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.

The knighthood temporal [as opposed to spiritual] is divided into three members. The first is knighthood of the sword: the second of the Bath: the third, and chiefest, is the knighthood of the Sovereign order, whereof the King or Sovereign is a companion.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p103

Arms of William de Roumare

de Roumare

Earl of Lincoln 1143-1153? (1096-1153?)

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

Blazon: Gules seven mascles 3, 3, and 1 between ten cross crosslets or 3, 4, 2, and 1

Ferne’s herald character Paradius claims that the mascle is supposed to represent the holes of a net and marks the bearer as “most prudent and politic in the warres… had with some notable stratageme or acte circumvented the enemy.” The color and number of the mascles is also supposed to hold meaning; or means that he was rewarded with material goods, and seven (the Biblical number of perfection) means that his honor was “most perfect, and without reproach.” The cross crosslets or allegedly represented someone devoted to Christ’s sacrifice and who “esteemed of it as most great riches.” (33-4) More probably, the cross crosslets in de Roumare’s arms are a representation of his service against “the Sarazens and Infidels.” (35)

[W]ith the Romans, in those blisfull days, of senate government, the same order of knighthood (as we call it) was differenced from the estate of Gentlemen by wearing of
a chain of gold, as an insignia of their degree.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p102

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)

[A]s nothing is more dishonorable and shameful to a Captain or general than the loss of his Banner, Standard, or Guydon, etc. so no service in field of greater worship,
and better worthy of reward, than to preserve the same from the hands and dishonor of the enemy.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p101

Now, as this was the beginning and original of [esquire], that is to say, due only to servitors in wars… in the days of peace, to the intent, men well deserving in the commonwealth, to the administration of public and worshipful offices, might be honored with some title above the estate of a simple gentleman.

– From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p100