Arms of Richard de Cornwall


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Argent on a fess sable three bezants

I’m about 90% sure that this doesn’t refer to Richard of Cornwall, son of King John, partly because the timeline doesn’t quite line up (he died in 1272, so that would put the Dering Roll on the very earliest edge of the estimated composition), but mostly because we have contemporary evidence that he bore argent a lion rampant gules crowned or within a bordure sable bezanté. I find it hard to imagine that the author of the Dering Roll would’ve fumbled the arms of a member of the royal family that badly. (They’re not the Burkes, after all.)

However, Richard did have an illegitimate son (also named Richard). He definitely wouldn’t have inherited his father’s arms, due to the illegitimacy, but… if he just so happened to be granted arms that had some visual overlap with his father’s, then what could anybody do about it? It’s also worth noting that Sir Richard’s daughter married into the Howard family, and her descendents became the Dukes of Norfolk.

Arms of Eunydd ap Gwenllian

14 - Efuydd ap Gwenllian

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

“Founder of the XIV. Noble Tribe. Quarterly, first and fourth, gu. a lion ramp. or; second and third, az. betw. three nags’ heads erased ar. a fesse or.”

Obviously, the illustration only shows the first quarter of the arms, for some unfathomable reason. (Pity; I kind of wanted to see the artist’s interpretation of three nags’ heads.) Assuming that he existed – which is always an assumption with the “Noble Tribes” – poor Eunydd’s genealogy is hopelessly mangled. One eighteenth-century source has him as the son of “Gwenllian,” although both of the most famous Gwenllians in Welsh history had, respectively, no children, and no sons named Eunydd. The nags’ heads allegedly come from his mother via her father, Rhys ap Marchen, which is completely unverifiable. It’s possible this Eunydd is intended to be one Eunydd ap Gwerngwy ap Gwrgeneu, who would have lived around 1165 or 1170, or potentially a conflation of multiple people with the same first name.

Arms of Edwin of Tegeingl


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

“Lord of Tegaingle, in Flintshire, Founder of the XII. Noble Tribe. Ar. betw. four Cornish choughs ppr. armed gu. a cross flory engrailed sa.”

Like the other “Noble Tribes,” the arms are almost certainly spurious – but Edwin of Tegeingl does seem to have been a real person, probably born around 1020 and dying in 1073. He seems to have been allied with Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, but his most notable action was fathering Owain ab Edwin of Tegeingl. Owain offered his services to the Normans when they attempted (and failed) to invade his homeland of North Wales, earning him the epithet “Fradwr” or “the Traitor.” In another list of “royal tribes” of Wales, Owain’s arms are cited as gules three men’s legs conjoined at the thighs in triangle argent, which you may notice are completely different than the ones attributed to his father. If these attributions are accurate (which I doubt), this is only more evidence that heraldry qua heraldry was not yet developed in eleventh-century Wales.

Arms of Marchweithian


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

Arms of Marchweithian

“Lord of Is-Aled, Founder of the XI. Noble Tribe. Gu. a lion ramp. ar. armed az.”

It does seem that Marchweithian was a real person, most likely living in the latter half of the eleventh century. This, of course, would place his lifespan well before heraldry took any kind of recognizable shape. The arms which the Burkes attribute to him are those of the Price family, who claim descent (correctly or not) from Marchweithian.

Arms of William la Zouche


(1276/86 – 1352)

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Azure ten bezants

It seems that William had a decent, if not especially distinguished military career, including service in Scotland and France. He was implicated in the death of Piers Gaveston, but ultimately pardoned. He had at least ten children with his wife Maud Lovel, possibly more. His descendents, the junior line, were called the la Zouches of Harringworth, after the manor William inherited upon his mother’s death in 1299. Alan’s descendents were referred to as “of Ashby.”

Personally, I think this artist’s placement of the bezants is correct, or at least the most intuitive. Specifying the position of the charges wasn’t standard in English blazon at the time the Dering Roll was composed.

Arms of Braint Hir

Braint Hir

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

“Lord of Isdulas, Founder of the X. Noble Tribe. Vert, a cross flowery or.”

It does seem likely that someone named Braint Hir did, in fact, exist, although when is not completely clear. It seems most likely he was alive in the late ninth century (possibly born circa 880), although several sources place him much earlier, near the end of the sixth and early seventh centuries. However, it is probable that the earlier date is a misunderstanding based on a bad translation of the Historia Regum Britanniae. (Obviously, the arms depicted by the Burkes are spuriou. He must have died well before the documented use of heraldry in Wales – even the later date doesn’t get him that far. Besides, I’m not at all confident that there are credible sources for the arms of someone who doesn’t have a definitive birth and death date.

Arms of Robert de Dinan


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Gules a fess indented between four* escallops ermine

*This strikes me as kind of a weird number of charges, especially when the positioning (e.g. 3 and 1, 2 and 2, etc.) isn’t specified. Three charges, arranged 2 and 1, would be a more typical number.

Most of the information I can find on the de Dinan family is about a century earlier than the Dering Roll. It seems like the family split into two branches around 1120, between Oliver II and Alan de Dinan, both sons of Geoffrey de Dinan. Two other de Dinans, Rolland and Oliver, rebelled against Henry II in the late 1160s. But by the time the Dering Roll comes around, there’s not much record of any de Dinans anywhere.

Arms of William Daubeney


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Gules five fusils conjoined in fess, in chief three martlets argent

Our third and final Daubeney! I would surmise that William is probably a younger brother of Ralph – potentially the fourth, if these arms are consistent with the later system of cadency. However, I’m not sure they are. I believe that the Daubeney family claims the most family members (who share a surname) on the Dering Roll.

Arms of Hedd Molwynog

9 - Hedd Molwynog

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

Arms of Hedd Molwynog

“Lord of Uwch Aled, Founder of the IX. Noble Tribe. Sa. a hart pass. ar. attired or.”

I have a little more confidence that Hedd existed, compared to some of the other individuals listed in the manuscript. It’s possible that he was the five-times-great-grandson of Rhodri Mawr, who conquered and ruled much of modern Wales. (It’s also possible that this descent was somewhat fabricated.) Most of the sources I’ve found refer to him as Hedd ap Alunog instead, and connect him to Llanfair Talhearn (a specific village) rather than Uwch Aled, which seems to have been a rural district in the same general area.