181 Duck v Winchell

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Arthur Duck, LL.D., King's Advocate v William Winchell of St George, London, painter stainer

May 1634


This was similar to case 180, with Duck accusing Winchell, on 3 May 1634, of falsifying the genealogy of Peter Farnden in an ancient shield of arms, giving him the arms and genealogy of Sir Thomas Farnefold, a Sussex knight [see cause 204]. He called for Winchell to be suspended from his position as licensed arms painter to the Earl Marshal. Winchell admitted the charge on 24 May and was committed to the custody of the knight marshal.

Plaintiff's case

7/15, Notes of Arguments in Court

'William Winchell pictorem

'This painter hath given out Sir Tho. Farnefold armes and pedegree to Peter Farnedon

The pedegree examined and showed him he confesseth it to be done by him and his hand and submits himself to my Lord and confesseth that the coat doth not belonge to Farnedon. He is committed awaiting sentence to the knight marshall.'

Winchell made the escutcheons.

'Called in the visitation asked he answered he knew no armes he had nor claymed none. Then the court gives him time to consider till the next day then he bond 4d de Juditio. Then the ring shewed Winchell and he shewed the ring and he was sent for to come to the house and coming to the house this gentleman shewed him the ring and then the ould man brother carried him to another house where they shewed him the armes colors and so he made the scutheon the... brother said he would have his father buried with armes though he paid for them.'

George Lane of Sevenoaks in Kent proved against him.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for the office. On 3 May 1634 he informed the court that many individuals of plebeian origins and parentage, frequently and daily bear and display the arms and insignia of ancient gentry on their shields, windows, seals and in their funeral pomp, against the law of arms and to the disgrace and injury of the ancient nobility and gentry of this kingdom. Through this practice many errors and abuses were perpetrated to the injury of the nobility and gentry. He also complained that William Winchell, painter / stainer of St George's parish, London falsified and fabricated the genealogy of Peter Farnefold of co. Suffolk in an ancient shield of arms and that he gave Peter the arms and genealogy of Sir Thomas Farnefold of Suffolk. He called for Winchell to be suspended from his position as licenced arms painter to the Earl Marshall and requested that Winchell be summoned to answer. On 24 May Winchell admitted the charge and was committed to the custody of the knight marshal.


G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p. 6.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Notes of arguments in court: 7/15 (24 May 1634)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 7/9 (26 Apr 1634)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 7/10 (3 May 1634)
    • Proceedings: 7/12 (21 May 1634)
    • Proceedings: 7/14 (21 May 1634)

People mentioned in the case

  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Farnedon, Peter
  • Farnefold, Thomas, knight
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Lane, George
  • St George, Henry, knight
  • Verney, Edmund, knight marshall
  • Winchell, William, painter stainer

Places mentioned in the case

  • Kent
    • Sevenoaks
  • London
    • St George's
  • Suffolk

Topics of the case

  • cause of office
  • coat of arms
  • false claim to gentility
  • Herald
  • self-assumed arms
  • Visitation