Arms of Landes, France

Landes

Designed 1950

Blazon: Or on a fess gules between three pine cones slipped and leaved sable a lion passant guardant of the field, armed and langued azure

Yep, another (unofficial) Robert Louis coat of arms! This one features everybody’s favorite lion of Aquitaine between three pine cones. These are almost certainly an allusion to the Landes forest, the largest cultivated woodland in Western Europe at about 10,000 square kilometers. The area used to be a swampy moor until 1857, when the French government decided to replace the traditional industry of sheep breeding with forestry. The resulting forest became the cornerstone of the region’s economy, producing wood, paper, resin, and furniture, among other products. And yes, it is made up primarily of maritime pine.

There is another coat of arms often attributed to Landes which has Aquitaine quartered with France moderne. This one has been floating around since at least the early 2000s, but it is also not official. And frankly, I prefer Louis’ version; I like arms that have a direct and specific connection to the place or people they represent. The quartered version feels a little generic, like it could belong to any department in Aquitaine.

Arms of Owain ap Gruffudd

Owain ap Gruffudd

(c. 1100 – 1170)

From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

Blazon: Vert three eaglets displayed in fess or

Again, these arms are retroactively (if commonly) attributed to Owain, but there is zero evidence he used a coat of arms at all, let alone this particular one. If this were legitimate, it would actually be pretty decent evidence against heraldry as we understand it being used at this point in Welsh history; if that had been the case, I’d expect to see some similarities between the arms of the father and those of his eldest (surviving) son and heir.

Anyway, Owain spent the first several years of his reign pushing the borders of Gwynedd outwards. However, he lost several territories when Henry II of Ireland invaded in 1157. Owain did eventually regain his conquests after Henry’s main Welsh ally died, and a second English invasion failed due to terrible weather.

Albalate de las Nogueras, Spain

Albalate de las Nogueras

Granted 2007

Blazon: Per fess I per pale gules a tower or windowed azure and of the last a bridge of three arches argent; II of the last two walnut trees issuant from a base vert

I’m afraid information about this town is pretty thin on the ground, never mind the arms, so I’m left with speculation. I have to assume the bridge is a representation of a specific bridge in the area, particularly since the original blazon specifies a “medieval” bridge. The tower might also represent a specific landmark, though it could also be a visual reference to the arms of Castile. Finally, I’m pretty sure the walnut trees, or árboles nogales, are a canting element.

Arms of Eben am Achensee, Austria

Eben am Achensee

Granted 1972

Blazon: Sable two points dexter and sinister azure, a Kandele argent

The black-on-blue evidently represents the mountains surrounding the valley town and its lake. I have no idea what a Kandele translates to in English. It’s apparently a symbol of the local saint, Notburga – which explains why it’s featured, but not what on earth it is. It seems like Notburga is mostly associated with agricultural products and the sickle, neither of which quite fit with this charge. If anyone has any information on what this could be, I’d welcome it!

Arms of Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

Trentino-Alto Adige

Granted 1972

Blazon: Argent per quarterly I and IV an eagle displayed sable armed or enflamed gules, II and III an eagle displayed gules armed or

The eagle in the first and third quarters is one we’ve touched on before – the flaming eagle of the Přemyslid dynasty. The eagle also became known as a symbol of St. Wenceslaus (since he was also a member of the dynasty). The Přemyslids died out in 1306, and in 1339, the king of Bohemia permitted the prince-bishopric of Trent to use their arms. This later evolved into the province of Trentino, which was incorporated into the region. Similarly, the red eagle has been the symbol of the region of Tyrol since 1205. Tyrol is currently split between North Tyrol and South Tyrol; the latter forms the province of Bolzano – Alto Adige, which is the other part of the region.

Arms of Joseph Antonio Manso de Velasco

Joseph Antonio Manso de Velasco

Count of Superunda (1688 – 1767)

(Submitted on Tumblr with the message “Merry Christmas!”)

Oh, this is spectacular! I don’t know how well this will go, but I’ll give it a shot! The sinister half of the arms are definitely those of the house of Velasco – I’m going to ignore this weird, weird interpretation of a “bordure of Castile and Leon” – but I couldn’t find anything on the dexter ones. (Admittedly, I haven’t had the time to dig quite as deep.) Given that they’re on the dexter, I suspect they were granted due to something he achieved in his lifetime (possibly the title Count of Superunda, of which he was the first bearer).

Blazon: Per pale, I per fess i per quarterly 1 gules a lion rampant or, 2 azure three towers or, 3 azure a crescent decrescent argent, 4 argent a tree eradicated proper surmounted by a hound (?) courant proper; ii per quarterly 1 and 4 sable a Paschal lamb passant argent, 2 and 3 azure two towers or*; II chequy of fifteen or and vair within a bordure gules charged with four castles azure and as many lions rampant combatant or, alternating (Velasco)

*I cannot quite make out the charge between them; could be a sun in splendor?

 

Arms of Robert de Montfort

de Montfort

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Bendy of eight or and azure a label* gules

No, no, almost certainly not THOSE Montforts. Given the differencing, I’m almost certain that Robert is either the son or younger brother of Peter/Piers de Montfort. Given the dates, it’s probably two brothers; Peter de Montfort Sr. died in 1265, but both sons would have been at least in their twenties or thirties when the roll was composed. Just to confuse matters, Peter Sr. did fight in support of Simon de Montfort (note the differing arms) before they both died at Evesham. Peter Jr. eventually secured a pardon for their father’s actions in 1267.

*The depiction in the original roll is degraded enough that I’m not quite sure how many points are intended. It seems to be at least three, but five is possible.

Arms of Haute-Vienne, France

Haute-Vienne

Designed before 1965

Blazon: Ermine a bordure gules, overall a fess wavy azure

As another Robert Louis creation, I doubt these arms have been officially adopted. I also don’t have a date for their design, although it obviously has to be before his death. These are essentially the arms of Limousin, Haut-Vienne’s former administrative region, plus a fess wavy azure that presumably represents the Vienne river which gives the region its name. Louis is usually pretty rigorous in his adherence to the laws of tincture; I’m not sure what to make of the azure-on-gules here.

Arms of Gruffudd ap Cynan

Gruffudd ap Cynan

(c. 1055 – 1137)

From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

Blazon: Gules three lions passant in pale argent armed azure

The Burkes have these arms dated to 1079, which would be when Gruffud was in his mid-twenties. There is absolutely no evidence that he actually had arms, let alone these arms (I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot). Gruffudd was a member of the senior branch of the House of Aberffraw, which was established in Gwynedd in the mid-9th century. After several attempts, he finally claimed the throne of Gwynedd (permanently) in 1101. Over the next thirty-odd years, he consolidated his power and expanded his borders, setting up his son Owain for an excellent start to his reign.

Arms of Ebelsberg, Austria

Ebelsberg

Granted 1938; roughly similar versions in use since 1554

Blazon: Per fess argent a demi-wolf rampant issuant from the partition line and holding in the forepaws a fish of the field and azure a triple mount in base or.

This is tricky. In different depictions of the town’s arms, the tinctures and the chief charge are different. In both an 1809 and 1932 version, the wolf is a boar sable, and the triple mount in base is also sable. However, the oldest version of the arms (a seal dated 1554) shows a wolf. It seems like in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the boar was used instead as a canting element (Eber), but it doesn’t seem to have been official. The mountain (Berg) is also canting.