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The Armorial Bearings of the City of Carlisle
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   Neither Camden, nor Tonge, nor St. George, nor Dugdale, ever give this coat of arms; nor was it ever, excepting the instance at King Garth, used by the Corporation of Carlisle until after 1835. It first makes its appearance on the picture of Mr. G. G. Mounsey, now in the Town Hall, where the base is wavy of four, argent and sable. Up to that time I believe it to have had no sanction by the Corporation of Carlisle, and to have been the spontaneous invention of Speed, evoked out of his own inner consciousness. If so, his invention had a great success: it was taken up by the map makers, and the print sellers, and the book writers: it was adopted by the Reformed Corporation, and is now universally supposed to be the Arms of the City of Carlisle! More astounding yet: it has of late years appeared on ball cards, and on club note paper, as the Arms of the County of Cumberland, in happy disregard of the fact that counties have not and cannot have coats of arms.

   Thus much of the history and lineage of what is generally believed to be the Arms of the City of Carlisle. It is a terrible crux to artists: Speed, and Buck, and Jefferson, draw it correctly enough, taking, however, their models from the most debased period of heraldic drawing; but for a real atrocious bad specimen thereof the large gas lamps before the Town Hall should be consulted. The wooden achievements inside the Town Hall are wrongly painted; the one on the drop scene at the theatre is wrongly drawn; on the cheques of the local banks it is wrongly tricked: while one and all, including that stamped on the Corporation documents, and that on the top of the Carlisle Journal, both otherwise correct, exhibit the most unheraldic lions.

 

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