Colchester, Essex, 1634

ARMS - Argent on a pale Sable three roses Argent barbed and seeded proper

CREST - On a wreath a demi griffin erased wings addorsed and inverted Argent beaked and gorged with a collar Sable charged with three roses Argent

[The above description is from The College of Arms, London]

Copyright Dave Tylcoat 1996-2010


Arms by Dave Tylcoat

Talcott Arms

Interpretation by Dave Tylcoat Dave Tylcoat 1996.

Arms by Daniel de Bruin

This interpretation by Daniel de Bruin, Heraldic Artist. Daniel de Bruin 1999. Used with permission.
Daniel de Bruin, Middenwetering 95, 2922 EG Krimpen a/d IJssel, Nederland.



Some notes concerning the Heraldry


The following are some extracts taken from my notes to John 404. These will give you some idea of why the arms are represented as above - and not "Per pale az. and or, on a chief gu. three roses ar."
- as some Americans believe.


Firstly some brief notes on John:

Name: John TAYLCOTT - 404
Birth Date: About 1535
Birth Place: Colchester, Essex / Nuneaton, Warks?
Death Date: 1 Nov 1606
Death Place: Colchester
Burial Place: St Peters Colchester
Occupation: Pewterer
Father: John TYLLCOTT - 399 (1500-)
Mother: Marie / Eliz Wife Of John 399 TYLLCOTT - 403 (1500-)
Spouse: Alice WELLS - 406
Marriage Date: About 1561
Marriage Place: Colchester?
Children: John - 408, Robert - 409, Anne - 410
Spouse: Marie PULLEN - 412
Marriage Date: About 1569
Marriage Place: Colchester
Children: Elizabeth - 411, Thomas - 413, William - 414, Marie - 415,
William - 416, John - 420, Grace - 417, Joanna - 418, Eme - 419, Benjamin - 421


Notes relating to Arms:

[John 404] Shown on a pedigree of the Talcott family in the 1634 Visitation of Essex. This is on p497 of the Visitation and is from the Harleian Society edition based on a copy of the Visitation in the Harleian Manuscripts held at the British Library. Also shown on the official version at The College of Arms, London. Source - Patrick L. Dickinson, Richmond Herald, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BT, 25 March 1996. Note - In the College of Arms version the name is spelt TALCOT throughout but is signed Tho: TALCOTT.
"John Talcott of Colchester - 1st wife ...... d. of .......... Wells - 2nd wife Mary d. of Pullen"

[John 404] Shown on a pedigree of the Talcott family in the 1664 Visitation of Essex. This is on p90 of J.J.Howard's 1888 edition of the visitation. Source - Patrick L. Dickinson, Richmond Herald, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BT, 25 March 1996. This pedigree is signed T. TALCOTT.
"John Talcott of ......... in com. Warwick."
[in com. = in comitatus = in the county (of)]

Essex RO T/Z 135/5 :-
Two pictures of a shield with three roses on. The left hand picture shows a white shield with a black stripe down the centre on which are three roses. Someone has hand coloured the centre of the top rose yellow and its petal covers (sepals) green. The rose has been left white. The right hand picture has 'Sable' written on the vertical stripe, 'Argent' written on the background of the shield & an arrow pointing to the centre of one of the roses showing 'Argent'. Above this shield is hand written :-
"Talcott (Colchester) :- Argent, on a pale sable 3 roses of the field (Argent) (GA)? (see also Adler)". - GA may mean General Armory - see below, DJT.

Fairbairns Crests of the Families of Great Britain & Ireland, James Fairbairn, ISBN 1-85079-155-4, p464 :-
TALCOTT, a demi-griffin, rampant, sa., (gorged with a collar, ar., thereon three pellets.) Pl. 18, cr. 6.
TALCOTT, Ess., a demi-griffin, erased, ar., (gorged with a collar, sa., charged with three roses, of the first.) Pl. 18, cr. 6.
Plate 18, cr 6 shows a griffin.

The General Armory, Burke, 1884, p996 :-
TALCOT. Per pale az. and or, on a chief gu. three roses ar.
TALCOTT (Colchester, co. Essex). Ar. on a pale sa. three roses of the field. Crest - A demi griffin erased ar. gorged with a collar sa. charged with three roses of the first.

Both have two entries, slightly different, & one saying Essex, maybe another branch of the family had received Arms at some time? DJT.

ARMS & CREST. Descriptions given :-

1634 Visitation, Harleian Manuscript (as above),
ARMS.- Argent, on a pale sable three roses of the field. [TALCOTT.]
CREST.- A demi-griffin sable, wings endorsed, collared argent. [TALCOTT.]

1664 Visitation, J.J.Howard (as above),
ARMS.- Argent, on a pale sable three roses of the first, a crescent on a crescent for difference.
CREST.- A demi-griffin erased wings endorsed or, gorged with a collar sable charged with three roses of the first.

1634 College of Arms, [P.L.Dickinson 1996 (as below)],
ARMS. Argent on a pale Sable three roses Argent barbed and seeded proper.
CREST. On a wreath A demi griffin erased wings addorsed and inverted Argent beaked and gorged with a collar Sable charged with three roses Argent.

Lloyds Encyclopaedic Dictionary (London, 1895), Griffin. "It is employed as an emblem of vigilance, the animals being supposed to be the guardians of mines and hidden treasures."


Letter received from Patrick L. Dickinson, Richmond Herald, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BT dated 25th March 1996 :-

Dear Mr. Tylcoat,

At long last I can let you have my report on the search carried out in the College's records.

The earliest reference I can find to a Talcott family in our records dates from 1634 when a pedigree and a coat of arms were recorded for a family of the name in the Heralds' Visitation of Essex. I enclose a photostat of the relevant page from the Harleian Society's edition of this Visitation. The printed edition is based on the copy of the Visitation in the Harleian Manuscripts (which are held at the British Library) and varies slightly from the official manuscript held here.

In the official version, the surname is spelt Talcot throughout the pedigree, though the signature beneath reads clearly Tho: Talcott. This is of little consequence; as you doubtless know, there was no fixed spelling of names in those days, and one therefore expects to find minor variations of this kind. Apart from that, the only notable differences are that the Robert described as an Alderman of Colchester on the printed pedigree is also shown as a Justice of the Peace in the College manuscript and his wife's name is given as Drane rather than Crane.

The sketch of the coat of arms that accompanies the pedigree is in black and white with the colours 'tricked' (i.e. indicated by letters). It contains slightly more detail than the printed blazon suggests. It may be described as follows:

ARMS Argent on a pale Sable three roses Argent barbed and seeded proper.

CREST On a wreath a demi griffin erased wings addorsed and inverted Argent beaked and gorged with a collar Sable charged with three roses Argent.

The words barbed and seeded proper denote that the roses have gold (or yellow) centres and green sepals.

A note beneath the sketch indicates that the coat of arms was the subject of an exemplification by Sir Richard St. George, Clarenceux King of Arms. We have no other record of this exemplification. Sir Richard held the office of Clarenceux from 1623 until his death in 1635 and was the King of Arms responsible for the 1634 Visitation of Essex. It is quite possible that he granted or confirmed the coat of arms during the course of the Visitation. There is no entry of the family in any of the earlier visitations.

The family was also recorded at the 1664-68 Visitation of Essex. I enclose a photostat of the relevant page from J.J.Howard's 1888 edition of this visitation, which accurately reproduces the pedigree and signature given in the official version. There are two tricked sketches of the coat of arms - one in the body of the Visitation, and one in the accompanying volume of sketches. In both of these, the shield conforms with the printed blazon. The crest, however, is sketched as follows in the Visitation, with some variations in the accompanying volume [indicated in square brackets]:

On a wreath A demi griffin erased wings elevated and addorsed Or [Argent] gorged with a collar Sable charged with three roses Argent, a crescent [charged with another crescent] for difference.

I think that the tricking of the demi griffin as Or (rather than Argent) was probably a mistake and that the sketch in the accompanying volume should be regarded as the correct version.

The griffin's wings were shown with the wing-tips downwards in 1634 and upwards in 1664, but this variation is of no great significance. I see that Fairbairn's Book of Crests lists a version of the crest that consists of a demi griffin Sable gorged with a collar Argent thereon three pellets [pellets being black circles]. It is reasonable to suppose that this is a corrupt or mistaken version of the officially registered crest.

I should perhaps explain that a crescent is the cadency mark of a second son and is sometimes used to indicate descent from a second son. A crescent charged with another crescent denotes a second son - or a descent from a second son - who was himself descended from a second son. Thomas Talcott of Colchester, who signed the 1664 pedigree, does not appear to have been a second son, though his father, the Alderman of Colchester, seems to have been. The use of a double crescent may therefore indicate a belief that John Talcott of Colchester was himself a second son or else descended from one.

I cannot trace any registration of the other coat of arms attributed to a Talcot family in Burke's The General Armory (1886). However, in J.W.Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials (1874), this attribution is given the reference V* which is used to indicate "Coats, incorrectly given in the printed Glover's Ordinary, which have been copied into books of reference and probably used as actual coats." The attribution is therefore quite likely to be false.

As indicated above, our records do not contain a coloured version of the coat of arms. In any case, we are not allowed to make photostats of our official manuscripts; they are in bound volumes, and the binding could be damaged if they were placed on photostat machines. However, the colours can be described quite easily. On the shield, the background of the shield is white, the vertical band is black and the roses are white (with gold centres and green sepals in at least one version). In the crest, the demi griffin is white with a black collar and has white roses on the collar.

I hope that some of the above is of interest to you. I shall of course be happy to answer any queries you may have about this report.

Yours sincerely

P.L. Dickinson.

DJT Notes: Both Fairbairn's & Burke's describe two different arms. The College only appears to have the one family. Sebastian Visscher Talcott in his 1876 book says that arms were found in the Heralds Visitation of Essex of 1558 - "in Vol. 1137, page 148, of the Harleian Manuscripts, preserved in the British Museum". Rev Thomas Tylecote contacted the College of Arms in 1882 and was evidently told the same (only 1634 & 1664 available). It would be useful to find the reference in the Harleian Manuscripts. I believe Mr Dickinson has thoroughly searched the College records as he says, however, what if the Harleian records of the 1558 Visitation are correct? Are the College records incomplete?

John Phythian Tylecote & I are definitely of the opinion that there were earlier arms. John Talcott (#404) of Colchester's father, we believe, was John Talcot (#398) - among whose notes is the following :- Red Book - A00TY/--, Land Owner [holder] at Chilvers Coton in 1492/3. See AppV1 p3. (Newdigate documents at Warwick RO, Court Rolls of the Prior of the Hospitaller Manor of St John at Chilvers Coton). Information from a variety of sources suggest that the family was quite well off at that time, owning (probably - they were able to pass it on by wills) a lot of land, and animals. The branch that went to Essex seems to have done very well out of the pewter / wool industries, while the branch moving to Leicestershire continued to farm, some of them becoming small businessmen - all in the 15/1600's.

The arms that the College cannot find (see Burke's) are different from the ones they have - and also different from the copy in Essex RO (which is the same as those of the College). The 'missing' ones are those that a copy of which was sent to me by Rebecca M. Talcott. [This is a poor quality black and white photocopy which somebody has written colours on]. These are filed in the Sanson Institute of Heraldry, Boston, USA and show the three roses in a row at the top of the shield, on a red background. The lower two thirds of the shield is divided down the middle and (as you look at it) the left half is blue & the right half yellow. It says, next to the picture, "TALCOTT Reference Source: Burke's General Armory ARMS: Per pale azure and or, on a chief gules three roses argent." [This is the one the College cannot find]

Sebastian Visscher Talcott has drawn the (1558) arms as the College records show - with the roses on a black band down the centre of the shield.

Again, I can't help thinking that there was an earlier version (or versions) - perhaps even before 1558, and the one the College has is a slightly different version than an earlier one - the difference having been made to distinguish different branches of the same family? Without more evidence we have no more on which to speculate.

Mr Dickinson stated on the phone to DJT that he can't rule out the possibility of earlier arms - and, as I understood it, he went on to say that even if they were found they could not be 'official' because they are not in the College! He also said that it is not clear if there was ever a 'proper' Visitation in 1558.

This is all very confusing - if we find them in the Harleian Manuscripts as having been verified during the 1558 Visitation - and we send copies to the College of Arms - then they will have them. It would be doubly useful to find them anyway, because if SVT is right, he says there is a pedigree attached.

Mr Dickinson implies that Thomas (#610) signed the 1664 pedigree (the one where the description contains "a crescent on a crescent" - a second son of a second son). John #404 could have been a second son etc. - so again, more confusion. Why didn't any crescents appear in 1634??

Key to abbreviations: cr, crest. ar, argent. sa, sable. Ess, Essex. gu, gules. erased, torn off with a ragged edge.
[Argent = silver (or white), sable = black, gules = red.]
See also Boutell's Heraldry, J.P.Brooke-Little, for explanations of Griffin, Helmet etc.

[Crescent - A 'cadency mark', also known as 'differencing']

SVT uses "Virtus sola nobilitas", ETT & other Tylecotes use "Fortiter et candide". In various books I have seen the former as 'Sola virtus nobilitat', 'Sola nobilitas virtus' & 'Virtus sola nobilitat'. To a Latin scholar they would probably all mean something slightly different, JPT has "Virtue the only nobility". JPT has the latter as "Bravely and sincerely". Both mottoes are to be found in various books including Burke's but neither are attributed to the name Talcott, but to other families. Mottoes appear with descriptions of arms & crests where applicable, there are NO MOTTOES recorded with the Talcott arms & crest anywhere that I have found. Mottoes are not hereditary therefore these were probably just chosen by the individuals because they liked them.

The Talcott arms & crest.
We have at present no idea why roses appear on the shield, or why the crest is a griffin. The rose is a common 'charge' in heraldry. The rose should have only five petals, as I have drawn it (a 'dogrose' or wild brier). It should not have another set of petals inside the first unless specifically stated in the description, or unless it is meant to portray a Tudor rose. (The Essex RO version has two sets of petals - probably a mistake). It is, however, interesting to note that the Pewterers Guild have roses, seeded & barbed, on their arms (& sea horses, or their tails). On one crest I have seen someone has interpreted the description of the griffin as having roses actually on the griffin's breast. Mr Dickinson clearly states that the 'official' version shows the roses on the collar. I have depicted the helm, or helmet, as belonging to a gentleman, or esquire, i.e. with visor down & facing sideways.

The following is taken from Iain Swinnerton's booklet "Basic facts about heraldry for family historians", FFHS, ISBN 1-86006-000-5 [This booklet is written in plain English, unlike some on the subject] :-
"A complete representation of a Coat of Arms is known as an Achievement and consists of various parts. The basic component is, of course, the
SHIELD and this is the only essential part. You do not have to have any of the others. Shields come in all shapes and sizes, Victorian artists in particular invented some atrocious ones, but today you usually see one of this shape [as my sketch - DJT] - called a HEATER shield because it looks like the bottom of an old-fashioned flat iron. It is, incidentally, the nearest shape to the shields used in the 14th century, the heyday of Heraldry.
In addition, most families have a
CREST, possibly the most misused word in Heraldry. It is really self-explanatory; the crest of anything is the top and it was worn on the top of the helmet. It was purely personal ornamentation; each knight chose a bird or beast which he probably liked to think represented his martial quality. The model was made from boiled leather, stuffed to make it look like the actual animal and fastened on to the helmet by straps or ribbons or a wreath of twisted silk. It is thought that these straps or ribbons were the origin of the WREATH or TORSE, shown in illustrations of arms as a twisted circlet [6 twists in England - DJT] or ring of two colours, but some think that it also represents the lady's favour (usually a coloured silk scarf) which the knight bound round his helmet.
It is reasonably certain that these crests were never worn in battle, as they would have made the helmet very top-heavy and unwieldy. They were really for ceremonial occasions and possibly for the tournament. The best surviving example I know is the crest of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral.
A crest is not essential. There are some families today who have arms but no crest, and ladies, of course, never used them because they never wore helmets. Conversely, however, you cannot have a crest without arms. Nowadays a crest is regarded as hereditary in the same way as arms, but in England different members of some families have used different crests and some families have two, or even three.
To protect the back of his neck from the heat of the sun, the knight wore a short cape suspended from his helmet - rather like the flap hanging down from the Kepi of a member of the French Foreign Legion, as those of you who remember the famous film of 'Beau Geste' will recall. Another name for a cape is a Mantle and this part of the achievement is known as the
MANTLING. Like a flag, after a considerable period of use this became very ragged from continual flapping in the wind, which is why it is always drawn with that rather strange swirling form.
Finally there can be a motto, but this is not hereditary. All these together - Shield, Wreath, Mantling and Crest - together make up the complete Achievement."

In designing the achievement at the top of this page I took account of all the information I could find, including an excellent work "The Art of Heraldry" by Carl Alexander von Volborth.


Letter received April 1996 from Miss J. M. Backhouse, Curator, The British Library, Department of Manuscripts, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG :-

Dear Mr Tylcoat,

The Manuscripts Librarian has asked me to respond to your letter dated 11 April.

I have had a look at the various volumes in the Harley collection and I fear that it does look as if  S. V. Talcott got himself a bit confused. For a start, there is no page or folio 148 in Harley MS 1137. Secondly the 1634 Visitation is in Harley MS 1542, not 1634, which clearly suggests he was getting a lot of his numerals mixed up.

The College of Arms report does seem to be an accurate reflection of the material though, as they say, it is taken from the copies in their possession and not direct from the Harley manuscript. It occurs to me that you may find the enclosed copies of the introductory pages in the Harleian Society volume of the visitations of Essex useful. I am sorry the upper sides are so dark but the book is too tightly bound to allow it to be flattened on the machine. I hope it is moderately legible.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

(Miss) J. M. Backhouse


[^ enclosed with the above were copies of the preface to the volume & also indexes - Talcott only appears in 1634.]

This makes it look like John 404 is definitely 'top of the tree' in the Essex arms & that the crescents in the 1664 version (see Coll. of Arms ltr.) refer to Thomas 610.

Still, none of this explains where the other TALCOT (sic) arms referred to in Burke's 1884 General Armory come from - in this the shield would look different. It still looks to me as if some other Talcot(t) person / family was using arms, similar to the Essex ones. Mr Dickinson of the College of Arms can find no trace - see his letter - his third to last paragraph suggests they (the 'other' set of arms) may be falsely attributed.


Early English handwriting
Tylcoat, Tylecote, Talcott

Copyright Dave Tylcoat 1996-2010


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