Sunday, November 5, 2017


The 2017 College of Arms fee schedule for a coat of arms and crest is shown below. 

"Impersonal" arms would be for a city or town or church. The arms without crest would be the shield.

 The crest is above the shield and typically adorns a helmet. In the North Warwickshire Borough Council coat of arms the crest is a lion rampant holding a cross fleury.

A "badge" is an armiger's equivalent to a logo. It would appear on clothing worn by staff, for example. It is interesting that the badge is priced only for commercial companies. 

Any graduate of a good college with no identifiable character blemishes and a connection to England or Wales (as would be the case for any graduate of an English University) can petition to the Queen for a coat of arms. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

CLERIHEWS | Oxonians, November 2017


The Elder William Pitt,
Dreamt of an empire fully Brit.
The French he thought he'd chased away...
Egad, sailed back, helped the USA.

C. S. Lewis loved romance,
Though soulmate Tolkien looked askance.
Both chased inklings of spirits at home.
But Jack chose Joy instead of Rome.

James Oglethorpe, sure,
Planned for Georgia to help the poor –
No rum, no slaves, no large estates
And an Anglican wait for the Pearly Gates.

Frederick Lord North
Sent tax collectors forth.
Boston rebels made them swim.
How could he have been so dim?

Edmund Clerihew Bentley,
Ever so gently,
Did what he had to do,
And invented the clerihew.

All Clerihews above by JT Marlin.
See also:
Oxford birthdays . Clerihews for Writers4Kids

BIRTHDAYS | Oxonians, November 2017

Oxford Black Alumni Group Formed (2017)

09 | Noel Godfrey Chavasse (Trinity) 1884
09 | Francis Chavasse (Trinity and St. Peter's) 1884
15 William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham* (Trinity) 1708
21 | Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, "Q" (Trinity) 1863
29 | C. S. Lewis* (Univ.) 1898
18 | Charles Wesley (Ch.Ch.) 1707
22 | James Oglethorpe* (Corpus), 1st Gov. of Georgia 1696
03 | J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE (Exeter) 1892
27 Charles Dodgson, "Lewis Carroll" (Ch.Ch.) 1832
13 | Anna Watkins (rower for Cambridge against Oxford), 1983
21 John Henry Cardinal Newman (Trinity) 1801
21 | W. H. Auden
1 | John Tepper Marlin (Trinity) 1942 😏
13 | Frederick Lord North* (Trinity) 1732
10 | James Viscount Bryce (Trinity) 1838
20 | Melvin "Dinghy" Young (Trinity), DFC & Bar 1915
29 Sir Basil "Gaffer" Blackwell (Merton) 1889
04 Dan Topolski (New) 1945
05 | James Smithson (Pembroke) 1765
16 | Adam Smith (Balliol) 1723
17 | John Wesley (Ch.Ch.) 1703
10 | E. Clerihew Bentley (Merton) 1875
28 | Senator Bill Bradley (Worcester) 1943
08 | Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (Trinity) 1605
10 | George Goodman, "Adam Smith" (BNC) 1930
11 | Lawrence Binyon (Trinity)
16 | T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) (Jesus) 1888
19 | President Bill Clinton (Univ.)
07 | Peter Darrow (Trinity) 1950
23 | Denis Woodfield (Lincoln) 1933

BIRTH | May 20 – Melvin ("Dinghy") Young (Trinity), DFC & Bar

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

LORD DUNMORE | Oct. 24 – Attacks Norfolk, Stirs Up Fear

John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore
Knew what he was fighting for.
His threats made Patriots incensed.
(He knew less what he fought against.)
Clerihew by JT Marlin. Portrait attributed by
Google to Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792).
October 24, 2017 – This day in 1775, Virginia's last royal governor, John Murray (4th Earl of Dunmore), ordered six British Navy ships to sail up the James River, attack Patriot troops and destroy the town of Norfolk, Virginia.

This and related actions during his short term as Governor  contributed to the momentum of the American Revolution.

He helped create in Virginia a climate of fear of British rule, encouraged by Virginia Whigs (Patriots). This made them responsive to rebellions in New England.

Lord Dunmore was born in 1732, son of William Murray, the third Earl. He succeeded his father to the earldom in 1756 and took his place in the House of Lords in 1761-1774 and 1776-1790

As a reward for involvement in British politics, he was named British Governor of the Province of New York from 1770 to 1771. When the Governor of Virginia died, Dunmore was named to replace him. During 1774-1776, he became the last Royal Governor of Virginia.  He made a mighty contribution to the American rebel cause, although that might not have been so clear at the time.

Dunmore began his governorship well, from the perspective of both Virginians and the British Government. He successfully launched an attack on threatening Shawnee Indians. However, he was concerned about the independence of the Virginia militias and on April 20, 1775 he removed gunpowder from the colonial Virginia capital of Williamsburg, taking the powder to British ships anchored offshore. He also brought his family from the governor's Palace to the ships. 

Local Whig (Patriot) citizens were concerned that removing the gunpowder was not merely an attempt to reserve power to the King George, but removing their ability to respond to violence from their slaves, whom Dunmore saw as a possible ally.

Dunmore's reaction to this Whig criticism was to announce that any attack on the Governor's troops would force him to pursue the option of freeing his own slaves and arming them to fight against the rebels.

The Virginia planters, collectively owning about 180,000 slaves, were shocked. They began sympathizing with the New England Yankees, who had been calling for revolt. 

By June, Lord Dunmore retreated to the HMS Fowey, a British warship in the James River. (His family returned to Scotland.) He began to assemble a small fleet to strike back at the rebels and advertised that runaways that were able to make their way to his fleet would be welcomed. 

Those were fighting words. The rebels – the Whigs now increasingly joined by Tories – responded by increasing slave patrols and threatening extreme punishment for slaves that tried to escape to the HMS Fowey. Slaves that were caught were given lashes and worse.

As ordered, Captain Matthew Squire led the six British ships into Hampton Creek and began bombarding Norfolk with artillery and cannon fire, while a second contingent of British troops sailed ashore to begin engaging the Patriots.

The British Navy expected the Patriots and local militia to come charging out and engaging in open combat. They were surprised that the Patriots knew a thing or two about "secret war" – i.e., guerrilla warfare – from George Washington's tutelage years before under General Braddock in the French and Indian War. Lord Dunmore should also have known better because the Murray and Douglas families in Scotland perfected secret warfare against Edwards I-III.

The British came under fire from expert Patriot riflemen, and Virginia’s local militia leader, Colonel William Woodford, marched an additional 100 members to defend Norfolk. With reinforcements in place, the Patriots pushed the British back to their ships, where riflemen again picked off British troops on their decks. 

Seeing defeat ahead at the hands of the local militia, Captain Squire ordered a full retreat, during which two of the six British ships ran aground and were captured. The Patriots did not suffer a single fatality.

Dunmore's response was to declare martial law on November 14, 1775. He issued a proclamation that freed
all indented Servants, Negroes, or others … that are able and willing to bear Arms.
He made no distinction between Patriot or Loyalist property. George Washington, commander of Patriot forces, was deeply worried. He said that Dunmore must be crushed, or slave defections would become like a rolling "snow ball." (Washington to Reed, December 15, 1775, The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, Vol. 2, 553.)

Dunmore returned home to Scotland in 1776. The position of Royal Governor of Virginia was never filled again.

Other Posts on Related Topics: Lord Dunmore's Battles.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

OXONIANS DRAW U.S. BORDER | Oct. 18 – Mason-Dixon Line Set

Oct. 18, 2017 – This day 250 years ago, in 1767, the interstate border was settled that a century later became the key boundary of the American Civil War – the Mason-Dixon line.

The line was named after two British surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

They were hired by two prominent families on either side of the border, both were originally headed by Oxford alumni: 
The Calvert and Penn families, to settle a dispute over the border between them, hired English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

The essential element of their survey, which had been interrupted by skirmishes with Indians, was completed on this day.

It established the boundary not only between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland but for territories in the west that after the Revolution became the state of West Virginia and those in the east that became Delaware. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s coat of arms on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Why did this become the dividing line in the War Between the States? Because it was the North-South dividing line, between the slave states in the south and the free states in the north.

It is no puzzle why the South favored slavery–the earliest immigrants to the southern colonies like Virginia were loyalists to the British Crown and the Church of England and they were given generous grants of land that required huge numbers of workers. The cash crops such as tobacco and cotton that became the mainstay of the southern farms required workers to do strenuous repetitive tasks, and slavery provided a solution.

It is also no puzzle why New England did not favor slavery. They did not get large grants of land from the Crown because the earliest immigrants to New England were dissenting rebels from the Church of England. Most therefore became small farmers, traders or manufacturers.

Maryland and Pennsylvania were in-between colonies and states. Unlike most other southern states (Georgia's Wilberforce was another exception), Maryland was not founded by someone with allegiance to the Church of England. Even though Pennsylvania was not founded by a dissenting Quaker, its founder Penn had enough good will from the Crown to get some land to form a proprietary colony:
  • In Maryland, the Crown carved a large piece of land out of northern Virginia to give to the Catholic Calverts. The Catholicism of the day was not aggressively opposed to slavery.
  • In Pennsylvania (as it was to be called), lands were granted to Quaker William Penn because he had won favor with the Crown, even though leaders of his religion included many abolitionists who fought actively against slavery. It was easier in Pennsylvania than it was in Maryland to be opposed to slavery because of coal and iron reserves provided higher-paying jobs that did not have to rely on slavery to generate a competitive product.
To settle their border dispute, the land-rich Calvert and Penn families hired Messrs. Mason and Dixon to establish the borderline. The families were responding to a 1760 demand from the British Crown that colonial settlers cease their skirmishes and adhere to a 1732 border cease-fire. 

Both families claimed the land between the 39th and 40th parallels. Mason and Dixon established the border at 39º43'. If they believed that the rights on the two sides were equally balanced, they would have settled in the middle, at 39º30'. This suggests that Pennsylvania was the victor from the survey, getting 72 percent (43/60) of the disputed land area.

During the year 1767, the colonies were engaged in a dispute with the Parliament over the Townshend Acts, which sought–through taxes on tea and other imports–to pay for the British costs of troops sent by Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder (like the Calverts, an alumnus of Trinity College, Oxford) of establishing the continuing military presence that had driven the French and the Indians allied with them from the colonies.

However, the border dispute seemingly settled in 1767 was not over. The Mason-Dixon line held as a dividing line, but after the American Revolution, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line began lobbying the new U.S. Congress for the legal rights of slaveowners. The northern states argued that ownership of human beings was not acceptable in the "New Constellation" of states.

Although the arguments were temporarily ended by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the Mason-Dixon line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free, the attempted compromise–and its successors–failed and Pennsylvania became the site of many famous Civil War battles. The Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battle in 1863 was on the Mason-Dixon Line. It was  one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War, made immortal by President Lincoln's speech at the site . The Quaker commitment to abolitionism trumped their commitment to peace.

In April 1865, the south capitulated. The ensuing 13th Amendment (1865) was immediately passed abolishing slavery and nullifying the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision (1857). The bitterly fought 14th Amendment gave citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. It was ratified 101 years after the Mason-Dixon line was established. However, civil rights did not mean voting rights. It took many more debates and political battles, some more amendments, and another 100 years, for the United States to pass laws to ensure that all adult citizens be allowed to vote...