The Feudal Herald header

 

The FEUDAL HERALD

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

Vol. 2, No. 9, September 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

Information on subscription is given at the foot of this newsletter.
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CONTENTS

* A Welcome and an Explanation
* Gary, "Baron of Richecourt"
* Dimidiation
* Cadency
* Princess Mathilde ~ new arms
* Classical Heraldry
* Chivalry ~ a Russian view
*The Earl of Brae d'Albane
* Sainthood for William Wallace ???
* Lords of the Manor
* Estoile's scrapbook
* Regency ~ available at end-October
* Subscription

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A WELCOME AND AN EXPLANATION

The purpose of this newsletter is to link regular BARONAGE readers to those articles in the magazine that might interest them, so in it you should 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.

Now why, the question is doubtless asked by many readers, is this September newsletter appearing in mid-October? And what happened to the special issue announced as planned for September which has not appeared at all? Has BARONAGE run into more censorship? And the answer is that, yes, we have.
Our ISP decided that although there was no doubt that what we had published was true, was not libellous, and did not contravene the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, the additional work caused by the complaints and threats it received meant that life would be easier if we moved elsewhere. It took a few days, and a few readers will have noticed we were offline, but now we are on the server of a new ISP that is willing to support us in our work.
Incidentally, we lost our incoming e-mail for three days during the changeover. We apologise to any readers who tried and failed to contact us while the turmoil persisted.

As a consequence of the disruption and the redirection of staff to other duties, some articles have slipped back on the schedule, and the special issue of this newsletter intended to inform readers of the expansion plans is delayed until the end of this month.


GARY, "BARON OF RICHECOURT"

Our censorship problems started in a bizarre way. We received two threatening letters accusing us of planning to publish slanderous material about a website of which we knew practically nothing. It appeared that someone had contacted the website's publisher with complaints about its content and had promised to write an article about it for publication in the BARONAGE magazine. As the Editor does not react passively to threats, he visited the website and decided it deserved an article primarily because it had published a history of the Lords of the Isle of Wight that was grotesque in its inaccuracies. It contained 17 major errors in its first few lines. Moreover, it claimed to have established a new order of chivalry, "one of the world's most prestigious", and its founder was passing himself off as a lord.

So the Editor wrote an article based entirely on what was on the pages he visited, and included a copy of the publisher's ugly armorial achievement. This, being fair comment, qualified as one of the specific exemptions listed in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
And that is the article that prompted the threats that persuaded our ISP to take the magazine offline. Similar threats poured into the office here, to which the Editor responded with firm promises to do everything possible to help the complainant bring the matter to court. Maximum publicity, the Editor suggested, would be in the public interest. A law suit would be welcome. Unfortunately, there has been no progress on this, and the complainant is using his time to contact websites that provide hyperlinks to BARONAGE in order to threaten them with writs alleging complicity in libel.
We are circulating the contacted sites with the following ~

Your complainant's name is Gary M. Beaver. He passes himself off variously as "Baron Richecourt", "Lord Newport" (one of his e-mail addresses), "Lord Beaver of Newport", "Lord Beaver, Baron of Richecourt, Lord of the Manor of Newport", "The Most Honourable Lord Chevalier Gary M. Beaver of Richecourt", etc. (We might observe at this point that in British law only marquesses are entitled to the style of "Most Honourable".)

In August of this year he formed a company with liability limited by guarantee (of one pound sterling) instead of by share capital, and named it "The Most Noble Order of the Sword". That much was legal, or seemed to be, but in fact it was grossly illegal because he did not use his own name on the documentation. He left the TITLE space blank, placed "Baron" instead of "Gary M." in the FORENAMES space, and wrote "Richecourt" instead of Beaver in the SURNAME space.
He then launched his website with the claim that "The Most Noble Order of the Sword" was "one of the world's most prestigious orders of chivalry" and that "by tradition" (a tradition one month old) its Grand Master, Baron Richecourt, was styled "Most Honourable".
Obviously, it is not an order of chivalry, and even if it was it would not be "noble" in British law.) He announced that the order did accept as knights and dames selected ladies and gentlemen who had noble titles. The passage fee (the entrance fee) was not disclosed on the web pages, but the stallage (the annual fee) was stated to be £300. (Of course, non-noble aspirants who were deemed suitable could doubtless be guided towards one of the many sources of "noble titles" and by then buying one ~ perhaps £7,995 minimum ~ could be accepted and installed as a knight or dame.)
We should like to believe that we may have saved someone his money. It may be that Mr Beaver thinks we might, for on October 9th "Baron Richecourt" founded a new company ~ "The Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem". We await with interest the details of how the public may be enticed into becoming "knights" and "dames" in this one.

DIMIDIATION

One of the questions that lecturers in heraldry will always meet fairly early in a course asks how such odd charges as those which feature, for example, a lion joined to a boat, are formed. This type of union is known as dimidiation. In this issue BARONAGE introduces readers to a new animal in the heraldic bestiary - the Liar, half lion, half boar, notable for its forked tongue.



CADENCY

The Journalists' & Authors' Guide to Heraldry and Titles continues its discourse on cadency (differencing) with examples of the use of tincture changes and of geratting.


PRINCESS MATHILDE ~ NEW ARMS

The father of Princess Mathilde, Duchess of Brabant, wife of the future King of Belgium, has been raised to the rank of a count and now bears his father's (and elder brother's) arms differenced with a bordure gules. The bordure thus appears in Prince Philippe's armorial achievement illustrated in this article.

The Editor records his gratitude to Johan De Waele for promptly delivering intelligence of this change.


CLASSICAL HERALDRY

We continue our examination of Graham Johnston's portrayal of the arms of knights active in the Anglo-Scottish wars with a group chosen from "the Competitors" for the Scottish crown.



CHIVALRY - A RUSSIAN VIEW

For our "modern chivalry" series we decided we should catalogue the statements made by the Russians during the recent tragedy off their northern shoreline. It has been traditional in our Western armies and navies that everything should be done to save the lives of our soldiers and sailors where that is possible without damage to the attainment of the strategic objective. The armed forces of the Soviet Union never had that tradition embedded into their military doctrine, but with the defeat of communism we had hoped to see signs of a gentler Russia. The incident beneath the waves of the Barents Sea has dashed such hopes.


THE EARL OF BRAE D'ALBANE

When the last Earl of Breadalbane and Holland (Brae d'Albane was the original and seemingly more appropriate spelling), John Romer Boreland Campbell, l0th Earl and 14th Baronet, died in a nursing home in 1995, the titles became dormant with no heir in sight. Now, after an eight-year search for a successor, the next Earl has probably been found in Hungary.

Huba Andras Campbell, 55, a Budapest businessman, is the representative of a branch that suffered under communism because of both its noble ancestry and its British origin. In consequence, after "re-education" as an agricultural labourer, he held jobs as a mechanic and a cab driver until, following the fall of communism, he and his brother Nicholas founded a road haulage and car import business. His life has been very different from that of the first of the Hungarian line, his great-grandfather, John Breadalbane Campbell, who came to Hungary as an engineer to build bridges, and lived a rich and contented life.
Unfortunately, the once great wealth of the Breadalbane Campbells has been dissipated during these last one hundred years, and even their seat, Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe in Argyll, has passed to strangers. Only the title now remains as a reminder of the great estates over which the Earls could once ride for one hundred miles.

SAINTHOOD FOR WILLIAM WALLACE ???

That truly appalling film, Br*v*h**rt, whose egregious errors were perpetrated by a scriptwriter and a director who not only remained unrepentant but who still describe their fantasies as authentic, triggered a wider public appreciation of Sir William Wallace's role in Scotland's Wars of Independence. It is tragic, of course, that so much of the public awareness is owed to the film's risible story and the monstrous distortion of Wallace's judicial murder, both of which demeaned the memory of a great man, but that is the price we must pay for our "modern" approach to historical accuracy.

The latest manifestation of the Wallace cult the film fostered is a move to have him canonised. His proponents insist on his strong support for the Church and on his devotion to prayer enabling him to read from his psalter while he was being disembowelled. We know of no miracles being attributed to him, and sainthood will require at least two, so despite his famous achievements in life and his gruesome martyrdom in the cause of Scotland's independence, there appears little chance of "Saint William" entering the Calendar.

LORDS OF THE MANOR

This month, as promised, we publish a list of all those merchants dealing in "titles" whom we can unconditionally recommend. At present there are no names on it.

We include with the list a quotation from the official website of the British Embassy in Washington, DC. It briefly explains what a manorial lordship ("a Lord of the Manor title") is worth.


Estoile on shield
A page from Estoile's Scrapbook

( A fanfare of trumpets )

As the Editor has been much occupied with non-editorial matters, explained above, he passed over to me a couple of letters received on the subject of Clan MacTavish. There is a continuing battle on the Internet about its place in Scottish history and in particular its relationship with Clan Campbell, a battle in which I shall not become involved. However, it does provide me with an opportunity to answer in part a frequently asked question -- how can heraldry actually help the study of history?
I shall simplify the Campbell-MacTavish conflict by explaining that it is one of precedence. The Campbells insist that the first Mac Tavish was a "son of Thomas", and that that particular Thomas was a Campbell. The MacTavishes, or, more accurately, some MacTavishes, insist that the Thomas was the eldest brother of the first of the Campbells. There are conflicting stories of bastardy which may or may not account for the later precedence accorded to the Campbells, and there have been claims that all the Campbells are in reality MacTavishes, that the MacTavish clan (which claims also all of the name of Thomson and some of the name of Thompson) is accordingly, after the Macdonalds, the largest of the Scottish clans.
I should state at this point that MacTavish of Dunardry has been recognised by the Lord Lyon as the head of the MacTavish clan and as Chief of the Name and Arms. It is thus beyond dispute in Scots law that Clan MacTavish exists. (Whether it includes all Thomsons and Thompsons, or indeed all MacTavishes, is another matter, for Thomson is itself a clan, and there are and have been MacTavishes in Clan Fraser for a very long time.)
Now certain members of Clan MacTavish have claimed as evidence of their superiority that the original arms of Campbell of Lochow, gyronny Argent and Sable, were borne by the MacTavish Chief as early as the late 12th century -- before the Campbells were known to have borne them! (It has been said that in fact the MacTavish arms were gyronny Azure and Argent, but in those early days it was impossible to produce a true black and the indigo used could be confused with the azure that darkened with age, so the seeming distinction might be meaningless. Moreover, the change from metal and colour to colour and metal appears on many Campbell coats as well as on the MacTavish coat.)
So, how can heraldry actually help?

Well, if someone would produce evidence of these "12th century" arms in use by the MacTavish of the time, one part of the problem might be resolved. However, the Editor's hypothesis for the early Campbell history probably conflicts with this possibility. He is inclined to accept the suggestion of Beryl Platts and thus places the beginnings of the known Campbell lineage at a time much later than some of the MacTavish claims require.

The role of heraldry in this conflict is more valuable a little later. The first official record of MacTavish arms is with Lyon's grant to MacTavish of Dunardry in 1793. This placed the gyronny Sable and Or of the Campbells in the first quarter. (Argyll, the Campbell Chief bore gyronny Or and Sable, but many clansmen bore the metal and colour reversed.) Such a grant, placing Campbell arms in the pronominal quarter, did not recognise Dunardry as the Chief of MacTavish, nor did it recognise the MacTavish name as taking precedence over Campbell.
Today's heraldry can add another factor to the argument. Dunardry has been recognised by the Lord Lyon as Chief of MacTavish (even though his 18th century predecessor did not then find evidence to support such a claim, if such a claim was made at all), but the Lord Lyon has not allowed Dunardry supporters, which is within his power and for which "the Chiefs of considerable Families" qualify. If Clan Campbell were a part of Clan MacTavish, as has been put to the Editor, then MacTavish would indeed be a considerable Family. The Lord Lyon evidently thinks not.
Campbell of Argyll today
Campbell of Lochow anciently
MacTavish claimed early
MacTavish pronominal quarter
MacTavish claimed later

REGENCY ~ AVAILABLE AT END-OCTOBER

The Regency boardgame, devised by the BARONAGE Editor as a family pastime that teaches history as it reproduces the clan warfare of earlier centuries, has had its production licensed to an American company, Humix Inc., and will be on sale in October.

It is a truly fascinating exercise in tactical manoeuvre in which children can meet adults on equal terms. Moreover, parents will learn that their youngsters can develop an intuitive appreciation of mathematical odds superior to their own educated reasoning.

Will you be smart enough to win against the children you know?

There will be more details in the special edition of the newsletter due soon.

Why not put the Editor's game on your Christmas list now?

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