Arms of Ferrers and Chester

Ferrers and Chester

Arms of William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby 1199-1247 (c. 1168-1247) and Agnes of Chester (?-1247)

From p43 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme; the first argent six horseshoes sable, the second azure three garbs or

There are several competing opinions on the “true” arms of the Ferrers family. The horseshoes shown here (or some variation thereof) are usually considered to be canting arms (for “farrier”), and different authorities will argue accordingly; if the source in question takes a dim view of canting arms, the blazon given is usually “vairy or and gules.” Ferne falls into the pro-horseshoe camp, arguing that the vairy was adopted by “Henry Earle Ferrers… for the affection which he bare to his wife and her family,” which makes the horseshoe coat “their most auntient Coate, and the signe and representation of theyr service done to their Soveraigne.” (67) He also touches on the canting arms debate, saying that “those families which beare Armes alluding to their names… are both honorable and auntient.” (68)

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