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

Vol. 4, No. 1-2, January-February 2002


Copyright (c) 2002 by Pegasus Associates Ltd and The Baronage Press



* A Welcome
* Princess Margaret
* The Name of Lyon
* Reshaping Charges
* Heraldic Cadency
* British Feudal Investments
* The Views of Clarenceux King of Arms
* Two pop-up pages
* Communications


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, nobility, books, cinema and other entertainment to which heraldry has thematic links.

The pressure of events that led to the late publication of our last magazine has been intensified by other inescapable commitments that pushed both the magazine and this newsletter well down the queue of priorities, leaving us to publish a magazine with less content than we had planned, and a newsletter that joins January and February in one issue. We do apologise for this and trust that soon we shall return to our normal routines.

The death of Princess Margaret and the ceremonial of her funeral on a day exactly fifty years after the day of the funeral of her father, King George VI, forced many of the Editor’s generation to reflect on how society has changed since his reign. In comparison to the trauma of the last half-century of technical development and of its effects, apart from some superficial modification, the role of monarchy in the constitution of the United Kingdom, despite the opportunism of certain politicians, has in contrast changed little. We are fortunate in this.
Ann Lyon, a constitutional expert, has looked back over these fifty years and has contributed to the magazine an examination of some of the rites attending royal funerals and the death of Kings.

By coincidence Ann’s surname appears in this issue of Baronage as the name chosen to illustrate the assistance heraldry gives to genealogists searching for clues. The Lyon family appeared suddenly in Scotland, as if from nowhere, and immediately achieved powerful influence at court. Why? The arms suggest a possible answer.


We have recently discussed the imprecision of early blazon and our examination of differencing continues in the JAG series. In this article we bridge the two topics by showing how some charges have morphed into others to provide methods of distinguishing between members of a family.


This new chapter on differencing looks at the ways in which the label was used in mediaeval times and how it is used by the Royal Family today.


As we have noted before, by far the most successful of the “titles” merchants is Antonio Adolfo Boada (aka the Duke of Campobello, the Marquis of Alassio, Knight of various orders, Ambassador-at-Large and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Liberia). He was visited some time ago by a journalist who wrote a long and very funny feature article about him. We reproduce extracts and give a link to the full original.


Popular products of the “titles” vendors are the Irish viscountcies and baronies, partly because they have an immediate appeal to the many Americans who can claim some Irish ancestry, and partly because they seem comparatively easier to fake.

A reader has sent us a copy of a letter written by John Brooke-Little, Clarenceux King of Arms at the College of Arms in London, responding to a notice offering an Irish title for sale. His views are worth noting because of their underlying message. (The letter dates from before this present socialist government’s expulsion of the hereditary peers from the House of Lords, and before John Brooke-Little’s retirement.)

I am concerned that something described as “The Barony and Seignory of Fermoy, Co. Cork (reputed prescriptive Viscountcy)” has been offered for sale by a well known auction firm and sold privately during the past few days in a sale of lordships of the manor and feudal baronies.

The present Lord Fermoy, for whose parents I acted when Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, telephoned me somewhat concerned as he envisaged that there might be two Lords Fermoy in the record books.

This cannot happen as the barony sold does not legally exist.

The Fermoy peerage offered for sale is described as a “prescriptive peerage”. This refers to the fact that David Roche of Fermoy, Co. Cork, seems to have been recognised as a peer of parliament by Edward IV.

His son was one of the 15 Irish peers summoned to Greenwich by Henry VII in 1489, and thereafter his successors were styled Lords Roche of Fermoy.

But on the death of Ulik, the 12th Lord Roche of Fermoy in 1733, the peerage became extinct, although there was a pretender whose claim and that of his descendants have never been accepted. It is not clear what the vendor was selling if the old barony and viscountcy of Roche of Fermoy (not “Fermoy” as is advertised) is extinct.

There could be some consolation to the purchaser, as it is said in the advertisement that the vendor may assist the purchaser’s admission to the Order of St Lazarus, which, incidentally, is not an order recognised in the United Kingdom.

It is also stated that the purchaser may make applications to the College of Arms for a grant of arms which will include a Feudal Baron’s coronet. Of course, he or she may “petition” for arms, but the purchase of the “title” will not be a consideration, and there is no such thing as a Feudal Baron’s coronet.
This was “a well known auction firm” and yet “the barony sold does not legally exist”.


A reader in New Zealand kindly sent us a picture of the arms of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. It is a fair example of the heraldic art of the first half of the last century.

Another reader has sent in a picture of the arms on a gravestone he hopes to identify, and which he believes to be those of a wife of a James Kincaid of that Ilk. Any readers who may recognise them, or who can offer clues, will have their suggestions passed on.


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