Jersey coats of arms in use in the 19th century

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Payne's Armorial of Jersey, a book on the histories of Jersey families published in 1859, has proved to be one of the most important reference works for genealogists researching those families. But genealogy was never its primary purpose. Payne was most interested in coats of arms, and also in making money from those families who claimed the entitlement to a coat of arms.

Quite how justified those claims were is, in perhaps the majority of cases, now open to considerable doubt, but in the Victorian age of elitism it was very fashionable to lay claim to such heraldic entitlement. And considerable legitimacy was lent to those claims by inclusion in works such as Payne's Armorial. Inclusion, however, came at a price, because a family's presence in the book was only guaranteed by payment, and only the wealthiest of families could afford such a luxury.

The choice of which family histories and family trees to include in the book was dictated largely by these payments and as a genealogical work the Armorial is, therefore, very selective.

As a record of coats of arms in use in 19th century Jersey it is quite comprehensive, even if the entitlement to use these coats of arms and their accuracy has been called into question by later authorities.

It will be seen in the gallery of images below that many of the coats of arms as produced by J Bertrand Payne for his work were highly embellished. Entitlement to a coat of arms was, as can be seen below, highly popular with members of the clergy and Army and Navy officers (including the Jersey Militia). Those without a specific title would style themselves simply 'Esquire'. This is a term which formerly designated the son of a knight but came to indicate a certain standing in society.

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