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The Armorial Bearings of the City of Carlisle
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St. Cuthbert’s Church, of the date doubtless when the church was rebuilt, viz., 1778. It is also to be found on the city boundary stones.

   Thus we have abundant evidence [o] that the ancient arms of Carlisle were a red cross patee, between four red roses in a golden field, while a fifth rose was charged on the centre of the cross. We have further evidence that about the end of the 17th century the cross patee became a plain cross, and the central rose was omitted. I for one regret that the cross patee and the roses were ever thrown over for the ingenious conceit devised by Mr. Speed. For that we are indebted to Mr. Jollie, and the powerful influence of the Carlisle Journal.

   To pursue the investigation further – can reason be found why a red cross with five red roses should be the ancient armorial bearings of Carlisle? I think there can – a reason connected with the history of the old city.

   Now, an obvious and probable way for a civic corporation to acquire its armorial bearings would be adoption of those of some successful leader of the municipal forces. It is certainly more than a coincidence that we find the ancient family of Carlisle of Carlisle, [p] bearing on a golden


[o]  I had hoped to have additional evidence in Carlisle Cathedral. Dr. Todd, in his MS. “Notitia Ecclesiae Cathedralis Carliolensis,” writes, “ Circa An. D. MCCCLX . . . Civitas Karliol ad. Struendam Ecclesiam Nummos de publico Aerario Suppeditarunt; ut Arma Fecialia restantur quae in Ecclesia ibidem depicta cernantur.” [Attempt at translation: Approximately in the year of the Lord 1360 . . . the City of Carlisle supplied money from public funds for the building of the church; so that the Heraldic Arms be restored (?) which are seen depicted in the church there.]  Arma fecialia means the Heraldic Arms, the coats of Arms. A shield now in the roof bears a plain red cross containing four roses in a golden field. This of course is modern, but one would suppose there was authority for it. At the restoration of the Cathedral in 1856 the old shields and bosses from the roof were carried away by the workmen, and sold for 2/6 a-piece.

[p]  Nicholas Carlisle, in his “History of the Carlisle Family,” p. 27, says that Dethick, Garter King at arms, tempore Elizabeth, in a grant of arms recites that Carlisle of Carlisle bore those arms in the reign of Edward I.  In Nicholas’s Roll of Arms of Peers and Knights, compiled between 2nd and 7th of Edward II. is – “Sir William de Carlel de Or a une crois patee de goules”