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The Armorial Bearings of the City of Carlisle
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the composition admits of this very ingenious explanation is almost a proof that the composition is the work of a late herald; at any rate, that it came into existence, full grown, like Minerva out of Jupiter’s head, and did not grow, as most old coats of arms did, gradually.

   I can nowhere find that this coat of arms was ever used or recognised but the unreformed Corporation of Carlisle; it is not given in any Herald’s Visitation; it is not known to the College of Arms, except as occurring on certain maps and in certain books. It first occurs, that I can find, on the first edition of Speed’s Map of Cumberland, which was published in 1610, [d] and is on a plan of Carlisle, which is in a corner of the map of the county: a fac-simile is here reproduced. The base is wavy of four pieces only, two of which are scored diagonally according to the conventional notation for purpure. But this certainly means nothing: this method of indicating tinctures was not known in England in 1610, and all the other tinctures of the shield are tricked with letters. Speed gives no authority for assigning this coat to Carlisle. But be it also noted that he further gives the arms of “The Earles of Carlisle,” viz., “Mercatus E., Ran Meschems Andrew Harkley,” and those of “Henry Clifford Earle,” i.e. of Cumberland. On the 2nd edition, which was not published until after 1660, Speed adds the arms of Hay, Earl of Carlisle, and Charles Howard, Earl of Carlisle. He gives the arms of Mercatus as B, three spears bendwise O., armed A.; of Meschems, barry O and G; and of Harkley, A, a cross G, cantoning a martlet V.


[d]  Speed, John, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, London: Printed for Thomas Basset, at the George, in Fleet Street, and Richard Chiswel, at the Rose and Crown, in the St. Paul’s Churchyard, MDCLXXVI. The maps of this work, part i., are of older date than the “Tables of Towns,” &c., they are of the year 1610. I have the map of Cumberland, but not the book. I am obliged to Mr. Micklethwaite, F.S.A., for consulting the book for me; it is on the reserved list in the Library S.A.  I have since had the opportunity of consulting the book myself.