The Armorial Bearings of the City of Carlisle

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


[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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thus recorded the defects our ancestors discovered in the old governing body of Carlisle, and the new broom that was invented, when the old Corporation was swept into limbo.

   The Reformed Corporation of Carlisle, in the hot zeal of 1835, discarded many good things which had belonged to their predecessors, and dropped many good customs which their predecessors had loved to maintain. Among other good things which they discarded, they discarded the armorial bearings which their predecessors had used, and they adopted a shield, now familiar to us, not then new, but to which the unreformed Corporation had never but once, by employing it, given sanction. It is blazoned as

   “Vert, a castle between two roses or; on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant of the second, the base wavy argent and sable (or azure, which seems the more modern usage.”)

Or, more particularly,

   “Vert, the base wavy of six argent and azure, thereon a castle between to roses or; on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant of the fourth.”

   The lion might be simply blazoned as “a lion of England,” or even the whole chief as a “chief of England,” for it is taken from the Royal Arms of England, with a view to earmark the achievement as that of an English city. The whole composition is often explained to mean an English city standing in a green meadow on the brink of a river; or on three rivers, Eden, Petteril, and Caldew. This last idea, however, falls to the ground, for the older examples of this coat are always wavy of four pieces only, not of six. That



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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.


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These are tricked with letters. The chequers and fesse of Clifford he does not trick at all, but the alternate squares he scores with the notation for purpure, clearly meaning nothing, for the chequers of Clifford, are well known to be Or and Az.  I am writing with both editions of Speed’s map before me. The second edition is from the same plate, on which the two additional coats of arms have been cut; the three red escutcheons carried by Hay are scored purpure-wise, though clearly the scoring does not denote purpure. The importance of this digression will appear presently.

   To return to the coat of arms we are discussing, viz., the Castle between two roses, the base wavy, and the chief of England. This is assigned to Carlisle, in a Manuscript Book in the College of Arms, called “Arms of Towns,” which is of the date of Charles II., and which Mr. Bellasis, the learned and courteous Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms (to whom I am much indebted for information), informs me is of “no high authority.” It appears again on an anonymous Itinerary [e] in my possession, of a date apparently late in the 17th century, or early in the 18th. The tinctures are here denoted by scoring, and the base is wavy of four Arg: and Az.  It appears again in an anonymous book, published in London in 1713, entitled “The Arms or Common Seals of the Cities and Borough Towns in England and Wales.” It is in Cox’s Magna Britannia, published in 1720, with the base wavy of four argent, and azure, and the lion on the chief passant to the sinister! It occurs in Guillim, edition of 1724, but not in the editions of 1660, 1664, or in earlier ones. [f] It occurs in Buck’s View of Carlisle, 1745, where the base is wavy of four, argent and sable.


[e]  The anonymous Itinerary is a page from “Britannia Depicta, or Ogilvy Improved, being a correct copy of Mr. Ogilvy’s Actual Survey of all ye Direct and Principal Cross Roads in England and Wales.” John Ogilvy was cosmographer and master of His Majesty’s Revels in Ireland; author of “Britannia, or an illustration of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales; by a geographical and historical description of the principal roads thereof.  London, 1675.”

[f]  I do not know about the edition of 1679.


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   I find this same coat, having the base wavy of four, on a stone in the wall of the Corporation House at King Garth, with this inscription: –

Esqr. Mayor of the City
Bayliffs 1751.

   I further find this same coat with the Castle, &c., or what is intended for it, on a silver cup belonging to the Guild of Butchers at Carlisle, and presented to them by William Nanson of London, in 1791. This instance is remarkable, as having no base wavy, and as having a crest, viz., a Standard displayed argent, thereon a cross gules – the Standard of St. George of England! What may be the authority for this I know not. This same coat of arms, whose history we are following, crops up again on a plate in the second volume of Hutchinson’s History of Cumberland, published by F. Jollie in 1794. This plate is very curious; [g] it was drawn by Carlile, a well-known local artist, and engraved by James Lewis. It is perfectly clear that none of those concerned in its production knew anything of heraldry; except, perhaps, how to represent the tinctures by scoring. The plate contains five oval views of buildings in Carlisle, and round the central one (a view of the Cathedral) are ranged eight coats of arms. Six of these are most clearly taken from the second edition of Speed’s Map, for Speed’s meanless scoring, which resembles purpure, is


[g]  A key to this plate is in the book, viz., “A List and description of the Engravings.” It follows the list of Subscribers, and precedes the Index. It is paged 5, and gives the arms as “No. 1, James Hay, E. of Carlisle; 2, Henry Clifford, E. of Carlisle; 3, Henry Fitz David, E. of Carlisle; 4, the City Arms; 5, Marcatus, E. of Carlisle; 6, Ranulph Meschines, first E. of Carlisle; 7, Andrew de Harcla, E. of Carlisle; 8, Prince Rupert, Duke of Cumberland.  N.B. – We have not attempted a chronological arrangement of the Earls, as we have not met with any record of the subject. For the arms of the present Earl of Carlisle, see the view of Naworth Castle.”

   I doubt if Hutchinson or Jollie ever looked for any records at all.


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carefully followed in the Clifford and Hay arms, and in those assigned to the City of Carlisle, while the other tinctures are scored correctly, scoring being substituted for Speed’s lettering. It is perfectly clear that Mr. Jollie or his artists took their arms, including the Carlisle ones, from Speed’s second edition of his map. [h]

   In November 1798 Mr. Jollie, who was a man of great enterprise, brought out the Carlisle Journal. He headed it with the coat of arms whose history we have been discussing, and filled up a column or two with an account of Carlisle, taken, as no doubt he took the arms, from his County History, i.e., Hutchinson, but by now, better informed, he scores the base argent and azure. Both on the plate in his history, and on the Journal, he makes it of four pieces. The Journal used this heading for many years, and no doubt familiarised people with it: their present heading was adopted in 1838.

   Jollie was the pioneer of several enterprising local publishers and printers, Jefferson, the Thurnams, and others, who have all adopted this coat as the arms of Carlisle, some giving four, others six pieces in the base. It also appears on the cheques of the local banks, who one and all score the base as argent and gules!

   Throughout the whole series of the engravings of this coat from Speed, through Jollie, Jefferson, and Thurnam, down to the present Corporation printers, runs one unmistakeably proof that all are descended from Speed: it is in the Lion and his beard. The same vast and extraordinary beard runs through the whole series, and proves their parentage. [i]


[h]  An odd deviation from Speed is to be noticed: the spears of Mercatus are placed bend sinister-wise! and Harcla’s martlet looks to the sinister, and is in a canton sinister! In the arms of Prince Rupert, Duke of Cumberland, the lions ramp to the sinister! This is not the error of an engraver forgetting to reverse the drawing, for the lion in the “City Arms” is passant to the dexter. But the three shields on which these anomalies appear are ranged on the sinister side of the central oval, the “City Arms” to the dexter; there has evidently been a design to make the animals, &c., look outward for symmetry!

[i]  In the Topographical Dictionary of England, published by S. Lewis in 1831, in four large quarto volumes, an engraving is given of this coat as the arms of Carlisle. The compiler in his preface states that Sir George Naylor and other gentleman at the Heralds’ College furnished the Arms. This only comes round to the 1724 edition of Guillim, and the MS Book of “no great authority.” But the engraving given in Lewis is the parent of some of the modern editions of this coat; it has the base wavy of six, the first example that I find. The castle, too, here first changes from its old form of a simple tower to two towers joined by a curtain wall in which a gate. About sixty copies of this work were subscribed or in 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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   I have, therefore, great pleasure in giving above, on page 2, an engraving by Mr. Forbes Nixon, of what it should be. As it generally occurs with the scoring denoting the tinctures, I have desired Mr. Nixon to add the scoring, though it is more correct, and more artistic to leave it out, and he shows the modern usage of making the base of six pieces, and of giving for the castle two towers and a curtain wall, in which a gate.

   All the while that the publishers and printers were inflicting on the citizens of Carlisle as their arms Speed’s enigmatical composition, they ignored in toto a most beautiful achievement which the unreformed Corporation of Carlisle always used, as the reformed Corporation continue to do, though they also use Speed’s.

   The old Corporation of Carlisle used as their armorial bearings, a red cross patee, or fleurie, between four red roses in a golden field, while a fifth red cross [sic – should be rose] is charged on the centre of the cross. For this there is abundant evidence, going back four hundred years and more. It is to be found where one would naturally look for it – on the reverse of the common seal of the City of Carlisle, which is an attentuated cross patee between four roses or sexfoils, within the legend


while a fifth rose or sexfoil is on the centre of the cross. [j]


[j] Mr. Bellasis writes of the roses – “I suppose they are roses; our note of the Common Seal (Dugdale’s Visitation, 1666, c.39, last cal: 38) makes them ‘octofoils,’ and an octofoil is repeated on the centre of the cross, which is almost of a pattee sort, or shape.” Dugdale is not accurate; they are sexfoils on the seal.

   The Dormont Book of 1651 shows the “octofoils,” or sexfoils, to be then understood to be roses.


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The obverse is the Virgin Mary enthroned, holding the infant Saviour on her knee and having a fleur-de-lis in her right hand: on an inner circle is the angelic salutation AVE : MARIA : GRATIA : PLENA. And on an outer circle the same legend as on the reverse. The accompanying woodcut gives the obverse and reverse of the seal from Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary.

   Among the Corporation muniments is a safe-conduct of the date of 1462 with this seal appended thereto, [k] and I give here an engraving of the central portion of the reverse of the seal; the same matrices are now in use that were in use in 1462.

   This coat, a red cross fleurie between four red roses in a golden field, is on the fly-leaf of the “Dormont Book,” dated 1561. In this instance the ends of the


[k]  “Letters of safe conduct for fifteen days from James III., King of Scotland, for Richard, Earl of Warwick; William, Earl of Kent; John, Bishop of Durham; John, Lord Montagu; Ralph, Baron of Greystoke; and others travelling into Scotland. Dated at Dumfries, June 17, 1462, sub magno sigillo nostro [transl.: under our great seal]. The seal of the City of Carlisle, however, (through some cause hitherto unexplained) is appended to this document. Obverse and reverse are as above described.” From catalogue Archaeological Museum formed at Carlisle, 1859.

   This safe conduct is now, 1880, with the Corporation muniments, and it is printed in the Archaeological Journal, vol. 17, p. 54, where Mr. Albert Way describes the seal, and calls the roses sex-foils. He describes the reverse – “a plain cross with a sex-foiled flower at the intersection, between four sex-foils.” Although he calls the cross plain, it does not extend to the margin of the field, and broadens out at the ends of its arms; see the engraving. Mr Way considers the document to be a copy, merely, of a deed “sub magno sigillo nostro” to which the Carlisle seal has been fixed as evidence that it is a true copy.


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cross are fleurie, not patee, and the fifth or central rose is omitted. This is the earliest authority for the tinctures. This same coat of arms, a cross patee and five roses, occurs on the seal of the Mayor of Carlisle appended to the admission of Leonard Dykes to the freedom of the City – date 1640. The legend round the seal is defaced, except the word MAIORIS. [l] It is curious that the deed purports to be sealed with the Corporation Seal, whereas the Mayor’s seal has actually been used. The same seal, but in a worse condition, is to a deed of 1673. I have no doubt it is on many other deeds of the 17th century, but most of the seals are now mere dollops of wax.

   The cross and roses were also on the seal of the Statute-Merchant of Carlisle, which is thus described by Mr. C. S. Perceval, Direc. S.A.  “It is half of a circular seal, as if from a matrix purposely cut in two. The device is (half of) the cross patee, cantoned with roses, which appears as the town seal. The legend S(igillum Statute Me)RCATORIS CARLILE 1670.” [m] This seal, or rather moiety of a seal, cannot now be found, but by the kindness of Mr. Perceval I have been furnished with


[l]  Apud Ciuitatem Carlioli vicesimo secondo die mensis May Anno dni nri Caroli nune regis Anglie decimo sexto Annoq dni 1640 Maiore, ballis, et maxima pte Consilij dict Ciuitatis conventis Leonardus Dykes Armiger Creatus factus et admissus fuit liber Ciuis et burgensis dict Ciuitatis Carlioli, pro suis auxilijs et bene meritis dict Ciuitat impensis et impendendis: Qui juravit fidelitatem pro nro regi et Maiore dict Ciuitate more solit   In cujus rei testimoniu Johnes Baynes Armiger Maior Ciuitat pred manu sua et comunr Sigillo dict Ciuitate Carlioli apposuit die et Anno supra dict.

          Extract ex recordis Ciuits
          Carlioli prdict
          p me Leonard Milborne
          clicum Curie ibn.

[Attempt at translation by transcriber:  At the City of Carlisle on the 22nd day of the month May in the 16th year of our lord Charles by God’s grace King of England and in the year of the Lord 1640, by the mayor, bailiffs and the greatest part of the assembled council of the said city, Leonard Dykes (a person entitled to bear arms) was created and admitted a free citizen and burgher of the said City of Carlisle, for his support and good offices given and still to be given to the said city: Who swore loyalty to our king and the mayor of the said City in the usual manner. In witness of this matter John Baynes (a person entitled to bear arms), Mayor of the aforesaid City, has undersigned in his own hand and with the common seal of the said City of Carlisle on the abovementioned day and year.

          Extracted from the records of the aforesaid City of Carlisle
          by me Leonard Milborne, clerk of the Council there]

[m]  Proc. Soc. Ant., and series, vol. vii., p. 119.


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a gutta-percha [n] impression of it, one of several made by the late Mr. Albert Way. It exhibits a cross patee with five roses, as seen by the engraving which I have had made.

   The same coat occurs on the escutcheon held by the lion on the top of “Carel” cross, which was built, as the inscription tells us, in 1682, “Joseph Reed, Maior.” Here it is to be noted the cross patee or fleurie becomes a plain cross, whose arms extend to the borders of the field and the fifth or central rose disappears. A new Mayor’s seal must have been made about this time, or a little later, for in 1709 I find the Mayor’s seal attached to a deed of that date, and it bears a plain (thin) cross extending to the borders of the field. No central rose – indeed it finally disappeared when the Mayor’s seal used in 1709 was made. Another new Mayor’s seal was made in 1731, and is now in use. It differs only in the shape of the shield from its predecessor. It was made in 1731, as shown by the inscription round the rim, which is

          JOSEPH JACKSON, Mayor, 1731.

The legend on the seal is


We find these same armorial bearings, the plain cross and four roses, on the exterior of the Town Hall, once under date of 1717, “Joseph Parker, Mayor,” and again in 1799, “Richard Jackson, Mayor.” It occurs again on the fine piece of ironwork which decorates the Corporation pew in


[n]  It is thus described in the Catalogue of the Museum formed by the Archaeological Society at Carlisle in 1859: - Moiety of a silver seal, of which the two parts, no doubt preserved in the custody of two distinct officials of the city, were united by a screw, and by a mortice and tenon. When complete it displayed an escutcheon of the City arms, and on the portion preserved appears the legend, &c.”

   The “portion preserved” is now wanting.


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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”


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 field a red cross fleurie or patee; and that a member of that family, Hildredus de Carliol, or de Carlisle, was sheriff of Carlisle (not Cumberland) in the reigns of Henry I. and Henry II.

   Another local hero, Andrew de Harcla, the gallant defender of Carlisle in the siege by Robert Bruce in 1315, also bore Argent, a plain red cross, cantoning a martlet. [q] A beautiful initial letter on the Charter granted to Carlisle by Edward II. represents Harcla, recognisable by the arms on his shield, defending Carlisle with great vigour and force. The citizens evidently thought much of him, and probably remembered his banner and arms long after Andrew de Harcla had gone to his death-verse on Haribee Hill, but the colour of his shield, and the shape of his cross differ from those of the City of Carlisle. That City probably took its arms from those of the family of De Carlisle.

   It yet remains to account for the red roses. I think that those have been adopted in honour of the Virgin Mary, whose cult prevailed extensively in Carlisle, and whose emblem the red rose is. [r]  The Cathedral was dedicated to


[q]  In Nicholas’s Roll is –

   “Sire Michel de Herteclaue de argent a une crois de goules. Sire Andrew de Herteclaue meisme les armes e un merelot de sable.”

[r]  The usual emblem flowers of the B.V.M. are the lily and the flowering almond. But she is addressed in the ancient sequences as “Rosa sine spina” [transl.: rose without thorn] – “Rosa spinis carens” [transl.: rose lacking thorns] – “Rosa speciosa” [transl.: shining rose] – “Rosa mystica” in the Litany of Loretto. Strictly her rose was the rose of Jericho, which was called “Rosa Mariae,” and should be represented with four petals. I do not think this rule was adhered to, for on an aumry in the Cathedral I find the five-petaled rose, and Prior Gondibar, whose initials are also there, probably intended to honour the patroness of the Cathedral. It may be added that the lily took its origin, together with the rose, as an emblem of the Virgin Mary from a misapplication of a passage of Scripture – “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys” (Song of Solomon, ii-1). The early commentators all applied this passage to Christ or (and more correctly) to his Bride the Church. But when, in later times the cultus of the Virgin Mary was developed, the words were assigned to her. The “rose” here is not a rose at all, but to judge from the Hebrew words used, some bulbous plant growing on the plains, and, probably, a narcissus. Hence the terms, addressed to the Virgin Mary, “Rosa sine spina,” “Rosa spinis carens,” were perhaps more correct than was intended. The so-called rose of Jericho, sometimes mentioned in this connection, was simply a curious plant (Anastatica hierochuntina) picked up by the pilgrims on the hot sandy plains near Jericho, and from its dry ligneous character easily conveyed home as a relic. I am indebted to Canon Prescott for some of the above information; also to Mr. Bellasis and the Rev. T. Lees.


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her, and the old name of the foundation was the Priory of House of Regular Canons (not monastery) of the B.V.M.; its chief glory was a life-sized image of her, dressed gayly with jewels and in fine clothes; [s]  while its pillars were diapered with huge red roses, and the monogram J. M. (Jesu Maria.) [t]  She was, too, the patroness of the city; she had personally intervened for its protection in one of the Scottish sieges, [u] and a chapel dedicated to her stood on the top of the English Gate. [v]  She thus came to be represented on the City Seal, and her roses (such at least is my idea) found place on the civic shield of arms. [w]

   Surely a coat of arms so interesting, and the sole one appertaining to Carlisle for which there is unquestionable authority, should not be discarded: rather, since the modern one has grown so familiar to us, let us keep both: and let us distinguish them, as heralds do those of France, as “Carlisle Ancient” and “Carlisle Modern.”

   There is, however, a third claimant, for Mr. Bellasis refers me to an entry in an Alphabet of Arms at the College of Arms, tempore Charles II., which is as follows: –

   “Cumbd. Carlisle – Gules, two keys in saltire between four cross crosslets fitchee, Or. (A city.”)


[s]  An indulgence from the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Carlisle on behalf of a richly decorated statue of the B.V.M., which is to be erected in the Cathedral at Carlisle, [Reg. Archieps. Kempe 152 b.] is printed, vol. 44, Surtees Society, Priory of Hexham, p. xcvii, where are also other indulgences in favour of Carlisle.

[t]  Mackenzie Walcott’s Memorials of Carlisle, p.23.

[u]  The Chronicle of Lanercost.

[v]  So I am told, but I want further authority for this. The view of the English Gate in “Carlisle in the Olden Time” seems to show a chapel on top of the gate.

[w]  I am rather inclined to think that here we have the explanation of the name of the residence of the Bishop of Carlisle – Rose Castle. It is called “La Rose,” “Escrit a nostre manoir de la Rose” occurs often in Bishop Welton’s register (Letters from Northern Registers), while earlier still (the first mention of the place), Edward I. issues Parliamentary writs “apud La Rose,” xxvi. die September (1301), Stubb’s Select Charters. To this day Rose Castle is frequently called the Rose by the people of the neighbourhood. (See Lord W. Howard’s Household Books, Surtees Society, vol. 68, p. 130.) Probably Bishop Halton, when he built the Castle, named it with reference to the patroness of his Cathedral. Bishop Barnes sealed with a single rose, beautifully engraved. This seal is pendant to two or three deeds, tempore Elizabeth, in possession of the Corporation of Carlisle. Lord Scrope also executes these deeds and seals with a bird on a mount.


The End.