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The 1788 Grant of Arms to John Hallifax

Sometime after 1880 Joseph Foster prepared a massive list from the College of Arms' records of the grants of arms to that date. This was edited and published by the Harleian Society in 1916. It is, of course, an invaluable list for anyone tracing English coats of arms and indeed I found within it references both a Hallifax grant of around 1780 and the first grant to our Powys ancestors of around 1660.

The details in this book, "Grantees of Arms 1687-1898", p. 164 are, simply:

"HALLIFAX, . . . ., of Kenilworth, co. Warw.; Springthorpe, co. Linc.; and Mansfield, co, Nottingham, 17 . . ., Vol XVII, fol. 49"
I applied to the College of Arms and speedily received a transcript of the grant. Unfortunately this left some mysteries in its train, due to the reference to a Robert Hallifax of Mansfield, cousin of the grantee. I then found there was also a pedigree in the College of Arms.

You can see the transcript of the grant here, or, for printing, a much larger and higher definition PDF file of the transcript.

And here's my inartistic rendering of the blazon in the grant:

Here is the pedigree from the College of Arms as:

It is dated the 16th December 1788 and countersigned by John Hallifax of Kenilworth, Worcs and by Robert Hallifax MD of London.

This pedigree is very similar to that found in Suffolk Record office but has additional information. This additional information, dates and places of birth and origin, should be corroborated by the parish registers of those places at those times. Indeed, that has to be the next step in this investigation. This pedigree continues the claim that these Hallifaxes were descended from some Waterhouses of Halifax, York; but the tone of the claim is much milder: it is referred to as a "Family Tradition" and the signatories certify that the pedigree is "true to the best of our knowledge and belief".

Meanwhile, from my examination of the film of the Springthorpe Parish register, I can firmly say that this pedigree does not record the right man as rector of that parish. The rector from 1646 at the latest until his death in 1676 was a John Hallifax; his wife was Elizabeth, probably with the surname of Inoltby. They had (at least) these children (with baptism dates): John (9 May 1650), Sarah (22 Jun 1651), Mary (22 ??? 1659) and Richard who died in 1670.

This family in the Register is so much at variance with the family of the College of Arms' pedigree that it makes me wonder if we are talking about the same people at all. Is there another parish with a similar name to Springthorpe where my Hallifax ancestors lived? One problem was that the film of the Springthorpe parish register was not that clear; subsequently I got a local researcher to transcribe from the originals. This research confirms that the three pedigrees, those of the College of Arms and the two in Suffolk Record office, are all defective in their genealogy.

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