Thursday, January 25, 2018

WOODIN(G) | Did Will Woodin's British Ancestors Bear Arms?

If you search online for the name Woodin or Wooding (which sometimes seem to have been used interchangeably in the 17th century in Britain and the United States), you will find Coats of Arms attributed to them. I found them and sought advice from William Hunt, former Windsor Herald of the College of Arms. I sent him three designs of Arms attributed to Woodin(g) in which the dominant charges are Pheons, Owls, and Roses. 

All three employ chevrons, which suggests that this is the common theme among Woodin(g) arms. Connecting the chevron with the name Woodin makes sense, because the chevron is seen as a rafter. It would have been made of wood, and a rafter provided shelter as would a woodworker or forester.

Pheons. A pheon is a barbed arrowhead, which can have its points up or down. The first looks as though it would be blazoned: "Sable a Chevron Argent between three Pheons Argent points upwards Sable" and the historical background below the Arms says it is in Burke's General Armory in 1884.

Hunt, who after retirement in 2017 is now research assistant to John Petrie, Rouge Croix Poursuivant, looked for a record of grants of the claimed Arms and found none. His report to me on this design is that Arms looking like this were confirmed, but not to anyone named Woodin(g).
[It] was confirmed to William Sulyard of Eye at the Visitation of Suffolk in 1561 (G7.24b). [Blazoned with a different tincture, "Argent a Chevron Gules..."]
Hunt did a thorough search and found no arms for Woodin(g) except for a recent (1994) grant to a Wooding.
I have checked our records and can report that there has been no confirmation or grant of Arms to someone of this name [before 1994]. I have checked the grants made in Scotland before 1972, and there is none there either. We have photographs of the Arms granted and pedigrees recorded in the Ulster Office, which was the heraldic authority under the British Crown 1552-1943. Despite what Burke’s General Armory says, there is no reference to this name there either. 
Owls and Roses. In addition, I sent two designs featuring owls and roses. Both have been attributed to a Woodin(g). One was blazoned "Gules a Chevron between three Owls Argent" (below, left) and the other featured roses (below, right):

The response on these two designs was equally negative:
[The design] with the owls [was confirmed] to Sir Samuel Sleigh at the Visitation of Derbyshire in 1662 (C34.4b) and the one with the roses was confirmed at the Visitation of Norfolk in 1563 as the unidentified 4th quarter in the Arms of Mary, one of the heirs of Henry Bures of Acton, co Suffolk, who was married to Thomas Barow of Wynthorpe co Lincolnshire (G1.25). As you are no doubt aware, a difference in colour is not a difference as far as the Laws of Arms are concerned, as a design must be unique when seen in black and white or on stone, silver, etc.
Too bad. The upshot is that if the Woodin family wants a coat of arms, it has no documented arms to lean on. It would have to design its arms anew. Possibly the family could borrow from the 1994 Arms that have been granted to Mr. Wooding.

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