Category Archives: Corporate Bodies

Varying Versions

A recent Facebook post of mine on the arms of three English Kings of Arms on a College of Arms devisal for the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama piqued my interest about how some armigers employ different versions, not just renderings by different artists but actual different versions, of their armorial achievements. Sometimes this reflects added honors; sometimes the exercise of a new or different office (appointed or elected); sometimes it’s a version to be used specifically on certain occasions or under specific circumstances or only for use within a particular group, etc.

One of the Kings of Arms whose coat of arms appeared in that post was the late, great John Brooke-Little. Here we see his full achievement as Norroy & Ulster King of Arms:

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Brook-Little’s own personal coat of arms were used by him without any extras. Here the arms are rendered by Anthony Wood:

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In addition, we see that sometime he added quite a bit to the achievement to indicate offices held such as a bookplate depicting his coat of arms and banner as Richmond Herald (1967-1980) including both the Richmond Herald badge and the badge from when he had been Bluemantle Pursuivant (1956-1967):

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Finally I include one probably not seen by many: a version of his arms impaled with those of The Heraldry Society which he founded and served for many years as chairman and later as president. This last one was simply for use within that Society:

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All his life his own coat of arms remained as it is depicted in the second image. In other words he did not “change” his coat of arms. However, throughout his life and career he did employ various versions of his achievement some of which included personal honors, some ornaments of office and others additions for private use. This is a good thing to know about and an idea that many interested in heraldry, especially the various uses for a coat of arms, too often overlook. A coat of arms as a personal mark of identification may be employed in various ways to suit the various things one does in life. The armorial achievement does not have to be singular and include everything from every aspect of the life of the armiger. To be sure there are those who prefer this “maximum display” theory. However, an equally meritorious theory is one that makes use of varying versions or varying achievements suited to the time, place, group or activity in which the armiger is engaged.

Here is another example, again from the English College of arms, using the coat of arms of Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, Bt. which are:

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Sir Henry, when he was still just plain old “Mister” served the College as Rouge Croix Pursuivant from 1983-1993 and the as York Herald from 1993-2010. In that latter capacity and prior to the death of his father and his inheriting the title “Baronet” he used the following achievement:

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Sir Henry was appointed Norroy & Ulster King of Arms in 2010 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2014. Here is a version of the shield of his arms from that time:

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Finally, another example of a different version for private use and also only for a set period of time. From 2012-2013, for just a year Sir Henry served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners and impaled his arms with the arms of the Company for use in that capacity while at the same time also using the version above and the version in the first photo:

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Again we see that he maintained the personal arms he had inherited from his father and did not “change” his coat of arms. Rather, he chose to display it in varying versions to suit the role of the moment or group.

The world at large already, for the most part, sees heraldry as effete but there are many within the (for lack of a better term) heraldic community, that is to say, the rather small group of people in the world who account themselves heraldic enthusiasts, who, through their own ignorance, misunderstand the concept I’m illustrating here. The advent of the internet has increased the possibility for communication between such enthusiasts throughout the world but has also made for a rash of self-appointed heraldic “experts” who don’t wish to engage in any scholarly pursuit of the heraldic arts and sciences and, either accidentally or purposefully, seek to limit the possibilities for heraldic display accusing anyone who deviates from their own preconceived notions as guilty of self aggrandizement.

It strikes me as slightly ironic that in a modern world that eschews heraldry as an anachronistic pretense anyone possessing a coat of arms themselves could accuse others of self aggrandizement. Then again, ignorance and irony can, at times, be seen to be cousins.

St. Benedict’s Abbey, Still River

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The monastic community of St. Benedict in Still River, Massachusetts decided recently to modify their existing coat of arms which was originally designed by the late, great, Dom Wilfrid Bayne, OSB of St. Anselm’s Abbey in Rhode Island. The coat of arms was designed some sixty plus years ago for the St. Benedict Center on Bow and Arrow streets in Cambridge, MA which was the origin of the community that eventually grew into St. Benedict’s Abbey today. There was originally no external ornament in the achievement. The community simply bore a shield with the coat of arms.

The decision was undertaken recently to add an abbatial crozier as an external ornament to bring the achievement into conformity with what is usual for a monastery with the rank of Abbey. While it is the usual custom to depict a sudarium, or veil, pendant from the crozier in the coat of arms of an abbot usually when depicting the arms of an abbey, a corporate body, the sudarium is omitted.

Abbess of Regina Laudis

The coat of arms used by the Third Abbess of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut, Rev. Mother Lucia Kuppens, OSB. She was elected February 1 of 2015 and received the abbatial blessing on the following May 10th from the Archbishop of Hartford.

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The Abbess describes the design (executed by Mother Alma Egger, OSB) as follows:

The book symbolizes my maternal ancestry, one hundred percent Irish, from Galway in the west of Ireland. A strong Celtic influence permeated my home. From these roots I received my love of the word, of poetry, of learning, education, culture, and music. The book could be interpreted to represent Scripture, or The Rule, literature itself or the works of Shakespeare, the particular focus of my doctoral dissertation. On a practical level, the book refers to much of my work in the Abbey, which includes supporting others in their studies, hosting student groups, directing the Monastic Internship Program, and when called for, writing about the Abbey. My Clothing and Profession ceremonies were both on the Advent feast of “O Sapientia” in celebration of Wisdom. The book is open, conveying the imagination and intellect open to the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The roof truss at the top of the shield symbolizes my paternal ancestry. The dominant national identity in my father’s family was Alsatian, from northeastern France, just a stone’s throw from the German border. They were a people who suffered and survived much in war, as their borders continually changed. From my father’s family comes a rootedness in the earth, an appreciation of manual work, a respect for practical solutions and love for what is essential in life. From him comes my attraction to the other main area of my monastic service, the Cellarer’s Office. Until fairly recently my father worked all over the Abbey helping repair and build things. Through my involvement with a Lay Oblate Community (The Closed Community) prior to entering the Abbey, I had many experiences of participating in building on the Abbey land, notably the Chapter House on the Hill. Since 2009 I have been working with others to renovate the original monastic buildings and envision this being a major work for the whole community for the next ten years.

Continuity with Lady Abbess and Abbess David is represented by the wavy line in the center that marks the pine hill, which was on both of their shields as well. The hill is the central feature of our land. It is where our church was built and it represents the spiritual center and heart of the monastery. The three stars, which also appeared on Abbess David’s shield represent the continued commitment to build the triadic nature of our authority structure composed of Abbess, Prioress, and Subprioress.

The consecration lamp is an ancient and rich symbol of consecrated virginity and therefore seemed an apt symbol for representing the light of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr. Each nun receives such a lamp, made by our potter, at the time of her Consecration, when the church bestows its blessing and affirmation on the fruitfulness of her vows. The burning oil lamp symbolizes the gift of self, consumed in the fire of love. Two flames rise from this lamp symbolizing for me that the gift of one’s love to Christ is never solitary, but is given in relationship to others. The consecration lamp unifies the whole shield, mediating between the speculative and practical polarities of my genealogy and bringing our attention to the meaning of the motto, which is taken from the Office of St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict and a consecrated virgin. As told in the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, one night she prevailed on her brother to disobey his Rule and instead of returning to his monastery, stay with her talking and praying. Though she did not tell him why, she knew her death was near. He refused her, but her tears of supplication to God caused a sudden storm that prevented St. Benedict from leaving. Thus in that moment, she prevailed over him and St. Gregory says of her, ‘Plus potuit quia plus amavit,’ which is translated: ‘She was able to do more because she loved more.’ The banner of the motto embraces the whole shield and all the symbols on it, signifying that all we do is possible only through love and the grace of God.

Why the decision to use a simple oval shield alone without the external ornament of the veiled crozier pale wise behind the shield is a mystery. It is the only heraldic ornament that would mark this as the coat of arms of an abbess. Without it, these are simply the arms of a woman and a motto. Similarly, the previous abbess’ coat of arms used no crozier but employed supporters! It causes one to wonder if there is a lack of proper heraldic knowledge amongst the nuns. It is a shame they have not been advised better.

The abbey itself has a fine coat of arms designed and emblazoned by the late great practitioner of the science and art of heraldry, Dom Wilfrid Bayne, OSB, a monk of Portsmouth Abbey in R.I.

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Very Rev. Steven A. Peay, PhD

One year ago today the Very Rev. Steven A. Peay, PhD, an Episcopal priest of the Diocese of Albany and Honorary Canon Theologian for Evangelism at Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire, WI became the 20th Dean and President of Nashotah House Seminary in Nashotah, WI.

His coat of arms is pictured below. The blazon is:

Arms impaled; to dexter, quarterly Gules and Azure, overall on a Latin cross Or between two fountains in chief a triple blossom lily Proper; to sinister Or between three pommes a fess dancetty Gules. The shield is ensigned with the ecclesiastical hat of an Honorary Canon according to the Earl Marshal’s Warrant for the coats of arms of clergy in the Anglican Communion of 1976. Below the shield is a scroll with the motto, “Quomodo Prædicabunt Nisi Misit” (Romans 10:15)

In the arms of the seminary the lily represents both the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom the main chapel is dedicated. The two fountains allude to the seminary location between Upper and Lower Nashotah Lakes.

In the personal coat of arms of Fr. Peay the gold field and fess dancetty are taken from the coat of arms of Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman. The bearer has long been an admirer of Newman’s work and writings. There is some irony in choosing this as Newman famously converted from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism and Fr. Peay, conversely, had been a Roman Catholic and was received into The Episcopal Church. Whereas Newman had three hearts surrounding the fess in his arms here, for difference, they have been changed to three pommes. In heraldry this term describes a green roundel. In this case they are chosen to resemble peas as an allusion to the bearer’s surname “Peay”.

The motto is a favorite scriptural quote that reflects the bearers long time teaching of historical theology and preaching to seminarians.

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St. Joseph Parish, Washington, NJ

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The newly assumed coat of arms of St. Joseph Catholic Church (above) incorporates elements alluding to the location of the parish and the parish’s titular patron saint. The blazon is: Gules, two bars Argent and in chief three fleur-de-lis Argent. That is: on a red background there are two horizontal silver (white) stripes and above that three fleur-de-lis also silver (white).
The new coat of arms is based closely on the coat of arms of George Washington (pictured below) The blazon of that coat of arms is: Argent, two bars Gules and in chief three mullets of five points also Gules. The Borough of Washington and Washington Township in Warren County in Northwest New Jersey is named for Washington.

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In the arms of the parish the colors have been reversed for difference and the three mullets or stars have been replaced with three fleur-de-lis, a symbol in heraldry used most often to represent Our Lady but one which is also used to allude to St. Joseph, her husband. For some time now the parish already employed the fleur-de-lis as a kind of logo or parish symbol.
The new coat of arms was designed and rendered by me as I am serving as the Administrator of the parish.

Pontifical Colleges and Schools

Pontifical College Josephinum (USA)

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Pontifical Catholic University of Sāo Paolo (Brazil)

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Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

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Pontifical Lateran University (Rome)

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Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Rome)

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Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome)

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Pontifical Scots College (Rome)

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Venerable English College (Rome)

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Pontifical North American College (Rome)

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Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm (Rome)

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Very Nice Diocesan Arms

On Sept. 24th Edgar da Cunha will be installed as the new bishop of Fall River, MA. The diocese possesses a very nicely designed coat of arms that even includes a nice “can’t” or heraldic pun based on the name of the See. The wavy line that crosses the shield from the upper left to the lower right depicts a river that falls as one looks at it from left to right. Thus, it “says” the name of the diocese. In addition, the overall design is simple and uncluttered. The cross is a sign of the faith and the grace of God and the star is a symbol of the titular of the cathedral: St. Mary. The arms were designed by Pierre Chaignon la Rose.

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