Heraldry of the West of England

Framptons of Dorset

It’s a bit of a cheek to blog this puzzle, as there are still Framptons at Moreton who could probably resolve it in a few moments, but it has kept me amused for a day or two, and I’m not there yet.

I’m currently working my way through quartered coats of arms in the list to get each quarter shown in its own right and cross-referenced and stuff and I noticed an oddity.

In the 1565 Visitation of Dorset, the arms given for Frampton are “Sable, three bars argent; in chief three crescents or.”

In 1623, the arms for Frampton were described in the Visitation as, “Argent, a bend gules cotised sable.”

Now, I know that this coat must be right, ‘cos I’ve seen it on the sign of the Frampton Arms pub in Moreton, but I thought I’d check in Burke’s “General Armory.”  Aha! The three bars are for Frampton of Upwey, I saw, and the bend is for Frampton of Moreton.  Simple.

Except – in the 1565 pedigree, the Framptons are of Moreton, and have not obtained Upwey.

The 1623 pedigree shows, or appears to show, a cadet branch at Upwey,  Note also, that the other branch shown in the pedigree is the even more junior branch living at Buckland Ripers.  The Moreton lot are only shown by an inference that will be seen to be false.  The coat given, however, is that which Burke says is for the family at Moreton.

Can Burke and the pub both be wrong?

I tried to match up the pedigrees from the two visitations, but that did not reveal much.  However, when I read the Frampton pedigree described in Burke’s “Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain” there seemed to be a glimmer of an explanation.

I drew out the pedigree, to try and make some sense of it.

This extended pedigree shows that the ownership of Moreton jumped a number of times to junior branches.  In particular, it jumped in or about 1600.

The two sons of Robert of Moreton (extreme left) died before he did.  His younger brother John and nephew George obviously had enough to do on his newly acquired manor of Upwey.  Francis was in holy orders and childless.  By a family arrangement, Moreton passed to the next brother William.  At the time of the 1623 Visitation, Moreton had passed down to William’s son, also William, who does not show in the Visitation pedigree at all.

So, whose arms are described in 1623?

Apart from the family at Upwey, the 1623 pedigree shows the family of the fifth brother, James Frampton of Buckland.  James or his son James was one of the two signatories on the pedigree, the other being George of the Upwey branch.

Following from the 1565 Visitation, the arms “Sa. 3 bars etc.” should now belong to the Upwey branch of the family, as stated later by Burke.  It looks as if James, the fifth brother, has chosen a completely new coat of arms, striking out as it were as head of his own family rather than staying as the baby branch in a family with more big brothers than anyone could possibly want.  Surprise! Surprise, then, that within two or three generations, the senior branches are all extinct or otherwise engaged, and James’ descendants become the lords of Moreton, with their own coat of arms.

Except that is rubbish.  The genealogy is right, but look closely at the quartered arms as described in the 1623 Visitation. The last line reads “Over all four a martlet for difference.”

You don’t put a difference mark on a new coat of arms.  The martlet, by the convention that prevails sometimes, might indicate the fourth son, or fourth surviving son, which would be James.  It would also mean that James’ coat of arms was carried without the difference mark by James’ father John 6 – John Frampton of Moreton, who died in 1557.  He, John 6, and presumably all his sons, must therefore have used “Arg, a bend gu. cotised sa.” before 1565.

Edit:  “Must have used”  is a rash statement.  The notes on the coats-of-arms of the wives of the Framptons suggest that the arms borne by the Framptons of Upwey were inherited from Joan Marshall, the wife of John 5 in the cadet branch of the Framptons.  John 5 and his son and elder grandson had a lesser part of the inheritance of the senior branch, and none of that part inherited from Alianor Browning.  Following a common custom, that cadet branch may well have adopted the shield of the Marshalls.  This coat of arms could then have been used by John’s great-grandson, John 6 d.1557, and any of his sons born before the death of Uncle Roger through whom the inheritance of the elder branch came to the younger.  Following the death of Uncle Roger, his nephew would have become entitled to the arms of the senior branch, but under no obligation to change from using the arms he was born to.  The same applies to any of John’s children born in the life-time of their great-uncle Roger.  Younger children would have been entitled to the arms of the elder branch or the younger branch from birth.  James, having inherited the elder branch’s estates, would naturally have adopted their arms, applying the difference to the arms his father was entitled to use, whether or not he ever did use them in practice.

Over to you, faithful reader – and while you are working that out, perhaps you could find out which Frampton married an heiress of Ledred, as none such are mentioned in the pedigrees.