Arms of Norman 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.)

Arms of Ralph Basset

Ralph Basset

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Or four palets gules a canton ermine

In a delightfully convenient turn of events, the Ralph Basset featured on the Dering Roll is also fairly well-known, and the timelines line up perfectly. His father, also named Ralph, was also part of the Second Baron’s War on the losing side, and died at Evesham. Simon de Montfort had named the senior Ralph Baron of Drayton, and the title eventually passed, or was regranted, to this Ralph in 1295. This may or may not have had something to do with Ralph Jr.’s service as the governor of Edinburgh Castle under Edward I.

Some depictions of the Basset arms have paly of six or and gules instead, and by the time of this Ralph’s grandson (yet another Ralph, because why mess with a good thing?) towards the end of the fourteenth century, it looks like the arms had morphed into or three piles points meeting in base gules, a quarter ermine – but the visual similarity is still very strong.

Arms of Robert FitzRoger


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Argent a lion rampant sable

So, I’m not really sure what’s going on with this. There is a well-documented Robert FitzRoger of Clavering Castle, son of Roger FitzJohn of Warkworth Castle, who lived at precisely the same time as the Dering Roll was compiled. However, he is also cited in the Falkirk Roll, compiled in 1298… with completely different arms (per quarterly or and gules, a bend sable). The Burkes cite the latter arms in their A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank; but uninvested with heritable honours, but I’m not sure how much credence to give that. Either one of those rolls is wrong, or the Dering Roll is representing another person with the same name who has somehow escaped all other historical notice. The quarterly or and gules a bend sable had to have been used fairly early on, since it seems to have carried over into other cadet branches of the family with some modifications. I don’t have a good idea of where the lion could have come from; my best guess is the Earls of Dunbar, the family of Robert’s mother Isabel, but I’m not very confident in that. They bore gules a lion rampant argent, which means the tinctures would have been pretty mangled. Oddly, it doesn’t seem like this specific blazon is used by any other family. I think I’ll just have to chalk this up to the inconsistent documentation of the thirteenth century.

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 Maurice de Berkeley


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Gules a chevron argent

Maurice de Berkeley fought in both France and North Wales before joining the Baron’s War in 1264. He married Isabel FitzRoy, a granddaughter of King John through his illegitimate son Richard FitzRoy, and they had at least one child. That child, Thomas de Berkeley, was created the first Baron Berkeley by writ in 1295 (although he was the sixth by descent). The title made it another five generations before the family died out. The arms of the barons Berkeley are gules a chevron between ten crosses paté six in chief and four in base argent; these were probably derived from Maurice’s arms.

Arms of Robert Corbet


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Or two crows (corbies) close in pale sable

The Corbets are a fairly long line of barons and baronets in Shropshire. The line goes back (only a little bit broken) to Roger and Robert FitzCorbet in the Domesday Book of 1086. The Corbet family eventually ended up giving their name to the town of Moreton Toret, where their castle was located. It is now Moreton Corbet. The term “corbet” or “corbie” is derived from the Anglo-Norman “corb,” or “crow,” making these canting arms – and an excellent refutation of anyone who wants to say that canting arms are somehow less prestigious.

Arms of Robert de Mortimer


From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Gules two bars vair

First off, this is Robert de Mortimer, not Roger de Mortimer. You may know of the latter, the first Earl of March, for his stint in the Tower of London and his overthrowing of King Edward II in the Despenser War, or potentially his own subsequent overthrow by Edward III, or his execution at Tyburn. Roger de Mortimer and his line are the Mortimers of Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire; the Roberts de Mortimer are also of a Castle in Herefordshire, although theirs is Richard’s Castle, and the two families do not appear to be related.

I’m afraid Robert is not quite as exciting as Roger. There are three Roberts – great-grandfather, grandfather, and grandson. Either the first or the second served in the Third Crusade. However, due to the dates, I think the third Robert de Mortimer is the one referenced here. He served several times in Wales, and might (emphasis on the might) have been involved in the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales at Builth Wells in 1282. He also married Joyce de la Zouche, and acquired several manors in Northamptonshire.