I have attempted below to illustrate heraldry used by various families. Please note that arms are registered as personal, not family, property, although crests are often authorised by chiefs to be used by family members. In most cases I do not have the actual heraldic details, so I have had to illustrate with borrowed symbols from outside individuals and families. The illustrations are not intended to depict the possible arms due to those related quasi-families, but rather to illustrate the typical heraldic devices used in the art of heraldry. There follows below a series of illustrations of the outline of heraldic arms. The data are not official and are only intended illustrative to create examples. In a few cases I have used actual arms registered to the individuals indicated. All the illustrations shown are based on historical heraldic blazons. I include the bagpiper to warn readers not to take the illustrations too seriously.[1]


Gherardini Arms

Gherardini Arms


Probably the first emigrant Gherardini was Otterus, Otho, or Other, son of Gherardo, son of Othoer, son of Mathias, who himself was a son of Cosimo, the Great Duke of Florence. The Gherardinis were also of the Ferrara-Modena family of the House D'Este, the younger branch penetrated the Teutonic domains of Charlemagne and founded the royal families of Brunswick and Hanover in what is now Germany. Some records say that Other FitzOthoere went to Normandy in the caravan of King Canut of England who had passed through Florence on his way home from a pilgrimage to Rome. Apparently he came into England later with Edward the Confessor when Edward was called back from exile to be King of England. There is an old lyric quote in English records which says "the Earldom which to Otho brave, the Saxon sainted Edward gave". Other FitzOthoere appears in the 1086 Domesday Book in the earlier record of 1058, as a baron of England.[2]

Other was so powerful in c1060 and he was so favoured by Edward that he caused jealousy amongst the Saxon nobles. It is also notable that Other's son Walter FitzOther was later treated as a fellow-countryman by the Normans after the 1066 Conquest. The Latin form of the family name of his descendants, 'Geraldini', is synonymous with Gherardini.

Otho was the grandfather of Gerald FitzWalter (also known as Gerald de Windsor). Gerald was the ancestor of the Fitzgeralds, Fitzmaurices, Carews, Redmonds, and Keatings of Ireland, among others. Otho was so powerful that his favor with the King was greatly resented by the Saxon nobles. He possessed three lordships in Surrey, three in Buckinghamshire, two in Berkshire, four in Middlesex, nine in Wiltshire, two in Hampshire, three in Dorset, and one in Somerset.[3] With him, the family name was changed to Geraldini. Otho's son, Walter FitzOther Geraldini, was treated as a fellow countryman by the Normans after the conquest of England in 1066. He succeeded to all of Otho's estates and his name is shown in the Domesday Book of 1087 that listed all the landholders of England. Windsor Castle, a great gray pile overlooking the Thames, had just been built amid the forests of Berkshire, and Walter was appointed its first castellan, as well as Warden of the Forests. He was one of the most Norman of the Normans -- a race renowned for its adaptability, no less than for its valor and ferocity.

Windsor Castle continued as a baronage for Otho's descendants for centuries, until it passed out of existence due to lack of direct male heirs. An interesting footnote is the story of how the current English royal family, the House of Windsor, took their name from Otho's vacated baronage. During the First World War, there was enormous anti-German sentiment in England, and the king wanted to distance himself from the German House of Hanover, their name at the time. Since the Gherardini family can be traced as the founders of the House of Hanover, it was very convenient that Gerald de Windsor (FitzWalter), baron of England, was related both to the English royal family and via the Florentine Gheradinis to the House of Hanover. This provided justification for the German House of Hanover to become the more politically-correct English House of Windsor, which they remain to this day.

Fitzwalter Arms

Gerald Fitzwalter Arms

The Fitzwalter family descends from the Gerald Fitzwalter in Wales.


The Fitzwalter family has figured in British history since the Norman Conquest and through the Crusades and the Wars of the Roses. The family arms are described as: Or, a fess between two chevrons gules.[4] The simplicity of this description marks its age. Gerald FitzWalter was Castellan, or Constable, of Pembroke Castle, which he successfully defended in 1094 against the Welsh Prince Res.


Otho's son Walter FitzOther, is on record as his father's successor as Castellan of Windsor in 1078. Walter had five sons by two wives, but the eldest was  Gerald FitzWalter, Constable of Pembroke. King Henry I evidently had moved Gerald deliberately into Wales, where Gerald was appointed Castellan, (Constable) of Pembroke Castle in Wales by Arnulph de Montgomerie.[3A] The move was sensible because the Normans had only just begun to conquer Britain and Gerald's father and grandfather had proven themselves reliable to the Normans.

Gerald commanded a small army in Southern Wales and beat the Welsh Prince Rhys. Gerald FitzWalter successfully defended Pembroke against the Welsh using psychology in 1094. Although the castle garrison was under siege and close to starving, Gerald ordered his men to throw the last meat over the walls at the Welsh; with a planted letter denying a need for reinforcements, the discouraged Welsh left.

Henry then commanded the 1112 marriage of Gerald and Henry's mistress, the 'fabulously beautiful' Princess Nesta. For Henry this was a political act. Henry was an astute politician and strove ''by every intermarriage and by every means in his power" to blend his peoples with their neighbours.[5] Gerald built a motte and bailie castle at Carew in Wales.

Gerald and Nesta had three sons and the eldest was Maurice FitzGerald, Baron Llanstephan, who succeeded his father and established the Fitzgerald family in Ireland. Maurice supported Richard de Clare called Strongbow in the Invasion of Ireland in 1169-1171. Maurice was afterwards created Baron of Wicklow, Naas and Offelim by Henry II, who on his return to England in 1172 left Maurice in the joint Government of Dublin and the Wicklow area. Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster was the deposed king in Dublin and in 1166 he had asked Henry II for help in reasserting his power with the Dubliners (who had expelled him). Henry II was an empire builder and saw a way to conquer all of Ireland. Henry authorised his barons to help (effectively to act as mercenaries). Richard FitzGilbert de Clare, (Strongbow) Earl of Pembroke, who began the formal invasion by sending Maurice in 1169, provided Dermot help - God save me from my friends.

Fitzgerald Arms

Duke of Leinster Arms

A monkey carried Thomas, son of John FitzThomas to the castle top, to throw the baby. But it gave Thomas to his mother and then hit the nanny. The family crest is the monkey.[6] The Duke of Leinster uses apes as supporters. The his arms are described as: Argent a saltire gules.[7]


Richard de Clare naturally turned to the large Geraldine family in Wales as natural leaders and proven warriors. Maurice FitzGerald was a senior commander with his step-brother Robert FitzStephan, and their cousins Miles de Cogan, Richard de Cogan, and Raymond FitzGerald, le Gros. Maurice commanded Strongbow's initial landing in 1169 at Wexford. Maurice was granted a barony of Offelan by Henry II and was also created Baron of Naas and Maynooth. Maurice is known to history by a Welsh title, Baron Llanstephan, married Alice de Montgomery and fathered Gerald, the ancestor of the Earls of Kildare. Alicia, was the daughter of Arnulph de Montgomerie, brother of Robert, III Earl of Shrewsbury, and she and Maurice had four sons.

Maurice was promised Wexford - to be shared with FitzStephan, Raymond was granted land in Cork. Maurice led t he Norman offensive in a landing at Bannow Bay in Wexford on 1 May, 1269. With help from Dermot's men, they spread successfully into Offaly and Ossory. The new Irish King Rory O'Connor resisted and was only overcome by the timely arrival of Strongbow, Earl Richard in August 1170. King Dermot died in 1171 and de Clare established himself as Lord of Leinster. By 1171, Henry II was quite anxious about the scale of his mercenaries' successes and he brought yet another army to Ireland. Henry arrived in October 1171 and the conquest of Ireland was assured. Maurice's nephew was Gerald de Barry, who became a literate Welsh cleric and historian. Gerald wrote widely and is a major source of details about the Norman Invasion and particularly his family's heroic role.

When Henry arrived in Dublin Strongbow had been the omnipotent master in Dublin, Wexford and Waterford. Henry brought de Clare back under control by confining him to Leinster and reassigning the other towns. Robert FitzStephan seems to have been sacrificed for some sin in royal punishment. By 1172 Maurice was one of three Keepers of Dublin. The Normans, of course, subsequently conquered Ireland and gained yet more power. Maurice built Maynooth Castle and is known as 'The Invader of Ireland'.

Maurice's eldest son was Gerald FitzMaurice, who was created Baron Offaly. Gerald had a son, also named Maurice who died in 1257 leaving two sons: Thomas, and Gerald. Thomas was called "Tomas Mor", Great Thomas for his skill and leadership in the 1261 Battle of Callann, and he succeeded his father as Baron Offaly. Thomas married twice, first to Eleanor Morris, by whom he had three sons including Gerald FitzGerald. Gerald fought at the same 1261 Battle of Callann as his father and he too earned a nickname Colin, after the battle itself. Gerald then went to Scotland and helped King Alexander III fight and win the 1263 Battle of Largs against the Vikings. Gerald's mother died and Thomas married Rohesia St Michael, by whom he fathered the future John FitzGerald FitzThomas, Earl of Kildare. The Earl of Kildare married Blanche de la Roche and was the progenitor of the Dukes of Leinster.[8]

The FitzGeralds became one of the most powerful families in Ireland as they filled influential positions and intermarried with other leading families. The FitzGeralds became perhaps the greatest of Anglo-Irish families for over four centuries, the FitzGeralds have two main branches.

  • The "Leinster" branch, who were led by the Earls of Kildare and whose senior line became the Dukes of Leinster.
  • The "Munster" branch, who were led by the Earls of Desmond. The Munster family was destroyed as a major Irish power in the Tudor wars of the 16th century in which they played a leading role.

'Crom-a-boo' is from Gaelic a buadh, which means 'to victory'.


Fitzgerald Arms


The FitzGerald family descended from Gerald FitzWalter and settled in Ireland, with their Norman roots.

The first FitzGerald was Maurice and his and Gerald's first names have been repeated in the later naming tradition. Maurice helped Richard de Clare, (who was then called Strongbow), and was the Earl of Pembroke, to restore Dermot the King of Leinster to his Irish throne.

Maurice's first son also called Gerald was created Baron of Offaly. At the end of the nineteenth century the Duke of Leinster was still called Gerald FitzGerald and continued to bear the titles of both the earl of Kildare and baron of Offaly, all in the Irish Peerage. The family has remained in Ireland since the twelfth century, through the Crusades and the Irish Wars.

Mackenzie Arms

The Clan Mackenzie at one time formed one of the most powerful families in the Highlands. It is still one of the most numerous and influential, and justly claims a very ancient descent. But there has developed a difference of opinion regarding its original progenitor. It has long been maintained and generally accepted that the Mackenzies are descended from an Irishman named Gerald (called Colin) Fitgerald or Cailean Fitzgerald, who descended from Otho who accompanied Edward the Confessor to England and became a key advisor in Edward's court, for which Otho was created Baron of Windsor.[9]

At this point some Clan historians diverge from the Fitzgerald record. Alexander Mackenzie states that John Fitzgerald, I Earl of Kildare was the father of Gerald called Colin, the father of the Mackenzies. This assertion is not supported by my source Sir E Mackenzie-Mackenzie, who records that Gerald - soon to be called Colin - was a step-brother of the earl.[10] It seems understandable that the mother of a newly-created earl would leave a higher profile record to explain the confusion. Sir E Mackenzie-Mackenzie states explicitly that he had access to the Leinster Fitzgerald records. The confusion over the name for Colin is further explained by Goddard Henry Orpen in his Ireland Under the Normans.

Orpen explained that Celtic tradition often provided a man a new name to honour some great deed. Gerald FitzGerald fought at the Battle of Callan in Northern Ireland in 1061 and evidently Gerald earned both honour and merit. It was that Battle Honour that initiated a name change. The battle inflicted heavy casualties on the Fitzgeralds and the homelands were wasted by the other side. Since Orpen noted that the Fitzgerald hero left Ireland for neighbouring Kintail Scotland, the change of place might have facilitated a simultaneous change of identity. There Gerald, probably already called Callan (Colin), met Alexander III whose land was about to be invaded by the Vikings. (At the end of the 1263 Battle of Largs there were an estimated 16,000-24,000 dead Vikings: this was no small brawl.) Fitzgerald help from a proven warrior would have been valuable in those circumstances. A hero of the Battle of Largs is 'Peregrinus et Hibernus nobilis ex familia Geraldinorum' deemed to be the same Colin Fitgerald. His son and grandson were apparently each named Kenneth, with the grandson being named Kenneth mac Kenneth, but in traditional Gaelic spellings - not English. As time increased the social exposure of the Highlands to the English and their language, the Gaelic was replaced by softened Anglicised spelling to become Kenneth Mackenzie.[11]

Like most Scots the Mackenzies were tribal warriors, adept at fighting lost causes. In the Wars of Scottish Independence the Mackenzies helped fight the English. The Mackenzies fought for Robert the Bruce in the 1308 the Battle of Inverurie against the Comyn rivals for the throne. Ian Mackenzie led 500 Mackenzies at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn and the English defeat. Later the Mackenzies battled against the Earl of Ross and his allies. This resulted in the capture and 1346 execution of the next Kenneth Mackenzie. Soon the next chief in an island castle in Loch Kinellan near Strathpeffer led the clan back to Kintail. At the 1547 Battle of Pinkie, Sir John Mackenzie was the chief who led the Mackenzies to battle the English: they lost, of course, and the Clan had to ransom their captured chief. Pinkie was the last major battle between the Royal Scottish and English armies. The Mackenzies supported their chief Lord Kenneth, the fourth Earl of Seaforth at the siege of Londonderry and at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne. William Dubh, II Marquess, V Earl of Seaforth (he was attainted for supporting the Stewarts and his titles were and estates were forfeited) led 3,000 Mackenzies and their supporters at the 1715 Battle of Sheriffmuir.[12]

Gerald Fitzgerald's Crest

'King Alexander III was on a hunting expedition in the forest, near Kincardine,when an infuriated stag, closely pursued by the hounds, made straight in the direction of the King, and Cailean Fitzgerald, who accompanied the Royal party, gallantly interposed his own person between the exasperated animal and his Majesty, and shot it with an arrow in the forehead. The King in acknowledgment of the Royal gratitude at once issued a diploma in favour of Colin granting him armorial bearings which were to be, a stags head puissant, bleeding at the forehead where the arrow pierced it, to be borne on a field azure, supported by two greyhounds. The crest to be a dexter arm bearing a naked sword, surrounded by the motto "Fide Parta, Fide Acta," ...' [13]


Mackenzie of Seaforth Arms

In 1544, John Mackenzie ignored a royal order with a powerful display of impunity. Baron Mackenzie declared his power by attacking the powerful MacDonalds in 1602. This degenerated into a major war with 'great slaughter on both sides'. The Baron gained land respect.

Kenneth Mackenzie was appointed a Privy Councilor in 1602, obtained Royal charters for the lands in 1607, and was created Baron Mackenzie of Kintail in 1609 and was granted the Barony of Lews in 1610. His son Colin was created Earl of Seaforth by James VI in 1623 and served as Secretary of State to King Charles II. His nephew was Kenneth, I Baronet of Coul.


Kenneth Mackenzie, 1 Bt of Coul Arms

'It is said that Alexander when quite an infant was sent by his mother to his father, Colin of Kintail, at Brahan Castle, who consulted his wife, Barbara, daughter of John Grant of Grant, as to what he should do with the little stranger. Naturally incensed both at her husband's infidelity and the proposed addition to her family circle, she indignantly replied - "Cuir 'sa chuil e," that is "put him in the ash-hole, or corner."

Realising the imprudence of further offending her, but being naturally of a humane disposition, and wishing to act honourably by his innocent offspring, he took the child away, and on his return told his wife that he had carried out her proposal and left him in the "Coul." He secretly sent Alexander to the place then and now called "A Chuil," or Coul, to be nursed and brought up by a respectable woman, and thus carried out the letter if not the spirit of his lady's request, and at the same time performed his duty towards his afterwards distinguished son, to whom he gave that estate as his inheritance.'[14]

 Mackenzie of Coul Arms

The Coul arms bear both the Mackenzie stag's head and the Chisholm boar's head; these symbols represent the arms of each family. It was not then unusual for a husband to quarter his wife's arms if there were no male heirs in that family. The quartered Chisholm arms were the result of the seventeenth century marriage of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, I Baronet of Coul, to Jean Chisholm, eldest daughter of Alexander Chisholm of that Ilk. The Mackenzie arms have been displayed and explained elsewhere and the Chisholm arms are below. The Chisholm arms are from Fox-Davies' book.[15] Note that the arms consist of the shield representations. The same boar's head appears in the Campbell's arms.

Mackenzie of Coul Arms

Sir Kenneth's Coul arms quarted those of his wife Jean Chisholm of Comar. The blazon is simple with just the two elements, and the crest encorporates the primary sable (black) Chisholm tincture.


Chisholm Arms

SIR KENNETH MACKENZIE, first designated of Assynt, but in 1649 he had a sasine of Coul. He married Jean Chisholm of Comar c1640.

Created baronet on 16 October 1673. He was sheriff of the united counties of Ross and Inverness.

He was a "man of parts," and in great favour with Charles II., who made him a Baronet by Royal patent with remainder to the heirs male of his body, dated on the 16th of October, 1673. He was also appointed Sheriff-Principal of Ross and Inverness, these counties being then one under the jurisdiction of one Sheriff

Moore Arms

Our immediate Canadian luminaries were my Granny's family the Moores. Frank Moore was a New York State Lieutenant Governor, in the 1950s. Our Moore family came from Cambridge, England, where William Robert Moor married Jane Hardy in 1826. Their son  Henry Philip Moore went to Canada and helped build Canada's parliament buildings. The Moore coat of arms was hung outside an ancestor's Cambridge inn.

Moore is a very numerous name in Ireland: with some 16,500 of the population so called it holds twentieth place in the list of commonest names. The great majority of these (apart from the metropolitan area) are in Munster and Ulster. It is practically impossible to say what proportion of these are of Gaelic Irish origin and what proportion of English or Scottish extraction, for Moore is also indigenous in Britain and very common there (it has thirty-ninth place in England). It would perhaps be better to say Anglo-Norman rather than English, since Anglo-Norman Moores established themselves in Munster soon after the invasion. These Moores are called de Mora in Irish, a phonetic rendering of the English name which is derived from the word moor (heathy mountain). In Scotland the name is rendered Moore, More or, most commonly, Muir. It was first noted, in a variety of places, in the thirteenth century. There were Mores, a sept of Clan Leslie, and Muirs, a sept of Clan Campbell.[16]

Moore (Earl of Mountcashel. descended of Kilworth settled in Clonmel temp James I) Arms: Sable a swan argent membered and beaked or a border engrailed of the last. Crest: A goshawk wings addorsed preying on a coney all proper. Motto: Vis unita fortior.

The final illustrative Moore arms shown are also Irish; Moore (Earl of Drogheda) Arms: Azure on a chief indented or three mullets pierced Gules. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet a Moor's head proper wreathed argent and azure. Motto: Fortis cadere cedere non potest. The family name of the Earls of Drogheda is Moore:  their ancestor came to Ireland under Queen Elizabeth I. The Moores of Barmeath have been settled there since the fourteenth century.

Moore Arms

O'More (The O'More Lord of Laoighis or Leix, an extensive territory comprising the eastern and southern baronies of the present Queen's County; the territory was so called from the tribe designation of the sept, Mac Laoighis, a name derived from their ancestor Laoiseach son of Conal Cearnach Chief of the Craobhruadh or Red Branch Knights. Mordha, the descendant of Laoiseach was Lord of Laoighis and from him derived the surname O'More. Rory O'More, Lord of Laoighis waged war against Elizabeth I and was slain in rebellion 1578.

Anthony or Owny O'More, his son, succeeded as Lord of Leix but was slain in rebellion in 1601, when all the estates were forfeit and the sept scattered). Arms: Vert a lion rampant or in chief three mullets of the last. Crest: A dexter hand lying fessways couped at the wrist holding a sword in pale pierced through three gory heads all proper. Motto: Conlon Abú.[17]



Unlike the Irish O'Mores arms shown with the gory heads, our Moores were an English family from Sussex. My cousin Patricia Patterson has a letter from my grandmother, Helen Moore, recalling arms being displayed in England over a family pub in Cambridge. The Honourable Charles Moore's arms are shown above right and they reflected a visit to Australia. The Moores are such a big family that I am uncertain which arms may now be entitled and by whom. However, my purpose is illustrative.

Charles Moore's arms are in Fox-Davies' book described as: Asure, a cross crosslet or, on a canton argent, a kangaroo sejant proper. Mantling azure and or. Crest: upon a wreath of the colours, out of a mural crown gules, a Moor's head in profile, couped at the shoulders proper, wreathed round the temples or and azure, and charged on the neck with a cross crosslet gold; with a motto, Perseverando et cavendo.[18]

Not only have Moores achieved well earned prominence throughout English and British History (there were six Moores at Waterloo) but they also provided two American Colonial Governors (James Moore in the early eighteenth century in South Carolina and Sir Henry Moore in New York in 1766). Patricia's father Frank Moore was Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1950.

Willison (and Willson) Arms

Sir John Willison worked as an editor of the Globe in Toronto, Canada, and then at the News and was knighted both for his journalism and for establishing the Toronto Globe (later called the Globe and Mail) as a serious national Canadian newspaper. I have an engraved copper plate presented to Lady Willison that was made from copper pieces of Nelson's flagship Victory. Sir John wrote extensively and was both a liberal and publicist involved in politics. Rachel (Lady Willison) died in 1925. Sir John had no arms, but had he thought of it, he might have used Wilson as a basis for any heraldic arms design.

Those who wish to use arms in any particular sense must petition for a Grant of Arms or - if they can trace their ancestry back to a direct or, in some cases collateral, ancestor - a "cadet matriculation" showing their place with the family. Forms of Petition and sample proof sheets relative to such application can be supplied if required. When a grant, or matriculation, of arms is successfully obtained, an illuminated parchment, narrating the pedigree as proved, is supplied to the Petitioner, and a duplicate is recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland and/or the Public Register of Genealogies and Birthbrieves. Application for such a Confirmation, by Letters Patent or Matriculation, from the Lord Lyon King of Arms is the only way to obtain a genuine coat of arms of Scotland.[5] Arms may also be created in England, America, and Canada, amongst others.

Below you see both the Wilson arms (recorded no doubt for some deserving Wilson), and the identical Willison arms belonging again to someone unknown. Willisons and Wilsons apparently both came from early Viking stock and may have originated in Scotland. In 1818, Stephan Willison was born in Ripon, Yorkshire England, quite near Scotland and he died in c1895 in the United States of America.

Wilson Arms

Wilson arms are shown here in the widest possible context of a shared history with Willison. Both names now separately appear in our family. I doubt that Sir John Willison's family ever had heraldic arms recorded but the Wilson name has a common ancestry and by no great coincidence Willison arms seem to look similar.


Willison Arms


I do not have access to a source reference for official heraldic descriptions (termed a blazon), however, I was advised by Patricia Patterson that the Wilson arms include: a black background, a gold wolf and three gold ' starfish'. The crest was similarly described as a wolf. Note I have depicted the helm, or helmet, as prescribed for an esquire or gentleman, i.e. a closed steel helm in profile with a closed visor.

Boulton Arms

Boulton of Moulton Arms


Dukes of Bolton Arms

Bolton Arms

Bolton: or, on a chevron gules three lions passant, guard argent. Also, Bolton: azure, a tun, with a bird-bolt through it proper.[20]




The crest is a pun, since an arrow was known as a bolt and a tun was a large cask. Boltons may have been brewers as well as wool merchants and industrialists. I have illustrated what I think were D'Arcy Boulton's arms, but they may have been recorded for his ancestor Henry Boulton of Moulton, Esquire, who married a Bolton. Puns were quite common in heraldry as they often personalised some specific incident, which involved the owner.

There are many registered Bolton arms, for example that of the Lord Mayor of London in 1667: sable a hawk argent. Bolton, Serjeant, who died in 1787: azure three arrows in pale fesseways or, points to the dexter. Crest, on a wreath, a tun erect proper, transpierced by an arrow fesseways, or. Bolton, azure three bird-bolts or. Crest a bolt gules in a tun or.[19] The Boulton of Moulton arms below include a flight of '3 Bolton bird bolts', perhaps gold against azure colouring in the first and fourth quarters, and a chevron apparently dividing three powder horns. The barrel and another arrow form the crest, which seems odd since the crest was actually intended to be worn on a helmet.

The Boultons are a large, powerful, family who originated in Normandy. The Boltons were, and are still, prominent in England, America, and Canada. There are in fact many Boultons in the United States, curiously in Sir William Johnson's same colonial New York area. My Granny Willison gave me D'Arcy Boulton's original handsome seal in which this crest was engraved. She was born a Boulton and her family had originally come from Moulton in Lincolnshire (there are at least 16 such places in England). I found the correct Moulton in in southern Lincolnshire and there are still many Bolton names listed in the local phone book there. The Bolton name is prominent in the local Anglican church.

Bolton is now a well-known name after which a city and several towns have been named. Before spelling was popular, variation of names was common. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and spelling changed. The variations of Bolton include Boulton, Bolton, Bolten, Boalton, Boultoun, Boultown, Boltan, Boulten, and de Boelton.

Our Boulton family came from Moulton, a small village in Lincolnshire, England. The Bolton family records disappeared during the Cromwell Civil war, but enough remained to see that education was encouraged in the family. Our Boultons of Moulton appear to have become lawyers and solicitors. In Canada the Boultons formed the backbone of the 'Family Compact' (a clique to protect vested interests).

Bolton is a city with a population of about 261,000 in north west England. In its heyday Bolton was an industrial town and the skyline was a forest of chimneys, most of which served the textile industry, for which Bolton was a world-renowned center. The Boultons of Moulton were scholars and there is a considerable record of them in the Anglican church at Moulton.

D'Arcy Boulton built an estate, called The Grange, at York, now called Toronto, Canada. (The Grange is now the Toronto Art Gallery.) He was appointed the first Solicitor General for Upper Canada) Ontario, Canada in 1805. While sailing back to England, D'Arcy's ship was fired on by the French and he was wounded, captured, taken prisoner and incarcerated at Verdun. During this time John Beverley Robinson was appointed Acting Attorney General. On Napoleon's defeat D'Arcy was released and on his return to Canada in 1814, D'Arcy was made Attorney General for Ontario, Canada. D'Arcy was imprisoned in France during Major General Dearborn's 26 April 1813 American invasion of 'Muddy' York. His wife Elizabeth Forster was the York social 'Grande Dame' of her day.

I have had regrettable shortfalls with the Bolton arms. I do have a drawing of D'Arcy Boulton's (the elder) arms, with a double crescent showing him as the second son of a second son. Thus these arms were already dated back three generations at the end of the eighteenth century. By observation, the arms include another family's impaled arms. The arms were probably recorded for the son of Henry Boulton of Stixwold, Lincolnshire, and his bride, Elizabeth Bryan of Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire, England.(The Powletts were the ducal Boltons, not the Bolton family.)

Campbell Arms

Inveraray Castle


The origins of Clan Campbell are uncertain. The earliest attested Campbell is Gilleasbaig of Menstrie (c1260s}, father of Cailean Mór, from whom the chiefs of the clan are thought to have taken their style MacCailean Mór. The byname kambel is recorded at this time. Fanciful reconstructions derive it from the French de Campo Bello, but the likely source is the Classical Gaelic caimbeul, meaning wry mouth or crooked mouth.

Regarding the earlier ancestors of Clan Campbell, there is good evidence that the Campbells themselves traced their descent from an earlier kindred known as the Mac Duibne, or perhaps the Uí Duibne. It has been suggested that the family's early land holdings, around Menstrie, and in Cowal, were related to the partition of the Mormaerdom of Mentieth in 1213. Gilleasbuig may have been a kinsman of Mormaer Muireadhach Mór. The lands around Loch Awe, which would later form the core of their possessions, were not held at an early date. The family was closely associated with the Bruces and Stuarts in the time of Cailean Mór and his son Sir Niall. Cailean Mór was killed in battle against the Macdougalls, enemies of Bruce and Stewart, and Sir Niall was a staunch ally of King Robert Bruce. Cailean Mór's mother Affrica of Carrick was probably the first cousin of King Robert's mother, Marjorie, Countess of Carrick.

The name began to be established in Argyll at the end of the thirteenth century, as followers of the Earl of Lennox, with Campbells owning lands in Kintyre. A famous warrior Cailean Mór (Great Colin) was knighted in 1280 and established himself at at Loch Awe. Cailean Mór's older brother established himself at Strachur forming the oldest branch of Clan Campbell

For four hundred and fifty years, from 1457 onwards, the Chiefs of Clan Campbell played leading roles in the government of Scotland and later of Great Britain. When Colin Campbell of Lochawe was made I Earl of Argyll in 1457 and then Chancellor of Scotland, until the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England in 1707, the Argyll family and their numerous followers had always to be taken into account where Scottish affairs were concerned. In the mid 16th century, in the reigns of Elizabeth I of England and Mary Queen of Scots, Archibald Campbell, V Earl of Argyll could bring a larger army to the field than that of either queen and he was the only noble in the British Isles to have his own private artillery! In the mid seventeenth century the VIII Earl and Marquis of Argyll ruled Scotland for a time. Campbell castles and lands are spread over six parts of Scotland: Argyll, Angus, Ayrshire, Clackmannan, Nairnshire and Perthshire. The principal Campbell seat is in Argyll where Inveraray Castle is the home of the Chief, the Duke of Argyll.

For two hundred years from 1701 the Dukes of Argyll were frequently involved in the government of Great Britain. In the first part of the eighteenth century the second Duke commanded British armies and served in the Cabinet, while the third Duke, his heir, administered Scotland. The 8th Duke was a Cabinet Minister in the British government. In the second half of the nineteenth century Lord Lorne, heir to the 8th Duke.

Campbell Arms

Since this explanation is intended as an illustration, I have borrowed arms from Campbell of Inverneil. Gyronny of Eight, Or and Sable. They make several points, which Fox-Davies brings out.[21] These are contained in the typical Campbell use of the gold and black (or and sable) coat displayed on the shield. These are referred to as a gyronny (the triangular alternating gold and black shapes) coat. Inverneil's arms are superimposed on top of the lymphad (boat) of Lorne. These features appear in the Duke of Argyle's arms and most of the other Campbell families.[22]


Dukes of Argyll Arms


The name Campbell was first used in the 13th century. The first chief of the clan on record as Campbell may have been Sir Duncan of Lochawe when he was created Baron Campbell in 1445.

I have no knowledge of our family member's Campbell of Melfort arms. However, the Campbells are an illustrious family of dukes, marquesses, barons and Lairds although sometimes unpopular in the Highlands because of Scottish tribal jealousies. The recent, senior directly-related Campbell identified here is Field Marshal Colin Campbell KCB Lord Clyde, and he lived between c1765 and June 1847. This was during the period when heraldry was considered important and it is possible that he did petition the Lord Lyon for arms to be created, or differenced.

The Duke of Argyle's arms include the lymphad (boat) of Lorne, quartered with the gold and black (or and sable) Campbell gyronny. Argyll's arms are supported by red lions and backed by a crossed pike and sword. You can see the motto 'ne obliviscaris'.

Johnson of the Mohawk Arms

Johnson of the Mohawk Arms


One of only three American colonial baronets Sir William George Johnson was "A man of strong character, a colossal pioneer..." He emigrated from Ireland in 1737 to manage the property in New York, United States of America of Admiral Sir Peter Warren his uncle. He took colonizing seriously and may have fathered more than 700 white and Indian children. He owned a half million acres of land in the Mohawk River valley. He won British, colonial and Indian respect as a fair man. He learned several Indian dialects and was Crown Superintendent of the Six Nation Indian Confederacy. He built two churches, a courthouse and jail, and three homes all of which are still in use. A trusted, skilled colonial advisor, he was a large, imposing, persuasive man, who thought on his feet. In 1747, Governor Clinton stated that he could only muster about 20 Indians, but Johnson could muster 1,000 French Indians while still supplying Fort Oswego. Commissioned as a British militia colonel, he was also appointed a Colonial major general by Major General Edward Braddock. Sir William was a New York, United States of America Privy Counsellor to Sir Danvers Osborn in 1753, but owed his elevation to a feud between Governor Clinton (1743-1753) and Lieutenant Governor James Delancey (1753-1755 & 1757-1760).

Johnson received £10,000 from Braddock to secure the Indians' support. As commander of the provincial troops Johnson defeated the French Commander-in-Chief, Major General Baron von Dieskau on 8 September, 1755. Dieskau had brought about 3,000 men to Crown Point on Lake George and he led about 1,400 against Johnson, but he stopped at the log breastwork and gave Johnson's troops time to organise when he ought to have charged through. Being immediately wounded Johnson's command passed to General Lyman from Connecticut. The French lost less than 200 but all of their credibility and momentum. A superior organiser Sir William made a decisive contribution to Britain's Seven Year War with France by organising a defence, rallying the Indians and commanding the fire at the Battle of Lake George. Braddock's defeated remnants returned in October. Johnson's logs became Fort William Henry and the French built Fort Ticonderoga. Sir William was called Warraciyagey (he who accomplishes much) by the Mohawks and Iroquois, as he spoke, thought and hunted like an Indian. Fort William Henry was depicted in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Sir William later aided Wolfe's capture of Québec by taking Fort Niagara by siege in 1759 and simultaneously defeating a combined French and Indian relieving army.

William King George II raised William Johnson to the Baronetcy and authorised his arms, which were probably designed by Sir William himself. The arms are illustrated above from a description of the achievement in William Berry's Encyclopaedia Heraldica.[23] Arms, gu. on a chev. betw. three fleurs-de-lis ar. as many escallops of the field. - Crest on a wreath, a cubit arm in armour, holding in the hand an arrow in bend sinister ppr. point downwards. Supporters, two North American Indians ppr. wreathed round the waist with leaves vert crowned with fleurs-de-lis.. The motto is properly shown beneath the heraldic escutcheon, or shield, and translates to I owe God and King. Sir John Johnson died in Montréal in 1830 and that Baronetcy is now re-styled Johnson of New York.

Armstrong Arms

Through Eliza Jane Wilson, who married Henry Philip Moore and helped populate the British colony of Upper Canada, an additional set of historical pioneer stock became available. My uncle Murray married Mildred Armstrong. The first Armstrong was given that name for demonstrating a strong-arm(The ancient Armstrongs were reivers - or border raiders - in Southwest Scotland prior to Culloden.[24] Samuel Armstrong married Mary Armstrong in 1829 in Ballahulago, Fermanagh, Ireland. Samuel emigrated from Ireland to Canada when about fifty years old, after his first wife had died. He opened a tavern in Hornby, Ontario, Canada. He next sent for his children and a new wife, and then fathered another four children. He settled on a farm north of Oakville, Ontario, Canada and his son also called Samuel Armstrong established a blacksmith shop.

The Armstrongs also gave Canada many pioneer settlers and my cousins Mary Helen and Janet grew up in new Armstrong territory in Oakville Ontario, Canada - as well as in Colombia in South America.  It was this family Armstrong connection, which enabled my own father to buy land beside his brother Murray's after WWII.  My father's family grew up in Oakville in Ontario and I still consider Oakville home.

Armstrong Arms

Armstrang arms above. Motto Invictus manco: I remain unvanquished. Argent three palets azure. Crest, an arm proper. For Scotland: Argent, an arm proper, habited gules issuing out from the side of the escutcheon, and holding the lower part of a broken tree eradicated vert, the top leaning to the dexter angle.[25]



Armstrong Arms

Another example of Armstrong arms with three strong arms, but missing the crest. It makes the point that considerable artistic flexibility is inherent in heraldic interpretation.[26]

The blazon for Armstrong of Lincoln and Nottinghamshire is: Three dexter arms vambraced argent, hands proper. Crest a dexter arm vambraced in armour, the hand proper.[27]


Armstrong of Mungbyhurst Arms

Hotz Arms

Hotz Arms

The coat of arms blazon is: A blue shield with two gold crescents back to back, a gold star in chief and a green tripple mount in base.


Birchall Arms

Argent on a chevron between three cross crosslets fitchée as many fleurs de lis, sable of the field. Crest a lion rampant, azure, supporting a tree, vert.[28]


The Hotz family is, of course German, and Hotzes are found throughout Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium today. The name itself evidently was originally a given name meaning 'son of Hugh'. When the Normans invaded England in 1066, they brought some Hotzes with them. St. Hugh of Lincoln (1140-1200) was born in Burgundy and he established the first Carthusian monastery in England.

The name is spelt in a variety of ways: and etc. The Hotz family apparently originated in Bavaria in the early eleventh century in the area of 'die Romantisch Straße', on the Tauber. My uncle's family emigrated to America and settled in Wisconsin as early settlers.

As usual I have no information about the arms displayed here.

Birchall Arms

The Birchalls may be Saxon in origin and were in Cheshire and Kent, England prior to the Norman invasion. The family name relates to someone who lived in Birchall, the hall of Birch trees. Evidently this comes from the Old English word 'birce', meaning birch and head. My cousin George's father descended from George Birchall, who was born in Toronto, Canada in c1850.

Recorded in many forms including Birchall, Burchell, Birchill, Birtles, and Birtle, this English surname is locational. It derives from Biekel, the original spelling of the Lancashire village of Birtle, first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of the country in 1246. By 1347 this spelling had become Birkehill, but from about 1660 it has been spelt as Birtle. The meaning of the place name and hence the later surname is Birch Hill from the pre 7th century Olde English birc - hyl. In the original name recordings the village spelling was given in both its old and new spelling, although Birtles is purely a local dialectual pronunciation which eventually became the norm! Like most locational surnames, this is a "from" name. That is to say a name given for identification to somebody who had left his or her original village, and moved somewhere else. The subsequent surname developments taken from surviving church registers of Lancashire include: Agnes Burchall in 1635, Alice Burchell in 1688, Aprah Birchall (1701), and Ann Birchill (1732), whilst William Burchell (1782-1863) was a famous Victorian explorer and botanist. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Birchall de Birtles. This was dated 1401, in the rolls of Gawsworth District of East Cheshire, during the reign of King Henry IV of England.[29]

Wilks Arms

The Wilks were a continental family, thus bringing a further European dimension to our family heraldry. As indicated in the Wilkes arms here, the name may be spelled variously, but the family has spread across Europe into France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, etc. My cousin Toni's great grandfather was Mathew Wilks, who married Elizabeth Astor Langdon, Eugene Langdon Wilks and Marguerite Roberta Briquet were Toni's grandparents. I am uncertain from which Wilks family my cousin descends, but her great-grandfather was born in London and married Dorothea Astor.

My cousin's Wilks family motto is Vigilans et Invictus.Additionally, Mathew Wilks was born in London, England and Toni continues this European tradition by living in central France. She is a member of her local hunt. Toni's mother was a Wilks and her formidable Swiss-born, Wilks grandmother presided at Langdon Hall at Blair, Ontario during my visits. As shown earlier, my cousin Toni's hunt continues feudal tradition by riding in full hunting costume, exactly as the French court did almost 1,000 years ago. I am unaware of the meaning of the chained dog but several speculations arise, including the large hunting dogs owned by her hunt today. They are probably more than four feet tall and very powerful. I watched about one hundred of them make short work of two slaughtered cows for their lunch!

Wilkes Arms

Blazon: Argent three gryphons Sable passant en pal, a seme of trefoils slipt vert. Crest: a crossbow proper issant from a mount verte charged on a Knight's helmet, tortil Gules and Argent. Motto: In Arcui Non Confido[30]


Wilks Crest

My cousin Toni still uses crested note paper, bearing a Wilk's crest from her mother's arms.[31]

The name "Wilkes", in Norman times was spelled "Wylkys", and originated with those of the name living in "Wylkyshire" now "Wiltshire". The Gaelic name "Wylk" meant "Wolf". Thus the name "Wylkyshire" meant the province of the Wolves.


Astor Arms

Toni's ancestor was John Jacob Astor, from Walldorf, Germany. The first Astor arms appear to have been created for Graf von Wasserburg. These are for the English family. The Astor origins were probably from Normandy.


1             Aleph - William Harvey, Geographical Fun, plate 5. The Victorians poked fun at everyone and often used map caricatures and verse. This is one of a series first printed in 1869.

2             See Wayne Maurice Fitzgerald's Ancestry Website, at http://www.fitzgerald-gherardini.com/ for much of the Fitzgerald background.

3            AL Poole, Domesday Book to Magna Carta 1087-1216, p.2.

3A          See Robert M. Keating, "Gerald de Windsor", at http://www.robertkeating.com/gdw.htm. There is uncertainty about which of Walter's wives was Gerald's mother, with children by both. Walter gave each of his two sets of children different surnames. History seems to favour FitzWalter rather than de Windsor for Gerald. Keating's data shows that Henry 'had him appointed Constable'. This clearly suggests that the family was in royal favour.

4             Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, p. 102.

5             See Wayne Maurice Fitzgerald's Ancestry Website, op. cit.

6             Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, p. 327.

7             Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, p. 525.

8             See History Of The Mackenzies by Alexander Mackenzie, http://www.fullbooks.com/History-Of-The-Mackenzies1.html. Much of the Fitzgerald history comes from this source, however, there appear to be inherent flaws. We now have confirmation from Fitzgerald records of Colin's descent, but we no longer accept that Otho fought at Hastings in 1066. We also have other evidence of Otho's prior activity with Edward the Confessor. It was this experience and his evident efficiency, plus his prior exposure to Normandy during Edward's exile which endeared him to William. I have quoted from Alexander Mackenzie's History extensively in this page.

9         The purported FitzGerald pedigree was detailed by Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Sadly his source was apparently wrong and the facts shown here are in error. Since this pedigree is widly quoted as the source of un-linking the Mackenzies from the FitzGeralds, I have shown the pedigree now widely accepted as accurate, which shows that Thomas had two wives, neither of whom were named Carron. Given this disagreement in facts, the ancestry for Gerald, I Baron of Kintail also varies. See History Of The Mackenzies by Alexander Mackenzie, http://www.fullbooks.com/History-Of-The-Mackenzies1.html, and also at p. 2 cited at http://books.google.com/books?id=QScfAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=sir+thomas+%22fitz+antony%22&source=web&ots=tbrR9PyASu&sig=YuyfBqy-e9m28gNhyLTNylFzC8k.

10       Sir E Mackenzie Mackenzie, The Genealogy of the Stem of the Family of Mackenzie, p. 2.

11       Sir Alexander Mackenzie, op. cit.

12       See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_MacKenzie.

13       Sir Alexander Mackenzie, op. cit.

14       Ibid.

15          Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, plate LVIII.

16         See http://www.geocities.com/plentymoore/origin.html.

17         For obvious copies of commercial arms, see http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.c/qx/, http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/willison-family-crest.htm, and http://www.allfamilycrests.com/a/armstrong-family-crest-coat-of-arms.shtml, http://www.geocities.com/heartland/cottage/1942/birchall.html, and http://www.fleurdelis.com/mantlings.htm for examples of heraldic art and various arms.

18         These are cited as the arms of the Honourable Charles Moore by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, The Art Of Heraldry, p. 85. 

19         I have found blazons for Armstrong, Boulton, and Birchill, in Thomas Robson, The British Herald, http://books.google.com/books?id=8RgNAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PT48&lpg=RA1-PT48&dq=birchill+family+arms&source=web&ots=qacyIke5MJ&sig=GhqF05BoygXuFw8f43u2O9qz9FU#PPA1,M1.

20         Ibid. From Boultons of Bardney, 16th Century. The religious and political wars preceding The Commonwealth resulted in the destruction of many of the public records usually kept in churches or other public buildings. It is, however, conjectured that the Bardney Boultons were descended from Anthony Boulton of Burston, Norfolk, whose pedigree can be traced to the Boltons - late of Faithlegg, Waterford Co.

This last family claims its descent from Oughtred de Bolton, by Bowland and Bolton-upon-Deane. Oughtred de Boulton, Bowbearer in the royal forests of Bowland and Gilsland, [in the time of] Henry II, was, according to Drysdale, a lineal descendant of the Saxon Earls of Mercia, and supposed to be the son of Edwin, living at the Norman Conquest, and three times mentioned in the Doomsday Book as Edwinus Comes de Boelton, one of the English Knights who contested at the tournament held at St Ingle in Picardy Mary 1389. The bugles on the Boulton arms come from a later marriage to the Forsters.

21         Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, describes Campbell of Craignish, p. 303.

22         Ibid, p. 45 provides the Duke of Argyle's arms c1900.

23        Cited in James Flexner's Mohawk Baronet, p 306.

24        George MacDonald Fraser, The Steel Bonnets, p. 56.

25        Recorded by my cousin Janet Harding as recounted by her mother Mildred (Armstrong) Mackenzie.

26        Thomas Robson op. cit.

27        Robert Bain, The Clans and Tartans of Scotland, p 38.

28        Thomas Robson op. cit.

29        See http://www.geocities.com/heartland/cottage/1942/birchall.html.

30        Wilkes arms by Charles Fred Wilkes from circa Henry III era; and research courtesy of Commander Charles Denby Wilkes. See Wilkes Family Lineage, at http://www.wilkesgen.com/cfw/cfwAncestry0.html.

31       Notwithstanding the foregoing heraldic representations of our collective family achievements, they have been portrayed here as illustrative of what families held as important and how these symbols were displayed. The symbols themselves represent history as is the case with the Wilks' crest, the Mackenzie beacon fire, and the Campbell galley. Their inclusion here does not imply authorisation for use, although in some cases this family legitimately holds arms.

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