The Feudal Herald header

 

The FEUDAL HERALD

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

Vol. II, No. 3, March 2000

The Baronage Press Website
may be reached directly at
http://www.baronage.co.uk


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Copyright (c) 2000 by Pegasus Associates Ltd and The Baronage Press

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CONTENTS

* Welcome
* Another Note on the Decline of the House of Stewart
* History Rewritten
* Scotland ~ FAQs
* The Origins of the Fleur-de-Lis
* The Chimera
* Caveat Emptor ~ Lords of the Manor
* Modern Chivalry
* Burlington Arcade
* Heirloom & Howard
* Pegasus Armorie
* Our Sponsors and Advertisers

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WELCOME

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.

As explained in recent issues, this newsletter will remain a monthly publication, but the Baronage magazine will in future be published six times annually instead of four times, and the newsletter will continue appearing at the end of each month to advise readers of items they may have missed. Regrettably, this March issue is a litle late, but it gives us an opportunity to look at two recent news items related to February's note on the decline of the House of Stewart (insofar as Queen Elizabeth II is its most famous heir).


ANOTHER NOTE ON THE DECLINE OF THE HOUSE OF STEWART

The fertile and once prosperous land of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, is passing through difficult times. Its president has recognised the political advantages of harrassing the white farmers (which means ignoring the economic importance of their crops) in order, he hopes, to garner a few more votes in the coming elections. The opposition, principally the urban-based and better-educated blacks, recognise the critical contribution made by the white farmers and has tried, most notably in the recent referendum on the confiscation of white property without compensation, to protect them.

The link with the comment in the February newsletter is an incident this week in which a kinsman of the Queen was savagely beaten by four policemen in the back of a Land Rover. The Daily Telegraph reported -

Mr Rhodes said: "One constable twisted both my arms behind my back and a sergeant repeatedly punched me in the throat. Another one hit me on the side of the head." None of the police said a word or offered any explanation until the burly sergeant said: "People like you will have to learn to respect the government."

He was taken to Harare central police station and questioned by an inspector ....... Before being freed, he asked the inspector whether the role of the police was to protect all Zimbabwean citizens. "He told me, 'No, Mr Rhodes, we are here to protect the interests of the government.'"

Simon John Gravenor Rhodes is a consultant to Zimbabwe's critically important tourist industry. His mother is the Hon. Margaret Rhodes, daughter of the 16th Lord Elphinstone and Lady Mary Frances Bowes-Lyon, a sister of the Queen Mother. Margaret Rhodes is thus first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II (the Head of the Commonwealth) and her son, the assaulted Simon, was thirty years ago the Queen's Page of Honour. We do not, of course, believe that a man who is cousin once removed to the Queen should necessarily be treated any better than anyone else the Zimbabwe police thugs wish to beat, but it is interesting to speculate on what political attitudes have most contributed to this transformation of Rhodesia, the prosperous colony, into Zimbabwe, the bankrupt police state.
Perhaps Britain's expert in such matters, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, can offer a suggestion. Two days after Zimbabwe's police, while protecting "the interests of the government", supervised the brutal attack of the opposition's peaceful march, Mr Cook, addressing the heads of state and foreign ministers of fifty African countries, said that he spoke in a spirit of humility, and that -

"We all have our faults. Only in the past year has Britain got rid of the hereditary principle in our Parliament. In that regard, we were well behind much of Africa."

That he should denigrate his own country in a speech to such an audience is only to be expected of Mr Cook. His tenure of this high office has been one long series of blunders. He lacks the skills he needs to compensate adequately for his base instincts. But of rather greater significance is his slighting reference to the hereditary principle and his dismissal of the Queen, the essential third party (representing the sovereignty retained by the British people) in our Parliament, who is there by hereditary right. The hereditary principle is still recognised in our Parliament, although doubtless the sooner the Queen is removed and unfettered power is enjoyed by such as Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, the sooner Britain will catch up with "much of Africa" and, we may presume, with Zimbabwe.


HISTORY REWRITTEN

We have from time to time expressed severe criticism on the subject of rewritten history. Hollywood scriptwriters and directors are especially guilty, but television productions in the United Kingdom are often equally bad. There has been, however, one recent drama, not yet seen, so far as we know, in North America, that clearly demonstrates what can be achieved when a director puts integrity at the top of his priorities. This is WARRIORS, from the BBC. It is the story of a group of soldiers in Bosnia. It is honest and it is authentic, and it is very well acted and directed. We cannot recommend it too highly.
Unfortunately, only a few days before the first part of WARRIORS was screened, the nation watched "the most expensive single drama ever made by the BBC". It was the story of the manager of the royal estate at Sandringham who, in 1915, recruited a company of royal servants for the army. All were killed in the Dardanelles.
John Preston in The Sunday Telegraph commented -

"The main culprit was the script, whose elements seemed to have been assembled from a kit: there was the chirpy chambermaid, the persecuted conchie, the gay officer, the disillusioned doctor, the big-hearted Queen ......."

And that, the script, is what has earned ALL THE KING'S MEN its mention here. For the script was based on an article written by Hal Giblin, published in 1980, and Mr Giblin was very loosely involved in the production as a "sounding board" for the executive co-producer, Nigel McCrery. Mr Giblin subsequently reported -
"At one stage the scriptwriter apparently had the battalion's stretcher-bearer section as being conscientious objectors to a man. It was some time before Nigel McCrery, and presumably the scriptwriter, could be persuaded that there was no such animal serving in the British Army in 1915 and that all the men in Gallipoli were volunteers. I assume that it was at this point that the civilian 'pacifist' character was invented - I assume to satisfy that particular 'PC' requirement.
"Another scenario mooted was a homosexual menage a trois for three of the officers. Again, when I pointed our that they were dealing with real people and that their families were still living, it was reluctantly conceded that might be a problem. Hence, despite there being twelve officers killed on that day, it became necessary to invent a fictional officer character, the homosexually inclined Captain Radley.
"When I asked, as I frequently did, why they could not simply relate what was a fascinating story in its own right, I was told it was not enough; it had to contain these other, extraneous embroideries in order to make it acceptable to the BBC hierarchy and to 'modern thinking'.

Comments on the dishonesty of film directors may be found in the pages written after the appearance of BRAVEHEART.


SCOTLAND FAQs

The March-April issue of the Baronage magazine has a new chapter for the Journalists' & Authors' Guide. This answers some of the frequently asked questions on the Scottish clans / tartans / badges topics.

Additionally, to begin the assembly of an online register of clansmen's badges, we publish with this issue the first set of ten ~ Barclay, Campbell, Fraser of Lovat, Grant, Hay, Kennedy, Mackenzie, Maclean, Scott and Stewart. We expect to upload a set of ten with each future issue of the magazine.


fleur-de-lis
THE ORIGINS OF THE FLEUR-DE-LIS

There has never been a commonly agreed source for the heraldically ubiquitous fleur-de-lis, but in this article written by the Editor for Mists of Antiquity its geographical origin is identified and photographed.

(Alternative spellings found in heraldry and in other literature include fleur-de-lys and flower-de-luce.)



THE CHIMERA

As the adjective "chimerical" is widely used to mean fanciful, or nonsensically fantastic, readers may be forgiven for believing that the Chimera (or Chimaera), the three-headed, fire-gushing monster that ravaged Lycia in ancient times, did not exist.

Would you like a picture?



CAVEAT EMPTOR

This is another look at the market in bogus titles, this time at an operation that caters to the growing demand for personal nobility by excavating long-extinguished feudal manors and then selling artificially aged documents that purport to establish their extension of life into this present century.

logo of organisation selling "noble titles"
If our readers know of friends seeking such "honours" as these, we hope this newsletter will be forwarded to them.


MODERN CHIVALRY

For our next examination of contemporary chivalry we have turned to the knights of the air, the pilots of combat aircraft on operations over the Balkans.

This report of a mission in which two F-15 Eagles intercepted and destroyed two Mig-29s has been left almost entirely unedited. It gives an authentic taste of battle that is rare.



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.



HEIRLOOM & HOWARD

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.


PEGASUS ARMORIE

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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