Author Topic: Arms of Wickstead of Nantwich, Cheshire  (Read 365 times)

Offline Andrew RM Hayes

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Arms of Wickstead of Nantwich, Cheshire
« on: Saturday 03 June 17 14:29 BST (UK) »
I am trying to find out more about the Wickstead family of Wickstead, Nantwich, Wrenbury, Whitchurch and Shrewsbury.
The Herald's Visitation of Cheshire acknowledges the following arms;
Argent, on a bend azure, between three Cornish choughs proper, a many garbs Or.
The golden wheat sheaths were a figure of the arms of some of the early, non-royal, Earls of Chester.
The royal Dukes of Cornwall are also Earls of Chester. Choughs were not, so I understand, to be found in Cheshire.
Would the use of these symbols indicate service with, or descent from the Earls?
The Visitation pedigree starts jwith Thomas Wickstead, a younger son of Whickstead of Whickstead a the time of Henry VIII.
Are there any other sources useful for finding out about the grants or arms, or general heraldry, of Cheshire families.

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Offline Kiltpin

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Re: Arms of Wickstead of Nantwich, Cheshire
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 03 June 17 15:53 BST (UK) »
I am trying to find out more about the Wickstead family of Wickstead, Nantwich, Wrenbury, Whitchurch and Shrewsbury.
The Herald's Visitation of Cheshire acknowledges the following arms;
Argent, on a bend azure, between three Cornish choughs proper, a many garbs Or.
The golden wheat sheaths were a figure of the arms of some of the early, non-royal, Earls of Chester.
The royal Dukes of Cornwall are also Earls of Chester. Choughs were not, so I understand, to be found in Cheshire.
Would the use of these symbols indicate service with, or descent from the Earls?
The Visitation pedigree starts jwith Thomas Wickstead, a younger son of Whickstead of Whickstead a the time of Henry VIII.
Are there any other sources useful for finding out about the grants or arms, or general heraldry, of Cheshire families.

Hello Andrew,

The simple answer to your question is, I think, no.

Today we have many thousands of varied and different charges (the things that appear on the shield). New ones are being invented everyday. As you go further back in time there are fewer and fewer, till a time when there were quite a small pool of charges to draw upon.

There ave always been certain charges reserved for certain people (usually royalty). What was left had to be used by everybody else. Heralds were very loathe to invent new ones and kept recycling the same ones in varying configurations. It was not till the late Victorian times, when the plethora of new inventions forced their use as charges.

Garbs were used by many families up and down the country. As for Cornish choughs, others might call them blackbirds, or crows, or even ravens! It was all a matter of time and place. A Londoner would not know what a chough looked like, but was very familiar with ravens.

They were not great artists in those days and a badly drawn cough could easily turn into a black hen by a man who had not seen one.

I would recommend this site, run by a friend of mine, Martin Goldstraw.

  http://cheshire-heraldry.org.uk/

Regards

Chas
Whannell - Eaton - Jackson
India - Scotland - Australia

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Online KGarrad

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Re: Arms of Wickstead of Nantwich, Cheshire
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 03 June 17 15:58 BST (UK) »
Quoting from Parker's Heraldry:

Cornish Chough.

Cornish Chough: a bird of the crow kind, very common in Cornwall. It is bluish black, with red or orange-coloured beak and legs. This bearing was confined to Cornish families until Barker, who was Garter King of Arms, temp. HEN. VIII. granted it indiscriminately to any applicants for arms, and amongst others to Cardinal WOLSEY, who was borne in Suffolk; and so now borne by CHRIST CHURCH College, Oxford.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Andrew RM Hayes

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Re: Arms of Wickstead of Nantwich, Cheshire
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 04 June 17 11:52 BST (UK) »
Thank you for your replies.
Please excuse my general ignorance of heraldic customs.
This is the first armigerous family I've come across whilst tracing my English ancestry, most of which is rooted in the West Country, so Cheshire is rather terra incognita to me.
The birds in question are definitely choughs. Another user of this site sent me a photo of a late 18th century painting of the Wickstead arms on the side of their pew in Wrenbury church. This clearly shows the red legs and beaks that are the distinguishing features of the species.
If, as you say, they were only granted to non-Cornish families in the reign of Henry VIII this might indicate a date for the original grant.
I don't know whether the arms of the Nantwich Wicksteads were the same as those of the Wicksteads of Wickstead, as I have failed to find out much about the senior line. Although one of them was a "gentleman usher and quarter waiter" to James I. In any case they seem to have been proud of their achievement as there are references in later 17th century Nantwich will inventories  to paintings of them in their houses. In Fairbairn's Crests the Whitchurch Wicksteads are allocated the same crest as those of Nantwich, namely two snakes twinning around a garb. So I had assumed that they might be related.
regards
Andrew

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Re: Arms of Wickstead of Nantwich, Cheshire
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 04 June 17 12:19 BST (UK) »
(Almost) completely off-topic:

Choughs are also to be found on the Isle of Man! ;D
(And I've seen some with my own eyes!)
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)