Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-01 > 1043607491

From: "Richard Smyth at UNC-CH" <>
Subject: Re: Amie de Gaveston Rebuttal
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 14:00:12 -0500
References: <> <>


I gather that you have satisfied yourself that there are no instances in
either Gascony or England in that time frame in which a son adopted the arms
of his mother's family. Do you happen to know when the first examples of
that are to be found? Also, I believe there are examples in English
heraldry in which a son borrowed elements, tincture, for example, from the
arms of his mother's family. (This is different from impaling or escutcheons
of pretence.) Are there no examples of this so early either?

Although Hamilton does not explicitly say that the de Marsans were a more
important family than the Gavestons, he does imply this when he writes:
"[Arnauld's] marriage to Claramonde had made Gabaston a substantial
landholder in various parts of Gascony, as she had shared the inheritance of
the estates of her father, . . ."[p. 22] Since we do not know for a fact
that there was a second Piers de Gaveston, it follows that we do not know
who his wife might have been. But one is still free to wonder what the
feudal implications of a marriage might have been, particularly if the wife
were the sole heir. (Claramonde was not the sole heir.)

> The arms of Piers Gaveston being so totally different from the arms of
> the effigy initially implies that Piers Gaveston was not related to the
> man in the effigy. The question is, why would the son of an armigerous
> father, adopt totally different arms? Surely, this would only be done if
> a) the son was not the son of the accepted father or b) the son was in
> some way distancing himself from his father and wanted to establish
> himself as armigerous in his own right.

If one were defending your second explanation, one could construct an
argument that made use of the first sentence in Hamilton's book: "Walter of
Guisborough refers to Gaveston as having been "raised up as if from
nothing," and so it must have seemed to contemporary observers." This
suggests to me that very little prestige was associated with the arms of the
Gaveston family.

On the other hand, were someone to discover that the arms of Piers, the
earl of Cornwall, had previously been displayed in Gascony or thereabouts, I
should think that would take the inquiry in a wholly new direction.


Richard Smyth

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