Arms of Robert de Clifford



From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Chequy or and azure a fess gules

Robert de Clifford, first Baron Clifford, had a long and illustrious military career, beginning with fighting the Scots in 1296 and concluding only with his death in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The barony which is now called Clifford was originally Appleby, and Robert inherited it through his mother’s family, the Viponts. He got most of it on his mother’s death in 1291, and his aunt’s death in 1308 completed his inheritance. His heirs held the barony for the next three hundred years until it went dormant in 1605 (though it was resurrected in 1678). His arms are well and credibly documented by contemporary sources, and they still show up in armorials of English nobility in the present day.

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 Corrèze, France


In use since 1975

Blazon: Per quarterly I or two lions passant gules (Comborn); II chequy gules and or (Ventadour); III bendy gules and or (Turenne); IV or three lioncels rampant azure armed and langued gules (Ségur)

I’m not entirely clear on the official status of these arms, but I really can’t resist the history they contain. Each of the quarters belongs (or belonged) to four viscounts who held the territory of Corrèze (or Bas-Limousin) during the Middle Ages. I can’t necessarily vouch for the antiquity of the quartered coat, but each of its component coats go back to at least the Middle Ages. The four viscounties were formally incorporated into a single entity in 1790 as part of the National Assembly’s administrative reforms.

Arms of Charente, France


Designed in the 1950s

Blazon: Per bar wavy argent azure three fleurs-de-lis or, in chief a label of as many points of the first and lozengy of the third and gules

Yep, another Robert Louis creation! These are based around the department’s capital, Angoulême. The arms in the chief are those of Orléans; the house of Valois-Orléans were counts, later dukes, of Angoulême from 1404 through 1844. 1404 was the death of Philip the Bold ; the last duke of Angoulême, Louis Antoine (very briefly Louis XIX, for about twenty minutes) died in 1844, technically returning the title to the crown. The arms in the base half are those of Angoulême itself. I think you could also probably argue that the bar wavy is a visual representation of the river Charente.

Czech Statehood Day


I had a few options for national days of the Czech Republic. As you can see, I ended up going with Czech Statehood Day, which commemorates the feast day of St. Wenceslaus, also known as Wenceslaus I or Good King Wenceslaus, who is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. (Sounds a little nicer than, “on this day, over a thousand years ago, the king got stabbed by his brother with a lance.”) Like many countries made up of numerous historical regions, the Czech coat of arms features three individual coats: Bohemia in the first and fourth quarters, Moravia in the second, and Silesia in the third. The full blazon is as follows: Per quarterly, I and IV, gules a lion rampant double-queued argent, armed, langued, and crowned or (Bohemia); II azure an eagle displayed chequy argent and gules, armed and crowned or (Moravia); III or an eagle displayed sable armed and langued gules, crowned of the field, charged with a cross couped issuant from a crescent argent (Lower Silesia). 


The first properly Czech state was the Duchy of Bohemia, which became part of the Great Moravian Empire around 830. Bohemia was established as a kingdom around 1198 by Ottokar I, and by 1300, the double-queued lion with the crown was firmly established as the arms of Bohemia. There’s a legend that in the 12th century, Emperor Frederick granted Vladislaus II the arms of gules a lion rampant argent to symbolize his valor, and the second tail was added later, as recognition for the military assistance Ottokar I provided against the Saxons. It’s a nice story, but it’s exactly the kind of unfalsifiable nice story that a lot of arms have, which is to say that it has the ring of a post hoc justification to me. In any case, the first depiction of these arms was in Gozzoburg Castle, which was probably built in the early- to mid-thirteenth century.


Not that the lion isn’t cool and all, but I can’t not mention the arms of the Přemyslid dynasty. They ruled Bohemia, first as dukes, then as kings, and other assorted parts of Eastern Europe for a good four and a half centuries. St. Wenceslaus, was a member, and their arms were a full-on FLAMING EAGLE. Er, argent an eagle displayed sable armed or enflamed gules. I will confess that, while I understand the desire to represent all the areas of the Czech Republic in the national arms to honor their unique histories and legacies, if I were designing these, I would not be able to resist the temptation of the flaming eagle. It’s just really cool! There are also some great myths around its origin, including one where Břetislav I gets the right to light his father-in-law’s lands on fire for some reason.


Ahem. Anyway. Moving on. Moravia (second quarter) got its start as Greater Moravia in 833; in the 890s, it covered a significant amount of territory and became known as the Great Moravian Empire. It was then promptly overrun by Magyars in 907. After Emperor Otto I defeated the Magyars in 955, Moravia found a second life as part of the Bohemian crown, and reached the status of a margraviate in 1182. The eagle chequy shows up shortly afterwards in 1233, on the seal of the Margrave Přemysl, a younger son of Ottokar I. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to assume this eagle might have some relation to the Přemyslid eagle, but it’s not completely clear. However it got there, it stayed pretty much the same until the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Some depictions have the chequy as or and gules, but it doesn’t seem like the distinction has any particular meaning.


Lastly, in the final quarter, are the arms of Lower Silesia, which we’ve touched on before. In my opinion, it’s far more justifiable on the Czech arms than on those of Liechtenstein, given that the Czech Republic does actually include parts of Silesia (though most of it falls in Poland). Silesia came under control of the Greater Moravian Empire sometime in the 9th century. It later passed to Poland and Germany before becoming part of the Crown of Bohemia in 1434. The exact ownership of Silesia fluctuated along with the rest of the borders in Eastern Europe, but it is today split between Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. The Silesian arms date back to around 1335; they seem to have derived from the Duchy of Wroclaw. I’m not entirely sure where the eagle comes from, but honestly, there’s no shortage of eagles in this part of the world. Could be the Přemyslids; could be the Piasts; could be the Holy Roman Empire. In the absence of a direct blood tie (like there is with Moravia), it’s not clear.

Arms of Villamanrique, Spain


Granted ?

Blazon: Gules a cross of Santiago voided argent between two cauldrons chequy or and sable, each containing six serpents facing the exterior, in base a point dancetté vert, all within a bordure chequy of the first a castle triple-towered of the third windowed azure and of the second a lion rampant of the field crowned of the third

Whew, okay. Sadly, that blazon is probably going to be longer than anything I can write about it (if I cut out my frustration about the mystery of the snake cauldrons, which I will.) The city was actually named after a Manrique – specifically, Rodrigo Manrique, Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, which probably explains the cross of Santiago. He evidently split the town off from Torre de Juan Abad, and the citizens renamed it in gratitude.

Arms of Hamon Bonet

Hamon Bonet

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Chequy gules and or a chief azure

The Bonets were a family of knights hailing from Sussex. In addition to Hamon, we also have records of a Sir Robert Bonet as owning Wappingthorn Manor in Steyning. The family continued to hold the manor until the mid-1360s, when it passed to the Wilcombe family, who had married into the Bonets. By 1399, the Wilcombes had lost possession of Wappingthorn to the Codingtons, though it was back with Alice Wilcombe and her husband John Leeds by 1427.