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The Armorial Bearings of the City of Carlisle
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By R. S. Ferguson, F.S.A.

Communicated at Kirkby Stephen, August 18th, 1880.

Reprinted from the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.


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A few months ago a writer in one of the Carlisle papers raised a question about the Latin rendering of the motto, “Be just, and fear not.” This maxim was suggested by the late Mr. G. G. Mounsey (so our City Treasurer tells me) as a motto for the city of Carlisle, and it has been generally adopted. It is taken from the great Wolsey scene in Henry VIII., which iconoclastic critics now assign to Fletcher, and not to Shakespeare, and from the speech beginning

“Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; .  .  .  .
.  .  .  Be just, and fear not:
Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,
Thy God’s, and truth’s.” [a]

Considering, then, the history of this motto, we might well have been spared the shock of seeing it disguised as “justus esto et ne metue,” a piece of Latinity fit only for the dogs. [b] Had it been necessary for Carlisle to have a Latin motto, the “Dormont Book” [c] would have furnished ample choice. None could be better motto for the governing body of a city than “Ubi nullus ordo, ibi sempiternus horror [translation by transcriber: Where there is no order, there is everlasting horror];” or the Reformed Corporation might have taken “Novo malo novum remedium est opponendum [transl.: Against a new evil, a new remedy has to be set],” and have

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[a]  Henry VIII., Act III., Scene 2, lines 428, 446-7.

[b]  SIS JUSTUS NEC TIMEAS, is the motto of the Irish family of Garvey, of whom is Rev. James Garvey, rector of Ashby-cum-Fenby, county Lincoln. Arms – Ermine, 2 chevronelles gu. between three crosses formees of the same. Crest – A lion passant guardant gu.  I am indebted to the Rev. J. T. Fowler for this information.

[c]  The Regestar Governor, or Dormont Book, of the Comon wealth of th’ inhabitances wthin the Citie of Carlel, renewed in the year our Lord God, 1561.

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