The Trotter of Horton Royal Licence used to disturb me: the rule of the game was that arms could only
be passed on through an heiress if she married a chap who had his own arms. Yet here was this Royal
Licence that ignored that and allowed the the great-grandchildren to inherit the Trotter arms even
though their mother, the Trotter descendant, had no arms herself as her father had not had any.
The descent was:
James Trotter of Kettleshiel and Horton,
the original armiger
The evenual sole heir of her father
married George Welbank, merchant,
Mary Elizabeth Welbank,
eventual sole heir of her father
married William Brown
also not armigerous
but got a Royal Licence to change his name to Trotter
and to be granted non-hereditable arms of Trotter
quartered by the arms of Brown
()which a cousin had been granted to inherit some Hamilton estate)
and so to inherit the Horton Manor estate
I thought all of this to be very dodgy and even asked the then York herald if he could explain it.
His answer was the the Kings of Arms had enormous powers and could more or less do as they liked.
I remained uncomfortable.
Then in late 2020 I was alerted by a Welbank who had discovered that some Welbank arms had been
granted in 1808. Rashly I decided to investigate and indeed it was the above George Welbank who
had been granted the arms and someone in his family had later deposited a pedigree with the College.
All excellent news and totally resolved my misgivings.
I have since wondered why his daughter's family had not acted upon this and have speculated that
he might not have told anyone that he had been granted some arms. His arms:
His wife Anne gained these arms in 1803 when her father had a matriculation from Lyon:
Their daughter Mary Elizabeth gained her father's arms when she was born:
but she did not then inherit her mother's quartering as her mother was not then an heiress, both her
brothers being alive.
In 1834 Mary Elizabeth's arms were but a curio when she married William Brown who had no arms.
And so this situation remained until Elizabeth Trotter, who was Mary Elizabeth's aunt, died in 1868,
a spinster to the end. This immediately brought into play the clause in the will of John Trotter
that William Brown was to inherit the Horton Manor estate, some 1000 acres, provided he adopted the
name and arms of Trotter.
In 1856 Mary Elizabeth's uncle John died so her mother, long after her death in 1812, became a
co-heir to her father and his arms. Mary Elizabeth also became a co-heir then as her sole brother
George had died unmarried in 1842. Mary Elizabeth then, but still as a curio, carried this
quartering of Welbank by Trotter:
I think it took William a bare six weeks to obtain the Royal Licence, which sounds like a record for
that process. He became a rather grand armiger going straight to quartered arms with double crests
and two mottoes.
Because he was now an armiger, his wife's curios came into play. She brought immediately to their
children the additional quarters of Trotter and Welbank. A month after this major change in their
heraldic fortunes, William had Lyon matriculate those Brown arms in his name and added to the bevy
that his children could now carry.
So, from 1869 their children had their personal arms granted in the 1868 Royal Licence plus the following
A further episode of heiresses carrying the Trotter arms was my grandmother Lilian Trotter. None
of us had any idea that she brought in at least five additional quarterings until some 50 years
after her death and twenty years after the death of her sole surviving brother. I am not sure
if I have got the College of Arms to recognise this yet.
- Their father's special arms from the Royal Licence
- The arms of Brown
- The arms of Welbank
- The arms of James Trotter of Kettleshiel and Horton
Perhaps I should make a display of her arms in a maiden's knot in memory of her? Though I am not
sure the lady, whom I last remember cracking a whip at a pack of barking Elkhounds and cowering
them into submission by the force of her tone, would entirely appreciate that maiden's knot.