Arms of Ilbert de Lacy

de Lacy

(1040?-1093?), Lord of Pontefract and Baron of Blackburnshire 1072-1093?

From p122 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per quarterly or and gules a bend sable and a label of three points argent

Ferne is more than willing to heap effusive praise on the Lacys via their arms. First, he claims that per quarterly is the superior division of arms, due to its resemblance to the Christian cross; then, he insists that the combination of or and gules (or Sol and Mars according to the planetary system of tinctures) represents martial prowess tempered by “constancy and faithfulnesse” (101). Finally, he asserts that the sable of the bend represents the mourning of the bearer’s enemies, which seems like a stretch.

Wherefore the bearing of this beast, was fitly applied to a king’s progeny: fortitude and magnanimity is denoted in the Lion.

– From Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p91

[In reference to the arms of William Longspée] While Longspée seems to have been an adept military commander, it is more likely that the lioncels are a reference to the English royal arms than any personal characteristics.

Arms of Lacy and Longspée

Lacy and Longspee

Arms of Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and Salisbury and Margaret Longspée

From p95 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme per quarterly or and gules a bend sable overall a label of three points argent and gules and  azure six lioncels or

Ferne seems to be giving Lacy his grandfather’s arms, but there is ample evidence, including from contemporary sources, that Lacy actually used the arms or a lion rampant purpre.

I perceive that all Arts of all sorts and faculties, as well divine as profane, doth concur in the adorning of this skill of Heraldry.

– From Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p85

“Profane” seems to be used here in the sense of “secular” rather than “sacreligious.”

Keeping in mind that Ferne is in fact a herald and not exactly the disinterested observer who says this in the text – he’s not wrong. At the very least, a good grasp of history and design are necessary, and research skills and multiple languages certainly don’t hurt either.

Arms of Longspée and FitzPatrick

Longspee and FitzPatrick

Arms of William Longspée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury 1196-1226 (1176?-1226) and Ela Fitzpatrick, Countess of Salisbury

From p95 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme azure six lioncels or and paly of six gules and vair on a chief or a lion passant sable

Longspée was an illegitimate son of Henry II, who came into his title by marrying Ela, only child and heir to the second Earl of Salisbury, William FitzPatrick. Ferne somewhat disapproves of these arms; he is adamant in his position that illegitimate children may never bear the arms of their father. He sees even the baton sinister mark of bastardy as a grudging concession to popular consensus.

For the pale in Arms, representeth a post of Timber, set upright, such as be commonly used, to under prop the earth from falling upon the miners’ heads.

– From Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p84

The origins of all of the ordinaries are unclear, but the theory Ferne cites above is a fairly common one about the pale. Unfortunately, it’s likely that we will never be able to know for sure.

Arms of Walter de Eureux


Earl of Salisbury*

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

Blazon: Paly of six gules and vair on a chief or a lion passant sable

*Walter was probably not the Earl of Salisbury, given that the title was created for his son Patrick in 1141 when Patrick came over to the side of Empress Matilda during the Anarchy.