The Feudal Herald header



An Online Newsletter from The Baronage Press
featuring Heraldry and related subjects

Vol. 1, Nos. 8 and 9 August-September 1999

The Baronage Press Website
may be reached directly at


Copyright (c) 1999 by Pegasus Associates Ltd and The Baronage Press

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* A Welcome and an Explanation
* A note from the artists
* Silver and White
* Wessex Man
* The Origin of Surnames
* Halberts of Bath, Ohio
* Faking it
* Notes on the more recent additions
* The Next Issue
* The Culinary Arts column ~ Dining with Charles Dickens
* Looking Around: The Burlington Arcade
* Heirloom & Howard
* Pegasus Armorie
* Our Sponsors and Advertisers



The primary purpose of this newsletter is to link regular Baronage readers to those articles in the magazine that might interest them, so in it you may find mention of the art, symbolism and meaning of heraldry, and, from time to time, of the history, politics, warfare, chivalry, books, cinema and other entertainment to which heraldry has thematic links.

The major restructuring operation proceeding in the background has squeezed editorial time considerably, delaying the August issue of this newsletter to the point that its consolidation with the September issue was recognised as the best way to manage its e-mail publication. We hope the imminent completion of the new structure will reduce the chance of this recurring.

The new structure is required to service our advertisers' needs. As we approach the end of the fourth year of our online operation, and acknowledge that all the research now in progress must in future be funded by more assured financial resources, the sale of advertising space has become an essential lifeline for us. Without its substantial growth, and without our readers' continued enthusiastic cooperation, both research and frequency of publication will have to be cut back severely, and much work accomplished during the last four years will never appear online.

The October-December issue of the magazine, scheduled for the end of October, will introduce the first stage of the changes. Pages will be shorter, and a single banner advertisement will appear at the head of most. Additionally, we hope to attract a Major Sponsor for the newsletter.

The second stage will begin in January 2000 with the magazine's frequency of publication changing from four times a year to six times a year. In January 2001, the true beginning of the new millenium, the magazine will change to a monthly publication and the number of graphics will increase significantly.

We know from your correspondence that many of our readers have stayed with us throughout our four years and intend to continue. We hope that our service will help newcomers develop similar loyalty. We trust accordingly that we may rely on your support for the advertising initiatives on which our future now depends. If every reader looks at a minimum of ten pages on every visit (and more will, of course, be even more valuable), then we should be able to look forward to creating together a great online publication.

(Clicking on our advertisers' banners also helps.)


The search for the optimum combination of colour integrity and fast download speeds continues. Our new treatment of JPEG files has been partly successful, but we depend to a great degree on the quality and settings of the monitors of our readers, over which we have no control, of course. Most of the armorial pictures have been rendered as GIF files, and with these the greatest problem is the metal silver, the HTML "silver" being too grey for the heraldic tincture, the "websafe" colour being too dark, and the dithering of the silvery blue we have used for experiment too often reflecting other colours such as red. We are now experimenting with white for silver in newly completed heraldic pictures, so for a little time you may find both the old "silver" and the new (white) on the same page. We shall re-evaluate the silver/white comparison in March.

We should add a note from the layout artists. Baronage pages are designed on a Mac using GoLive CyberStudio, and although the result is "cross-platform" in that everyone on the Web can read the result, the spatial relationships between graphics and the text they illustrate can be distorted by inappropriate font sizes selected by the readers' own computers. The monitors of PCs often produce text in a size larger than that intended here, so the balance of space changes. Readers using Netscape or Explorer are thus encouraged to experiment with their font settings if they find that graphics are separated from associated text, or if blocks of text adopt absurd shapes.


In the July issue of the newsletter, under this heading of Silver and White, we described the heraldic furs and, in the HTML version published in the magazine, we accompanied the descriptions with illustrations. A reader has asked that we might do the same with hatching.

For those unfamilar with this term we should explain that where it is not possible to use actual colour in an armorial illustration, tinctures may be indicated by tricking or hatching (sometimes, in mediaeval manuscripts, by both simultaneously). Tricking uses an arrow and an abbreviation (such as "az" for Azure). Hatching uses a system of shading with closely set lines. (Sometimes, more rarely, an artist will indicate colours by using different shades of grey supported by a key. And it may be noted that despite the decorative glories of heraldry being so dependent on rich colour, very attractive illustrations can be rendered in black-and-white.)

We shall publish an illustrated explanation of hatching as a JAG article in the forthcoming issue of the magazine. For the present, here is a description. (The HTML version of this newsletter in the magazine has explanatory diagrams.) The colour of the paper is assumed to be white.

Silver (Argent) and White are left plain. Gold (Or) is represented by dots. Red (Gules) has vertical lines and Blue (Azure) horizontal lines. Green (Vert or Sinople) has diagonal lines top left to base right, and Purple (Purpure) has diagonal lines base left to top right. (Left and right are here treated as when looking at the shield, and are thus dexter and sinister in the conventional manner of looking from behind the shield.) Black (Sable) has both vertical and horizontal lines, but is sometimes, although rarely, shown as total black.

Occasionally in British heraldry Tenné and Sanguine (or Murrey) feature, and two shadings have been allocated for these. Tenné has a combination of horizontal lines crossed by diagonal lines (as Azure crossed by Purpure), and Sanguine has a combination of diagonal lines (as Vert crossed by Purpure).

German heraldry uses hatching to shade other tinctures British heraldry does not recognise other than by the word "proper". These include brown, iron-grey, water-colour, flesh-colour, ash-grey, earth-colour, et al.

(Readers may have noticed that on this website we almost always begin a tincture with its initial letter in upper case. This never was a fixed convention, and few others use it now.)

ermine shield
ermines shield
erminois shield
vair (ancient) shield


In our last issue, under the heading of Wessex Man, we wrote exclusively of Prince Edward, adding nothing of his new bride, Sophie, assuming that little time would elapse before she would suffer more publicity than anyone would wish (even though, after a tabloid rag had published an ancient photograph of her in a partly "topless" swimsuit, a new sense of chivalry had been promised).

The Sunday Times has begun with a claim that Sophie has been commanded by the Queen to abandon her career as a PR executive or face being excluded from playing a public royal role. The report said the Palace was worried that the public relations work performed under her maiden name of Sophie Rhys-Jones could result in accusations that she was exploiting her position, and went on to imply that she was being hounded by a royal establishment which wanted to control her as it had attempted to control Diana, Princess of Wales.

A Palace spokesman responded that "the countess had made clear before her marriage that she would continue in her career, that this had been accepted by everyone, and that there was no reason why this might be changed now."

The spokesman then spoiled the effect of his statement with the disingenuous claim that no one knew the origin of the idea published by the newspaper. Of course, everyone in Britain knew the origin. The Sunday Times is owned by a fervent republican, Mr Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen of Australian birth, whose publishing empire follows a strictly anti-monarchist policy in its approach to such contentious issues as the value of truthful journalism. (As all in Britain are aware, if the Countess of Wessex had not continued her work in her PR company, then Mr Murdoch's newspapers would have commented on her professional failure and her need to use the Royal Family for her income.

Mr Lachlan Murdoch, an American citizen who is very much his father's son, recently called on Australians to rid themselves of their Queen, to become a republic, and not to invite their Queen to the Olympic Games. (Mr Lachlan Murdoch lived in Australia, as a child, for a total of six years.) He and his father will not be pleased by the latest opinion polls in Australia showing, only five weeks before the vote on Australia's future as a monarchy or a republic, that the pro-republic vote is now down to 38 per cent. This has been dropping since the poisonous Mr Keating was defeated, and his ignorant and maliciously distorted views on the Australian flag, oft-repeated, faded from prominence.


In the July newsletter we wrote, in respect of the seemingly irrepressible belief in the Saxon origin of hereditary surnames ~

If two elementary facts are grasped firmly, much of the fiction sold by the scam merchants can be exposed immediately.

The first is that hereditary surnames were unknown in the British Isles before the Norman invasion. The second is that while owners of estates could derive their surnames from them, men did not give territories their own names (although, of course, villages and farms did derive names from their owners, as the possessive "s" reveals in such as Hagardeston, Johnston, Mackieston).

And yet still the intray fills with queries, many from areas where library shelves still hold a rebound Peerage or Landed Gentry published by Burke's perhaps a hundred years ago, and where an enthusiastic family historian has found his surname featured in an aristocratic lineage claiming to begin in Saxon times.

The late Leslie Pine related to the Baronage Editor how, when he was editing the 1952 edition of Burke's Landed Gentry, a correspondent included in his contribution to the article on the Ayre family the origin of his name. It was, he wrote, the consequence of an incident at the Battle of Hastings when ~

Sir Piers, a brave warrior from Normandy, was overwhelmed by numbers and rescued by Duke William himself. The Conqueror commanded that he should be given air, and accordingly his surname became Ayre.

Later the Conqueror granted Sir Piers some land in a dale and his descendants who then lived there adopted the name of Ayredale.

As we hear continually ~ "It must be true because it's always been a legend in the family." !!!

Perhaps we can finally nail this problem by referring our correspondents to the early Kings of England. They did not have hereditary surnames. Duke William was the Bastard, William Rufus had red hair, Henry Beauclerk could read and write, (and Robert Curthose, their brother, had short legs). Of the Plantagenet family (and Plantagenet was the name of the dynasty, not a surname), Henry II was of Anjou, Richard I was Lionheart, John was Lackland, Henry III was of Winchester, Edward I was Longshanks, Edward II was of Caernarvon, and Edward III was of Windsor.


Over these last four years we have continuously warned of the activities of Halbert's, a publisher of lists of telephone numbers masquerading as family histories. In Europe the operation was coordinated with that of one of the many "Burke's Peerage" companies, and used that famous name, but it had no connection with the publishers of the Burke's Peerage & Baronetage reviewed in the July-September issue of the Baronage magazine.

We are thus delighted to reproduce with permission the following news item from Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Halbert's Is Going Out of Business

Halbert's is closing down. The company blames "competition from the Internet" as the reason for their business problems.

Cendant of Parsippany, N.J., parent company of NUMA and Halbert's, has announced that the publisher of pseudo-genealogy "books" will cease operations. I wrote in the June 8, 1999 edition of this newsletter that Cendant was trying to sell Halbert's and all other divisions of NUMA. Apparently Cendant was unable to find a buyer.

Halbert's is infamous for its mass produced "books" which claim to offer genealogy information about your surname but, in fact, deliver simple listings gleaned from telephone directories and other sources of public domain information. For years Halbert's sent thousands of ads weekly for the "New World Book of (your surname)." For instance, in the ads sent to me, the book would be called the "New World Book of Eastmans." If your last name is Smith, then you would receive an advertisement for the "New World Book of Smiths." The advertisement would bear the signature of a fictitious person with the same last name as yours.

Halbert's has been well known in the genealogy world for years. Most major societies have issued repeated warnings to their members to not waste money on these "books."

Halbert's always used a Bath, Ohio mailing address. However, when I visited Bath last year, I was unable to find the company in the building they use as a return address. Halbert's also has been in court several times to answer charges lodged by the U.S. Postal Service. The court documents always listed Halbert's as a subsidiary of the NUMA Corporation of 1566 Akron Peninsula Rd, Akron, Ohio. That address is a few miles from Bath, Ohio.

NUMA/Halbert's stopped marketing in August and will end operations Sept. 30, according to Elliott Bloom, spokesman for Cendant. Bloom said all orders will be filled, and the 70 employees will be given severance pay. "The shutdown is related to a weakness, largely the result of consumers having access to a greater amount of general data on the Internet," Bloom said. "The product has really run its course as far as viability, so the best course of action was to close the business."

I suspect the standards set by the genealogy community at large contributed to this announcement. My congratulations to all who insist on quality in your purchases.


"THE CLASS WAR IS OVER!" announced the British Prime Minister this week, but as he accompanied this revelation with a lot of nonsense about the necessity to resist conservatism, this being any tendency towards an instinctive wish to conserve such minority interests as history, hunting, heredity, honesty, heterosexuality or anything else he feels will clash with his vision of the new millenium, no one paid much attention.

Certainly, at least one newspaper overlooked it completely, headlining the tale of a depressing family dispute, whose details should have remained private, with "Court shame of landowner descended from Robert the Bruce". We need not publish his name here (although his arms are of interest ~ Quarterly 1 and 4, Azure 3 bears' heads couped Argent muzzled Gules; 2 Azure a buck's head cabossed Or between 3 mullets pierced Argent; 3 Gules a fess chequy Argent and Azure, in chief a mullet of the Second, and the base wavy of the Third, a bordure engrailed Or). The follow-up the next day again stressed the royal descent, which, from the third quarter of the arms, we assume is through the Lindsays of Culsh, cadets of the Lindsays of Dowhill, a branch of the Lindsays of Balcarres of whom the Earl of Crawford is chief. (And, incidentally, many, many thousands may claim descent from Robert the Bruce.)

So if there ever was a class war, and if such as it was is now over, we may rest assured that class consciousness is still with us. If further evidence should be needed, we have only to look at the ease with which fraudsters use fake titles. Two cases have come before the courts during these last two months.

In one a "Lord and Lady Johnson" persuaded banks and building societies to lend them vast amounts of money to finance an "aristocratic" lifestyle.

"Lady Guinivere Johnson" and her husband, "Lord Arnold Johnson" arrived in Co. Cork (in the Republic of Ireland ~ Ed.) in a stretch limousine and bought a 17-bedroom Georgian country mansion, Kilmurry House, near Fermoy.

....... reported The Daily Telegraph. But "Lady Guinivere", alias Jennifer Mallows and Clive Dillon was the transsexual partner of Arnold Mallows with whom (s)he had been through a form of marriage ceremony before they elevated themselves to the peerage.

Lord Arnold Johnson, of course, has to be the son of a duke or of a marquess. With that style he could not be a peer himself. His wife would normally be Lady Arnold. Lady Guinivere, of course, has to be the daughter of a duke, or of a marquess or of an earl. This misuse of Christian names is such a common mistake for the conmen that it is inexcusable for bankers to fall victim to them.

"Viscount Cranbrook" and "Lord Cranbrook", two brothers aged 62 and 71, who posed as brother peers, are serving two years' probation. They would, the judge said, have gone to jail if it had not been for their age and poor health. But the amount they conned to support their aristocratic lifestyle was only a very unaristocratic £19,000 ~ and we would argue they did society a service in alerting the public to the gullibility that emerges the moment a title comes up over the horizon. There is a genuine Lord Cranbrook, the Earl of Cranbrook, and he is also Viscount Cranbrook of Hemsted, but a Viscount Cranbrook and a Lord Cranbrook as two brother peers is an unconvincing combination.
Some ambitions stretch beyond the British peerage. An advertisement in a British newspaper announced last week that Karl von Wettinberg of London is Emperor Charles VIII of the Holy Roman Empire as well as King of Germany, Duke of Swabia, Prince of Bamberg, Margrave of Verona, Lord of Aix-la-Chapelle, &c. We do not suggest that the new Emperor's intentions are fraudulent, but we believe it fair to warn him that the Prime Minister frowns on the hereditary principle and distrusts history, and that to survive he should develop interests among the anti-hunting groups or alternative lifestyles.
We have recently received queries about the unavailability of the essay written by the Baronage Editor and entitled "How to Recognise the Frauds". This was withdrawn when it was indicated, fairly we thought, that although it was a good guide for bank managers and policemen, it was an even better guide for aspirant fraudsters seeking to convey authenticity. (The Editor is available for half-day seminars arranged by reputable institutions.)


1. ~ As predicted in the July newsletter, BookPost reviewed the NEW edition of Burke's Peerage & Baronetage. After a gap of more than a generation its publication, without the help of the files the book's original owners considered operationally indispensible, was a task of such magnitude that no reviewer has the right to carp about its minor errors. Readers are asked to note that, despite the ambiguous reports in some newspapers, the publishing company has no connection with any other organisations describing themselves as "Burke's Peerage" and that, specifically, the man described in many newspapers as "the Publishing Director of Burke's Peerage" has no connection with this book.

2. ~ The Classical Heraldry series continued to examine the shape of the heraldic shield as it has been modified for display purposes rather than for fighting, and Curiosity Corner continued the series on our heraldic menagerie with the Cockatrice and Basilisk, and added some notes on the Gryphon discussed in an earlier article.

3. ~ The second part of the Ancestry of Robert the Bruce looked at the Normandy connection as a prelude to moving into Flanders in the next instalment as we search for the origin of the mysterious blue lion rampant.

4. ~ Although the Baronage magazine and this newsletter are not conventional political publications, our readers are aware that as historians we are sensitive to threats levelled at the British people, and that we are especially sensitive to the present Government's intention to emasculate the Second Chamber, the Upper House, the House of Lords, whose rôle in Parliament is to defend the people against inefficient or dictatorial government. In consequence we have highlighted instances where the present Government has departed from the truth in its statements, where it has deliberately lied. During this last week the Prime Minister has told the same lie three times. (Although the first time it may have been an honest mistake, it raised such a storm of protest that he certainly knew he was lying on the second and third occasions.) This was that the last attempt to outlaw foxhunting was defeated by the Upper House, whereas it never reached the Upper House, having run out of time in the Lower House. The fundamental dishonesty of some of Britain's present leaders persuaded us that we ought to publish an open letter to the Prime Minister in which another aspect of the Government's dishonesty is exposed.
5. ~ Langar Hall, a country house hotel that has retained the atmosphere of a country house and successfully hidden most of the commercial manifestations, is at the centre of an estate whose owners have, since the 11th century, been at the heart of English history. We have told their story and illustrated it with their coats of arms. (Many readers will recognise one of these, the Azure a bend Or of the Scrope family, the cause of the celebrated Scrope-Grosvenor case in 1389-90.) We have been pleased to learn that Langar Hall has just won the César Award of the Good Hotel Guide for its "utterly enjoyable mild eccentricity".
6. ~ A new chapter in the second volume of Mists of Antiquity examines the Bertie Legend (Bertie is pronounced Bartie). The legend, although related in many books and peerage directories, is fiction, but the family itself, after its marriage into the ancient Willoughby family, became justifiably famous. (More will be told of it in future issues of the Baronage magazine.)


The October-December issue of the Baronage magazine is scheduled for publication online at the end of October. We hope to take a new look at ancient codes of chivalry, a decision prompted by the unchivalrous conduct experienced by this young lady recently . . . . . . . . . . .

Helena Bonham Carter
. . . . . . . . . . . and at the ancestry of a famous "English Rose" whose latest films have taken her away from her quintessential portrayal of English aristocracy . . . . . . . . . .

PLUS additions to our heraldic managerie in Curiosity Corner, to Classical Heraldry, to the investigation of the origins of Robert the Bruce, to the Journalists' and Authors' Guide, to the Mists of Antiquity anthology . . . . . . . . . .

AND views from Maastricht and Westminster.

CULINARIA ~ Sponsor for the Culinary Arts column

In the current issue we began a new column dedicated to interesting or famous dinners in history. This is sponsored by Culinaria, specialist in premium quality olive oils, marinades and dressings (currently available only in the British Isles, but soon in North America). The first menu and its 19th-century recipes are from the cooking book of the wife of Charles Dickens.

LOOKING AROUND: The Burlington Arcade

From time to time the magazine features articles on shopping areas of genuine historical interest to ancestor hunting tourists in the British Isles. One such is the famous Burlington Arcade.

New readers may wish to know that the St Petersburg Collection, featuring the elegant artistry of Theo Fabergé, grandson of the eminent Carl Fabergé, the Court Jeweller to the last Tsar, may be seen at no. 42.


A few of those who respond to our invitation to read the Heirloom & Howard catalogues forget to add their postal address, thinking perhaps that these are online catalogues, but they are printed catalogues with illustrations of armorial porcelain and heraldic antiques shown in full colour in the traditional way.

In addition to their stock of porcelain and antiques, identified and connected to the families that once owned these rare items, Heirloom & Howard have a fine collection of prints featuring old houses and castles and the ancestors (your ancestors ?) who once lived in them. Enquiries are welcomed.


We continue to receive a large number of letters beginning "Please send me a picture of my coat of arms." These show the widespread influence of the bucketshop heralds who have seemingly persuaded thousands of punters that coats of arms belong to family names.

Pegasus will supply pictures of arms we are willing to certify as having been borne by named individuals (and those individuals are named on the picture), but Pegasus Armorie is not in the fraudulent business of supplying "arms for names" with the implication that the arms supplied may be lawfully used by the buyer as his or her own arms.

However, there is undoubtedly a market demand for armorial display. The colours and shapes of heraldry have been so long in our history that they are sunk deeply into our subconscious minds. We respond accordingly to their beauty.

And so Pegasus has begun to produce a series of illustrations that will be suitable for framing and hanging on the walls of bedrooms, halls, studies, libraries, etc. Initially these will be appropriate for Scottish names, and in each case they will feature the badge of the clansmen of that name surrounded by the arms of the families whose daughters have been the ancestors of the present chief of the name.

Additionally, Pegasus Armorie is to work with the Baronage Press to establish an online Register of Scottish Clans. Members of Clans who request that their name be recorded and pay the artists' fees will receive a high resolution printed certificate embossed with the seal of The British Baronage. An example of one of these has been uploaded (but it is a large picture and may need a minute to download). It illustrates the crest badge of Clan Stewart set against the scenery near the old Stewart Castle of Gloume. The cloth inside the strap and buckle and behind the crest is an old Stewart tartan. (The picture downloaded will be, of course, at low resolution, and unsuitable for printing.)


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