Arms of Hugh d’Avranches


Arms of Hugh d’Avranches (also known as Hugh Lupus, or Hugh the Wolf), Earl of Chester 1071-1101 (c. 1047-1101) and Ermentrude of Claremont (possibly not an armiger)

From p42 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Azure a wolf’s head erased argent

The view of the wolf Ferne presents is extremely dim; it “signifieth craft, subtiltie, greedinesse of mind, inordinate desire of that with apperteineth to another, to sowe discord and sedition.” He seems determined, though, to put a
positive spin on the d’Avranches arms, claiming that if someone “can by force and strength roote so evil a member from out his commonwealth,” he would be entitled to bear a wolf’s head erased (i.e. torn from the body). (41) Burke’s Peerage, however, gives a somewhat more plausible origin for the nickname (and possibly the arms as well): his ferocity in battle against the Welsh. Although Ferne asserts that d’Avranches “bare himselfe in all his actions with great honor
and maiesty,” the negative connotations of the wolf could have applied as well; he was a notorious glutton for most of his life and apparently sired several illegitimate children. (45)


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