inheritable arms of the landed gentry?

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Joseph M James
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inheritable arms of the landed gentry?

Post by Joseph M James » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:13 am

No.1: Are the arms of the landed gentry inheritable by all the sons of the original armiger, with the appropriate differences (1st. 2nd. 3rd.etc) or are the differences not neccesary due to alot of the gentry not being exactly Noble or the 1st. son gets the arms and the others have to go out and earn their own? No.2: Does it depend upon the wording of the original grant and if so where would one look to find the original grant? I sure the answer to that last part is both complicated and expensive and has probably been answered in one of my earlier posts, but it never hurts to put everything in a nice little package. I'm concerned only with the rules of Great Britain. Depending on the responses I get I may pose a couple of different scenarios to delve deeper into the subject. Thanks in advance, Joseph M (Joe) James

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Martin Goldstraw
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Re: inheritable arms of the landed gentry?

Post by Martin Goldstraw » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:06 pm

First off, one does not have to be landed gentry to petition for and receive armorial bearings and if we're talking Great Britain lets forget about any talk of nobility. Other than peers of the realm, the vast majority of us armigers, whether gentleman, esquires, knights or baronets are not actually noble but simply commoners. Even the children of peers are commoners and not noble. We simply have a different definition of noble to the rest of Europe. (Even Lyon Court has dropped the "noble in the nobless of Scotland" clause).

It is often forgotten that Great Britain has two heraldic authorities, The College of Arms and The Court of the Lord Lyon, which have very different rules.
As a very general statement, which like any other general statement can have its exceptions, the Court of the Lord Lyon deals with those arms recorded in the register of all arms and bearings in Scotland and the College of Arms, very broadly speaking, deals with the rest of the UK.

In Scotland only one person is allowed (by an enforceable law) to bear a particular coat of arms and all descendants (other than the heir who will inherit the undifferenced arms) are not actually armigerous but merely have the right to matriculate a differenced version of that coat of arms; in other words, if a man receives a grant of arms, whilst his eldest son can bear by courtesy his arms differenced with a label, all his other children must petition for a coat of arms of their own which will be a differenced version of the main, original, coat. So, in Scotland it is very easy to identify the very individual who "owns" the coat of arms.

Arms originating from The College of Arms are more akin to "family arms" following the old law of Gavelkind with all sons inheriting equally but although they are ideally supposed to be differenced, in practice, even the College admits that it is impractical in most cases and it is in the main totally ignored.

Scotland has a whole heap of differences in its laws of inheritance (allowing for example females to inherit as long as they retain the surname) and really should be treated as a topic on its own.
Martin Goldstraw

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Joseph M James
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:30 pm
Location: BUCKINGHAM,FL.

Re: inheritable arms of the landed gentry?

Post by Joseph M James » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:01 am

Thank you, Mr. Goldstraw, good reply, this is exactly what I was looking for. I'm aware of the Court of Lord Lyon. Since my post on 8/8/2016 ( Index to the Pedigrees and Arms) I have visited many forums in the U.S. Great Britain and Germany and noticed a woman was recognized as Clan Chief of a certain clan in the recent past on a Scottish forum ( didn't notice the date, just read the article). That sounds pretty cool. Anyway Thank you J M James

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