Arms of Norman d’Arcy

d'Arcy

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Argent three cinquefoils gules

There’s not a whole lot of information on Norman d’Arcy, who has got to be the third or fourth Norman in that family. Probably born around 1220 in Nocton, where his father was the lord, he died after a fairly uneventful (or at least unrecorded) life around 1314. He was the fourth son, which may make you wonder why the arms aren’t differenced, but it looks like he was the oldest (and maybe the only) son left alive when the Dering Roll was compiled.

(And yes, Austenites, this could conceivably be *the* Darcy’s coat of arms.)

Romanian Great Union Day

Today marks the day that the Romanian Kingdom incorporated the territories of Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transylvania, Banat, Crișana and Maramureș with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. Technically, Bessarabia and Bukovina had been incorporated earlier that year, but December 1st brought the most new territory to the crown. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that many of those territories are represented in the arms – and there are a lot of them, so let’s get started!

Romania

Blazon: Azure an eagle displayed with wings inverted, in its beak a passion cross patonce at foot or, armed gules, in the dexter talon a sword and in the sinister a sceptre argent, crowned with the Steel Crown proper, overall an escutcheon per quarterly I azure an eagle displayed with wings inverted, in its beak a passion cross patonce at foot or armed gules between in chief a sun in splendor and a crescent increscent of the second (Wallachia); II gules an auroch’s head caboshed between in base a cinquefoil and a crescent decrescent argent, in chief between the horns a molet of five points or (Moldova); III gules issuant from water in base azure a bridge of two arches embattled, thereon a demi-lion rampant or brandishing a sabre proper (Oltenia and Banat); IV per bar gules azure and or, issuant therefrom an eagle displayed argent between in chief a sun in splendor or and a crescent decrescent of the fourth, in base seven towers gules (Transylvania); pointé in base azure two dolphins urinant respectant or

Okay. Obviously, there is a lot going on here, but the major motif (repeated twice) is the eagle or. The eagle charge is, unsurprisingly, derived from the Romans and also featured in the regional arms of Wallachia, although there it was sable (and thus somewhat closer to the Holy Roman Empire’s eagle). Wallachia’s eagle also has the cross in its beak – and exactly what that cross is is a whole separate conversation. I’ve gone off the depiction in the larger eagle, but it also shows up as a simple passion cross, a cross paté, etc. It’s described in some places as an “Orthodox cross,” but that phrasing doesn’t have any real heraldic meaning, and should not be confused with the double-barred cross patriarchal of the Russian Orthodox church. The eagle, cross, sun, and moon have been consistent Wallachian symbology since at least the Middle Ages. As one of the two principalities in the United Principalities that later became Romania in 1866, I suppose it’s only fair that Wallachia get double representation, though I suspect the Roman associations are really why it’s the larger background charge.

In the next quarter of the smaller escutcheon are the arms of Moldova (or, formerly, Moldavia), which have also remained pretty much exactly the same since it was a voivodeship. It looks like a bull’s head, and I was perfectly ready to blazon it as a bull’s head, but all the sources I found were very insistent about calling it an aurochs instead. The aurochs and the star have their own little legend, which holds that Dragoș, the first voivode of Moldavia, chased a bull marked with a star from his native Maramureș all the way to a river, where he killed it with the help of his hunting dog, Molda. Molda’s accomplishment resulted in both the river and later the principality receiving her name.

Banat and Oltenia appear to come as a unit, and certainly their symbols are very similar; Banat just used a lion, while Oltenia’s lion bore a sabre and appeared over Trajan’s Bridge. I guess it makes sense to combine those two, and I really like Oltenia’s arms, but I do feel a bit bad for Banat. I also just want to mention Dobruja, briefly, before we get into Transylvania; I don’t think there’s any deeper meaning behind the dolphins besides “this part’s next to the sea.”

Okay, Transylvania! Which I have covered on this blog before, but not in detail. They were granted in 1765 by the Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa. The towers, sun, and moon are all pretty straightforward; the towers represent the ethnic Saxons, and the sun and moon, ancient grave symbols, represent the Székelys. The eagle is less clear; there are a number of very, very old coats, seals, and symbols that are connected to Transylvania and feature an eagle, but it’s unclear whether these were truly heraldic. It could be a version of the Polish eagle, or it could be intended to represent the Hungarian ethnic group.

The Romanian quarters were first established in 1866, though some were swapped out for others as their territorial dominion changed. In 1948, the Soviet Union did in fact grant Romania its own emblem, and it was so terrible that the symbol of resistance to communism was the USSR Romanian flag with the emblem literally cut out. (Yes, I know there are probably many more reasons that “empty flag” was adopted besides the visual nails-on-a-chalkboard of Soviet heraldry, but I like to think that was part of it.) The overall arms were adopted in almost their present form after the fall of communism in 1992, and the steel crown was added in 2016.

Former arms of Poltringen, Germany

Poltringen

Granted 1933 – 1971

Blazon: Argent a boar passant sable, armed of the field on a triple mount in base proper, in chief a cinquefoil gules

Both elements of the arms evidently derive from the Counts of Eberstein, an ancient regional family that died out in 1660. The cinquefoil was from their coat of arms (argent a cinquefoil gules seeded azure), and the boar (Eber) is a canting element on their name.

Arms of the Earl and Countess of Lincoln

Lincoln
Arms of John de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln 1232-1240 (c. 1192-1240) and Margaret de Quincy, Countess of Lincoln 1232-1266, suo jure 1240-1266 (c. 1206-1266)

From p114 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme I per quarterly i and iv per quarterly or and gules a bend sable and a label of three points argent (Lacy), ii and iii or a lion rampant purpre (Nigold/Neale), II per quarterly i gules seven mascles conjoined or 3, 3, and 1 (Quincy), ii per pale azure three garbs or (Chester) and azure a wolf’s head erased argent (d’Avranches), iii gules a cinquefoil ermine (Beaumont), iv gules a pale or (Grandmesnil)

You may recognize the baron’s arms as those of Roger de Lacy, Baron of Halton and Pontefract; John was his eldest son. They were jointly created Countess and Earl of Lincoln in 1232. The grant was mostly due to Margaret, as the title had previously been held by her mother Hawise of Chester. Thus, John was only Earl of Lincoln by right of his wife, and when he died in 1240, she retained her title in her own right.

Arms of de Montfort and de Beaumont

Montfort and Beaumont

Arms of Simon de Montfort (? – 1188) and Amicia de Beaumont (unknown)

From p81 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme gules a lion rampant double-queued argent and gules a cinquefoil ermine

After Amicia’s brother,  Robert de Beaumont, died in 1204, his title of Earl of Leicester passed to Amicia and Simon’s son, also named Simon. However, the younger Simon lost the earldom in 1215 when King John granted it to Ranulf de Blondeville, Earl of Chester. The younger Simon had two sons – Amaury and yet another Simon. This last Simon (Amicia’s grandson) would later convince Ranulf to cede the earldom to him in 1238, though his later rebellion against the king in the Second Baron’s War would result in the return of the title to the crown from 1265 until 1267.

Arms of de Quincy and de Beaumont

Quincy and Beaumont

Arms of Saer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester and (1170 – 1219) and Margaret de Beaumont (unknown)

From p81 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme gules seven mascles 3, 3, and 1 or and gules a cinquefoile ermine

Since Saer de Quincy married one of the two heiresses of the de Beaumont family, he was entitled to bear the arms of the Beaumonts marshalled with his own. (Margaret’s brother, Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester, died in 1204.) However, since Margaret was the younger sister, the title Earl of Leicester passed to her older sister’s husband.