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Arms used by Murgatroyd

The Family Arms

"I looked around and my eye fell on a Table-Tomb situated about fifteen feet from the south-east corner of the nave of the Church. This Table-Tomb was obviously ancient and seemed to me to have been placed in the 'Pole' position in the graveyard. I climbed on top of it and there was a Coat of Arms in copper or brass. I did not know what it was, but when the photograph which I then took was printed (and after I had cut off the picture of my toes], I found it comprised three crosses 'floree' and a chevron. Later I found that the inscription, which time had destroyed, bore the message 'Here lieth the body of James Murgatroyd of Murgatroyd - 25th October 1653'. This was the beginning of my research into the history of the Murgatroyd family of Murgatroyd in Warley and a fascinating story was to unfold."

So wrote Bill Murgatroyd in 1983 at the start of his quest into the land of Murgatroyd.

He continued..."The detail of these arms shows that the crosses were of the type called 'Floree'. So were the Arms granted to Michael Murgatroyd 55 years before. Michael's Arms (below) did not include the Chevron found on the Tomb nor is the Chevron mentioned in a disclaimer of the Arms used by a James Murgatroyd when challenged in 1668."

The Arms of Murgatroyd as seen on the Altar Tomb at Luddenden, although never granted to a person, might be described as::

ARMS: Argent a demi Chevron between three Crosses patty flory Sable each with five bezants within an Orle flory.

CREST: A Lions gamb erased Or holding a Cross patty flory Sable.

Except that I have found no other occasion of a 'demi Chevron' used in heraldry.

Michael Murgatroyd (1552-1608) was perhaps our most illustrious ancestor. He was Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Whitgift in 1583.

Michael was the son of a William Murgatroyd, which one is not known, by his wife Frances (daughter of Edward Hippon of Featherstone, Yorkshire). Michael was a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, he was Greek Reader of his college, and subsequently became secretary to Archbishop Whitgift (who attended Queen Elizabeth on her death bed), later he was Comptroller and finally, Steward of the Archbishop's household and Commissary of the Court of Faculties in Canterbury. He died on the 3rd of April, 1608. A memorial to Michael Murgatroyd was erected in the parish church of Croydon where he lived but it was destroyed by fire in 1867.

The Arms granted to Michael Murgatroyd in 1598 by William Dethick, Garter King of Arms..first variant.

ARMS: Argent two crosses patty flory Sable each charged with five bezants on a Canton Sable a Conger (Lucy) couped in pale Or.

CREST: A Lions gamb erased Orf holding a cross patty flory between four bezants

The Canton is a tribute to the family of Gascoyne (Gascoigne) one of who's members ( probably his Uncle) had sponsored his years at Cambridge.

The Arms granted to Michael Murgatroyd in 1598 by William Dethick, Garter King of Arms..second variant.

ARMS: Argent two Crosses patty flory Sable each charged with five bezants on a Canton Azure a Lions gamb erased Or.

CREST: A Lions gamb erased Or holding a Cross patty fitchy Sable charged with four bezants.

The Canton holds a tribute to the Arms of his employer Archbishop Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury.


Arms on Broadfold House

"Although Michael may have had his Coat of Arms designed to include the crosses 'patty floree' which are also to be found in the Arms of Whitgift I prefer to believe that the Murgatroyd household were already using a similar Coat before 1598." Bill Murgatroyd.

"The same day on which I found the Table Tomb I also visited Broadfold House Luddenden, a large Mansion built by John Murgatroyd for his son in the year 1888. Here is found a coat of arms in stone near the roof line containing the Chevron and the three crosses but the chevron is full and ornamented, somewhat different from the earlier Arms. Above each bedroom door, I am informed was a similar coat of arms in plaster (unfortunately now destroyed).

In 1668 (some 70 years later) at the Lent Assizes held at York, James Murgatroyd (spelt Moregatride) was entered on the List of Disclaimers, He was recorded under the heading of Morkton in the West Riding of Yorkshire in the Wapontake of Skyrack. The effect of this disclaimer was to Order James to stop using this Coat of Arms. This James was the eldest son of John of East Riddlesden Hall and of Murgatroyd who died in 1662. His daughter Susan married James Oates and inherited Murgatroyd from her Father. Their daughter Sussannah married John Dearden who then came to Murgatroyd (which became known as 'Hollins'). In the Nave of Halifax Parish Church is a memorial to the Dearden Family. In a shield are the same Arms described in the disclaimer Of 1668 (except they have a Chevron not mentioned in the disclaimer). This was erected in 1799 and thus we see the same Coat Of Arms applied to a house rather than a person, and not deterred by the Disclaimer.

From all this I deduce that the simple shield and three crosses with or without the chevron were the assumed Arms of Murgatroyd from time immemorial, that Michael in 1590 had them formally granted to himself but they were still used by the Murgatroyds who remained at the house 'Murgatroyd' only to be challenged at York Assizes in l668 but continued to be used whether lawful or not right up to 1888."

There remains one further Murgatroyd Coat of Arms, namely that granted in 1961 to Harold Clifford Murgatroyd (CBE) of New Zealand. He obtained a grant of Arms following the research he had made into the Family. Rather than claim entitlement to the old Arms through descent, he decided to ask for a grant appropriate to his station in life. He was Aide de Camp to both King George the VI and Queen Elizabeth. His Arms bears little resemblance to that of the other Murgatroyds. The sheep signifies the families involvement with the wool industry for over 400 years, the grenade symbolises his career in the Army during both world wars and the Tudor Rose represents his relationship with the Royal Family.

ARMS: Argent a cross patty flory Gules charged with five bezants on a Chief Azure between two Lions' Gambs erased Or a Grenade of the same fired and charged with a Tudor Rose proper.

CREST: A demi Ram Argent armed and unguled Or holding between the hooves a cross as in the arms.

Harold Clifford Murgatroyd was at that time described as of Oakland, Kio Kio, Otorohanga, New Zealand.

1997 R.D.Murgatroyd.
Updated-February, 2002