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Adkins family - heraldic arms

In Truth Strength


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Most English families have heraldic arms - it's just that most families have never identified what they are and registered them. In 1924 my grandfather, Henry Adkins, took the necessary steps to register his arms and I show them below together with a transcription of the document used to record the facts.

The document is on parchment, hand scribed and sealed with the two seals of the relevant gentlemen named in the document. The parchment is rolled and stored in a wooden case which is in my keeping. The document is written in formal old English and includes many words, mostly French, that are specific to heraldry. Explanations of these words are given in footnotes. It is a very precise language using few words to convey the exact design of the arms. In the text below I have used 'OldEnglish' or 'Old English text MT' typescript in the same places as used in the document. This will not display correctly if your PC/Mac doesn't have that type style installed. Here follows the text ...

In Truth StrengthTo All and Singular to whom these Presents shall come Sir Henry Farnham Burke, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Principle King of Arms, and William Alexander Lindsay Esquire, Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, one of His majesty’s Counsel learned in the Law Clarenceux King of Arms Send Greeting:
Whereas Henry Adkins of Ravenswell Lansdown near Bath in the County of Somerset, and of the Inner Temple Barrister at Law, son of Henry Adkins late of Ley Hill in the Parish of Northfield and County of Worcester Esquire, in the Commission of the Peace for the Counties of Stafford and Worcester and grandson of Thomas Adkins late of Perry Bar in the Parish of Handsworth and County of Stafford, Gentleman both deceased, hath represented unto Edmund Bernard Viscount FitzAllan of Derwent, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, One of His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council and Deputy to the Most Noble Bernard Marmaduke Duke of Norfolk Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England that being informed on an examination of the Records of the College of Arms that the Arms hitherto used by his family do not appear to have been duly established and recorded for them and being unwilling to use any without unquestionable authority, he therefore requested the favour of His Lordship’s Warrant for Our granting and assigning such Arms and Crest as may be proper to be borne and used by him and his descendants and by the other descendants of his Grandfather the said Thomas Adkins deceased according to the Laws of Arms And Forasmuch as His Lordship did by Warrant under his hand and the Seal of the Earl Marshal bearing date the twentieth day of September last authorize and direct Us to grant and assign such Armorial Ensigns accordingly Know ye therefore that We the said garter and Clarenceux in pursuance of His Lordship’s Warrant and by virtue of the Letters of Patent of Our several Offices to each of Us respectively granted do by these Presents grant and assign unto the said Henry Adkins the Arms following that is to say:- Perchevron1 Sable2 and Ermine3 in chief two stirrups leathered Argent4 and in base a Lion rampant Sable And for the Crest on a Wreath of the Colours A horse forcene5 Argent supporting between the fore legs a staff proper flowing therefrom to the sinister6 a banner perfesse7 Sable and Gules8 the fringe gobony9 Or10 and Gules charged with three Cinquefoils11 Or as the same are in the margin hereof more plainly depicted to be borne and used for ever hereafter by him the said Henry Adkins and by his descendants and by the other descendants of his Grandfather the said Thomas Adkins deceased with due and proper differences according to the Laws of Arms.
In witness
whereof We the said Garter and Clarenceux Kings of Arms have hereunto subscribed Our names and affixed the Seals of Our several Offices this twentieth day of December in the fifteenth year12 of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Fifth by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the Faith &c. and in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and twenty four


Notes:

  1. Heraldic Arms are created for a single person. All those belonging to a family have Arms based on the same Arms but with personal variations. Children adopt the Arms of their father with variations.
  2. Each variation should be approved and registered.
  3. There are strict rules regarding what can and cannot be applied to the Arms.
  4. As you will have seen above, the description of Arms (Blazon) uses its own language, much of it French. There is a very good page on WikipediaExternal link which describes much of this language. There are many links on this page to other pages in the same set describing the whole subject.
  5. Henry Adkins had two rings cast in gold upon which were engraved 'a horse forcene5 supporting between the fore legs a staff proper flowing therefrom to the sinister6 a banner'. These are in reverse so that when used to strike a wax seal the image comes out as described and illustrated above. Henry wore one of these rings and gave the other to his only son, Dennis Adkins. Dennis later gave his father's ring to me and I wear it always. Regrettably Dennis lost his ring while he was in care during his latter years. He valued it greatly and I had a replacement cast from my own. This new ring went to my brother Jonathan on Dennis's passing in 2005.

Footnotes:

  1. Perchevron - dividing a shield per chevron involves creating two fairly equal parts of the shield using a partition line in the shape of a chevron
  2. Sable – black in colour
  3. Ermine – Fur, white with a black tail
  4. Argent – White (metal) in colour
  5. Forcene – frenzied, maniac
  6. Sinister – to the left (in this case the banner is to the left of the staff looking from the other side!)
  7. Perfesse - Dividing a shield per fesse involves creating two equal parts of the shield using a horizontal partition line
  8. Gules – red in colour
  9. Gobony – composed of a row of square or rectangular parts or panes of two tinctures (colours)
  10. Or – Gold (metal) in colour
  11. Cinquefoils – five petal flower
  12. Fifteenth year of the reign - 1924

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