Arms of le Meschin and ‘de Vere’

le Meschin and de Vere

Arms of Ranulf le Meschin, Earl of Chester 1120-1129 (1070-1129) and ‘Maud de Vere’

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

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme; the first azure three garbs or, the second per quarterly or and gules, in the second quarter a rowel argent(?)

Ferne gives le Meschin credit for originating the azure-and-or arms of Chester (though I cannot verify the use of these arms before Hugh de Kevelioc ascended to the title in 1153). The garb, unsurprisingly, is said to represent “perfect
notes of aboundaunce” and “the fruite of that most happy mother peace.” (49) Ferne takes time to specifically commend the heraldic use of agricultural symbols: “[A]nye instrument appertaining to the tilling & earing of the earth, or
any fruit or seed proceeding and growing by the industry of man, maye bee borne in Armes, and it is good armory.” (51)

I cannot find any evidence that anyone named “Maud de Vere” existed. Historically, Ranulf le Meschin wed Lucy of Bolingbroke. (The previously-mentioned William de Roumare was her son from her second marriage to Roger Fitzgerold de Roumare.)

However, the information on Ferne’s family tree, as well as the coat of arms, seems to indicate some connection to the de Vere family which is not borne out by other available evidence. Ferne’s depiction of the arms has some clear
differences – the colors of the quarters are reversed, and the molet is pierced and in the wrong quarter.

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