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The Redfern Coat of Arms

The Redfern Coat of Arms, from Burke’s General Armory is described as:

“Or, Six martlets Gu. Three and Three.”

Translated this is: Gold; Six red martlets (a bird that looks like a swallow with no feet) placed three over three.

Above the shield and helmet is the crest which is described as, “A naturally coloured birch tree.”

Some versions do not have the birch tree but the image to the left seems to be the most complete.

Are all Redfern’s entitled to use the Coat of Arms?

In short, NO. Under heraldic rules, only first sons of first sons of the recipient of the Coat of Arms are permitted to bear their ancestor’s Arms. Younger sons may use a version of their father’s Arms but it must be changed in some way. Therefore, unless you can prove pedigree back to the original owner of the Redfern Coat of Arms, you are not able to use it.

Who were the original Coat of Arms bestowed upon?

This is an important question and one that we hope will be answered as a result of the Redfern Project. As yet, we don’t have any definitive answer but there are several possible contenders. It will be interesting if we can establish links back to some (or hopefully all) of these men.

  • James Redfearn, of Redfern, recorded in the Wills at Chester in 1604
  • Thomas Redferne, of Rochdale, recorded in Baines of Lancashire in 1610
  • Edmund Redfearn, of the parish of Rochdale, recorded in the Wills at Chester in 1616
  • Francis Redfearn, of Middleton in Yorkshire, born circa 1759 who did have arms granted in 1796
Source: Grantees of arms named in docquets and patents between the years 1687 and 1898, preserved in various manuscripts, pg 307

A second Coat of Arms

In the State Library of NSW, a play entitled The emancipist : an historical drama in three acts by John Macquarie Antill and his daughter Rose Antill de Warren has a coat of arms attributed to Dr William Redfern. The play tells part of the life of Dr Redfern, convict and surgeon of the early colony of Sydney. From research and discussions with the The Australian Heraldry Society, nothing seems to suggest that William Redfern ever had arms granted in a formal fashion. It is believed that the arms were the work of an heraldic stationer who were common in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Keen to meet the heraldic needs of their clients, these stationers would simply just lift arms from a reference work and sometimes even come up with a composite coat of arms.

This set of arms is described thus: Upper field is green, the lower field silver or white, with the half-lions and the anchor being gold, and the tree fern being (most likely) red, entwined with a single serpent in its natural colours. The crest (set of symbols above the shield) repeats the demi-lion who is in this instance holding a frond of fern.

Virtus et Veritas Prevalebunt

Truth and Virtue Prevail

Further Investigation … Over to you

Do you have any knowledge of the Redfern Coat of Arms or other places it is used throughout the world? Or perhaps you lay claim to the use of the arms? Comment below to contribute anything you may know about the arms, or indeed the people in contention for the arms.

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