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Genealogy 2019, 3(1), 10;

From Heraldry to Genealogy from Silverware
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9YL, UK
Académie Internationale de Généalogie, 75000 Paris, France
Received: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019


A Coat of Arms engraved on a piece of silverware allowed the identification of the parties concerned, and the elucidation of the details of their marriage and ancestries. The Arms themselves have an interesting provenance.
heraldry; arms; symbology; England; College of Arms; Lynes; Parr; silverwear; Georgian

1. Introduction

The author was sent an image of a complicated Coat of Arms engraved upon a piece of silver. The source was enquiring about the “symbology” of the elements of the engraving. Heraldry, although undoubtedly symbolic, is not as simple as collecting and arranging “meaningful” symbols at will. Rather, it follows strict rules as to the origin and composition of the Arms, and the inheritance of the Arms of forebears is strictly controlled. It was possible to identify from the Arms the parties concerned, details of their marriage and ancestries, and circumstances by which the Arms were granted by the College of Arms in London, England.

2. The Silverware and the Engraving

Figure 1 Shows the engraving as first sent to the author.
A number of things are immediately obvious:
  • It is a shield, with a motto below in a scroll, and a crest above;
  • That the motto is below the shield suggests that the origin of the Arms is not Scottish;
  • The shield consists of two Coats of Arms, impaled (i.e. side-by side) which indicates a marriage of an armiger to the daughter of another armiger or armigerous heiress;
  • The engraving has been “hatched”, allowing for the identification of the original tinctures (colours).

3. The Composition of the Shield

3.1. The Motto

Foi, Roi, Droit translates as Faith, King and Right. Although mottos may be common to many unrelated individuals, this example is unique. Fairbairn’s Crests is the standard handbook of armorial bearing used by jewellers and engravers, and although unreliable in many ways, it at least has a useful Table of Mottos (Fairbairn [1829] 1905). This identifies the motto with the surname Lynes. The same book lists four Lynes Armigers, with their crests and (in three cases) mottos, viz. (abbreviations expanded to accord with modern usage) (Fairbairn [1829] 1905):
  • Lynes, An elephant’s head erased Purpure;
  • Lynes of Tooley Park, Leicestershire, and Hatton, Warwickshire—Crest: In front of a fleur-de-lis Argent, a lion rampant Gules, Motto: Foi, roi, droit;
  • Lynes, Samuel Parr, Esquire, of Garthmeilio, Corwen, North Wales—same crest and motto;
  • Lynes, Rev. John, M.A., of Sandesfort House, Wyke Regis, Dorset—same crest and motto.
This suggests a familial relationship between at least the last three. Note Samuel Parr Lynes.

3.2. The Dexter Side

By convention, in impaled Arms the husband is on the dexter (left if looking at it, right if holding it as an actual shield. The colours can be identified by reference to the “Petra Sancta” hatching scheme (Figure 2). The main field (background) of the shield is plain, and therefore Argent (silver or white); the lions rampant are Gules (red); the bend is Azure (blue). Burke’s General Armory gives us this for Lynes (again, expanded and modernized) (Burke [1842] 1884):
Lynes (Tooley Park, County Leicester, and Hatton, County Warwick; descended from John Lynes, Esq., of Corley and Kirkby Mallory). Argent, on a bend Azure between two lions rampant Gules a fleur-de-lis between two griffins’ heads erased Or. Crest—In front of a fleur-de-lis Argent a lion rampant Gules. Motto—Foi, Roi, Droit.
Undoubtedly these are the Arms as portrayed on the dexter side of the engraving, and can be coloured as per Figure 3.

3.3. The Sinister Side

In impaled Arms the wife is on the sinister side. In this case, the blazon would be something like: Ermine, two bars Azure each charged with as many crosses patté Argent, a bordure engrailed Sable thereon four escallops and as many roses alternately of the second [meaning Argent].
Burke’s General Armory has (Burke [1842] 1884):
Parr (granted to the Rev. John Lynes, LL.B., of Tooley Park, in behalf of his wife, Caroline Sobieski, and to her sister, Augusta Eliza Wynne, the wife of Captain Sir John Marshall, R.N., C.B., and K.C.H., as the two representatives of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Parr, Prebendary of St. Paul’s). Ermine, two bars Azure each charged with as many crosses patté Or, a bordure engrailed Sable, thereon four escallops and as many roses alternately Argent.
Clearly, the engraver of the silver has neglected to stipple the crosses patté, to indicate Or, rather than Argent (Figure 4).

3.4. The Crest

This depicts, in front of a fleur-de-lis, a lion rampant. However, the lion has not been hatched in such a way as to indicate Gules. The fleur-de-lis, blazoned Argent, would require no such hatching.

3.5. The Marriage

This would, then suggest a marriage between Rev. John Lynes of Tooley Park and Caroline Sobieski née Parr. It is, in fact, slightly more complicated.
  • Robert Watkin Wynne of Plas Newydd & Garthmeilio, Sheriff of Merionethshire (a 1798)
  • m. Anne Sobieski Dod (d 08.12.1818, daughter of Thomas Dod of Edge) and had issue:
  • i. John Wynne (b ca. 1778, d 19.12.1836, 2nd son)
  • m1. (24.07.1797) Sarah Ann Parr (d 08.07.1810, dau of Dr. Parr)
    • Caroline Sobieski Wynne
      m. (1822) Rev. John Lynes of Tooley Park in Leicestershire
    • Augusta Eliza Wynne (b 16.07.1800)
      m. (17.09.1828) Sir John Michell (d.s.p. 29.01.1869, Captain RN)
    • Madeline Wynne (d. unmarried 1820)
This marriage is recorded as taking place in 1822, which dates the silverware, struck in anticipation or as part of the celebration. This is just too late for the reign of George III (1738–1820, r. 1760) but possibly within that of George IV (1762–1830, r. 1820). The circumstances whereby John Wynne (1778–1836) acquired the Arms of Dr. Parr by marriage to his eldest daughter Sarah Ann Parr (d. 1810) are interesting in themselves.

3.6. College of Arms

The College of Arms in London (the Heraldic authority for England, Wales and Northern Ireland), was able to provide the following information (in the person of Dr. Peter O’Donoghue, York Herald and Librarian).1
“The following entries in the records of grants of Arms seem to be relevant:
John Lynes of Kirkby Mallory, County Leicester, son of John Lynes of Corley, County Warwick, deceased, petitioned for Arms; he states that his ancestors have for several generations been seated at Corley, where as well as in the neighbouring parish of Fillongley County Warwick, they have possessed certain landed property; but no Arms have hitherto been registered to the family. He was therefore granted Arms, blazoned: Argent on a Bend Azure between two Lions rampant Gules a Fleur de lys between two Gryphon’s heads erased Or. Crest: On a Wreath of the Colours In front of a Fleur de Lys Argent a Lion rampant Gules. The Letters Patent were dated 25 April 1827.2
The Reverend John Lynes LLB., Rector of Elmley Lovett, County Worcester, petitioned on behalf of his wife Caroline Sobieski Lynes and Augusta Eliza Wynne, spinster, only sister of Caroline Sobieski. They are stated to be the only children of John Wynne by Sarah Ann his wife, deceased, eldest and at length sole daughter and heir of the Reverend Samuel Parr, LLD., late of Hatton, County Warwick and Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral, deceased. It not appearing that any Armorial Ensigns had been established for the family of the late Dr. Samuel Parr, Caroline Sobieski and Augusta Eliza sought to testify their affectionate regard for the memory of their late maternal grandfather.
A grant of Arms for Parr was therefore made, to be displayed to the memory of Dr. Parr, and borne by his descendants. The Arms are: Ermine two Bars Azure each charged with as many Crosses patty Or a Bordure engrailed Sable thereon four Escallops and as many Roses alternately Argent. The Crest is On a Wreath of the Colours A Mount Vert therefrom issuing in front of a Pear Tree fructed proper a Rose Tree Vert bearing five Roses Gules barbed and seeded also proper. The Letters Patent were dated 4 July 1827.3
No pedigree appears to have been recorded for the Lynes family. I have not been able to make searches in the many collections of papers belonging to the heralds and Kings of Arms of the period, as this would take a long time. But it is fairly unlikely that anything very interesting or revealing would be discovered, as very few papers or correspondence relating to grants of Arms were retained at this period.
It seems clear from the above that John Wynne did not acquire any right to the Arms of Parr; rather, the Arms of the latter were devised somewhat later. His wife Sarah Ann would have acquired a posthumous right to the Arms of Parr, but it is hard to see how her children could have borne them, save as a quartering, unless the grant mentioned above is taken to imply that the petitioners could bear the Arms as descendants of Dr. Samuel Parr. This is not explicitly stated in the Patent.

3.7. Differences Between Scottish And English Heraldic Practice

In Scotland, the whole heraldic structure is run and overseen by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who is both a Minister of State in the Scottish Government, and a judge in his own dedicated court—the Court of the Lord Lyon, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Heraldry operates, and Arms are granted and protected, under Scots Statute Law.4 For example, anyone pretending to or assuming Arms will be pursued by the Lyon Court, at no cost to the Armiger. The Lyon Court also sits regularly for other purposes, including the appointment of Officers of Arms.
By contrast, English heraldry operates under Civil Law, and anyone whose Arms have been misused has to sue in a civil court, the High Court of Chivalry. This has a single judge, the Earl Marshal, an hereditary office currently held by the 18th Duke of Norfolk. The Court of Chivalry has not sat since 1954, and at that time for the case of Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties, Ltd.,5 and prior to this, the Court had not sat for two centuries.6

4. Conclusions

The Arms engraved on the silverware: The dexter side depicts Arms granted to John Lynes of Kirkby Mallory, County Leicester, by Letters Patent, were dated 25 April 1827; the sinister side to a grant of Arms made on 4 July 1827 in memory of the deceased Reverend Dr. Samuel Parr, Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral, and borne by his descendants; the crest is that of John Lynes, but has not been engraved in such a way as to indicate the Gules tincture of the lion rampant.
The impaled Arms therefore indicate the marriage of Rev. John Lynes of Tooley Park and Caroline Sobieski née Parr, daughter of the Reverend Dr. Parr, in 1822, which predates the granting of Arms. The silverware—or at least the engraving—must therefore date from 1827, or after.


This research received no external funding.


Thanks are due to Peter O’Donoghue, York Herald and Librarian at The College of Arms in London.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. 1884. General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. London: Harrison, pp. 633, 777. First published 1842. [Google Scholar]
  2. Fairbairn, James. 1905. Fairbairn’s Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland. Part II. Edinburgh: T. C. & E. C. Jack, vol. 1, pp. 29, 356. First published 1829. [Google Scholar]
The College of Arms in London, England, is the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand, but not Scotland or Canada. See ( (last accessed 30 January 2019).
Coll Arm Ms Grants 36/218I, College of Arms, London, England.
Coll Arm Ms Grants 36/289, College of Arms, London, England.
The four principal statutes governing the Office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms are: Lyon King of Arms Act 1592 c. 29; Lyon King of Arms Act 1669 c. 95; Lyon King of Arms Act 1672 c. 47; Lyon King of Arms Act 1867 c. 17 (Regnal. 30_and_31_Vict). They may be read at ( (last accessed 30 January 2019) and ( (last accessed 31 January 2019).
Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties Ltd, P 133; [1955] 1 All ER 387.
“The High Court of Chivalry in the early seventeenth century”. University of Birmingham, ( (last accessed 31 January 2019).
Figure 1. Engraving on silverware, used with permission.
Figure 1. Engraving on silverware, used with permission.
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Figure 2. The metals and tinctures of heraldry, and the equivalent Petra Sancta system used by engravers.
Figure 2. The metals and tinctures of heraldry, and the equivalent Petra Sancta system used by engravers.
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Figure 3. The Arms of Lynes, as blazoned in the text.
Figure 3. The Arms of Lynes, as blazoned in the text.
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Figure 4. Arms of Rev. Dr. Samuel Parr.
Figure 4. Arms of Rev. Dr. Samuel Parr.
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© 2019 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
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