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crests. Even where the distinction is much greater there still remains a striking similarity.
The King families of London; Ugborough, Devonshire; West Hall, Sherborne, Dorsetshire; Towcester, County Northampton; Loxwood, Sussex; Midhurst, Sussex and others bore the arms granted in 1611 by Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms to King of London—"Sable; on a chevron or, between three crosses-crosslet of the last, three escallops of the first" with some differencing as to colors and with different crests.
Another group of King families in Devonshire; Towcester, County Northampton; Umberslade, County Warwick; Hungrill, County York; Chadshund, County York; Preston Candover, County Hants and we might add those of Thame and Worminhall, Oxfordshire; Iver. Buckinghamshire; Stouton, Wiltshire; Bishop John King of London, Ralph King, Vintner of London, and others bore arms—"Sable, a lion rampant or, ducally crowned argent, between three crosses-crosslet or" with some differencing as to colors, crests, etc.
It will be observed that the crosses-crosslet are generally common to both these arms. If in the arms of this last group of King families we substitute "a chevron or charged with three escallops sable" for the "lion rampant or ducally crowned argent" the arms of both groups become identical in design.
It may be as some claim, that the arms blazoned with the lion rampant and belonging according to tradition to a very ancient Devonshire family are the oldest borne by any King family. A Devonshire King family appears to be one of the most ancient of the families bearing that name in England. During several centuries, however, many of its descendants must have at different times settled in other parts of England and branches of the Devonshire family have thus established themselves in many separate counties. Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, Hants, Sussex, Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Lincoln, York, Westmoreland, Warwick, Northampton, Huntingdon, Buckingham, Middlesex (London), Oxford and several other counties have families bearing the name of King which probably are related to each other and to the Devonshire family, although in many instances the link of relationship leading to a common ancestor is lost in antiquity. Thus the Kings of Thame and Worminhall, Oxfordshire, from whom descended Robert King, (Robertus Kynge), Bishop of Oxford (1542-1557), and later (1611) John King, the famous Bishop of London, begin-their family chart of descent with John Kynge, yeoman and church-warden of Thame in 1469 yet claim a more distant ancestry in "the ancient King family of Devonshire" and they bear the Devonshire family arms as blazoned in Burke's General Armory.
All children from the oldest to the youngest are of right entitled to bear the arms of their father. With numerous members and branches of the same family all equally entitled to bear the family arms, it became necessary for the separate branches to introduce some sufficient change in color or design, or to make some slight addition to or substitution in the original armorial blazon in order to distinguish the bearings of one branch of the family from the others. Such changes, additions or substitutions were called in heraldry "differences."
It is true that the modern marks of cadency or differences—the label of three points for the eldest son, crescent for the second, mullet for the third, martlet for the fourth, etc.—had been introduced in the 16th century and even before that, some imperfect systems had appeared; but these for a long time were "more honored in the breach than in the observance," and ever since have been and even at this day are quite generally slighted. Their use, it is claimed by some, mars and disfigures the original coat of arms and it is also evident that where there are many successive generations their use becomes impracticable as they could scarcely continue to be accumulated, one on the other, without limit.
The changing of an ordinary, or of a charge, as a bend for a fess, or a crosslet for a martlet, or the substitution of one charge for another, was in earlier times a much more common method of differencing, while now the object is often accomplished by changing the crest.
If, as intimated by Burke's General Armory (but for which we can find no authority), the original arms of the Kings of Devonshire were "Sable, a lion rampant or, ducally crowned argent between three crosses-crosslet" etc., then the grant of arms to "King of London" by Camden in 1611 merely substituted the "chevron or charged with three escallops sable" for "the lion rampant" etc., and perhaps was intended as a "difference"—effected, however, by the aid of the College of Arms in a new grant.
This "difference" was possibly rendered necessary at that time by the fact that John King, then (1611-1623) Bishop of London, was bearing the lion rampant arms. The other "King of London" though a relative, may have found it convenient, if not necessary, to have a difference created by grant to distinguish his arms from those of the family of the famous Bishop.
But it may well be doubted that the lion rampant arms were more ancient than the chevron charged with three escallops. Oliver King (1430-1503) who was Bishop of Exeter, Devonshire, in 1493, bore for his arms: "Argent, on a chevron sable three escallops of the first," (Add. M. S., 12443.—Papworth's Ordinary of Armorials), and also Alexander Kinge of London was granted in 1592 arms "Sable, on a chevron erm. three escallops gu." King of Shelley, Suffolk County, in the latter part of the fourteenth (14th) century bore arms "Sable on a chevron arg. three escallops of the field. (Davy's MSS. p. 218, British Museum. See also N. Y. Gen. & Biog. Rec. Vol. 29 p. 220.) We do not know of any King bearing the lion rampant arms until long after the time of Oliver King, Bishop of Exeter.
The arms granted by Camden in 1611 to King of London "Sable on a chevron or between three crosses-crosslet of the last, three escallops of the first," are with slight differences borne by the King families of Loxwood House, County Sussex; of Midhurst, County Sussex; of Towcester, County Northampton; Kinge of West Hall, Sherborne, County Dorset; King of Gainsborough, County Lincoln; Kynge of County Suffolk; King of Wiltshire; King of Ashby Hall, Lincolnshire; King of Leicestershire and other Kings as well as the Ugborough, Devonshire, family, as is evidenced by its use by James King, born at Ugborough, from whom the Kings of Suffield, Connecticut, are descended.
The lion rampant arms are born by the Kings of Umberslade County Warwick; of Hungrill, County York; of Belle Vue, County Kent; of Bromley, County Kent; of Pyrland Hall, County Somerset, combined, however, with the three escallops and also quartered with Meade; of Thame and Worminhall, Oxfordshire; of Shellands; of Chadshund; Arthur F. B. King Esq., of Warnford Cottage, Bishops Waltham, County Hants, and others.
It seems quite probable that all these various King, Kinge and Kynge families are, more or less remotely, connected. Such seems a fair inference also from their arms. Frequently the crests of some of these families suggest their relationship. The Kings of Midhurst, County Sussex, while bearing "Sable, on a chevron or between three crorses-crosslet of the last, three escallops of the first" have as a crest "an ostrich's head argent ducally gorged or" while families bearing the lion rampant arms have as a crest "out of a ducal coronet or, a demi ostrich arg."
The Kings of Leicestershire while having as arms "Sable, on a chevron arg. three escallops of the first" have as a crest " a lion ducally crowned" etc. The crest of Kinge of Sherborne, County Dorset (son of William Kyng of Castle Cary, County Somerset) is a lion sejant whose right paw rests on an escallop. The arms of Richard King (now quartered with those of Meade and borne by Meade-King) added three escallops to the lion rampant between three crosses-crosslet, thus combining the features of both these arms.
All the King, Kinge and Kynge families of England, so far as we know, sprung from pure English stock with the exception of the descendants of John Le Roy, who fled from France at the massacre of St. Bartholomew, Aug. 24, 1572, became a merchant of London and soon anglicized his name to John King. Sir John King, born at St. Albans, County Herts, in 1628, was his grandson.
With the exception of the family last named it is quite probable that most of the King families of England to whom we have referred are related to each other by blood, although as we have said above the link of relationship leading to a common ancestor is not now discoverable and has become obscured by the mist of ages.
We are inclined to believe that two or three hundred years ago this feeling of relationship between the many King families of England was much more clearly recognized than it is now, and when we consider the great increase in number of those now bearing that surname it is quite natural that evidences of their connection should have become obscured in the multiplicity of branches and descendants of the numerous families.
In this connection and as tending to show the sentiment of kinship which existed two centuries ago among the different King families of England we quote the following short article which appeared in "Notes and Queries" (7th Series) Vol. 7, p. 488. "king Family—In a M. S. volume of coats of arms bearing the autograph and bookplate of John Fenn, 1771, is inserted a printed paper bearing the arms of King of Bromley, County Kent; Midhurst, County Sussex; Dorsetshire; Essex (two coats); London and Berkshire; Suffolk; West Patrick, County Hants; Somersetshire; Buckinghamshire (two coats); Lincolnshire, descended from Suffolk; with King, Alderman of Coventry; King, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms; and King, Bishop of London and Chichester.
"A general meeting of the surname of King being appointed to be held at Mr. John King's, at the Rummer Tavern in White Chappel, London, on Saturday the 29th of this instant May 1703, being the anniversary in memory of the Happy Restoration of King Charles the 2d and the Royal family. You are earnestly desired to be there by Twelve of the Clock precisely by
Your most humble servants ROBERT KING, Gent JAMES KING, Herald Painter Stewards JOHN KING, Vintner Pay for the ticket 2s. 6d. and bring it for your admittance.
DANIEL HIPWELL. 34 Myddelton Square, Clerkenwall."