The quirks of Livery Company Coats of Arms
|The 'supporters' as assumed and employed until June 2020 - although since they do not touch the shield they are offering no support!|
|The Arms as lawfully granted|
|Royal lions 'running away' from battle - hardly a noble image!|
Lest the Fletchers and Tobacco Pipe Makers think they are trend setters among the older companies where granting of supporters is concerned, the Fan Makers' Company preceded them both when it petitioned for a grant of supporters in 2015 when a Griffin holding a jet engine fan was added as the dexter supporter, and a Dragon holding a mechanical (or induction) fan as the sinister supporter. These additions illustrate the Company's connection with the modern air movement industries. The Griffin and the Dragon are also appropriate City symbols and it is no surprise that the Company won the Heraldry Society's Corporate Heraldry Award in 2019.
|The Fan Makers' Arms with the supporters granted in 2015|
Another unusual aspect of livery company heraldry that warrants exploration is the usage of peers helms, ie. those sporting a closed grille. The most prevalent example of corporate heraldry using a peers helm is in the armorial bearings of the City of London, where the presence of the helm is taken to indicate the Lord Mayor's status as ranking with and among the Earls while in office. It should be noted that this status pertains to the office and not to the occupant although he or she may also be a peer of the realm in their own right as was Lord Mountevans in 2016.
|Arms of the City of London displaying a peer's helm, but should the underside of the mantling be Ermine?|
Four livery companies also display a peers helm; the Fishmongers; Goldsmiths; Apothecaries Society and the Clockmakers. To these I would add the arms of the Armourers and Brasiers' Company which has, in the past, shows an unusual closed helm also with a grille - although the most recent grant of 1970 shows a conventional esquires helm.
|The Arms of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers|
The penultimate of the oddities I will explore in this blog is the story of the Cooks' Company's arms. Only the Worshipful Company of Cooks could think that having too many cooks is a good idea, and hence they elect two Masters: The first Master and the second Master. Various stories exist as to why this situation arose, my favourite is that the King and the Lord Mayor both commanded the Master Cook to attend upon them for different banquets on the same day; the expedient solution to this conundrum was to elect a second Master and the custom stuck.
|The official history of the Worshipful Company of Cooks depicts the erroneous arms!|
Want to learn more about the Livery Companies?
The City of London Freeman's Guide is the definitive concise guide to the City of London and its ancient and modern Livery Companies, their customs, traditions, officers, events and landmarks. Available in full colour hardback and eBook formats and now in its fourth or Masterpiece edition. The guide is available online from Apple (as an eBook), Amazon (in hardback or eBook) Payhip (in ePub format) or Etsy (in hardback or hardback with the author's seal attached). Also available from all major City of London tourist outlets and bookstores.