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This Waller family is an armorial family. This means that at least one ancestral member of the family was awarded a coat of arms. The College of Heraldry supervises the recording and use of arms. A coat of arms may be possessed by a governmental entity, a business or an individual. Although not true everywhere, coats of arms awarded in England may be inherited by a legitimate male son of the arms bearer (or "armiger"). If an armiger has no sons, a daughter may pass on her arms to an armigerous husband who may incorporate her arms into his own (and his heirs). She would then be called an "armorial heiress". The incorporation of inherited arms from two sources is called "quartering", where the shield is divided into four (or more if needed) parts with the paternal arms in the upper right and lower left. In order to prove the right to bear inherited arms one must be able to prove that one’s ancestors passed down their arms through successive generations from male ancestor to male. In this tradition, women until marriage may display their father’s arms on a rhomboidal shield called a "lozenge". Under certain circumstances, a widow may bear arms or a woman may unusually be granted arms of her own [1] Systems vary in different countries; in the United States, there is no authority regulating coats of arms and people may do as they please, even creating their own arms any way they desire. Our family has followed the English system, as that is the source of our inherited coat of arms.

   Fig. 2. Coat of arms of Sir John de Warren.

The coat The of arms used by our family (Fig. 1) is derived from the arms of the eighth Earl of Warenne who was the ancestor of a branch of the Warren family that resided in Poynton, Cheshire. There is uncertainty regarding the genealogy of our family, but documents describing descent from an alleged Warren ancestor were given to a herald (the Clarencieux King of Arms) during a tour of their county. The surname in use at that time was "Warren alias Waller". Although an alias in a surname was relatively common at that time, the facts regarding its source are uncertain. No good evidence to support the connection survives. Although history may be clouded as to the origin of our “Warren alias Waller” family, nevertheless the arms are legitimate (see "Origins of our family"). The coat of arms is based on the Warenne arms with an alteration, perhaps to represent illegitimacy. Sir John de Warren (whose arms are shown in Fig. 2), son of a liaison with Maud de Nerford, placed a "canton" in the upper right, derived from his mother’s family arms, and theremainder of the shield being that of the Earl of Warenne [2]. Originally, the Nerford lion was ermine; for the Poyntons, silver; it has evolved into a gold lion for us.

   Fig. 3. Coat of arms of Sir  Robert    Waller

The coat of arms that we show today was awarded to Sir Robert Waller when he was created a Baronet of Ireland in 1780. The heraldic description of a coat of arms is called a "blazon". The blazon as described in Burke’s Armory and Fox-Davies’ Armorial Families is as follows: chequy and/or azure, on a canton gules, a lion rampant double-queued of the first (a two-tailed lion in "rampant" posture on a red field in the upper right corner on a shield of blue and gold checkerboard). Mantling—azure and/or (blue on one side, gold on the reverse; typically the mantling reflects the shield colors). Crest—Out of a ducal coronet, a plume of five ostrich feathers alternately argent and azure, in front, an eagle’s claw gules (five ostrich feathers alternately silver and blue with a red eagle’s claw in front). The helmet was presented facing front with visor open for the baronet; in this form, it is used by the present 10th Baronet of Newport. Untitled gentlemen, such as the distinguished authors, properly position a steel helmet facing to the side with visor down. No armorial family should be without a motto; ours is "Honor et Veritas", honor and truth. The figure shown (Fig. 3) is the representation of the arms for the baronet from Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage. The eagle’s claw was rendered as surmounting the crest, which we believe is incorrect (we have represented our arms according to the blazon). The red hand on the shield is a badge of the baronet.

  Fig. 4.   Label


It would be correct for a son to difference his arms from his father when both have arms; an appropriate mark (such as used by royalty) would be athree-pointed "label" (Figs. 4, 5) placed on the shield across the upper third. A label was the first mark to be used in Britain to differentiate arms within a family but at present, commoners rarely use one [3]. A more usual mark of cadency to differentiate arms within a family or between related families could be a border placed around the edge of the escutcheon called a "bordure". Although it can today be a part of the blazon, at one time a bordure was always used to difference arms. Then when the younger generation armiger comes into his full inheritance the bordure (or whatever mark is used) would be dropped.

While a label is generally intended to indicate the heir (the eldest son), the other marks are (Fig. 6), according to birth order, a crescent, a "mullet" (star), a martlet (bird), an annulet, a fleur-de-lis, a rose, a "cross moline", and a "double quatrefoil" (a flower) for the ninth son. When a bordure is used to difference arms, a mark of cadency can be placed in the top center area called the "center chief". Furthermore, it may be appropriate [4] to difference arms between the cadet branches of the family (meaning, not the most important part of the family) from the head of the family. (Presumably, the baronet is the head of the family, although he would continue to use the badge. The Prior Park branch of the family has multiple quarterings to set them apart).

  Fig. 5, A label appearing in the arms   of Edmund Crouchback.


   Fig. 7. .Bordure.

An interesting example of the use of the bordure occurred in the first recorded instance of the use of arms in our family, still used today by the branches of the family that do not descend from the baronet, Sir Robert Waller. The original registration of arms indicated in the blazon a sable (black) bordure, "engrailed" (with a scalloped edge, Fig. 7). From the 1572 Visitation, “Chequy Or and Azure, a fleur-delis Argent within a bordure engrailed Sable, on a canton Gules, a lion rampant double-queued of the third.” [5] Note that the tail of the lion is doubled approximately two-thirds down the length of the tail whereas in the later arms it was at the origin ("double-queued of the first"). It is likely that the original reason for the use of the bordure may have been to show the "cadet" relationship with the Warrens of Poynton. Furthermore, a fleur-de-lis is also used as an indicator of relationship, such as being a son (typically the sixth son), and the fleur-de-lis charge within the bordure suggests a mark of cadency. Regarding a bordure, Fox-Davies states:

"It never had any more definite status or meaning than a sign that the bearer was not the head of the house, though one cannot but think that in many cases in which it occurs its significance is a doubt as to legitimate descent, or a doubt of the probability of an asserted descent. In modern English practice the bordure as a difference for cadets only continues to be used by those whose ancestors bore it in ancient times". [6]


 Fig. 1. Our coat of arms.


Fig. 8. Coat of arms of the Wallers of Prior Park.    













Possibly the Warren alias Waller family asserted a descent from a sixth in birth order (perhaps previously unknown) Warren of Poynton. We may infer by the bordure that the herald may have had some doubts as to the certainty of the Warren descent. Nevertheless, the arms were confirmed. Fox-Davies concludes, "Attention needs to be pointedly drawn to the fact that all changes in arms are not due to cadency, nor is it safe always to presume cadency from proved instances of change". And we will probably never know—without genetic testing—if the descent from the Warrens is true.

The Prior Park family has slightly different crest with the eagle’s claw represented inverted (Fig. 8), correct according to Fox-Davies’ Armorial Families of 1937, from which this is copied. The shield of the Wallers of Prior Park reflects distinguished families whose arms were inherited through armorial heiresses. From the Rowan family were inherited the arms of Rowan, Stewart and Redmond; also quartered are the arms of O’Neill. Numerous armorial families married into the authors' ancestral line but our searches revealed no heraldic heiresses.



[1] Arms were originally intended for tournaments or battle and women were not participants.
[2] A. C. Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, 1978 Ed., Bonanza Books, p. 521.
[3] This discussion is intended to illustrate what was once a practice in English heraldry. It is not a common practice to difference arms between family members today, probably because the arms are used more to show relationship rather than distinction as on a medieval tournament field. The exception is for Scots, whose heralds employ a complicated system of differencing among brothers of different birth order as well as different generations, using bordures as well as changing charges and tinctures. For a complete discussion of this system, see Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, pp. 350-352.
[4] Fox-Davies considers it “good taste". A. C. Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, 1978 Ed., Bonanza Books, p.490.
[5] See footnote in the section "Origins of Our Family".
[6] A. C. Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry, p. 481.

Last updated: May 11, 2009

Prologue       Overview        Origens of Our Family         Wallers in Ireland         Emigration         Waller-Brazier            
   Noble Ancestry        
 Royal Ancestry     Heraldry         Jocelyn Ancestry      Prior Park        Wallers of Prior Park      Namelist