Heraldry is the profession, study or art of creating, granting and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. In England and Wales, the only Arms that have currency (are held legitimately) are those granted by the ‘Kings of Arms’ and are subject to approval by the College of Arms. All others are termed pretended or false, and their use is fraudulent.
The society’s acclaimed book ‘Metcalfe - History of the Clan’ devotes a chapter to the various Metcalfe Arms and their construction and a selection are shown below. Each coat of arms is unique although they can be inherited by descent in an unbroken line from the original bearer. The Arms usually have some reference to the bearer's name or occupation and commonly are a pun on the family name such as the Metcalfe device of a calf.
Metcalfes have held Coats of Arms since the Middle Ages and these are generally accepted as being a form of family recognition primarily to signify your supporters from those of other families or your enemies (especially in the heat of battle!).
The Metcalfe Arms are first described in 1530 as 'Argent, three calves passant sable' ('three black calves in a standing position on a silver field'). They are held by the descendants of Thomas Metcalfe of Nappa 1424-1504.
The Metcalfe Society's Coat of Arms was first used on the Society's 25th Anniversary magazine Issue no 77 (December 2005) and has appeared on the Society's products since that time. The original achievement (coat of arms) was granted to the Reverend Thomas Metcalfe by the College of Arms in January 1920 being described as:
Coat of Arms of a commoner's family. Reverend Thomas Metcalfe 1856-1937 of Sunnyside, Lancaster, who traced his ancestry back to James Metcalfe, founder of Nappa through Ottiwell . From Armorial Families: Fox Davies.
(a) Argent, three calves passant sable, on a chief of the last a rose of the first, barbed and seeded proper. Mantling sable and argent. Crest on a wreath of the colours, a satyr affrontee, holding on the dexter hand a club over the shoulder on the sinister the stump of a tree all proper.
(b)Translation Shield. Three black calves on a silver field, above them a silver rose with thorns and seeds on a black field. NB The shield is not impaled or quartered because the Rev Thomas has not included his wife (whose family may not have been armigerous). Mantling Black and silver. ln this case it is in profile with visor closed - sign of a commoner. A satyr, front on holding a club in its right hand resting on its shoulder, on its left the stump of a tree in natural colours. Wreath Colours to match the mantle.
(c) The Latin motto - Virtutes felices sunt freely translates as "Virtuous people are happy"
The Society has been allowed use of the arms by the Reverend Metcalfe's granddaughter Mrs Margaret Condon. Mecca News 77 page 14.