Arms of de Briquessart and le Goz

Briquessart and le Goz

Arms of Ranulf de Briquessart, Viscount of Bessin 1066? – c. 1089 (?-c. 1089) and Margaret le Goz

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

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme; the first or three barrulets gules, the second azure a wolf’s head erased argent

The family tree lists Margaret’s husband, improbably, as John Bohun (the most well-known individual of that name was approximately 300 years younger than de Briquessart and bore a completely different coat of arms). However, the text makes
it clear that Ferne is referring to de Briquessart; he states that he was also called “Randulph” and misattributes their son’s appellation of “le Meschin” or “the younger” as the father’s surname.

It is unclear whether the wolf’s head was granted to Hugh d’Avranches or his father; Ferne’s family tree seems to indicate the latter, since Margaret would not have had any right to bear her brother’s arms, but the evidence for this is
sketchy.

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Arms of ‘Randolph Fitzwright’ and ‘Maud de Gant’

Fitzwright Gant

From p30 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale, baron and femme; the first gules two bendlets engrailed vert, the second or three barrulets azure surmounted by a bend gules

Ferne presents the coat without any special commentary, besides noting that Gilbert de Gant had chosen to bestow the earldom on his daughter rather than on his son Walter – an unusual choice for the time, and evidently intended to make her more marriageable. Unfortunately, I cannot find any evidence that either of the individuals to whom these arms are attributed existed. It does not seem that, as Ferne asserts, Gilbert de Gant had a daughter named Maud, and even Ferne seems to gloss over the Fitzwright family; it takes less than a full sentence for the earldom of Kyme to pass through the Fitzwrights and to the Umfravilles, whose male line would eventually die out. It might be feasible that Ferne mixed up the names, and meant to write that Lucy, William de Gant’s sister, brought her titles into the Umfraville family; however, the text refers to Fitzwright and Robert Umfravill, Earl of Angus as distinct individuals.

Arms of Gilbert de Gant

de Gant

Earl of Kyme and Baron of Lindsey (1040-1095)

From p30 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Or three barrulets azure surmounted by a bend gules

According to Ferne’s mouthpiece Paradius, de Gant was ennobled by William the Conqueror. (No exact date is given, but it seems likely this occurred before the compiliation of the Domesday Book in 1086.) Ferne does not mention that Gant was related to William the Conqueror, but his displeasure towards the newly created Norman nobles is palpable.

Paradius asserts a few interesting things about this coat. First, he claims that the bend was added for differencing, saying that “those which we now call the ordinary charges were in olde time used commonly for differences of familyes and brethren.” (29) He devotes two and a half pages to the alleged symbolism of the arms, giving the origin of the barrulets (then called bars) as “great peeces of tymber… [used] to stop and debarre the enemye from his entraunce…”, which “may be well applyed unto him, whose invention, industrye, or labour, hath so secured and fortified the Campe,” or to others who have, through might or strategy, prevented an enemy from gaining
a foothold in their country. The fact that the bars are azure, the color of the sky, apparently indicates that “the force of wisdom prevaileth in times of peace, to
stop the enterprises of enemies.” The bend, on the other hand, is supposed to designate that the bearer was one of the first to overcome the enemy’s wall; its color shows that he “did not win the wal from the enemy, but by great bloudshed, stout and couragious fight.” (29-31)