Arms of Ferrara, Italy


Granted 1938

Blazon: Tierced per pall I per fess sable and argent; II per fess azure a bend embattled counter-embattled between six molets in bend 3 and 3 or and argent a shrimp palewise gules, on a chief of the first a label of four points of the fourth interspersed with three fleurs-de-lis of the second; III or a flounder palewise proper

These arms look pretty wild, but the principle behind them is fairly straightforward. They’re just a combination of the arms of the three largest cities: Ferrara in chief, Cento to the dexter, and Comacchio to the sinister. Just a couple of blazon notes: generally speaking, embattled counter-embattled would have the protrusions on one side line up with the indentations on the other, and the number of points on the molets is not specified in the original blazon, which is why I have omitted it here. Also, please enjoy the hieroglyphic shrimp and baffled-looking flounder on this depiction of the arms.

Arms of Buciegas, Spain


Granted 2018

Blazon: Per pale, I per fess vert three fleurs-de-lis or and purpre a holm oak cooped of the first; II argent an owl close voided sable

Unfortunately, there’s not much available information on the town itself, never mind on the arms themselves. It does look like holm oaks are native to the area, and form a significant part of the local forest.

Arms of Bieringen, Germany


In use since at least 1972

Blazon: Azure a bend wavy argent between a molet of six points or and a fleur-de-lis in bend of the second slipped and leaved proper

Sadly, I don’t have much information on these arms. Technically, the figure in base is only referred to as a lily, but the depiction here (as well as on the town’s official web page) is remarkable; fleurs-de-lis do not, to my eye, bear much resemblance to actual lilies. Evidently the artist disagrees.

Arms of Lot, France


Designed around 1950

Blazon: Gules over water in base proper a bridge of seven arches and five towers argent, each ensigned by a fleur-de-lis or

Another one of Robert Louis’ creations! This is a modification of the arms of Cahors, which feature the impressive 14th-century Pont Valentré. For the department, the roofed towers have been swapped for crenellated towers, and the water in base is its typical azure rather than argent, but otherwise, the arms are identical. There are records of the city using these arms in the sixteenth century, so I’d say that they have dibs. (Although changing the tincture of the water does make these into different arms!)

Arms of Collwyn ap Tangno


From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

“Lord of Efionydel, Founder of the V. Noble Tribe. Sa. a chev. betw. three fleurs-de-lis ar.”

Again, the evidence for an actual historical Collwyn ap Tangno is thin on the ground. Some sources have him as founding the fifth noble tribe, as here; some say it’s the fourth. Some have his base of power as Caernarvonshire, while others cite Harlech Castle specifically. (The latter seems unlikely, as construction on Harlech Castle only began in 1282, and if Collwyn actually existed, most sources place his lifespan in the early 1000s.) I don’t have the slightest idea where “Efionydel” may be, but given the Burkes’ … loose handling of Welsh, it could actually be spelled completely differently. The Vaughan family of Trawsgoed, who eventually produced the justice Sir John Vaughan, apparently claims descent from Collwyn. Unfortunately, I cannot find any specifics of their arms other than that they apparently featured at least one boy’s head. I quite like the clean layout and striking colors of the arms described here by the Burkes; it’s a pity they’re probably spurious.

Arms of Orne, France


Designed around 1950

Blazon: Per fess gules two lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langued azure and of the last three fleurs-de-lis of the second within a bordure of the first charged with eight plates

I’m not entirely clear on the status of most of the Robert Louis arms, but these are explicitly unofficial. This feels slightly less lazy than some of the other departments, even though it is just a pairing of Normandy’s arms with the county of Alençon, the “capital.” Still, though, it feels like at least a nod to the region’s history and not just… throwing in some azure and wavy partitions to vaguely invoke the sea. These particular arms reflect those of Alençon under the rule of the Capetian house of Valois – hence the royal arms of France within the bordure.

Arms of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France


In use since at least 2007

Blazon: Per quarterly I gules a chain in saltire, cross, and orle or, charged with a center point vert (Navarre/Basse-Navarre); II or two cows passant in pale gules, armed, collared, and belled azure (Béarn); III per pale or a lion rampant bearing a baton gules and azure a fleur-de-lis or (Labourd); IV gules a lion rampant or (Soule)

I’m not entirely clear on whether this is an official coat of arms or not, but let’s be honest, that hasn’t stopped me before. It consists of four regional arms; Béarn was a former province which was combined with Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule in 1790 to form the department of Basses-Pyrénées, renamed to Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1969. The Béarn arms date back to pre-1290, and were either a reference to a legend of a count of Foix carrying the body of St. Volusianus on a cart pulled by two cows, or (more plausibly) a canting reference to the Vaccaei, whose descendants settled the region. I don’t want to dig too much into the arms of Navarre, since I expect I’ll revisit them in the near future, and, unfortunately, I don’t have much information on the other two quarters.

Arms of Lot-et-Garonne, France


Granted 2003

Blazon: Per quarterly I gules in the dexter an eagle rising, wings addorsed and inverted, bearing in the talons a banner argent with the motto “Agen” sable, in the sinister a castle triple-towered, each tower flying a pennon or (Agen); II gules four towers conjoined at the base in cross by a cross paté argent, on a chief azure three fleurs-de-lis or (Marmande); III azure a sun in splendor or (Nérac); IV azure over water in base a bridge of five arches supporting three towers argent (Villeneuve-sur-Lot)

The four quarters each correspond to an important city in the region. I’ll probably cover each city in more detail when the time comes, but for now, four brief overviews: I don’t have a good explanation for the quarter of Agen, but it seems the eagle and castle were used since the mid-thirteenth century, when the city was granted a fair amount of self-rule and privileges. Marmande is a fortified town originally built by Richard I of England; the towers represent the four gates of the city, and the chief of France was granted by Charles VI in 1414. I’m not sure why Nérac has a sun, but Villeneuve-sur-Lot has used the depiction of its local bridge since 1547.

Arms of George I

George I

From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

Blazon: Per quarterly, I gules three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langued azure (England) impaled with or a lion rampant within a tressure flory counter-flory gules (Scotland); II azure three fleurs-de-lis or (France); III azure a harp or stringed argent (Ireland); IV tierced per pale and per chevron I gules two lions passant guardant or (Brunswick), II or semé of hearts gules a lion rampant azure (Lüneburg), III gules a horse courant argent (Hanover/Westphalia), in the fess point an escutcheon gules the crown of Charlemagne or (Archtreasurer of the Holy Roman Empire)

George preserved the first three quarters of Anne’s arms, but the fourth quarter represents a very condensed version of his previous arms as Elector of Hanover. Brunswick and Lüneburg were part of his personal holdings which he received from his father; the white horse is the ancient symbol of Hanover and Westphalia, of which he was the Elector. (Not that the arms of the Elector of Hanover are actually that simple, but including all of them seems to have been a bridge too far even here.) The crown of Charlemagne is not connected to any particular piece of land, but it is instead the heraldic representation of the purely ceremonial title of Arch-Treasurer of the Holy Roman Empire.

I swear to God, I don’t think the Burkes actually know what Saxony is. In their version of this blazon, they specify the white horse is for Saxony. It’s not. It’s Westphalia, or Hanover, or potentially Lower Saxony, but that is not the same thing as Saxony at this point in history. Given the Burkes’ previous fumbles on the Saxony arms, I’m really starting to question their grasp on this. Their British heraldry seems fairly solid, especially once they hit more recent history, but I’m really not confident in their grasp on Continental arms.

Arms of Anne, Queen of Great Britain


From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

Blazon: Per quarterly, I and IV gules three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langued azure (England) impaled with or a lion rampant within a tressure flory counter-flory gules (Scotland); II azure three fleurs-de-lis or (France); III azure a harp or stringed argent (Ireland)

Anne had a lot of different arms in her life. Presumably, before her marriage to George, Prince of Denmark in 1683, she would have borne the Stuart arms – the same as Mary, minus the escutcheon of pretense of Nassau – with some kind of difference, though I can’t confirm what it would have been. Upon her marriage, she impaled the Stuart arms with George’s arms. (He bore the royal arms of Denmark, which are a trip and which I’ll have to cover someday, with a label argent of three points, on each point as many ermine marks sable.) When William died in 1702 and she ascended to the throne, she bore the Stuart arms alone; as she was no longer Princess of Denmark by virtue of being George’s wife, she wouldn’t have had the right to the impaled arms. These are Anne’s arms specifically as Queen of Great Britain – so, post-1707 and the Acts of Union. Evidently, impaling England and Scotland in the same quarter was supposed to symbolize their new, closer relationship. You’ll notice that the monarchs of Britain still haven’t quite relinquished their heraldic claim to France.