and there 
is reason to believe that a drawing of them was made. Appar- 
ently it was intended to insert such drawing in the record, for a 
space is left blank for that purpose. The drawing, however, 
is omitted, and the entry begins : 

The ilomon Scales of the Towne & Borough of Maldon Incorporated 
by the name of Baylyffs, Aldermen, Head Burgesses and Comunalty 
Burgesses of the said Towne ot Maldon and att this present Visitation 
made by Sr Edward Bysshe, Knt.. Clarenceux King of Armes, was James 
Starling and Francis Gournay (Gent.) Bayliffs, Francis Bramston, Esqr., 
Barrester att Law, Recorder of the sayd Towne, Reuben Robinson & John 
Hart, Esqrs., Justices of the Peace wth in the said Borough, George Gifford, 
Richard Foulger, Abell Hawke.'-. Robert Jennings, jun., Phillip Railing, 
Abell Hawkes, sen., Samuell Pond, Moses Whitaker, Christopher Jaggard, 
Thomas Hutt, John Barnes, John Liffin, John Cockrell, Jo. Browne, 



MALDON. 15 

Thomas Field, William AUein, Christopher Haith, Thomas Huggett, 
Eighteen in number, bsing called by the name of Eighteen head Burgesses, 
togeather wth Samuell Plume, Henry Symonds, John Jennings & Thomas 
Horsenaile, Aldermen, and John Coe, Towne Gierke. 
Tames Starlinge Reuben Robinson ) 

-^ ,nr T TT f Ti-istices 

Bayhff John Hart ) -^ 

Samuel Pf-UMF, Alderman 

John Coe, Towne Clerks* 

On the other side of the same page is a drawing of the Arms 
ot Maldon, in trick, without written description. The tinctures 
are again indicated by written notes on the drawing, and the 
arms are precisely the same, in every detail, as in the drawing 
in the Visitation of 1614, just alluded to. Beneath is written : 

The Armes of the Towne of Maiden granted by Sr Gilbert Dethick, 
Knt., Garter Principall King of Armes, and afterwards confirmed by 
Robert Cooke, Esq., Clarenceux King of Armes, under their hands and 
Scales & now entred in the Visitation made by Sr Edward Bysshe Knt, 
Clarenceux King of Armes, 1O64. 

I was informed that there is no further record at the College 
ol Arms respecting Sir Gilbert Dethick's original grant of Maldon's 
arms, or as to its date. Sir Gilbert Dethick became Garter 
King of Arms in 1550. He was knighted in 1551, and he re- 
mained Garter till his death in 1584. As will be seen later, 
there is evidence that in 1558 there were no settled arms of the 
borough, whilst (as will be explained) Sir Gilbert Dethick is said 
said to have ' confirmed ' certain arms of Maldon on 30th April 
1562. 

Before referring to other ancient records and to other versions 
of the Maldon Arms, it will be as well to consider the ancient 
seal of the borough illustrated on the next page. 

The description of the seal is as follows : 

Obverse. A ship with one mast on the waves of the sea in bast. The 
ship has a high embattled turret or castle at each end, of early Gothic stj'le. 
On that at the stern is a flagstaff with banner floating to sinister, charged 
with three lions .passant gardant in pale. At the top of the mast, pro- 
jecting into th6" border is a pennon floating to the dexter. The mast 
appears to be surmounted with a small fieur de lis, passing into the border 
ot Ihe seal. Legend : sigillvm commvnitatis de maldon. 

Reverse. On a shield of early shape su.spended by its guige 
three lions passant gardant in pale. Legend ; Sigillvm commvnitatis 
DE maldone. 

By good fortune I discovered the impression of the seal 
from which the two photographs were made, amongst some 

* These five narnss are ail autographs signed in the book. 



^ 




^ 






o 

Q 
O 

o 

D 

O 

o 

w 

t. 
o 

w 

H 

U 

X 
H 

-=^ 



MALDON. 17 

miscellaneous documents preserved in the archives of the Col- 
chester Town Council. The seal is appended to a deed dated 
Saturday, 8th Sept. 42 Queen EHzabeth {i.e. 1600). The deed is 
a Power of Attorney given by the Bailiffs and Commonalty of 
Maldon in favour of Thomas Grittenour (?)* in connection 
with certain legal transactions, of no special interest, between 
the two boroughs. The photographs were kindly made for 
me by Mr. Arthur G. Wright, curator of the Colchester Museum. 
As far as 1 know this is the only perfect impression of the old 
seal in existence. The only impression at Maldon is attached to 
a transcript of the Maldon Borough Charter of loth Jan. 1378, 
and this impression is now very imperfect, all the legend having 
gone, and only the lions and part of the ship being visible. What 
is left is sufficient to prove with absolute certainty that the 
impression is from the seal which was used on 8th Sept. 1600. 

The transcript of the 1378 charter is in contemporary hand- 
writing, and is followed by a Latin inscription stating that it 
was given by the Burgesses {i.e. the Commonalty) of Maldon, 
under their common seal, ' to our beloved and faithful co-burgess 
John Pere,' with a request, on his behalf, that no person should 
offer him any injury or annoyance {vexacionem) or molestation 
{periurhacionem) contrary to the liberties of the charter. There 
is no date to this inscription, but on searching the Maldon Borough 
records I found, in the oldest record of all now preserved, that at 
a meeting of the Maldon commonalty on Friday after the 
Epiphany in 7 Richard II. (i.e. Jan. 1384) the Constables 
(constabularii) of Maldon were John Page and John Pere. 

A cast of this imperfect impression of the seal is in the Col- 
chester Museum, and the British Museum appears to have a 
somewhat similar impression, with the legend missing. The 
remains of the seal at Maldon enable us to say that the seal, of 
which photographs are given, appended to the deed of 8th Sept. 
1600, was in use about the year 1378. The design and style of 
lettering corroborate this evidence, and would indeed justify 
us in assigning the seal to a somewhat earlier date. 

From 1 189 to 1340 the royal arms of England were simply the 
three lions passant gardant, as shown on the seal. After 1340 
they were quartered with the Hlies {semee de fizurs de lis) of 

♦This name was filler' in with a different ink which has faded so much as to make it 
difficult to decipher with certainty. 



l8 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

France. A careful inspection ot the oiiginal impression of the 
seal reveals a small fleur de lis at the top of the mast of the ship. 
It may be, therefore, that the seal is subsequent to 1340, when 
Edward III. claimed to be king of France as well as of England. 
It is not possible to be sure whether or not there is a fleur de lis 
on the top of the flagstaff of the ship. The original of the seal 
is not in existence. 

It will be seen that the correct arms of Maldon are formed by 
* impaUng ' in one shield the two designs on the reverse and 
obverse of the seal. The three lions in the royal arms were gold 
on a red field. Naturally the heralds would demur to the use 
of the royal arms, impaled or otherwise, without any differen- 
tiation. Therefore the field was made blue (azure) instead of 
red (gules), and this variation is repeated on the banner of the 
ship. The two gold fleurs de hs, introduced in the ship, on the 
mast and. the flagstaff may be surmised to indicate France.* 
The pennon, which on the seal floats in an opposite direction from 
the banner, was made to float in the same direction. 

As already mentioned, Maldon no doubt owed the honour of 
displaying the royal arms on its seal to the fact that it was a royal 
town. It may be wondered that even then the borough should 
have been allowed a seal of which one side might almost be taken 
for the King's own seal. The distinction, however, was not 
exceptional. The three lions of England, as in the Maldon 
seal, are found also on the old seals of Appleby, New Romney, 
Blandford, Faversham, Hereford (with a bordure), Stockbridge, 
Stamford, and possibly other towns. 

As to the royal associations of Maldon. Mr. Horace Round, 
LL.D., in his account of the Domesday Survey in the Victoria 
History of Essex (vol. i, p. 386), says that ' the urban portion of 
Maldon seems to have been wholly the King's.' Like Colchester, 
Maldon had a mint and paid rent to the king for the privilege. 

Mr. Round further comments on the fact that Suain, who 
held an estate in Maldon, and paid to the King ' four shiUings of 
customary due,' also ' shared with the other burgesses in finding 
a horse for the host, and towards making a ship.' This ancient 

♦In his ' History of Essex ' (1740) Nathanael Salmon states that ' in the N. window of 
All Saints Church, Maldon, are si.me remains of Anus cf King Edinond and Edvvard the 
Confessor and of Norman Princes and Nobles, with some descriptions in <ilci French for 
whom they were. Among the rest was St. Lovjs, Roy de France, with Sem6 de Lis, 
their ancient bearing. The meaning of these seems to have been a dircctirn for some 
chantry priest to mention these particularly in his offices, according to the intention of a 
founder or benefactor.' 



MALDON. 



19 



I 



duty of providing a ?hip is mentioned in the Charter granted 
to Maldon by Henry II. (c. 1171) — the earliest charter granted 
to any Essex borough — the burgesses being bound to provide 
one ship either for the personal use of the king, or for service 
in the fleet (in exercitu) for forty days, at their own cost, when 
they were specially summoned by the king's letters to provide it. 
Having regard to the royal arms on the banner and 
the fleur de lis on the mast, this ship is presumably 
intended to be indicated on the seal. It may be remarked, 
however, that similar one -masted vessels appear on a great 
many other ancient seals of port towns, in some cases 
even where there seems to have been no express obligation to 
find a ship for the King's use. With regard to these ships on 
town seals it is noteworthy that in every case there is some 

differentiation, so that the 
ships are never precisely 
alike. In no other town 
seal that I am aware of is 
the fleur de lis used to sur- 
mount a mast or flagstaff. 
The Rev. Henry L. Elbot 
has drawn my attention to 
the seal of Edward Planta- 
genet, Earl of Rutland, Lord 
High Admiral (son of Ed- 
mund of Langley, Duke 
of York and grandson of 
Edward III.). Here there 
is a ship somewhat similar 
to the Maldon ship, en- 
signed both on mast and 
flagstaff with a fleur de lis. The seal dates from about 1400. 
This is a favourable opportunity for mentioning the fine old 
Admiralty Seal of Maldon, shown in the frontispiece.* This 
seal is about 4.I inches in diameter. The original seal has dis- 
appeared, and the photograph is taken from a sohtary impression 
preserved with great care — as it deserves to be — by the Maldon 
corporation. Maldon has a right to be proud of it. It is one 




PART OF SEAL OF EDWARD, EARL OF 
RUTLAND, LORD HIGH ADMIRAL 

(Circa 1400). 



•I am indebted to the Mayor of Maldon (Alderman H. A. Krohn, D.L., J. P.) for facilities 
in inspecting the records ot Maldon, and for allowing me to photograph this seal. 



20 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

of the very finest seals of its kind, and its size and elaborate and 
costly design show that Maldon must have been regarded as of 
great consequence as a centre of admiralty jurisdiction. 

The legend is : sigillvm officii admirallitatis anglie 
INFRA preci[nc]tv[m] vil[l]e de Maldon. The arms on the main- 
sail (Modem France and England quarterly) show that the seal 
must be later than 1405. The workmanship and lettering appear 
to be of the 15th or i6th century. Upon the pennon on the main 
mast is the cross of St. George, the national emblem of England. 
On the mizzen mast pennon is a fieur de Us ; on the foremast 
pennon possibly a rose or six-foil. At the prow and at the 
stem is shown a demi-lion rampant holding in each case a ban- 
ner. That in the prow seems to be charged with the three lions 
passant gardant of England. On the shield under the mainsail, 
occupying the side of the war-ship, the three lions are again dis- 
played. The four small escutcheons on the bulwarks bear : 
(i) cross of St. George, (2) a fieur de lis, (3) cross of St. George, 
(4) a six-foil (? intended for a rose). 

CORRUPT VERSIONS OF MALDON ARMS. 

Before considering the modern seal of Maldon it is necessary 
to refer to the various shields which have been represented as 
the borough arms. 

Additional MS. 7098 at the British Museum is a folio 
volume which has this title, in i6th century writing : 

' Visitation of Essex from fol. i to fol, 34 ; Surry from fol. 34 to fol. 
80 ; Southton [i.e. Hampshire] from fol. 80 to thend. 
All have some of other Counties intermixed 
Clarenciux 
Hawley 6 Ed. 6.* 

This is the MS. from which (as we are told in the Preface) the 
so-called ' Visitation of Essex, 1552,' published by the Harleian 
Society in 1878 under the editorship of Walter C. Metcalfe, 
F.S.A., was compiled. With regard to the arms of Maldon, 
that publication is grievously slipshod and misleading. The 
following is the statement as there printed : 

MALDON. The Armes Pretensted of the Borowe Towne of Maldon. 
Arms (2 shields) i. Three lions passant regardant. 
2. Same as in visitation of 161 2. 
Taken in the tyme of Rychd Bret and Edward Coker Bayliffes the 
xxvij of .August in A<*. 1558 and respyted till Crystemas for the verification 
of the same. 



MALDON. 



21 



The entry as it really appears in the manuscript (on to : 14) is : 

THE ARMES PRETENSED OF THE BOROWE TOWNE OF MALDON. 





Taken in the tyme of Rychd Bret & Edward Coker Bayliffs the xxvij 
of August in Ao. 1558 and respyted tyll Crystmas for the verificacon of the 



It may be observed that the word ' pretensed ' (wrongly 
printed * pretensted ' in the Harleian Society's version) is a 
perfectly good old English form of * pretended,' and simply 
means * advanced,* ' put forward/ or ' intended.* 

The manuscript in which these ' armes pretensed ' appears 
is clearly about contemporary with 1558 and is probably a copy* 
— -or else the original — of the notes taken by WilHam Hervey, 
Clarenceux, and his assistants, on their visit to Maldon on 27th 
August 1558 (the day after they had visited Colchester). It would 
seem that Maldon had no borough arms at that time — except 
its heraldic seal — and that the heralds made a note of two 
shields with a view to incorporating the obverse and reverse 
of the seal, of which no doubt they would take a careful impression 
away. Obviously the first thing that would occur to a herald, 
under such circumstances, would be that the royal arms of 
England must be varied in some way or other before being 
allowed to form part of the borough shield. There are plenty 
of ways of doing this. WilUam Hervey, or one of his assistants, 
seems to have thought that a simple plan would be to make the 
lions regardant instead of gardant. This idea is therefore 
jotted down in the first shield as a suggestion. In the other 
shield was drawn a three-masted ship, which is not so easy to 



*The British Museum catalogue describes it as a ' contemporary copy. 



22 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

explain or excuse. Perhaps it was thought enough to draw 
any sort of ship in the second shield as a suggestion for the 
arms. The roughness of the drawing imphes that it was not 
thought necessary to portray the ship with exactitude, or to 
attempt a detailed copy of the ship on the seal. We may be 
sure that the old Admiralty seal of Maldon, where the ship has 
three masts, was in evidence. Anyhow it is quite clear that the 
arms were not to be settled that da3^ but were to be * respyted ' 
(adjourned) for settlement at Christmas. WiUiam Hervey could 
not foresee that between 27th Aug. 1558 and the following 25th 
Dec. two rather tremendous events would occur — the death of 
Queen Mary and the accession of Queen EUzabeth. Those 
events took place on Nov. 17. They must have made the 
heralds uncommonly busy, and it may be surmised that the 
final settlement of the Maldon arms did not take place so soon 
as was intended. William Hervey died in 1567, and in March 
1569-70, Robert Cook, who succeeded him as Clarenceux, 
seems to have visited Maldon. The arms, however, appear to 
have been ' confirmed ' by Sir Gilbert Dethick, Garter, on 
30th April 1562, but in a strange and unacceptable form. In 
fact there is some mystery as to what Sir Gilbert Dethick 
really did settle. It is a rathe; confusing story. 

In ' Additional MS. 16940,' in the British Museum, is a 
volume described in the catalogue as a i6th century MS. On 
folio 80 is this strange entry, without any diawing : 

The Armes of the Towne of Maldon berith (b) 3 Lyons passant 
gardant (or) all thrust thorowe with a spere the staff (ar) the hed upwards 
(g) the second in pale with the lyons berith wave (ar and b) a ship sable 
with a squar baner at the end of the ship with the Armes of England with 
a flag on the tope (g) the sayles tied up in the tope of all a flower de lice (or). 

One would have been inclined to pass by this incredible coat 
as the nightmare of some eccentric and irresponsible herald, 
but for certain unexpected corroboration. Folios 48 to 
81 of Had. MS. 2198 (already quoted) claim to contain 
arms noted at * The Visitation of Essex, 1634.' Here 
under the heading * ye Armes of ye Towne of Maiden,' and 
without any further comment, is this staggering drawing. 
The drawing is, of course, a representation of the strange 
coat described in MS. 16940. That the royal hons of England 
should be skewered through in this unpleasant fashion is an 



MALDON. 



23 



unaccountable heraldic freak, 
tended, but if the arms had 




Possibly no offence was in- 
occurred ten or twenty years 
later, one might have hazarded 
a guess that some stern Parlia- 
mentarian was venting repub- 
lican contumely on the royal 
beasts. 

But, strange to say, there is 
good reason to believe that the 
Arms of Maldon were really 
authorised in this curious form 
by Sir Gilbert Dethick, Garter, 
on 30th April 1562. It is true 
that at the College of Arms 
there is (as I was informed) no 
record of such a coat, but it is 
significant that there is also no 
definite record of what Sir Gil- 
bert Dethick granted, or of 
when he granted it, except Sir E. Bysshe's suspiciously vague 
declaration in 1664. At any rate several other manuscripts at 
the British Museum declare positively that Sir Gilbert Dethick 
' confirmed ' these extraordinary armorial bearings. In each case 
a picture in trick is given, obviously copied from the same source. 
Harl. MS. 5847 is a longish list of ' Sr. Gilbert Dethicks Grants, 
etc.- I give a facsimile of the trick drawing (on folio 55 of this 
MS.) and of the accompanying statement, which is in the writing 
of the early part of the 17th Century : — ' Maiden Corporation. 
These Armes were Conf : to ye towne and Corporation of Maiden 
in Essex ye 30th of Aprill 1562.' A corroborating manuscript 
is Add. MS. 12454, which has on its title page ' Deithickes 
Guiftes ' and a note stating that the volume (56 folios) * contains 
the Grants and Confirmations of Sir Gilbert Dethick. Knight, 
Garter Principal King of Arms, from 1549 ^^ 15^4-' Here 
again (on foUo 9) is a drawing of the arms of • Maiden Corpora- 
tion,' with the lions thrust through w^ith a spear. The arms 
depicted are : 

Azure, three lions passant gardant in pale or, all thrust through with 
a spear argent, impaling gules, on water proper a ship of one mast sable, 
sail furled, the mast surmounted with a fleur de lis or, on a banner erect 



24 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 



at the stern end rising over a canopied cabin, a square banner floating 
to sinister bearing azure throe lions passant gardant in pale or, the flag- 
staff surmounted by a fleur de lis (presumably or) and a fleur de lis issuant 
from each corner of the sinister side of the banner, also a fleur de lis 
from the centre of sinister side of the banner and another from centre 
of lower edge. 

At the side is a note stating that ' these arms were Con- 
firmed unto ye towne and Corporation of Maiden in Essex, 
April! ye 30th in ye 4th year of Queene EHzabeth (1562) by Sr. 
Gilbert Dethicke.' There are over 200 coats of arms in this MS. 







FROM HARL. MS. 5847, FO. 55. 



In Egevton MS. 1073 (fo. 11 d) the same arms, with the 
lions thrust through, again appear. The tinctures of the im- 
paled portion of the shield are different, the field being argent 
and a pennon gules appearing on the mast. Moreover the 
banner on the ship bears the arms of France (modern) 



MALDON. 25 

quartered with England (no tinctures mentioned). This MS. is 
evidently of the 17th century. 

Stowe MS. 703. is a i6th Century collection of Arms, 
chiefly granted by Sir Gilbert Dethick. On folio 15 is a 
drawing of the Arms almost exactly as in Had. MS. 5847. 
The inscription accompan5dng the drawing reads : 

These Armes were confirmed by Sir G. D. kt. als Garter Kinge of 
Armes to the Towne and corporation of Maiden in Essex the xxxth day 
of Aprill A° 4° Eliza Anno Dni. 1562. 

Thus in six different manuscripts, dating from about 1570 
to after 1634, there is the persistent record of these arms, and 
in three they are attributed, with circumstantial evidence of date, 
to Sir Gilbert Dethick, head of the College of Arms. In the 
face of all this testimony I can only suppose that he really 
did grant this coat and that he thought this treatment of the 
Uons of England was a dignified way of * differentiating.' It 
would seem by the indubitable official record of 1614 that the 
College of Arms then (if not before) superseded the coat by 
the arms recorded and tricked by John Raven, who further 
declared that Robert Cook, Clarenceux, had already ' allowed * 
the arms on 9th March 1569. Possibly the College had cancelled 
all previous records. 

To add to the confusion, there is one other record which 
tells a different story. Had. MS. 1116 (fo. 88) which has a 
collection of arms mostly granted by Sir Gilbert Dethick, and 
which also has ' August 1631 ' at the beginning, contains this 
entry : 

Corporacon of Maiden in Essex — The Armes to the use of the towne 
and Corporacyon of Maiden, Essex, that is to say per pale b [blue] and 
ar [argent], on the fyrst iij. lyons passant regardant or armed and langed 
g [gules] and on the second, the point water, a Croye wt. mastes takelynge 
and caben the proper color, on the Cabben a banner of the armes of the 
fyrst half, as more playnly apereth depicted in the margent. 

per garter Dethyke. 

The shield in the margin is, however, left blank. * Garter 
Dethyke ' may possibly mean Sir WilUam Dethick (son of Sir 
Gilbert), Garter 1586 to 1605. 

A curious version of the arms appears in Harleian MS. 
2198, of which folios 12 to 46 contain a copy, apparently con- 
temporary, of the Visitation of Essex, in 1612, by John Raven. 



26 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 



On folio i8 (d.) appears the drawing here shown, 
written : 



Below is 







These armes was allowed 
in the Visitation of Essex 
taken in a^ Eo 1569 by 
Robert Cook als Claren. 
Kinge of armes in Witt- 
ness whereof he hath set 
to his hand and Seale the 
gth of March 1569. vewed 
and seenne by John Raven 
esqr. als. Richmond Mar- 
tiall to Will Camden 
Clarencieux King of armes, 
the 9 of aprill a^ 161 4 
Edward Hasler & Cristo- 
pher Ly vinge beinge Bay- 
liffes of the towne of 
Maulden . 

Here the lions are 
duly showTi passant 
gardant or on a field 
azure, and the ship is 
practically in conform- 
ity with the ship 
tricked in the official 
record of John Raven's 
visit to Maldon, with the exception that the tincture of the 
pennon (gules) and the tincture of the furled sail (argent) are 
omitted, whilst one fleur de lis (on the flagstaff) is made gules, 
and, most notable of all, three fleurs de lis (the arms of France) 
are placed on the banner of the ship instead of the three lions (the 
arms of England) . The drawing is probably a blundering copy. 
One other ancient variant of the arms deserves mention, 
because it was accepted by Nathanael Salmon in his Hisioty 
0/ Essex (1740). and again by Morant in 1760. Morant seems 
to have merely copied Salmon,* and Salmon seems to have 
copied a record which is found in a 17th century Harleian MS. 
No. 887, folio 10 d., professedly a copy of the Visitation of 1612. 
Maldon Towne. Azure 3 Lyons pa.ssant gardant or armed and langud 
Gules Empaled with Argent a ship in Ruffe under Saile and flags wth tack- 
lings Sable. Confirmed by Robert Cooke, Clar. Roy D'Armes 9 Marti j 1569. 

• The arms of lliis Borough are Azure three lyons passant gardant Or, armed and 
lanijticd Gules, with Arj-ent, u Ship uiidei sail and Flags with the Tacklings S;tble.' — N. 
Salhun.' Hist, lissex ' 1740. 




FROM HARL. MS 




(DORSO). 



MALDON. 



27 



' In ruffe ' is a heraldic term for ' in full course,' and i? used 
oi a ship in full sail. ' Armed and langued gules ' means of 
course that the lions have claws and tongues depicted 
in red colouring. This is an embellishment in which heraldic 
artists have often considered themselves licensed to indulge 
without any special direction. There is a vagueness about the 
description of the ship, and it is curious that Salmon and Morant 
should have accepted it. Apparently flags sails and all are 
black (sable), and there is no sea, so that this mysterious pirate 
ship is sailing, ' in full course,' through the argent field. The 
blazon may be dismissed as possessing no possible validity. 

We come now to quite a modern variant, which has caused 
a good deal of mystification. It is described and figured in the 
late Mr. E. A. Fitch's excellent work, Maldon and the River 
Blackwater (pages 17 and 18). Mr. Fitch there gives (and 
pictures) the arms as described in the Harleian Society's 
Visitations of Essex (edited by Walter C. Metcalfe, F.S.A., 1878). 
He quotes verbatim Mr. Metcalfe's description : 

' Gules, 3 lions rampant or, impaling argent a ship sable, with a square 
banner in the end of the ship, with the Arms of England, with a flag on 
the top gules, the sails tied up and on the top of all a fleur de lis or.' 

Mr. Fitch calls this ' the 
older form of the Arms.' 
As a matter of fact it is the 
very latest form of the 
arms on record. It is in fact 
the invention of Mr. Metcalfe 
himself. I have already re- 
ferred to one blundering and 
misleading record by Mr. 
Metcalfe in his incorrect 
version of the ' Arms pre- 
tensed ' of 27th August 1558. 
His transcript of the record 
ARMS AS ERRONEOUSLY DESCRIBED IN of the Visitation of 1612, as 
HARLEIAN SOCIETY'S "VISITATION OF far as the Maldou arms are 

ESSEX. 1612 ' 1878). , 

concerned, is even more 
careless and inexcusable. Mr. Metcalfe distinctly states that 
he took the arms which he gives under the Visitation of Essex 
1612, from Harleian MS. 6065, and adds : ' The whole of this 




28 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 







MS. is given.' On inspecting the MS. I find that on folio 39 

there is a trick of the Mal- 
don arms as here shown. 
It will be seen that there 
are no lions rampant on 
a field gules. It will also 
be seen that Mr. Met- 
calfe's description of the 
impaled ship is wTong in 
many particulars. He 
omits to mention the 
waves * proper ' ; he 
omits to mention the 
fieur de Us (here given as 
' gules ') on top of the 
flagstaff ; and he describes 
,^,, ^^ „ ^^, . the arms on the banner as 

TRICK OF MALDON ARMS 

FROM KARL. MS. 6065 the arms of England, 

(VISITATION OF ESSEX, i6i2.) whercas they are plainly 

marked as three lions passant gardant in pale or, on an azure 
field. In Mr. Metcalfe's professed transcript of the \vritten 
matter accompanying the trick there are half a dozen blunders. 
There is no other reference to the Maldon arms in this MS., and 
in no other MS. is there any allusion to three lions rampant 
forming part of the Maldon Arms. It is very much to be re- 
gietted that such gross errors should have appeared in an authori- 
tative pubhcation issued by the Harleian Society. It is time that 
these * ghost ' arms of Maldon should be finally laid. They never 
had any genuine existence. 





THE MODERN SEAL OF MALDON. 

There is yet another pseudo-coat of Maldon, and it is so 
connected with the modern seal of the borough that the two may 
be considered together. The modem seal dates from 1682, 
when it was given to the borough by William Vernon, of Beeleigh 
Abbey, who, according to Mr. Fitch, was the last of the Vemons 
of Beeleigh. On the side of the seal is the inscription : 

Esse sui lioc voluit monumentum et pignus amoris. ' 

Quo corroborante immunitates firmissime maneant. W.V. 1682. 



I Pldte II 




ARMS OF THE BOROUGH OF MALDON 
as recorded at the College of Arms, 1614 and 1664 




ADMIRALTY SEAL OF MALDON 
(15th or i6th Century). 




Obverse. On waves of the sea a ship of one mast with sail furled. The mast is sur- 
mounted by a fleur de lis which projects into the border. At the stern is an embattled castle 
or turret on which is a flagstaff also surmounted with a fleur de lis ; from the flagstaff to the 
sinister a banner charged with three lions passant gardant in pale. (No pennon on mast.) 
Legend : sigillvm commvne corp[or.\tionis] vilvje de maldon. 




Reverse. On a shield (without guige) three lions passant regardant inpale. Legend as 
on obverse. 

MODERN SEAL OF MALDON {1682) (Actual Size). 



30 ARMS 01^ THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

Translation ; W.V. desired this to be a memorial of himself and a token 
of affection, by which seal confirming them may the privileges [of the 
borough] remain ever secure. (The first line in the Latin is a hexameter.) 

Compared with the old seal, the design and workmanship are 
poor. The most noticeable variation is that the Hons on the 
reverse are made passant regardant instead of passant gardant. 
It has already been mentioned that in a MS. professing to be 
a record of the 1558 visit to Maldon by WilHam Hervey, Clar- 
enceux, a shield bearing three lions passant regardant was 
* pretensed,' that is, put forward tentatively as a suggestion for 
the arms of Maldon. Nothing more is heard of this suggestion 
(excepting in one MS. of about 163 1 already quoted, viz. 
Harl. MS. 1116), till Sir Edward Bysshe's Visitation in 
1664. Even then there is nothing at all in the official 
record of his Visitation, where the Hons are drawn 
passant gardant. But it appears that in what professes to 
be a ' copy ' of that Visitation, by John Warburton, 
Somerset Herald from 1720 to 1759, there were drawings of 
both the seal and of the arms of Maldon with lions in each case 
drawn as regardant instead of gardant. In 1888 Mr. J. J. 
Howard, LL.D., pubUshed a copy of this Warburton manuscript. 
In it an exact transcript is given of the entry which appears in 
the official 1664 record as already printed on pages 56-7. There 
is scarcely any variation even in spelling. Instead of the draw- 
ing (in trick) which appears in the official entry, there is this 
verbal description of the arms, which 1 assume, judging by the 
modem spelUng, is by the editor, Dr. J. J. Howard: 

Arms : Azure, three lions passant-guardant in pale or ; impaling, 
Argent, on waves of the sea an ancient galley sable, pennon gules, and 
on a flag at the stern azure, three lions passant-guardant in pale or. 

[This is an incomplete description of the trick in the official 
record, as the tincture of the waves is omitted, there is no mention 
of the sail furled argent, and the fieurs de hs or, on the top of 
mast and fiagstaft, are also unrecorded.] 

Strange to say, in contradiction of the above description. 
Dr. Howard gives two illustrations, derived presumably from 
the Warburton MS. In both of these pictures it will be seen 
that the lions are portrayed as regardant instead of gardant. 
Dr. Howard does not vouchsafe any comment or explanation. 



MALDON. 



31 




SPURIOUS ARMS OF MALDON. 
From Dr. Howard's Edition (1888) 
of ' Visitation of Essex 1664.' 




SEAL OF MALDON. 



From Dr. Howard's Edition (i 

1664.' 



OF * Visitation of Essex, 



These drawings are very perplexing, and one would like to 
know (i) whether they are identical with drawings given in War- 
burton's MS. ; and (2) where, if so, Warburton's MS. and the 
drawings originated. The picture of the seal seems to be partly 
copied from the ancient seal, which was in use, as we know, 
up to the year 1600. But the legend in the borders is quite 
unaccountable. The mis-spelt * Moldon ' (a quite unknown 
form of the name) and the later form ' Villae ' instead of the archaic 
' Ville,' as well as the style of lettering, suggest that the legend 
was a concoction. There is the possible explanation that this is a 
drawing of some fresh seal (of which no impression has ever been 



32 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

known) substituted between 1600 and 1664. Apparently Sir 
Edward Bysshe meant to include a drawing of the * Common 
Seales ' of Maldon in his Visitation Record, for he left a space 
for such dra\ving, as already intimated. Whether that drawing 
was to have been a design for a new seal or a copy of the old 
seal cannot be said. It seems not unlikely that during the 
Commonvv'ealth period the old seal with the royal arms maj^ 
have disappeared, and in that case perhaps some drawing 
(omitted in the official record) was made by Sir Edward Bysshe 's 
assistant or clerk, as a design for a new seal. But why, in such 
case, the lions should have been made ' regardant * instead of 

* gardant/ and why even in the drawing of the Arms they should 
be so represented, are mysteries difficult to solve.* 

At any rate it seems probable that the seal made for William 
Vernon in 1682 was based either oh a drawing similar to this 
picture of the seal, or on an actual seal from which this drawing 
was copied. It is true that in the engraved seal of 1682 the word 

* CORP.' has been introduced into the legend, between * commvne ' 
and ' VILL.55,' but the ship on the seal is very like the ship in the 
drawing. Compare the fieur de lis in the border, and the omission 
of the pennon. 

Presumably, then, the unfortunate mistake of changing the 
hons gardant into regardant, on the seal of 1682, was due either 
to some such drawing as that reproduced by Dr. Howard being 
left at Maldon or filed as part of the Visitation Record ; or there 
must have been an erroneous seal already in existence, and in 
use at some period between 1600 and 1682. The latter supposi- 
tion is rather improbable. 

The question is not of very great consequence. That the 
present seal was a mistake seems undeniable. How it happened 
does not matter very much. The Rev. Henry L. EUiot, of 
Gosfield, who has most kindly rendered me great assistance 
in compihng this article, and who has placed all his records and 
his exceptional knowledge freely at my service, remarks, in a 

*The Rev. Henry L. Elliot is of opinion that the alteration of the lions from ' passant 
garrlant ' to' passant regardant,' was probably made by Sir E. Bysshe some years beff)re it 
was recorded in his visitation. ' The reason of the change ' (writes Mr Elliot) ' may 
have been that the outlines of the older charges bore too close a resemblance to the arms of 
the King who had lately been beheaded.' Mr. Elliot also thinks that Bysshe's expression 
' enteied ' (in his official record of the anns) presumably does not convey the same mean- 
ing as ' approved.' ' Bysshe no doubt intended the change to be permanent, but when 
later heralds were called upon to give a docket of the Maldon Anns, they seem to have 
felt that Bysshe had no sufficient authority to alter the coat formally granted by Dethick 
and subsequently confirmed by officers of the College of Arms.' 



MALDON. 33 

note which he sent me on this subject, that ' if a new seal were 
now to be made, it is to be hoped that the die-sinker would 
receive instructions to reproduce the ancient design and thus 
once again bring the charges on the seal into agreement with 
those on the arms of the borough.' 

I am indebted to the Editor of the Essex Review (Miss C. 
Fell Smith) for valuable help in consulting and transcribing 
MSS. at the British Museum, and for several tracings which 
have been reproduced as illustrations of this article. 



III.— HARWICH. 

THE Borough of Harwich, which includes Dovercourt. 
was first incorporated in 1318, by Edward H., * through 
the procurement,' says Morant, * of his brother Thomas 
de Brotherton, Lord of Harwich.' Thomas of Brotherton, Earl 
of Norfolk and Marshal of England, was half-brother of Edward 
n., and married, as his first wife, according to the D.N.B., 
Alice, daughter of Sir Roger Hales, of Harwich. Morant, how- 
ever, states that Mistress Bridget Hales, who made this 
astonishingly good match, was the daughter of * Sir Edward Ha^is, 
of Harwich.' In any case the manor of Dovercourt and Harwich 
did not come to Thomas of Brotherton through this marriage. 
It was part of the estates of Roger Bigod, escheated to the crown 
about 1306, and given to Thomas of Brotherton on i6th 
December, 1313, by Edward 11. 

From 1318, the government of Harwich was carried on by a 
Portreeve and other officers, until i8th April 1604, when James 
I. granted the town a charter, which gave it the right to appoint 
a mayor from year to year. This charter, as translated from 
the Latin by order of the Harwich Corporation, in 1797, and 
printed in London by W. Bulmer and Co. in 1798, provided 
* that the Mayor and Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid, for 
ever, may have a Common Seal, to serve for executing what- 
soever their Causes and Affairs, and of their Successors ; and 
that it may well be lawful, and shall be lawful, for the samf 
Mayor and Burgesses, and their Successors, that Seal, at their 
Pleasure, from Time to Time to break, change, and anew to 
make, as to them shall seem better to be done and to be.' By 
the way, that very remarkable personage, Sir Edward Coke, 
mortal enemy of Francis Bacon, terror of James I., and after- 
wards of Charles I., was by this charter appointed the first 
Recorder of Harwich. It has been the lot of Harwich to have a 
transitory connection with an extraordinary variety of famous 
and distinguished persons. 




ARMS OF THP: liOROUGH OF HARWICH. 




SEAL OF THE 
BOROUGH OF HARWICH. 



HARWICH. 35 

It may be assumed that the Portreeves of Harwich had used 
a seal of office, but all traces of any seal of the borough earlier 
than the one now in use (figured in the frontispiece plate) are 
lost. The modern seal, identical with the arms of the borough, 
bears the device of a portcullis. The earliest evidence that I 
have been able to trace, of the use of the portcullis as the emblem 
of the borough, dates from 1669 or 1670. Probably that was 
about the date when the arms were first used or granted. 

There is no mention of any arms of Har\\dch in the Visitation 
of Essex of 1664, though Colchester, Maldon and Saffron Walden 
are all referred to in that record. Nor does any earlier Visitation 
allude to the borough. In the British Museum there are many 
manuscripts of the i6th and 17th centuries containing hsts of 
the arms of cities and boroughs. In none of these does Harwich 
appear. It is probable that the Portreeves of Harwich, from 
1318 onwards, had an official seal, and it seems likely that some 
sort of seal, as authorised by the charter of 1604, was used by the 
Corporation. But all traces of these earher seals have disap- 
peared. All that can be said is that about the year 1669 the 
present arms of Harwich appeared upon the borough mace. 

A research amongst the corporation records enables me to 
fix this date. On 9th February 1668 (i.e. 1669 in modem style), 
it was ' agreed and resolved ' at an assembly of the mayor, 
aldermen and head burgesses of the town to purchase 'at their 
own proper costs and charges,' that is to say by subscription 
amongst themselves, 'one large mase.' The record gives a 
tull list of the subscribers, and it appears that the mace cost 
between £35 and £36, a goodly sum in those days. This mace 
is still in use. It has upon it the arms of Charles II., with his 
grandfather's, James I.'s, motto, Beati pacifici. In fact the 
arms are probably meant to be those of James I. as granter of 
the Charter of 1604, his arms being identical with those of 
Charles II. There is no decipherable hall-mark, but the maker's 
initials * W. H.' are stamped in several places. Silver plate 
made by ' W. H.' of the year 1662 is on record, but the exact 
name of this maker is unknown. On the upper part of the 
mace, the portculUs is shown in bold relief, with the word 
HARWICH over it, much as it appears in the seal. The 
portcullis is repeated in three other places on the mace. 

It is worthy of note that about two years previously Charles 



36 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

IL, with his brother, the Duke of York, and with the Duke of 
Monmouth and a number of other peers and notabiUties, visited 
Harwich. During their stay they attended service at Harwich 
church, when the King's chaplain preached. All this is duly 
recorded in the corporation books. It is probable that the want 
of a borough mace on this great occasion was felt by the Harwich 
Corporation, and it may be that when they made good this 
deficiency in February 1669, they also adopted armorial bearings 
for the borough. 

The heraldic description of the arms of Harwich, as now 
recognised by the heralds, is as follows ; — 

Gules, a portcullis with chains pendent or, nailed and pointed azure. 

Crest. An antique ship with one mast, or, in water proper ; on the 
head and stern towers argent, and a third tower fixed near the top of 
the mast on the sinister side ; the sail furled and on the mast head a 
split pennon flotant gules. 

These arms are sho\Mi in colour in the plate. 

The portcullis was an emblem and favourite badge of the 
Tudors. Henry VH. and Henry VIII. especially favoured the 
* portcullis gold.' They derived this badge from the Beauforts, 
Dukes of Somerset, descendants of John of Gaunt, ' time- 
honoured Lancaster.' From this Hne are descended the present 
Fitz-Roy Somersets, Dukes of Beaufort, whose crest is a port- 
culHs or, nailed azure — identical with the arms of Harwich. 

The Beauforts never seem to have had any special con- 
nection with Harwich. Possibly the portcullis was taken for the 
emblem of the town in honour of the Tudors. Henry VIII., 
as recorded in the corporation records, visited Harwich on 
8th June ,1543, and as this fact is given a place of conspicuous 
honour on the first page of the oldest extant volume of the 
records of the borough, it may have some connection with the 
adoption of the portcullis for the borough arms. But in any 
case the portcuUis is a specially appropriate emblem for Harwich. 
From very early times Harwich was not only a principal gate 
or port of entrance to England from the continent, but also a 
watch-tower or place of defence against unwelcome visitors. 
Having discovered in conversation with Harwich people that a 
good many of them believe that their portcuUis is a gridiron, 
I may be allowed to explain that it is really a second door, 
composed of crossed timbers and armed with studs and massive 



HARWICH. 37 

iron teeth, and let down in front of a gateway to make it addi- 
tionally secure. Hence the motto of the Beauforts, used in con- 
nection with the portcullis — Altera securitas, a further safetj'', 
a second safeguard. At the same time I would like to repudiate 
that shocking explanation — for which I believe Mr. Fox-Davies 
is responsible — that the Tudors used the portcuUis badge because 
it was a pun on their name — Tudor, otherwise * two door.' 
The heralds of Tudor days did not stick at much in the way of 
puns, but 1 refuse to believe that they went as far as this. 

As to the ' crest ' used in connection with the Harwich 
arms — a ship placed above the shield on the usual torse or 
wreath of the colours — this may have been derived from some 
old seal of the borough. It is so constant a rule in connection 
with the official seals of port-towns to have a ship, similar to 
that now used as the Harwich crest, either on obverse or reverse, 
that we may regard this as a hkely explanation. 

As we have seen in the case of Maldon, the ship on the reverse 
of its old seal was incorporated v\ith the obverse, in the borough 
arms, by ' impaling ' — that is placing side by side in one shield. 
In the case of Harwich it would have been obviously inconvenient 
(almost impossible) to have impaled a portcullis with a ship. 
The square form of a portculUs would have made it ex- 
tremely difficult to crowd it into one-half of a shield, and the 
effect would have been bad. This may account for the ship 
being used as a crest. It was unusual in early times to give a 
t)orough a crest at all, and this again points to the fact that the 
arms of Harwich are probably not of very great antiquity, 
though they may be founded on an ancient seal so far unknown 
to modern research. 

The Harwich crest is chiefly distinguished from other ancient 
municipal ship devices by the third castle at the top of the mast, 
no doubt intended to sytnbohse the need for watchfulness in 
the harbour famed for its Beacon Hill. 

The earhcst definite reference to the crest is in Morant's 
History of Essex (1768) : 

The Arms of this Burgh, are, a Portcullis. Crest. An ancient one- 
masted ship, with sail furled, the poop and stern much higher than 
the middle. 

Morant was not strong in heraldic descriptions. In this 
case his omission of all reference to tinctures seems to show that 



38 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

he took his description from an old seal not now in existence^ 
or from some uncoloured carving or other similar representation. 

Amongst the possessions of the Harwich corporation is an 
oval silver armlet, worn as a sergeant's badge of office. On this 
in good bold reUef is a spirited reproduction of the Harwich crest, 
but without any torse or wreath. This silver armlet is dated 
6th April 1786. The Town Clerk of Harwich (Mr. A. J. H. 
Ward) has also shown me some fine old silver hvery buttons 
which belong to the corporation. Each button has the borough 
arms and the crest neatly stamped in relief upon it, with the 
tincture of the field of the shield (gules) properly indicated. 
These buttons have the hall-mark of the year 1782-3, and the 
maker's initials * P. F.,' for PhiUp Freeman, of Whitechapel. 

The modern seal, shown in the plate, beneath the arms, is 
an ugly production of poor workmanship. It is said to be of 
silver, but it has no hall-mark. It has an ivory handle. 
Judging by the lettering, it probably dates from the latter 
part of the i8th century, but it may be somewhat later. 

I am also indebted to Mr. A. J. H. Ward for allowing me to 
inspect the printed translation of the Harwich borough charters. 
Written in a fairly modern handwriting — and repeated twice — 
in this volume is a memorandum, indicating that the motto of 
the borough is Omnia bona Bonis, i.e. ' All things are good to 
the good,' or * All good things are to the good.' This is the 
motto of the Wenman family, descended from Henry Wenman, 
CO. Berks, (temp. Edward IV.), whose descendant. Sir Richard 
Wenman, became Viscount Wenman of Tuam, co. Galwa}^. 
The title became extinct on the death of the seventh Viscount 
Wenman in 1800. This family had no connection that I am 
aware of, with Harwich or Dovercourt, or with Essex. But the 
motto is an excellent one. It might mean nowadays, having 
regard to the vast tonnage and variety of the shipments to 
Harwich harbour and Parkeston, that all manner of goods come 
to those particularly good landing-places. And so I commend 
it to the notice of the enterprising Directors and General 
Manager of the Great Eastern Railway. 



Plate IV 




ARMS OF 
THE BOROUGH OF SAFFRON WALDEN 

(Founded on the Boron^h Seal, supposed to date 
from IS49) 



IV— SAFFRON WALDEN 




THE darkness of antiquity surrounds the earliest known 
seal of the town of Walden, afterwards known as Saffron 
Walden. Not until 1549 ^^'^^ Saffron Walden a chartered 
town, but the seal here pictured is reported to date from the 

reign of Edward IV. (1461-1483). 
As will be seen, it bears a crowned 
lion and the fleur-de-lis of France, 
both royal emblems. In somewhat 
similar style * the borough of Lan- 
caster — according to Lewis's Topo- 
graphical Dictionary of England — 
seems to have used at one period 
as its arms a fleur-de-lis in the 
upper part of the shield and a lion 
passant gardant (uncrowned) in the 
lower portion. 

The legend on this early seal of 
Saffron Walden is in Gothic letters : sigillu coie ville de 
WALDEN IN ESSEX. ' Coie ' scems to be meant for ' communie.' 
* Communia * in Low Latin (of which ' communiae ' is the genitive 
case) means ' community,' and according to Charles Gross 
(in his well-known and authoritative work, The Gild Merchant 
[1890] ) is also employed to signify ' guild.' Thus the mean- 
ing of the inscription would seem to be : ' Seal of the com- 
munity (or guild) of the town of Saffron Walden.' There is 
another possible explanation. ' Cois ' is often employed as a con- 
traction for ' communis ' and so ' coie ' may have been carelessly 



EARLIER SEAL OF 
SAFFRON WALDEN 
(Temp. Edward IV. ?) 



40 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

engraved for * coe,* that is * commune, in which case the mean- 
ing would simply be ' Common seal of the town of Saffron 
Walden.' But the former explanation seems more consistent 
and probable. 

Evidently there was some early corporate authority — pro- 
bably a guild — in Walden, possessed of a sort of jurisdiction 
over the town. We do know that in the year 15 14 a reHgious 
Guild of the Holy Trinity was incorporated by royal Hcence at 
Walden. Whether this particular Guild had any previous exist- 
ence is doubtful. According to Lord Braybrooke's History of 
Audley End (1836), the Guild of the Holy Trinity at Walden was 
estabhshed about the year 1400. No authority is given for this 
statement, but Lord Braybrooke prints ' a copy of an ancient 
memorandum in the handwriting of Thomas Hall Fiske, formerly 
TowTi Clerk/ to the effect that in 1392 certain commissioners 
sat in the town of Walden ' to enquire after rents and other 
things due to the King.' These commissioners, it appears^ 
rightly or wrongly came to some unpleasant conclusions. They 
found that every brewer ought to pay to the king (as owner of 
the manor, I suppose) a farthing duty on every quarter of malt 
bought or sold ; that every man who used the market or kept a 
shop in the town must also pay farthings ; also that every brewer 
and baker must have his corn ground at the king's mill, and 
submit to other exactions. The result was, according to this 
memorandum, that * chapmen forsook the town,' and that 
Walden market was killed, whilst the market of Newport, three 
miles off, sprang into life. 

Then we are informed, as if it were a consequence of these sad 
happenings, that 'in 141 3 ' John Leche, vicar of Walden, and 
certain others, * by the influence of Lord Broke ' and ' other 
great men,' secured the incorporation of the Guild of the Holy 
Trinity and the grant of a market, at an annual rent of £10, in 
lieu of all former tolls, farthings and exactions. 

Obviously * 1413 ' is a misprint for ' 1513,' for John Leche 
did not become vicar of Walden until 1489, and the real date 
of the hcence incorporating the Guild is 24th March, 5 Henry 
VHL, which would be 1514. Henry VHL, his wife, Katherine 
of Arragon, and Cardinal Wolsey were, as usual in such grants, 
made members of the order. 

It must not be assumed that the earlv seal of * the town of 



SAFFRON WALDEN. 



4^ 



Walden ' was necessarily the seal of this Guild. Certainly the 
style of lettering seems earlier than 1514, and may well be of 
the reign of Edward IV. Possibly there was at Walden an 
earlier. 'guild,' which exercised local jurisdiction and used a 
seal, either with or without authority. 

The Guild as founded in 1514 had a short hfe. It was 
dissolved in the first or second year of Edward VI., and in 1549 
a charter of incorporation was granted to Saffron Walden on 
the intercession of John Smyth, brother of Sir Thomas Smyth 
(1513-1577). who had been appointed Secretary of State to 
Edward VI., iri 1548. This charter bore date i8th Feb. 1549. 
By it the Government of the town was vested in a treasurer, 
chamberlains, 24 assistants and commonalty. John Smyth 
seems to have been the first treasurer. Queen Mary in 1553 
ratified this charter, and, according to Lord Bra^^brooke, it was 

confirmed ' without altera - 
,,gfi^^*' tion by Elizabeth, on May 

6, 1558,' but as Queen 

EUzabeth did not come to 

^ - the throne until November 

17, 1558, it is probable that 
1559 is the date intended. 
James I. subsequently con- 
firmed the privileges of tho 
to\\n, but it was not until 
1685 that it became a full- 
fledged borough with Mayor 
and Aldermen. 

The so-called * arms of 
Saffron Walden ' seme to 
date from 1549. ^^ ^.ny 
rate there is a record in the municipal archives (according to 
Lord Braybrooke) as follows : 

1549. Mr. Goddriche, making the common seal 20s. An ounce and a 
quarter of silver for the same, los. 6d. 

There can be httle doubt that this seal is the one here shown. 
This time the engraver has come to grief with the Latin. 
He made the in scription : sigillvm comvnis villae de 
WALDEN IN COMITATV ESSEX. The Only way to justify * comunis ' 
(instead of ' commune ') would be to suppose that he meant 




SliAL OF SAFFRON W.ALDF.N, 

"549- 

Actual size. 



42 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

* The seal of the common town of Walden.' Perish such a 
thought ! It has been suggested to me that we might stretch 
charity so far as to fancy that ' comunis ' was meant as an 
abbreviation for * communitatis ' {i.e. * of the commonalty '), but 
those who are familiar with the rules of abbreviation in those days 
will agree that this theory is not tenable. The real explanation 
is no doubt, as Dr. Johnson would say, * sheer ignorance.' 

Anyhow the design on the seal is clearly a punning 
allusion to the name ' Saffron Walden.' The curious representa- 
tion of three saffron flowers walled-in leaves no other inter- 
pretation possible. Whether a local wag originated the joke, 
or whether a hera.ld from the College of Arms was responsible, 1 
cannot say. The heralds seem to have taken some responsibihty 
in the matter. In 1569 there is this item in the corporation 
records : 

Paid for a pottell of wine and sugar give to the King of harroldes is.* 
In 1594 5s. dd. was paid * to Dum ' for ' the towne armes,' 
and in 1650 4s. was paid for * setting upp the towne armes.' 
In 1740. Nathanael Salmon, in his History of Essex, says : 

The Arms of the town of Saffron Walden are three Saffron flowers 
walled in. 

But for all that there is no official sanction for using this 
device on the seal as the arms of the town. The College of Arms 
has not at any time granted arms to the borough, or recognised 
its so-called ' arms.' 

The nearest approach to recognition seems to hav^e been in 
the Visitation of Essex, in 1664, by Sir Edward Bysshe. In 
the official record of this visitation at the College of Arms, is 

this entry : 

Waldon. 
The Com'on Seale of the Towne of Waldon in com. Essex Incorporated 
by the Name of Treasurer, Chamberlaines and Comunalty by King ILdward 
the sixt, and since confirmed by Queene Mary, Queene Elizabeth and 
King James, w fower and Twenty Assistants ; and att this present 
Visitation made by Sir Edward Bysshe Knt. Clarenceux King of Armes 
was John Fisher, Treasurer, Jasper Townsend and Thomas Runham, 
Chamberlaines, William Lingwood Esq'. Chancello' att Law, Recorder, 
and Thoma.s Sell Towne Gierke. 

John ffisher, Tre. 

JASP. TowNESEND, | chambcrlains. 

Thomas Runham, J 

Tho. Sell. Towne Clarke. 

•Dr. Andrew Clark's article Sofroii aiui Walden (Es^f.v Rcrieii', xix.. 63). 



SAFFRON WALDEN 



43 



Over the entry a space has been left, evidently for a drawing 
of the seal, but the space is left blank. However, in a copy of 
this 1664 Visitation, printed in 1888, under the editorship of 
J. J. Ho\\ard, LL.D., F.S.A., there appears this picture : 




Dr. Howard tells us that this version of the visitation was 
from a copy made by John Warburton, Somerset Herald (b. 
1682 — d. 1759). The copy afterwards came into the possession 
•of Stephen Tucker, Somerset Herald, and was bought at 
the sale of his collections. As already stated in the article 
on the arms of Maldon (page 13), I cannot say what has 
become of this MS., but there seems no reason to doubt that 
the illustration is a more or less accurate copy of a drawing 
in the manuscript. 

Saffron Walden, as has been mentioned, became a real 
' borough ' in 1685, when James H. granted a charter which con- 
ferred full municipal privileges. A fine new silver-gilt mace was 
procured to glorify this event. Upon this mace the punning seal 
is reproduced in semi-armorial fashion, upon a cartouche (in 
lieu of a shield) with heraldic supporters— a dragon on the 
dexter side, and a lion on the sinister, as shown in the illustra- 
tion. Around the design is the legend ' reluct antibus 

PHANATICIS COMMUNITAS DE SAF. WALD. IN COM. ESSEX 

REFLORUIT 29 lUL. AN. SALUT. 1685.' (' In spite 01 the Opposi- 
tion of fanatics the commonalty of Saffron Walden, in the 
County of Essex, blossomed once more, July 20, in the year 
of grace, 1685.') 



44 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 



In scrolls over and above the arms are the words : * favente 
REGE HIS PATRONis '(' The King showing favour to these patrons.')* 

* These patrons,' whose 
names are engraved 
outside the design^ 
were Sir Edward Tum- 
our, Knight, the first 
Mayor of Saffron 
Walden, and Christo- 
pher Monck, Duke of 
Albemarle, who by the 
charter was appointed 
Recorder. This Duke 
of Albemarle had as 
supporters of his arms 
a dragon and a lion, 
sometimes shown dex- 
ter and sinister re- 
spectively, as engraved 
on the mace, and some- 
times sinister and dex- 
ter respectively. This fact seems to be the explanation of the 
introduction of these animals as supporters — though it must 
be confessed that it was an unwarrantable heraldic liberty 
to have so employed them. 

Not content with its gorgeous new mace, Saffron Walden 
seems to have felt that its newly obtained municipal dignity 
required also a new Borough Seal. On 23rd August 1688, there 
is an entry in the municipal accounts : 
' Paide for a new scale, £2.''\ 

The new seal (here shown) was of the same size as the 
old one (of 1549), and was in fact a careful copy of it, with a new 
inscription. The engraver succeeded fairly well with the walls 
and the towers and gateway, and the saffron flowers. But again 
it may be said that Fate Uterally dogged the Latin. This was 
the astonishing result : ' commie, sigill. maioris. et. alder- 

MAND. VILLE. DE. SAFFRON. WALDEN. IN. COND. ESSEX.' 

Here are three particularly fine * howlers ' — ' commie ' for 

*Dr. Andrew Clark thinkH that the scrolls should be read as two separate legends : (i 
•The King favouring' {i.e. the design); (3) ' These being patrons.' 
tLord Braybrooke's History oj Aiuilcy End (1836). 




SAFFRON WALDEN. 



45 



* commune/ * alderman d ' for * Aldermannorum,' and * cond.' 
for * Com./ otherwise ' Comitatu.' 




SEAL OF SAFFRON WALDEN, 1688. 
Actual size. 



In 1836, after the passing of the Municipal Reform Act, 
another seal was made. This time it was on a rather larger 



^*»,.JvNv->r. 





SEAL OF SAFFUON WALDEN, 1 836. 
Actual size. 



scale, and it was decided to take no more risks — or liberties — 
with the Latin tongue. So the inscription was neatly engraved 



46 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

in English : ' mayor aldermen & burgesses of the Borough 

OF SAFFRON WALDEN IN THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, 1836.' 

For some reason or other the engraver made free with the 
crocuses. One is shown in bud, another is opening, and the 
third as fully opened. Perhaps it was meant to s^^mboHse the 
three stages of Saffron Walden's municipal history — first, its 
incorporation as a mere commonalty in 1549 > second, its * blos- 
soming forth,' as stated on its mace, as a municipal borough, 
in 1685 ; third, its re-constitution as a borough under the munici- 
pal Reform Act of 1835. 

Strictly, as already stated, there is no authority for using the 
seal as the arms of Saffron Walden, but there is evidence that the 
' town arms ' have been used as such for over 300 years, and the 
device itself is over 350 years old. So there is some justification 
for Saffron ^^^alden continuing to show the ' Saffron walled-in ' 
in armorial fashion. 

There is of course a difficulty about the tinctures. For 
these there is no authority and they have varied from time to 
time. I have chosen to blazon them in the simplest form, namely : 

Argent, in base a gateway with two towers, and in fess two similar 
towers, all conjoined with a circular wall embattled, enclosing three saffron 
flowers slipped and leaved, all proper. 

In giving the ' proper ' or natural colour of the saffron flowers, 
I have shown them as mauve, in preference to the yellow of the 
more ordinary modem crocus. In Dr. Andrew Clark's article 
on Saffron and Walden (Essex Review, vol. iq), he claims that 
the saffron plant [crocus sativus), formerly cultivated at Saffron 
Walden, was the purple or mauve variety. In this article much 
interesting and curious information is suppHed respecting the 
introduction of saffron to England, its method of cultivation, 
and the marvellous medicinal properties which it was imagined 
to possess. Particulars sho\^^[ng its great commercial value to 
Saffron Walden are also given by Dr. Clark. Further in- 
formation on this subject, of much interest and evidencing very 
full and careful research, will be found in Mr. Miller Christy's 
article, Saffron Culture, in the Victoria History of Essex, ii. p. 359. 

Another still stronger reason for showing the flowers as 
mauve is the fact that the original royal Hcence incorporating 
the guild of the Holy Trinity at Saffron W^alden, 24th March 
1514 (as already stated), is ornamented with drawings of a 



SAFFRON WALDEN. " 47 

considerable number of saffron flowers, all coloured mauve. 
This very interesting deed is preserved in the Guildhall of 
Saffron Walden. 

Mr. Guy Maynard, curator of the Saffron Walden Museum, 
who is well kno\\'n as an authority on the history and antiquities 
of the town, informs me that according to some authorities the 
' field ' in the coat of arms is shown as ' or ' {i.e, gold or yellow), 
and according to others ' azure ' (blue). In the latter case the 
saffron flowers are portrayed as ' or,' but, having regard to the 
true colouring of the saffron flowers grown at Saffron Walden, 
this seems an anachronism. 

I also gather from Mr. Maynard that at one time it was the 
custom at Saffron Walden to add the embellishment of a crest 
to the ' borough arms ' and to displa}^ a hon for that purpose. 
There was certainly no authority for this usage, which may have 
been due to a praiseworthy desire to keep alive the lion of the 
earliest and obsolete seal of the town. Later on the lion was 
discarded in favour of a scallop shell, displayed at the top of 
the arms as a crest. This seems to have been the result of a 
funny misunderstanding of a scallop-shaped ornament which 
surmounts the cartouche on the engraved borough mace (see 
illustration). It is hardly necessary to say that this con- 
ventional bit of ornamentation is not a crest and was never 
intended to be one. 

Unfortunately the mistake has been perpetuated in the 
Victoria History of Essex ii., 361, where it is not only affirmed 
that a ' cockle sliell ' is the crest of the borough, but it is 
further asserted that this emblem is taken from the arms of the 
Abbey of Walden, ' azure, on a bend gules, cotised or, between 
2 mullets of the last, 3 escallops argent.' The only authority 
for this use of this alleged ' crest ' is the design on the borough 
mace of 1685. This is clearly onty a commonplace embellish- 
ment of a decorative character. If it had been meant for a 
crest, the usual ' torse ' (or wreath) would have been shown 
beneath it. 

I must conclude by acknowledging the very great courtesy 
and assistance which I have received from Dr. J. P. Atkinson 
very many times Mayor of Saffron Walden. He has taken 
great trouble in giving me much valuable information and in 
supplying me with photographs and other material. 



v.— THAXTED 



FROM a remote period Thaxted — once a flourishing manu- 
facturing and market town — was known and legally de- 
scribed as a borough. Its earUest charter, as far as can be 
ascertained, dates from 1554 (i and 2 Philip and Mary). This 
charter was confirmed by Queen EUzabeth, and. according to 
Morant. King James I. by a subsequent charter enlarged the 
liberties of the town. Thaxted remained a municipal borough 
until the reign of James II., but in 16S4, on a writ of quo 
warranto being issued against it, the town made no attempt to 
assert or maintain its chartered privileges. The borough was 
accordingly dissolved. The fact was that Thaxted had 
decayed in prosperity and dwindled in population, and had no 
money to spend upon the forlorn hope of preserving its former 
-dignity. 

As early as 1483 or 1484, and probably from a considerably 
earlier date. Thaxted had been known in legal documents as 
a borough (burgus). Richard III.'s grant of the town to his 
mother (1483 or 1484) describes it as ' manerium et burgum de 
Thaxted.' and the same words were used i^ the letters patent 
of Henry VIII. (1511) granting £57 ys. annually from this * manor 
and borough ' to Anne of Cleves. It appears that the town 
belonged to the lord of the manor until 1554, and that the 
officers of the so-called ' borough ' were appointed, from time 
to time, at the manorial courts. 

Morant (1760) states that the former borough of Thaxted 
' had a common seal but no arms.' The borough seal possibly 
originated soon after the grant of the charter in 1554. As 
will be seen later on the seal was in existence and used in the 
year 1617. Morant mentions a * visitation of the heralds * to 
Thaxted on 20th August 1637, ' when Robert Humphreys was 
Mayor and Justice of the Peace and Quorum within the Liberty 
and Borough of Thaxted.' The town also had a Recorder and 
two Bailiffs and ' about 20 Chief Burgesses ' at this date. In 
Thaxted church is a framed modern copy of the record of this 



Plate V 




ARMS OF THE FORMER BOROUGH OF 
THAXTEU. 



THAXTED. 49 

visitation. It mentions the same particulars but gives the date 
as 1634 instead of 1637. It is accompanied b}/ a picture of the 
seal which shows the fetterlock as a sort of nondescript horse- 
shoe, with the white rose beneath it. The drawing seems to be 
an incorrect copy of an original which was perhaps faded or 
defaced. What has become of the original is not known. 

At some period (in spite of Morant's assertion to the con- 
trary) Thaxted seems to have obtained sanction from the College 
of Arms to use a coat of arms identical with its seal. These 
arms, stated by Messrs. Fox-Davies and Crookes to be * re- 
corded at the College of Arms,' are thus described : — 

Gules, two swords in saltire argent, in chief a rose of the last within 
a fetterlock or. 

On making special enquiry at the College of Arms, I learn 
that the arms are recognised and recorded there in this form. 

In the days of its prosperity the great industry of Thaxted 
was cutlery. Mr. Miller Christy records in the Victoria History 
of Essex (vol. ii., 421) that this trade is said to have been * a 
large and flourishing industry from the end of the 14th century 
to the end of the 15th,' and he also mentions a trade token issued 
in Saffron Walden as late as the latter half of the 17th century, 
bearing two crossed swords, which may perhaps have meant 
that the trader who issued it was a cutler. Mr. A. P. Humphry, 
of Horham Hall, Thaxted, tells me that Thaxted lost its pros- 
perity owing to the gradual using up of the wood available for 
the fuel required in the manufacture of cutlery. 

I am also indebted to Mr. Humphry for pointing out that 
the two crossed swords (' in saltire ') in the Thaxted seal and 
arms are evidently derived from the arms of the Cutlers' Company 
of London, granted 16 Edward IV. (1J76-7), which are : 

Gules, three pair of swords in saltire argent, hilts and pommels or, 
two pair in chief and one in base. 

The fetterlock,* which is a Yorkist emblem and badge, and 
the white rose of York are accounted for b}^ the lordship of the 
manor of Thaxted coming into possession, by inheritance, of 
the royal house of York, as portion of the extensive 
Clare estates. As to this, Nathanael Salmon [History of 
Essex, 1740) states that * the Honor of Clare and Gloucester 

*In Vict. Hist. Essex (ii , 421) there is a rather unfortunate statement that ' the common 
seal of the mayor, bailiffs and commonalty [of Thaxtedj bore two swords crossed mid a 
lioisf-shoe in chief.' The eiror is probably due to the incoirect modern drawing in Thaxted 
church already mentioned. 



50 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 



was in jointure to Cecilia, mother of Edward IV..' and that 
she probably had Thaxted as a branch of it. Afterwards (in 
1483-4) she had a grant for life of the * Manor and Borough 
of Thaxted ' from her other son, Richard III. She lived until 
1494. After her death Thaxted descended to her grand-daughter 
Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV, and queen of Henry VII. 

In one of the. carved bosses in the roof of the south 
aisle of Thaxted church a fetterlock is displayed. Mr. Miller 
Christy, in his Handbook of Essex (1887). mentions that in the 
main street of Thaxted is a very ancient timber and plaster 
house, with projecting upper storeys. Beneath its oriel windows 
on the first floor are carved the royal arms of King Edward 
IV., supported by a lion and a bull (the supporters used for 
the royal arms by that monarch).* The royal arms also appear 
on the North Porch of Thaxted church, believed to have been 
built by Edward IV., who also finished the chancel of the church. 
Morant mentions that ' in the East window at the south end 
of the cross aisle ' of Thaxted church, there are several golden 
falcons accompanied by white roses and the motto ' Min Grace/ 
A white (or silver) falcon within a fetterlock was a badge used 




by Edward IV. as Duke of York. Thus the to\\Ti possessed 
some important Yorkist associations, and had good reason to 
identify itself, in its seal and arms, with the house of the white 
rose. 

As far as I can ascertain, there is no perfect impression from 
the ancient seal of Thaxted in existence. 

♦The Rev. Henry L. Elliot reminds nie that the black bull was the badge of the Honour of 
Clare, and often used as a supporter by members of the House of York. 



THAXTED. 51 

Mr. A. P. Humphry writes to me as follows on this subject : 

' I ought to have two impressions of the see^l, on two documents relating 
to vexed questions between the Lord of the Manor and Borougli and 
the Corporation, but they have at some time been broken to pieces. Of 
one of them enough is left to show ' ORIS/ no doubt part of MAIORIS, 
and part of the hilt of a sword. The other, in a smril silk bag, might 
be complete, but it is in such small pieces that I have not ventured to 
open it or to try to unite them.' 

These two deeds are dated respectively 3rd March 1617 
and 20th May 1617. 

The best representation of the ancient seal is that here 
reproduced. It is taken from the version of Sir Edward Bysshe's 
VisUaiion of Essex, 1664, edited and published by J. J. Howard, 
LL.D., F.S.A., in 1888, as already mentioned. There is no 
allusion of any kind to this drawing in the text, and no reference 
to any visit by Sir Edward B3^sshe to Thaxted. In the official 
record of the Visitation, at the College of Arms, the drawing 
does not appear, and is not mentioned. Probably Thaxted 
was visited by the heralds and a drawing or impression of the 
seal made, but, the town being at this time in a very impoverished 
state, it is likely that the usual fees were not forthcoming, and 
that therefore the seal, though included in the rough draft or 
notes made by the heralds, did not find a place in the final and 
official record. 



VI— CHELMSFORD. 

THE borough of Chelmsford wds incorporated on 19th 
September 1888, and after the manner of the newly 
ennobled it lost no time in adopting a coat of arms, 
a crest and a motto. These were duly settled by the College 
of Arms, in 1889, within a few months of the granting of the 
charter. 

The present writer had some share in suggesting the various 
charges, but the chief author of the device was Mr. A. J. Fur- 
bank, solicitor, of Chelmsford, who acted as Provisional Town 
Clerk of the borough, and who took a leading part in securing 
the incorporation. He, I believe, was solely responsible for 
suggesting the admirable motto of the town, ' Many minds, 
one heart.' The heraldic description of the armorial bearings 
is as follows : — 

Argent, in fess a bridge with three arches and with buttresses proper ; 
in chief two crosiers crossed between two lions ramj)ant azure ; in bast- 
two bars wavy azure. 

Crest : A crosier erect between two crossed swords hilted and mounted 
or, encircled by a wreath of oak leaves i)roper. 

These arms have been described, N\ithout any intentional 
word-play, as an ' abridged history of Chelmsford.' The bridge 
represents the first bridge built over the river Cann, about 
the year iioo, by Maurice, Bishop of London, Lord of the 
Manor of Chelmsford. This bridge is reputed to have been the 
making of the town, for it brought the main traffic from London 
through Chelmsford, instead of through Writtle, which had 
formerly been the main thoroughfare. The two blue lions 
are from the arms ol the Mildma\' familv, whose shield bears 



Plate VI. 




ARMS OF 
THE BOROUGH OF CHELMSFORD. 



\ 



CHELMSFORD. 53 

argent three lions rampant azure*. The Mildmays obtained 
the Manor of Chehiislord at the time of the Reformation, by 
grant from Henry VIII. From the reign of Edward the Con- 
fessor until that period, the Bishops of London had been Lords 
of the Manor of Chelmsford, and had been very good friends 
of the town, securing it a market by royal charter, and otherwise 
promoting its prosperit}. The Manor of Moulsham, now part 
of the borough, had belonged to the Abbots of Westminster 
from pre-Norman times, but the Abbey had to relinquish it at 
the Reformation, and it was granted to the Mildmays (who 
appear to have paid a good round sum for it) b}' Queen Elizabeth. 
The t\\o crossed crosiers, between the two triumphant Mildmay 
hons, represent the dispossessed manorial lords, the Bishop of 
London and the Abbot, ^^'hether the heralds intended by 
crossing these emblems to show the natural displeasure of the 
disendowed ecclesiastics must remain one of the secrets of the 
College. The tA\o blue wavy bars in the base of the shield in- 
dicate, as usual, in heraldry, water. They are intended to de- 
note the ancient ford of the river Chelmer, from which Chelms- 
forcl (Celmersford in the Domesday Survey) derives its name. 
In the Victoria History of Essex Mi. J. Horace Round remarks 
on the number of parishes in Essex taking their names from 
fords ■--' Uttlesford Bridge in Wenden preserves the memory 
of the first of these fords. The course of the great London road 
is marked by Stratford, Ilford, Romford, ^^Mdford, Chelmsford, 
Easterford (Kelvedon), Copford and Empford (Stan way Bridge).* 
(F. C. H. vol. I, p. 406.) 

In the crest is a second but more compressed edition of 
the history of the two manors. The crosier represents the Abbot 
of Westminster. The two crossed swords are the arms of the 
see of London, the sword (which also figures in the arms of London 
city) being of courss the emblem of St. Paul. The circlet of 
oak leaves is the ancient symbol of civic dignity and freedom. 

It is interesting ^to note that in 1889, when these arms were 
adopted for Chelmsford, there was no thought of the possibihty 
of Chelmsford ever becoming a bishop's see. The ecclesiastical 
emblems were very properly introduced as a memorial of the 
past, and of the fact that Chelmsford owed very much of its 
prosperity to the mitred lords of its manors, and especially to 

The Mildmay crest is also a blue lion rampant. 



54 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

the Bishops of London. The constitution of the See of Chekns- 
ford in 1914, just over a quarter of a century after the incor- 
poration, makes the arms of the borough additionally appro- 
priate. 

Strictly speaking, I believe that in the crest the crozier and 
swords should be shown as resting on a rock ' proper * or a 
piece of rock work. This rockwork is said to be in accordance 
with the grant of the College of Arms, but it certainly spoils 
the design, has no obvious meaning or use, and is not, I be- 
lieve, usually shown in the official designs and insignia. 

It should be added that Chelmsford was indebted for the 
grant of its arms to Mr. W. M. Tufnell, J.P., of Hatfield Place, 
Chelmsford, who defrayed the heavy fees payable to the College 
of Arms. 



VII.— SOUTHEND»ON»SEA. 

SOUTHEND was incorporated as a municipal borougli in 
August 1892, and became a county' borough in 1914. 
' Southend ' proper is distinctly a modern creation and the 
town can boast of a quite phenomenal growth in prosperity 
and in population. 

For over some twenty years or more Southend used a 




PSEUDO-ARMS OF SOUTHEND. 

Discarded in 11)14. 



strange device in place of borough arms. This design is here 
shown. It is hardly necessary to say that it never had any 
sort of authority from the College of Arms, 



56 



ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 



A really heraldic description of this curious design is not 
possible, but it may be roughly indicated as follows : — 

Party per pale, on the dexter side a landscape representing a well 
in a meadow^ on the sinister side a representation of Prittlewell Church, 
all proper ; in a chief a picture representing a pier and esplanade, also 
proper ; over all, an inescutcheon with the reputed arms of the East 
Saxons, namely, gules, three seaxes fessways argent, hilted gold. Crest 
On waves of the sea a ship of three masts in sail proper. Motto : Forti 
nihil difficile. (To a brave man nothing is difficult.) 

These pseudo-arms were the subject of many unfavour- 
able criticisms, and early in 19 14 a movement was set on foot 




ARMS OF THE COUNTV BOROUGH OF SOUTHEND-ON-SEA. 
Granted by Letters Patent, dated i and 2 January igt^;. 

to obtain a suitable and authorised coat-of-arms for the newly- 
constituted county borough. 

After some vicissitudes the proposal received sanction trom 
the Southend Town Council, and eventually Letters Patent 
were obtained, dated i and 2 Jan. 1915, from the King of 
Arms, granting an entirely new coat of arms (as here shown) 
to the county borough of Southend-on-Sea. 



SOUTHEND-ON-SEA. 57 

The Town Clerk of Southend (Mr. H. J. Worwood) specially 
interested himself in the subject, and it was due, in con- 
siderable measure, to his advice that the application to the 
College of Arms was made. The Southend Town Council 
were advised in the matter by Mr. E. A. Ebblewhite, barrister - 
at -law. 

The heraldic description of these arms is as follows : 

Arms. — Azure, on a pile argent between on the dexter an anchor 
erect, on the sinister a gridiron, and in has 3 a trefoil slipped or, a 
flower vase, issuing therefrom a sprig of lilies proper, 

Cresr. — Issuant out of a mural crown gules the mast of a ship proper 
flowing therefrom a flag argent charged with a cross throughout, 
also gules. 

Sjipporteis. — On the dexter side a mediaval fisherman trailing a net 
with his exterior hand, all proper ; and on the sinister side a Cluniac 
monk proper, holding in the dexter hand a book gules, and in thg 
exterior hand a staff, also proper. 

Motto. — ' Per Mare per Ecclesiam ' (By the sea, by the church). 

I am indebted to Mr. Worwood for the following information 
explanatory of these bearings. The charges on the shield 
represent emblematically the four parishes comprised within the 
county borough of Southend. The vase with the lily indicates 
the prior}' and the [)arish of St. Mary the Virgin, Prittlewell, 
and the device is taken in its entirety from the 13th century 
seal of the Cluniac Priory of St. Mary, Prittlewell, an important 
religious foundation which had considerable influence in this 
district. The anchor (gold) is the symbol of St. Clement, who, 
says the legend, was martyred by being drowned in the sea, 
with an old anchor attached to his neck. St. Clement is patron 
Saint of Leigh-on-Sea, now comprised within the borough. The 
gridiron (also of gold) is the emblem of St. Laurence, patron saint 
of the ancient parish church ol Eastwood, dedicated jointly to 
St. Laurence and All Saints. According to tradition St. 
Laurence was roasted to death on a gridiron over a slow fire. 
Eastwood (which in 1841 had only 516 inhabitants, and in 1911 
had a population of i,6i'/) has also been added to the borough 
of Southend. The gold trefoil in the base (which is also gold) 
is emblematical of the Holy Trinity, to whom the ancient 
parish church of Southchurch (once known also as Southsea) is 
dedicated. Southchurch was incorporated in the borough of 
Southend as long ago as i Nov. 1897, and has now a popula- 
tion of 3,954 against 432 in 1841. 



58 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS 

The mast of an ancient galley, forming the crest, indicates 
the former reputation of Leigh as a port. The old English flag 
— the cross of St. George — has been introduced. The former 
importance of Leigh has been ecHpsed by the modern 
development of the place. It had in igii a population of 
7,713 against 1,271 in 1841. Leigh (or Leigh-on-Sea, as I 
believe it likes to be called) was incorporated with the borough 
of Southend by the Southend Corporation Act, 1913, which 
came into operation on 9 November 1913. 

The figures of the supporters have been copied from 
mediaeval illuminated manuscripts in the British Museum, and 
are intended to indicate the two classes of men who in early 
days influenced and developed the district now comprised 
within the county borough. 

The motto ' illustrates the armorial bearings, and recognises 
the effect of the proximity of the sea and the influence of the 
church upon the early history of the borough ' — or rather of the 
parishes now comprised within the borough. 



Plate VII. 




ARMS OF 
THE BOROUGH OF WEST HAM, 



VIII.— WEST HAM. 



^yHE municipal borough of West Ham obtained its 
X charter of incorporation in June 1886, and two or 

three 3^ears later, under the provisions of the Local Government 
Act, 188^, it became a county borough. Soon after its incor- 
poration West Ham secured a grant of arms from the College 
of Arms. The heraldic description of these armorial bearings 
is as follows : — 

Per fesse, gules and or, in chief a ship under sail proper and two hammers 
in saltire of the second ; in base 3 chevronels of the first ; over all a pale 
ermine, thereon a crosier erect of the second. 

Crest : On a wreath of the colours in front of a sword in bend dexter 
point downwards, proper, pommel and hilt gold, surmounted by a crosier 
in bend sinister or, a sun rising in splendour, proper. 

Motto : Deo confidimus (We trust to God). 

These arms have reference to the ancient and famous Abbey 
of Stratford, otherwise Langthome-at-Bow, founded in 1135 
by WiUiam de Montfitchet. The arms of this abbey, which 
existed up to the Dissolution in the reign of Henry VHL, were : 

Or, three chevrons (or chevronels) gules, over all a crosier in bend 
argent. 

Stratford Abbey had taken its arms (by counterchanging 
the tinctures) from the coat of its founder. The Montiitchet 
arms were : 

Gules, three chevronels or. 



6o ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

Chaucer has a well-known reference to Stratford, in the 
Prologue to The Canterhiiry Tales : 

Ther was also a Nonne, a Prioresse, 

That of hir smyling was ful simple and coy ; 

Her grettest ootli was but by seynt Loy ; 

And she was cleped madame Eglentyne. 

Ful wel she song the service divyne, 

Entuned in hir nose ful semely ; 

And Frensh she spak ful faire and fetisly, 

After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, 

For Frensh of Paris was to hir unknowe. 
Here Chaucer is assumed to be referring to the Benedictine 
nunnery at Stratford, * famous even then for its antiquity.' 
According to Tanner it was founded by William, Bishop of 
London, before 1087, whilst Dugdale says it was founded by Christ- 
iana de Sumery, and that her foundation was confirmed by King 
Stephen. These statements appear to be erroneous, unless 
tliere was some smaller and earher foundation than that alluded 
to by Chaucer. Mr. R. C. Fowler, M.A., in his very careful 
and authoritative article on the Rehgious Houses of Essex {Vic- 
toria Hist Essex, vol. ii.), states that the abbey was founded by 
William de Montfitchet in 1135, as a House for Benedictine 
nuns. The abbey was at first endowed with the lordship of 
West Ham and other property, and in 1309 it was further en- 
riched by the possession of the advowson of East Ham. In 1147 
the abbey, which was affihatedto the house of Savigny in Erance, 
became (Hke its parent Rouse) Cistercian. 

The ship in the dexter chief of the West Ham arms is in token 
of the Victoria London Docks, situated in the borough. They 
were constructed in 1855-6, at a cost of £800,000, and have, 
of course, materially helped the growth of West Ham and 
Plaistow. The crossed hammers are not (I hope) intended 
to allude to the name ' Ham,' but merely to another cause of 
West Ham's greatness — the Thames Ironworks and Ship- 
building Company. The crosier on an ermine pale is in honour 
of the x\bbey already referred to. 

In the crest this crosier reappears, crossed with a sword, 
which is presumably meant to indicate the neighbouring City 
of London. The sword of St. Paul figures in the arms of the 
City of London, and West Ham is now tlie chief portion of 
* London-over-the-Border.* The rising sun is meant to typify 
the rapid rise and growth of the borough. 



WEST HAM. 6l 

It wall be seen that the College of Arms bestowed upon 
Chelmsford a crest very similar to that of West Ham, which 
may be merely an accidental coincidence, or may be the result of 
poverty of ideas. To most people, including Sir W. H. St. John 
Hope, Mr. Oswald Barron, Mr. J. H. Round, LL.D., and other 
modern authorities on heraldic subjects, the idea of giving a 
crest to a borough is incongruous, the crest being rather a per- 
sonal emblem or cognisance. However, there is the ancient 
})recedent of the City of London crest, and in modern times 
the College of Arms has always encouraged boroughs in the 
practice of assuming a crest in addition to the shield of arms. 



IX.— EAST HAM. 

EAST HAM was constituted a borough by charter dated 
27 August, 1904. It has no grant of arms, but uses a 
pseudo-heraldic device here shown : 




It is not a satisfactory design from the heraldic point of 
view. If an attempt to describe it in heraldic terms were made, 
this might be done somewhat as follows : 

Party per pale, in the dexter half of the shield party per fesse, gules 
and argent, three flaming torches proper and a three-masted ship in full 



EAST HAM. 63 

sail on waves of the sea proper ; on the sinister half of the shield ermine 
a crosier erect or. 

Issuant behind the chief of the shield, in lieu of a crest, a sun rising, 
gules. 

Motto : Progressio cum populo (Progress with the people). 

The arms are a somewhat obvious imitation of the arms 
of West Ham. Presumably the three torches are meant to be 
torches of progress ; the ship denotes the shipping of East Ham 
on the Thames ; the crosier may refer to the fact that East 
Ham ancienth^ belonged to the endowment of Westminster 
Abbey, or it may be meant to allude to the grant of the Manor 
of East Ham, in 1309, to Stratford Abbey. 

The fiery sun in the background, which is not a crest, and has 
no heraldic justification or significance in such a place, is no 
doubt intended, like the crest of West Ham, to indicate the 
spreading glory and greatness of the borough. 



X.— SOME DOUBTFUL 'TOWN ARMS.' 

HALSTEAD. 



I 



N Sir Bernard Burke's General Armory, 1875 and 1878 
editions, there is the following entr\7 : 

Halsted, Town of (co. Essex) . Az. a coronet composed of one fleur-de-lis 
and two leaves or. 

The Halstead Urban District Council, upon its formation 
some thirty years ago, adopted these arms and placed them in 
the council seal. The Rev. Henry L. EUiot, vicar of Gosfield, 
Halstead, subsequently made some enquiries upon the subject, 
and he received a letter dated, from the College of Arms, 15 
May 1903, from the then editor of Burke's Armory, as follows : 

' The result of a search here [College of Arms] shows that you are correct 
in stating that the town of Halstead has no right to arms. . . I cannot 
understand how the entry crept into Burke's Armory,' 

In communicating this information to me Mr. Elliot adds 
that * the only Corporation in Halstead in the past was the College 
founded by the Bourchiers, and endowed in 141 1. It is possible 
that this coat belonged to that foundation, but of this no proof 
has been forthcoming.' 

For some reason, however, certain heralds of the i7tli 
century (more than a century after the extinction of the * College 
of Halstead ') seem to have assigned these arms to ' the town 
of Halstead in Essex.' Harleian MS. 1370, is a small oblong 
octavo volume, with an entry at the beginning : 

' A Rctorne of Entreys made by me Thomas Wootton from the 5th 
of November 1647 ^"^ so ^forwards.' 



SOME DOUBTFDI, ' TOWN ARMS. 



65 







The entries appear to have been 

continued up to the year 1660 or 

thereabouts. In this manuscript, 

foUo 16, is the drawing here shown. 

It is given with the arms of many 

other towns and cities. 

In Egerton MS. 1073, which is 

entitled ' Arms of Cities and 

Famihes,' and which is also of the 

seventeenth century, there is a 

similar drawing, here reproduced. 

It is headed ' Halstead in Essex.' 

It appears on the same page as a 

trick of the arms of the borough of 

Sudbury in Suffolk, and it may 

be noted that these are given harl ms. 1370, fo. 16. 

accurately and carefully with the 
tinctures marked. 

There is no evidence that 
Halstead was ever a corporate 
town, but according to Holman's 
Halstead * the manor of Hal- 
stead had considerable and 
special privileges. Service of 
processes on behalf of the King 
in Halstead was not done by 
the Sheriff, but by * the lord's 
bailiff of the liberty, who from 
time to time hath served within 

the said lordship and taken the fees thereof, without rendering 

account for the same.' Holman adds that the lord of the 

manor of Halstead * hath always had the nomination of the 

coroner.' 

From a remote period Halstead had a market, which belonged 

to the King. It also had a pair of stocks, a pillory, and an 

assise of bread and beer, but I imagine that many small and 

non-corporate towns possessed these blessings. The kings of 

England, according to Holman, ' continued lords of this market 

* '//oZ/nfl/!'."; //a/s/tvirf, being Historical Notes arranged by William Holman, " Pastor of 
the Church of Protestant Dissenters" in Halstead, Essex, 1700-1730 a.d. Prepared for the 
press by T. G, Gibbons, M.A., sometime Vicar of Halstead' (1902), 




EGERTON 



073, 



66 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

till the reign of Henry III., who in the 35th year of his reign 
[1250-13 did, by his letters patents, grant unto Abell de Sancto 
Martino and his heirs for ever that he should have a market 
on Saturdays at his manor of Halstead, and a fair yearly, to 
last two days, namely the eve and day of St. Dion3^sius, with 
all liberties and customs belonging to such market and fair.' 

Edward III. in the fourth year of his reign (1330-1) granted 
to Robert Lord Bourchier a Court Leet and also a market every 
week upon Tuesdays and a fair yearly upon the eve and day of 
St. Luke — this being in place of the market and fair granted by 
Henry III., about eighty years earlier. As Colchester had a 
market on Saturday and a fair on St. Denys's day (the latter 
granted in 1318), we may guess why the days of Halstead market 
day and fair were altered. 

Holman has other references which seem to indicate the 
existence of some corporate guild or authority. He notes : 

MooTE Hall. In this town was an house so called, for at a court 
held 2oth Henry VH. John May, after the death of his father, John May, 
took up a parcel of customary garden with the appurtenances lately called 
Le Mote-Hall.' 

Yeld-Hall. — There was a Guild Hall, alias the Yeld-Hall, in this 
town, that had a Fraire Clerk belonging to it, as I find by a deed dated 
loth October, 20th Henry VIII.' 

A further reference to this Guildhall was unearthed by the 
industrious Holman, namely Letters Patent of 3 Edward VL, 
whereby the king ' gave a message in Hawsted called Le Yeld- 
Hall to William Berners and George Wattes and their heirs. 
Isaack Metcalf paid a fine for it 20th EHzabeth. Tis the house 
at the bottom of the town where the widow Clayton liveth.' 

The widow Clayton was no doubt a most worthy ^personage, 
but her name alone would not be sufficient to identify Halstead's 
Guildhall. Local tradition, however, preserves the information. 
The Rev. T. G. Gibbons appended this note to Holman 's record : 

' Fraire Clerk. Morant ii. 283, note, speaks of a " Fanye Clerk " 
(whose business it was to officiate in divine things). Derived from Feria 
— a festival, or one who officiates at festivals. This Fraire Clerk acted 
as chaplain for the members of the Guild. Their Guild House still remains 
and was occupied as a butcher's shop and dwelling house by Mr. G. D. 
Green, and he has been succeeded by Mr. Nash, who has cased the old 
timber structure with brick.' 

This note seems to clear up, at any rate, the position of the 
GuildhaU. 



SOME DOUBTFUL ' TOWN ARMS.' ^7 

The derivation of ' Fraire Clerk ' or ' Farrye Clerk ' from the 
word * feria ' is not Morant's. It is probably a surmise by the 
Rev. T. G. Gibbons — and a doubtful one. Morant's note was 
in reference to the preceptory of Little Maplestead : 

' To this preceptory belonged a Farrye Clark, whose business it was to 
officiate in divine things. He had a pension out of several lands and 
tenements in divers parishes.' 

With all his research the careful and industrious Holman 
has no other information likely to throw any light on the use 
of arms or of a heraldic seal by any official or guild or corporate 
body at Halstead. Nor does he appear to have been aware of 
any arms in use by the town or any functionary of the manorial 
court or of the ' College of Halstead.' His record of this 
' College ' is meagre. As it is possible that the arms may have 
been the seal of this ' College,' it is desirable to quote some 
particulars relating to that foundation as given by Mr. R. C. 
Fowler, M.A., in the Victoria History of Essex (vol. ii.) : 

The College of Halstead. Edward III., on 2 April 1341, granted 
licence for Robert Bourchier, chancellor of England, to found a college or 
chapelry of seculars in Halstead and to endow them with lands. . . 
This licence appears never to have taken effect. On May 2, 1412, Henry 
IV granted licence for Richard, Bishop of London, to found a chantry 
of live chaplains to celebrate divine service daily in the parish church 
of Halstead, for the souls of Sir Robert Bourchier and Margaret his wife 
[and others of the family] . . . One of the five chaplains was to be 
the master, and the chantry was to be called Bourchier's chantry. The 
college was founded accordingly on 12 Nov. in the same year and endowed 
with 3 tenements in Halstead, etc. 

The college appears to have existed up to the year 1535, 
when John Reston was master. In 155 1 (June 24) it was granted 
to WiUiam Parr, Marquis of Northampton. 

It will be seen that there is no evidence in these various 
items of Halstead history to account for the so-called arms 
of the town. Possibly the future discovery of some ancient 
seal may elucidate the matter. 

The crown of fleurs-de-lis and leaves alternately seems to 
have been first used as a royal emblem in the reign of Edward I. 
1272-1307. It was superseded in the reign of Edward III., who, 
according to Berry's Encyclopcedia Heraldica (ii., 268), ' seems 
to have been the first sovereign of England who enriched the 
crown with fleurs-de-lis and crosses pattee.' 



68 ARMS OF THE ESSEX BOROUGHS. 

CLACTON-ON-SEA. 

CLACTON, like other watering places, has suffered from 
cheap china. The excessive commercial zeal of British 
and foreign china-merchants has led them to flood watering- 
places and other pleasure resorts with small articles of china 
or earthenware purporting to bear the armorial bearings of the 
town. Like most modern seaside resorts, Clacton has no right 
to any armorial bearings at all. Such places present no difhculty 
to the ingenious manufacturer. He promptly fabricates some 
strange armorial device — generally absurdly inappropriate and 
always infringing the elementary rules of heraldry. Fraudulent 
monstrosities of this sort appeared in Clacton-on-Sea and were 
bought by innocent visitors in the belief that the designs were 
really the authentic arms of the town. 

In self-defence the Clacton Urban Council — ^in the year 191 1 
— formally adopted a device which has at least the merit of being 
correct heraldically and of embodying some local history. The 
chief fault of the design is that it is overloaded. An Urban 
District Council has no right to armorial bearings, but Clacton 
is a growing town, and in course of time will probably become a 
municipal borough. Its corporation will then be able to claim 
legitimate arms, and may perhaps induce the College to recognise 
the coat now adopted without authority — or some variation of 
it. Meanwhile, as the design has some sort of official status, 
a description of it — for what it is worth — may be given. Heral- 
dically this description is as follows : 

Party per chevron, azure semee of cross crosslets and gules ; in chief 
two cinquefoils argent ; in base between two escallops or, two crossed 
swords argent, hilted gold ; over all on an inescutcheon gules, bordure 
or, 3 seaxes argent hilted gold. 

Crest. A galley proper with one sail charged with an escallop gules 5 
from the mast and from the stern two flags, floating in each case to the 
dexter. 

Motto. Lux, Salubritas et Felicitas. (Light, Health and Happiness). 

The upper portion of the shield is borrowed from the armorial 
coat of the D'Arcy family. The D'Arcys of St. Osyth held the 
manor of Great Clacton for some time after the Reformation. 
The crossed swords in the lower part of the shield are in token 
of the episcopal see of London, Clacton having been part of the 
possessions of the Bishops of London from the time of the 
Norman conquest until 1545. The scallop shells are the emblem 



SOME DOUBTFUL ' TOWN ARMS.' 69 

of St. James, to whom the new district church at Clacton-on-Sea 
is dedicated. It has also been suggested that, the scallop being 
used as a badge by pilgrims, these shells have reference to the 
modern sea-shore of Clacton to which so many pilgrims resort. 
The inescutcheon is, of course, the traditional shield of the East 
Saxons, used also to denote Essex. The bordure of gold is ap- 



parently introduced to enable this inescutcheon to be super- 
imposed on the tinctures of the shield without offending the 
laws of heraldry. The crest indicates the maritime importance 
of Clacton, the escallop being shown on the sail of the galley to 
distinguish the crest from similar badges, charges, or crests 
used by other maritime towns and ports. 



ARMS OF 
THE SEE OF CHELMSFORD. 

THE arms of the See of Chelmsford (here shown in 
colours) were designed, soon after the formation of 
the Chelmsford diocese, by the Rev. Henry L. EUiot, vicar 
of Gosfield. The arms were approved and adopted by the 
newly appointed Bishop of Chelmsford in April 1914. 
The heraldic description is as follows : — 

Or, on a saltire gules in bend sinister a sword argent pommelled 
gold, surmounted by a pastoral staff of the field in bend dexter. 

The shield is surmounted (in the usual way) by a Bishop's 
mitre, proper. 

The design commemorates the various ecclesiastical juiis- 
dictions under which the church in Essex has at Various times 
been placed, viz., the sees of (i) London (represented by the 
sword of St. Paul) ; (2) Rochester (by the red St. Andrew's 
cross) ; and (3) St. Albans (by the gold of the field, gold being, in 
the arms of the Diocese of St. Albans, the metal of the saltire 
there shown). The pastoral staff is added to indicate the 
episcopal nature of the arms. 



Plate VIII. 




ARMS OF THE 
DIOCESAN SEE OF CHELMSFORD. 



Plate IX. 




TRADITIONAL ARMS OF 
THE KINGS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 



THE REPUTED 
ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 



THERE is a mystery about the three seaxes or Saxon swords, 
the reputed arms of the East Saxon Kingdom, sometimes 
used in modern times as being the arms of Essex and known to 
the irreverent as ' the three fish-knives.' 

The earUest reference to these traditional * arms ' of the 
East Saxons, as far as I have been able to trace, is to be found 
in Richard Verstegan's A Kesiltuiion of Decayed Intelligence, 
printed at Antwerp by Robert Bruney in 1605. 

Verstegan was no doubt a deeply-read man, but his book- 
learning was of the kind prevalent among the learned in those 
days. He was a ready behever in almost all that he found 
in ancient manuscripts or volumes. In his unquestioning way 
he informs us that Erkenwyne, the first King of the East Saxons, 
bore for his arms three seaxes argent in a field gules. Verstegan 
gives no authority for this statement, but there is no reason to 
doubt that he had it from what seemed to him a thoroughly 
respectable source, and also that it was by this time a well- 
established heraldic legend. 

Verstegan's remarks on the subject of these arms are diffuse, 
but they are also curious, and as his book is difficult of access 
it may be as well to give the passage in full ; 

This name then of Saxons they vndoubtedly had (though some hold 
it vnlykely) of their vse and wearing of a certaine kynd of swoord or 
weapon inuented and made bowing crooked, much after the fassion of a 
sythe, in imitation whereof it should seem to haue first bin made. And 
when of late I conferred with the excellent learned man M. Justus Lipsius 
about the Saxons true appellation (who I also found to concurr with mee 
in opinion) hee could presently put mee in mynd that a sythe is yet at this 



72 THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 

present in the Netherlands called a saisen. Now the swoords of our 
anceters being made somewhat after that manner (the edge beeing on the 
contrarie syde) they might wel carrie a like name vnto such an edge-tool 
as they were made after : albeit wee fynd these kynd of swoords 
anciently written seaxen. or seaxes, yet is it lyke enough that our anceters 
sounded the x as s, for the Welshmen wrote them Saison as they yet write 
vs, which it is lyke they wrote, according as they hard them pronounce 
there own appellation. 

Of this kynd of weapon they had two sortes, the one whereof being long 
were worne for swoords & the other beeing short, as hangers or wood 
knyues, and these they called hand seaxes, and such they were which after 
there com.ing into Britaine, they had still in vse, and did weare priuately 
hanging vnder there long skirted cotes ; wherewith at a banket on Salis- 
bitrie plaine where Hengistus had enuyted King Vortiger, about three 
hundreth of his nobles, the watch-woord, Nem eour seaxes, that is Take 
your seaxes, beeing giuen, were all of them suddenly slaine. And as these 
long seaxes or swoords, were as is said before, made after the forme of a 
sythe, so might there hand-seaxes as well in fassion & bignes as somwhat 
in name, agree unto there then vsed manner of sides. Of this kynd of 
hand-seax, Erkenwyne king of the East-Saxons did beare for his armes 
three argent, in a feild gules. And the learned Engelhusius, of the kynd 
of seax and of the name of the Saxons, hath this ensuing Latin rythme 
Quippe Ireuis gladius apud illos Saxa vacatur, 
Vnde sihi Saxo nomen traxisse putatur. 
which may be englished thus. 

Because a Saxa termed is. 

The short swoord which they weare, 
Thcre-of the name of Saxons they 
May wel he thought to beare. 
Now then it being manifest that our anceters did affect & vsually 
beare this kynd of weapon called a Seax, & that we fynrl it not to have 
bin vsed among the other Germans, vnlesse of such as afterward may haue 
followed them in that fassion, why may not the peculiar bearers of that 
kynd of weapon, haue gotten after the same there appellation ? for seeing 
the name of the weapon & the name of the bearers thereof, is all one, 
either the weapon was so called of the men, or the men of the weapon : 
but that men are vsuall}' called according to the weaj)ons which they bearc^ 
dayly experience doth shew vs, espetially in warre, where by the names 
of Lances, Carabines, pykes, muskets, &c., the bearers of such weapons 
rather then the weapons are vnderstood." 

John Speed, in his History of Great Britaine, Lond., 1611 
(p. 285), summarises Verstegan thus : 

' lustus Lipsius coniectureth and Engelhusius aflirmeth (as Verstegan 
saith) that the name Saxon tooke the appellation from the Fashion of the 
Weapon that vsuallie they wore ; which was a Crooked Bowing Sword ^ 
somewhat like vnto a Sithe, with the edge on the contrarie side, called 
by the Netherlanders a Saisen and by themselves Seaxen ; and the shorter 
of like fashion for hand- w(;a pons, Seaxes ; such as were those that wt-rc 
hid vnder their Garments in the Massacre of the British Nobilitie vpon 



THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 



73 




Salisbury Plaine when Hengist gaue the watch-word Nem cour Seaxes, 
that is Take you (sic) Swords : three of which Kniiies Arc^ent in a Field 
Gules, were borne by Erkenwyne, King of the East- Saxons, vpon his shield 
of Armes, as some of our Heralds have imblazed.* 

John Speed seems to have been more 
doubtful than Verstegan about King 
Erkenwyne's actual use of these arms. 
At any rate his statement is guarded by 
' as some of our Heralds have imblazed.' 
However, on page 300, Speed printed at 
the head of his account of the kingdom of 
the East Saxons, a neat wood-block show- 
ing the arms as here reproduced. In 
like manner Speed gives the other 
traditional arms of the kingdoms of the 
ARMS OF THE KINGDOM Saxou hcptarchy, including of course the 
OF THF. EAST SAXONS ^rms of the Kings of East AngHa. In 

/row speed's History oj , ... .-, tt ■ , 

Great liritaiiic (1611) f. 300. the sccond edition 01 Speed s History 
(1623) the statement about the arms is 
repeated without any variation, and the 
arms themselves are again illustrated, this 
time by a new wood-block copied from the 
former one, the shield being, however, dis- 
played on a waving banner. 

In Siowe MS. 670, folio 1 10, in a hand- 
wTiting of late 17th century, or early i8th 
centuiy, is given the following list of the 
arms of the Saxon kings : 

K. of Kent, G a Horse saliant A. 

K. of South Saxons, B 6 martlets or 

K. ot West Saxons, G a Wiverne Or. 

K. of East Saxons, G 3 Swords in pale barrywise ppr., hilts & pomells O. 

K. of East Angles, B 3 Crowns Ducall O. 

K. of Northumberland, Paly of 6 B.O. 

K. Mercian, B a X or, 

K, Egbert, B a -f- flory (alias potency), or. 

Here is the oldest corroboration of the arms of the East 
Saxon kings, as described by Verstegan in 1605, and pictured 
by Sj^eed in 161 1. The description ' Gules 3 swords in pale 
barrywise proper, hilts and pommels or ' is practically identical 
with Verstegan 's statement. 

As already stated Speed also gives a coat of arms for each 




Front Speed s ' History,' 
Jiid Edition, 1623. 



74 THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 

kingdom of the Saxon Heptarchy. All these Saxon ' coats of 
arms ' are probably spurious. Heraldry cannot be said to have 
existed in Anglo-Saxon days. But badges and emblematic devices 
have been associated with nationalities and with sovereigns and 
chieftains from earhest times, and it may be that here and there 
some sort of ancient authority may exist for the armorial devices 
which the Tudor or medieval heralds chose to assign to some 
of the ancient kings w^ho ruled m Britain before the Norman 
conquest. 

In many cases the kings themselves are quite imaginary, 
and we can therefore dismiss the arms attributed to these per- 
sonages as inventions. Necessity w^as their mother. The 
heralds dehghted in making up ' pedigrees,' and great licence 
was taken in compiling them. The evidence of such an easy- 
going fabulist as Geoffrey of Monmouth was accepted as quite 
sufficient. Thus such kings as Coilus of Colchester (old King 
Cole), King Arthur of many legends. King Woden (apparently of 
East Anglia), King Brute and other mythical royalties figure in 
the illuminated genealogies, each with his coat of arms duly 
emblazoned near his name. The Kings of the East Saxons and 
the other hues of Kings of earlier periods had to be 
provided with coats of arms to give the pedigrees proper 
pictorial effect. This I assume to have been the origin of 
these traditional devices. 

The arms of the East Saxons are portrayed in various other 
works published later than Speed's History. They are shown 
in Peter Heylyn's Help to English History (copied evidenily from 
Speed), but there only in the posthumous third edition of 1671, 
where they are amongst the additions by Christopher Wilkinson. 
In a later edition (1773) * with Great Additions ' by Paul Wright, 
B.D., the pictorial illustration is omitted, but this information 
is supplied : 

The Kingdom of the East Saxons is the fourth in order of the Heptarchy ; 
began in an. 527, some five j'ears after that of the West Saxons. It com 
prehended the counties of Essex, Middlesex, and part of Hertfordshire ; 
the Kings those that follow. 

Arms. G. three Seaxes Arg. pomelle O. 

This was a weapon of the Saxons which they wore under their coats 
when they slew the Britons on Salisbury-plain. They were called Saxons 
from the use of tliis weapon. See Verstcgan, p, 21. 

In the Harleian, Egerton, Stowe and other collections of 



THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 75 

heraldic manuscripts, m the British Museum, there are many 
which give descriptions and pictures of reputed arms of ancient 
British, Saxon and Danish Kings, but as far as I have been able 
to discover, only one of these [Siowe MS., 670), already cited, 
corroborates iuUy the arms portrayed by Speed in 161 1. 
Harl. MS. 1894, fo. 262, has the following list : 

Oute of a petegree of Mr. Stowes made in Henry the 7 tyme. 

1. Woden bare B a cross or formie, florie or patie. 

2. The Kinges of Briteyre, B three crownes in pale or. 

3. The Kinges of Kente, G iij. faulchens in pale poyntes down. 

[A small sketch is added showing roughly three swords somewhat of 
the ' Seax ' pattern with their points downward.] 

4. The Kinges of Essex, a shield G. 

5. The Kinges of Westsex, B a crosse formie patie florrie between 5 
martlets or. 

6. The Kinges of Sussex, B iij. trefoyles or. 

7. The Kinges of Easte Angle, or iij. crownes G. 

8. The Kinges of mercia, B iij. crownes or. 

9. The Kinges of Northumberland, G a crosse betweene 4 lions ram- 
pant or. 

10. Elle son of Isse, G iij. crownes or. 

This MS. has the name of R. Holme on the cover. There 
were four Randle Holmes, all collectors of pedigrees and heraldic 
matters, the earhest being born in 1571, and the latest dying in 
1707. The handwriting of this particular MS. is of the i;tli 
century. It will be noticed that according to this authority 
the arms of Essex were simply a red shield. The other desciip- 
tions quoted do not tally with the accepted arms of the Kings 
mentioned. Other manuscripts for instance agree in giving 
the arms of the kings of East Anglia as * Azure, three ciowns or.' 
but the arms mentioned in this MS. are : 'Or, three crowns 
gules.' These were the arms of St. Osyth Priory in Essex, but 
St. Osyth, though of royal birth, was not descended from the 
Kings of East AngUa, and was married to a King of the East 
Saxons.* 

It may be here remarked that the re})uted arms of East 

*Harleian MS. Xo. 2161), a Tudor Book of Arms tricked by Robert Cooke, professes to be a 
copy of a MS. temp. Henry VI. (1422-1471), but evidently there have been additions and 
some entries from another source. There is, however, another corroborative copy of the 
Henry VL MS. at the College of Arms (known as L 8). and we may assume that in the isth 
century, probably about 1450, there were some reputed arms assigned to the various Kings 
of the heptarchy. The arms of the ' Koy de Essex ' are given in Hai i. 2i6g as ' Gules, 
three crowns or' and the MS. at the College of Arms adds to this, ' Zebbe, anno 665,' 
meaning Sebbi or Sebba, King of the Kast Saxons, whose reign commenced about the year 
665. The arms of the ' Roy de Kent ' are stated to be ' Gules, three seaxes, vel cutlasses, 
argent handles or' but the trick shows three clasp-knives erect. Altogether this MS. is too 
confused to be of much interest. It seems to show that the reputed arms of the Kings of 
the heptcu-chy had not been definitely ' settled' by the heralds in the reign of Henry VI. 



76 



THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 



Aijglia, or ol the kings of East Anglia, have nothing whatever 
to do with Essex, although the London vSociety of East AngUans 
has managed to convey to its members the false impression 
that they are appHcable to Essex as well as to Suffolk, Norfolk 
and Cambridge. It ought not to be necessary to point out 
that Essex was never at any time part of East Anglia, and that 
the East Angles and their kings were from first to last entirely 
distinct from the East Saxons and the Kings of the East Saxons. 
On the other hand Essex has, of course, no exclusive claim 
to make use of the reputed arms of the East Saxon kingdom. 
They belong equally to Middlesex and ' part of Hertfordshire ' 
— these territories having formed part of the ancient East 
Saxon kingdom. Now that counties are ruled by corporate 
County Councils such councils have a right to a grant of arms for 
use as the seal and symbol of the county. The Middlesex County 
Council has obtained such a grant, its arms as sanctioned by the 
College of Arms being : 

Gules, three seaxes argent pointing to sinister hilted and pomelled or ; 
in chief a Saxon crown of the last. 

It has been suggested 
that Hertfordshire should 
be allowed similar arms 
with two crowns in chief 
instead of one, and that 
the Essex County Council 
should also in like manner 
use the three seaxes, but 
with three crowns in chief as 
the distinguishing addition. 
For about fifty years or 
more the Essex Archeeologi- 
^ cal Society has displayed 
upon the covers of its 
Transactions a shield bear- 
ing the three ' seaxes ' as 
shown in our coloured 
OLD FiKE PL.^TE OK KSSEX INSURANCE illustration. But ouc of the 
sociETV, ISSUED PREVIOUS TO 1806. earficst examples of the use 
of these arms as a distinctive emblem of Essex is found 
upon the early fire-plate of the Essex Equitable Insurance 




THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. J"] 

Society. This Society was established at Colchester in 1802. 
The fire-plate must have been issued before the 3'ear 1806, 
as after that date the Society became the Essex and Suffolk 
Equitable Insurance Society. 

At about the same period as this fire-plate the same armorial 
device was in use by the Essex Militia and Essex Volunteers. 
Examples may be seen in the Colchester Museum, One of 
these is the waist-plate of the Writtle Loyal Volunteers, of 
about the year t8oo. Here the three seaxes are shown in 
an oval cartouche, the background being scored with horizontal 
lines, which heraldically imply blue or azure. Probably, how- 
ever, the designer did not intend to convey this impression. 

In conclusion it may be interesting to note how far modern 
authorities corroborate Speed and Verstegan and the early 
writers in deriving the word ' Saxon ' from the weapon ' seax.' 
Tlie 'New English Dictionary gives a guarded etymology of the 
word : — 

Saxon. (O.F. Seaxan, Seaxe pi., O.H.G. Sahsun pL, G. Saches.) It 
has been conjectured that the name may have been derived from sahso, 
Saxon substantive [a word not actually found but of which the existence 
is inferred) as the name of the weapon used by the Saxons. Compare the 
probable derivation of the German tribe-name Cherusci, Original Tentonic 
heru, sword [heru being also a word inferred to exist but not actually found, 9 

In the same dictionary * Sax ' (otherwise seax, saex, sex) 
is stated to be an obsolete word meaning ' a knife ; a short sword 
or dagger.' An example is given from Beowulf. It is also 
mentioned that * saixe ' is a word used for a steel tool, not 
unlii<:e a large knife, used in building, especially in slating. It 
is sometimes spelt ' sects ' or * sex ' or ' zax,' and it is ' the hewing 
instrument of the slaters.' 

In Baron J. de Baye's standard work The Industrial Arts 
of the Anglo-Saxons (tr. by T. B. Harbottle, 1S93), is the 
loliowing : 

The iron knife, sacks, seax, or scvamas-axe, seems, ac we stated in our 
sketch 01 the origin of the Saxons, to have given its name to the nation 
(Ducange, Glossarium, article ' Saxa'). We have the testimony of several 
historians that the ccramasaxe was a weapon of war among the Saxons 
(Florentius V/igorniensis^ anno 11 30, is cited). Some English authors, 
misled by the constant presence of the small knife, have thought that thi^ 
was the true Ssax of the Saxons ; but according to the received idea the 
seax was a weapon only smaller than the sword. Mr. Koach Smith, 
refernng to these weapons, which he called sword-knives, considers these 



78 THE REPUTED ARMS OF THE EAST SAXONS. 

cultri validi to be identical witli the scramasaxes mentioned by Gregory 
of Tours {Histoire des Francs, bk. 4^ ch. ^6 ; and bk. 8, chap. 29). The 
description given by this historian is quite appHcable to the large knives 
which are much more common in France, Belgium and Germany than 
in England. Widukind (bk. i, chap. 6) says that these large knives were 
included in the ancient Saxon armoury. The best preserved specimens 
have two long narrow grooves along the back of the blade. 

These war knives, or seax, are often referred to in the poem of Beowulf. 
Thus the mother of the demon Grendal in her struggle with Beowulf 
is represented as drawing her seax, and Beowulf himself, when his sword 
was broken, turned to the seax which was attached to his coat of mail : 
Drew his deadly seax, 
Bitter and battle- sharp, 
That he on his byrnie bore. 

Beowulf, line 5400. 

According to Nenius it was with the scram asaxe that the Saxons were 
armed when, at the famous feast of reconciliation, the signal was given by 

Hengist for the massacre ol the Britons : Nimed eure Saxes 

Anglo-Saxon scramasaxes were occasionally ornamented. The Rev. Mr. 
Beck describes one, ninety centimetres long, found at Little Bealings, 
Suffolk (see Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London, 2nd series, 
vol. x., No. I, 1883), which is decorated with a band of damascened work 
throughout its length. 

Among the scramasaxes found in the Thames the most interesting is 
one which is ornamented with a runic alphabet, and bears the name of 
the soldier to whom it belonged, in similar characters. The letters are 
inlaid in copper and silver (Tb.) 

Inscriptions on scramasaxes are extremely rare, but in the Prankish 
Cemetery of Pondrome, Belgium, one of these weapons was found which 
bore the maker's name. 



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