The Phantom Herald

The inestimable IanVisits sent me this clipping from The Gazette announcing that Greenwich Hospital is to get a new Coat of Arms.

Now I have a bit of a soft spot for heraldry so I was quite keen but even my eyes glazed over as I was reading the description:

Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased by Warrant under Her Royal Signet and Sign Manual bearing date 4 November 2013 to give and grant unto Greenwich Hospital, Her Royal Licence and Authority that it may bear and use the Armorial Bearings and Supporters namely Arms of Argent on Cross Gules between four Anchors Sable a Royal Crown proper with a Crest of Issuing from a Naval Crown Or two Union Flags of the reign of King William and Queen Mary the poles headed with Ribbons flying Or and crossing in saltire proper and there tied with a Ribbon Or with Supporters of dexter a Sea Lion and Sinister a representation of Neptune both Or and Royally Crowned proper: the said Armorial Ensigns being first duly exemplified according to the Laws of Arms and recorded in Her Majesty’s College of Arms: otherwise the said Royal Licence and Permission to be void and of none effect.

And to signify Her Royal Will and Pleasure that the said Royal Concession and Declaration be recorded in Her Majesty’s College of Arms.

Gah! Could we have that in English please?

In the end I decided the only way to work out what the badge might look like would be to draw it myself, taking each element as it came and working it out as I went along.

Of course this is probably in contravention to some ancient edict outlawing the creation of arms by anyone other than Her Majesty’s Heralds. If I don’t post for a while, I’ll have been carted off to the Tower for treason involving felt tip pens and colouring pencils…

Unfortunately the only felt tip pen Phantom Towers coughed up was blue and I had a sudden attack of amnesia as to what a sea lion looks like, so it looks a bit like a dodgy school project but in general, it wasn’t as hard as I had feared:

Arms of Argent on Cross Gules… - I think this is the shield itself – argent is silver but I think it is represented by white. It doesn’t say which way the cross should go but ‘gules’ is red, if memory serves.

…between four Anchors Sable Four black anchors comin’ right up…

…a Royal Crown proper with a Crest of Issuing from a Naval Crown Or

Okay, this bit foxed me a little. I couldn’t remember what a Royal crown looks like so I just drew a Christmas cracker crown, with some sailing ships like the ones in the Old Royal Naval College on top, and coloured it yellow gold (Or).

two Union Flags of the reign of King William and Queen Mary the poles headed with Ribbons flying Or… So two union flags, without the red cross of St Patrick, with some nice flying gold ribbons.

…crossing in saltire proper and there tied with a Ribbon Or As any fule kno the Saltaire is the Scottish flag. Hmm. Either Greenwich Hospital has a crystal ball, complete faith that the Scots will vote to stay in the Union next year, or enough cash to have a quick redesign in a few months.

…Supporters of dexter a Sea Lion… So, that’s a sea lion on the right, okay…?

…and Sinister a representation of Neptune both Or and Royally Crowned proper Couldn’t work out whether the sealion needed to be gold and wear a crown as well as Neptune, but made an executive decision that a sealion in a hat was a geegaw too far…

Okay – when the offical version comes out let’s see if it bears any resemblence whatsoever to my interpretation.

I bet their sea lion isn’t as good as mine…

the attachments to this post:

Phantom coat of arms low
Phantom coat of arms low

Greenwich Hosptial Arms Phantom Stylee low
Greenwich Hosptial Arms Phantom Stylee low

20 Comments to “The Phantom Herald”

  1. Donovan says:

    The way I read it is that the royal crown is on the arms itself and the naval crown is the crest. “Argent a cross gules” is the standard English flag with the cross vertical rather than diagonal. The anchors would be in the four corners and the royal crown in the centre. Then you’d have the naval crown, with boats, as the crest, and the two William and Mary flags coming out of it, crossing each other in a saltire arrangement. Oh and you have to swap neptune and the sea lion because ‘dexter’ and ‘sinister’ in heraldry are from the bearer’s perspective not the viewers.

    But, don’t take this as gospel – I know a bit but I’m not exactly the Rouge Croix Pursuivant.

  2. TGP says:

    And I thought I’d done so well!

    I could of course, fix the sinister/dexter issue by just reversing the picture if I wasn’t so damn lazy.

    I did wonder about the English flag thing, but I thought the diagonal cross was prettier. All style no substance, me…

  3. Nathan says:

    Phantom, I love it. If the real thing doesn’t look very similar I for one will be very disappointed.

  4. Capability Bowes says:

    Isn’t a “Royal Crown Proper” like the Coronation Crown? You know, shaped like a christmas pudding?

  5. Capability Bowes says:

    Oh, and a Naval Crown is like a circlet topped with alternating square sails and sterns of galleons. Lord Nelson alone knows how you fit one on top of a Royal Crown Proper though.

    Love your seal. I hereby demand that you create a Phantom Coat of Arms

    (signed) Rouge Dragon Pursuivant

  6. Capability Bowes says:

    Oh, and your Neptune has to be carrying a trident otherwise he is simply a merman with a crown on.

    I’ll get my coat.

  7. TGP says:

    Dang – forgot the trident. Now that IS something I can fix.

    Sadly one cannot create one’s own coat of arms without incurring the wrath of Her Majesty…

  8. JOF says:

    Dear Phantom
    Love your artistic interpretation but is this just a subtle way of saying you want a set of coloured felt-tips for Christmas?
    PS. I’ve got the nautical bit of their coat of arms, but where’s the hospital bit?

  9. Ha – you saw through my subtle hint, Santa. Yes, please. Lots of felts, please. And a colouring book of Greenwich Landmarks. And an oil paint-by-numbers kit of Chris Roberts.

  10. Capability Bowes says:

    Ahem. One can create one’s own Coat of Arms as long as one doesn’t use it in any official capacity. You can embroider it on your underwear but not put it on your writing paper. What would your motto be, Phant?

    It never occurred to me that there is no medical reference on the new coat of arms. Perhaps Greenwich Hospital took over from the Hospital for Retired Sailors or whatever it was called? Oh, and there are two things missing from the crest as described: mantling (streamer-y type bits around the crown and…… a motto of some kind.

  11. TGP says:

    OOoh – a motto. Now you’re talking. Um, I would just get a random Christmas Cracker motto and translate it into Latin for the sheer surreality of it.

  12. Capability Bowes says:

    Dico, dicere, dixi, non est meus nasus canis

    (I say, I say, I say, my dog has no nose)

  13. TGP says:


  14. Capability Bowes says:

    And the supporters? Certainly “a caped figure with tricorn, sable” but what about the other one? Chris Roberts?

  15. Badger says:

    “Dico, dicere, dixi, non est meus nasus canis”

    Oh the dangers of google translate. I think this literally means :

    “I say, to say, I said, my nose is not of the dog”

  16. Capability Bowes says:

    Hey, at least I made the effort. Perhaps Professor Badger would like to provide us plebs with a better translation?

  17. Badger says:

    Here goes :

    Dico, dico, dico, meus canis non habet nasum.

    And apologies for original translation. “Canis” could be
    nominative, genetive or vocative so better english
    translation of OP may be :

    I say, to say, I said, O dog it is not my nose
    I say, to say, I said, my nose is not the dog
    I say, to say, I said, the dog is not my nose

  18. Capability Bowes says:

    ooooh get Mary Beard

  19. Capability Bowes says:

    Its so easy to pour scorn on others, don’t you think? Especially those plebs who use Google Translate because they never went to the right school, doncha know.

  20. JOF says:

    I did (compulsory) Latin at school – it was a Haringey comprehensive.