Neale arms and dates above the rear en- trance to the Mansion House. Dates of 1721 and 1897 either side of the coat of arms signify the dates.
Neale arms and dates above the rear en- trance to the Mansion House. Dates of 1721 and 1897 either side of the coat of arms signify the dates.

Neale arms and dates above the rear en- trance to the Mansion House. Dates of 1721 and 1897 either side of the coat of arms signify the dates.

In 1774 Robert Neale, clothier and MP, obtained from the College of Arms a confirmation and exemplification of arms to be borne by him, his family and descendants.

The 1774 confirmation states that Robert Neale’s ancestors had borne arms “argent, a lion rampant between two dexter hands in chief gules, debruised by a fesse or, charged with two lions rampant supporting a sinister hand of the second”. The mantling is “gules and argent”. The crest is described as follows: “on a wreath of the colours, an armed arm embowed proper, brandishing a sword argent, pommel and hilt gold.” The motto is “loyal au mort”. [Source: Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles, Armorial Families: A Directory of Gentlemen of Coat Armour – provided by Ray Neale.]

In plain English, the arms consist of a silver shield (usually represented by the colour white) with a lion standing erect between two right hands in the upper part in red. Across the middle of the shield, there is a broad horizontal band in gold, usually represented by the colours yellow or gold, with two lions standing erect supporting a left hand of the second. The crest consists of a wreath of red and white below an arm bent in a natural way brandishing a silver sword with gold pommel and hilt. The motto is probably Norman or Anglo-Norman and has been translated as “loyal unto death” or “loyal to the dead (one)”.

The lion rampant and the colours gules, or and argent originate from the arms borne by the ancient Nigelli and Albini. The origins of the Neale red hand are unclear. However, the red hand has been a traditional symbol of the Irish O’Neill family and of the province of Ulster. The northern O’Neills once ruled as kings of Ulster.

Ian Storey 

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