Pennington Research Association


This article was first published in 1971 in Volume 3, No. 1 and Volume 3, No. 2 of the Pennington Pedigrees.

Click here to read another article on heraldry written by Vance Pennington


by Mary Trickel

2010 Third Street, Baker, Oregon 97814

Heraldry is the art and science of blazoning or describing, in technical terms, Coats of Arms and other Heraldic Armorial Insignia, and was employed in Feudal times to display exploits of chivalry.

The system is very ancient, anti-dating the Christian era. It can be traced to the Jewish tribes, to Roman and Greek families, and to some of the ancient Irish Septs or Clans.

In modern times it dates from the Crusades. Originally the crest was an ornament worn by the king, the knights and warriors, and was made of wood, feathers, leather, and metal. These badges were placed on the helmet to render them more visible or on the arm. The crest belongs to the Coat of Arms. They served to distinguish the wearer in battle as a marker for his followers. These heraldic symbols do not denote an aristocratic class, but were a distinction of reward for personal merit and could be secured by the humblest as well as by the highest. Many of the devices are bizarre and founded on some family tradition. Some are so remote as to be lost in antiquity, while others are modern.

The Coat of Arms being used by us in 1971 on the Cousins' Courier, and on the cover of PENNINGTON PEDIGREES, is that of Daniel, son of Robert, London merchant.

In England armorial bearings are held to emanate from the sovereign devoid of sanction to protect and may be regarded as family heirlooms and personal property. In Scotland they are strictly regulated by law. In Ireland certain members of the Clans or Septs are entitled to the Coat of Arms of the Clan.

I read an interesting article some years ago, which goes to show who might be entitled to a Coat of Arms.

"The University of Pennsylvania sent some investigators to a little mountain town called Snow Shoe, in the Alleghenies. They found in these isolated mountain cabins books of Armorial Bearings, English, French and German Coats of Arms, old pewter, Stradivari violins, and Revolutionary swords, The people spoke Elizabethan English and sang the oldest English Folk songs in existence, which were copied. The women had black hair and a patrician beauty. When they went down to Lewistown, Pennsylvania, the people there called them 'Hill Hawks'."

In order to learn more about arms which had been assigned to Penningtons in England, I wrote to the College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London. I asked especially for information on Robert Pennington, London merchant, Sir Isaac Pennington, and Isaac Pennington, the Quaker. I received the following material from J. P. Brooke-Little, Richmond Herald of Arms.

"An Isaac Pennington entered a short pedigree at the 1634 Heralds' Visitation of London, as did his brother Daniel (C. 24 (1) folios 255d and 289r). These pedigrees deposed that Robert Pennington, merchant of London, married Judeth, daughter of Isaac Herden. They had three sons, Isaac, merchant, living in the Ward of Colman Street, Robert and Daniel, merchant, living in the Ward of Cordwainer. Isaac married twice, by his first wife Abigail Allen he had three daughters and four sons, Isaac, Arthur, William, and Daniel. By his second wife, Mary Young, he had had no issue in 1634. Daniel married Elizabeth Rysby and in 1634 they had three daughters. The following arms were allowed: Or five Fusils conjoined in fess Azure. Crest: A Cat a Mountain Statent Argent. It seems reasonable to suppose that Isaac was one and the same person as Isaac, who was a fishmonger of London, and became Sheriff in 1638 and Lord Mayor in 1642/43. He was knighted in 1649 and died in the Tower of London in 1660. Isaac (1616-1679) the noted Quaker was certainly Sir Isaac's son.

"The arms allowed to Isaac and Robert at the Visitation are those of Pennington, of Pennington, co. Lancaster and of Muncaster, co. Cumberland, which latter branch of the family held a baronetcy. In 1783 John Pennington, son and heir of Sir Joseph Pennington, 4th baronet, was created, in his father's lifetime, Baron Muncaster in the peerage of Ireland. Both the baronetcy and the peerage are now extinct.

"The pedigree of the Lancashire branch was entered in the 1664 Visitation of that county with arms, but no crest (C.37, folio 136r). The Cumberland family's pedigree was entered in the 1663 Visitation of co. Chester (C. 38 folio l8r). The following other branches of the family are also recorded:

  1. Also in the 1664 Visitation of co. Lancaster is the pedigree of Penninton of Wigan. They bore the arms with a red canton.
  2. Pennington of Seaton, co. Cumberland, also used a red canton for difference when they recorded arms in the 1665 Visitation of co. Cumberland (C.39-2- folio 7r).
  3. The arms differenced [sic] by a red label are entered in the 1530 Visitation of the North (D. 4, folio 7r) but are not ascribed to any particular individual.
  4. In the 1634 Visitations of co. Essex the pedigree of a family of Pennington of Chigwell, co. Essex, is recorded (C. 21, folio 85r and D. 21, folio 13d). The funeral certificate of John Pennington of Chigwell who died in 1628 (1. 23, page 31) shows the arms of this family to have been Or five Fusils conjoined in fess Azure each charged with a Quatrefoil Argent.

Although it is not recorded now that the various Pennington families are connected, the heraldic evidence leads one to the presumption that either they boasted a common ancestor, or, at least, convinced the heralds of the day that this was the case. The arms are certainly very ancient and are recorded as having been borne by Sir William de Peneton in the early 14th century (Parliamentary Roll, circa 1312)."

16th February, 1971

J. P. Brooke-Little, Esqre., M.A., F.S.A.
Richmond Herald Of Arms, College Of Arms
Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C. 4

I obtained copies of the different Pennington arms in so far as possible, and these appear on the following page.

Sir Joseph Pennington, a writer, Talbot passant. In mouth a pen.

Sir Joseph Pennington

Pennington Arms. From old silver in possession of descendant, Mrs. James de W. Cookman, Philadelphia.

Pennington Arms

Devonshire Pennington - a man's head, couped below shoulders in amour affronte between wings.

Devonshire Pennington

Cumberland Pennington - Mountain Cat, passant guardant, Proper: "Vincit-Amor Patricia"- For God and Country.

Cumberland & Essex Pennington

Essex Penningtons - Mountain Cat, passant guardant.

Cumberland & Essex Pennington

Pennington, Star between two wings.


Edward Pennington, son of Isaac the Quaker. Gold fussiels with Azure blue dots.

Edward Pennington

The Arms of Sir Isaac Pennington, sent with the report from J. P. Brooke-Little of the College of Arms.

Sir Issac Pennington

Sir John Pennington - very old and crudely drawn. Stag with sprig in mouth, five pointed stars on shield. Days of Edward IV. These crests and coats of arms must be rendered with minute care and precision as to satisfy those skilled in the science, and an exactness of detail which helps in describing the character of those to whom they were originally granted.

Sir John Pennington

Ephraim Pennington of New Haven, Conn. Probably related to Isaac Pennington, Lord Mayor of London. Arms- five fusils in fesse azure. Crest- A mountain cat, passant guardant, ppr.

Ephriam Pennington

The Baron Muncaster (Sir Josslyn Francis Pennington.) This has the Ducal crown; bridled white horse, and enraged lion, on either side are called Dexters. They denote royalty. The shield is gold with azure blue fussels.

Baron Muncaster

Daniel Penington (note one N in name) son of Robert, London merchant. Mountain cat, five pointed star in fess or forepaw. Star on shield. No Dexters, (Like Ephraim's, except has star on four paws.)

Daniel Penington

You will notice the Mountain Lion and five pointed star persist, and the Lion has a different position and appearance in different families.

In the Muncaster Arms, the helmet lined with red velvet represents a knight. The white horse, of all beasts the most noble and useful to man in war and peace, signifies readiness to aid king and country. The enraged lion with green oak leaves and acorns may mean that someone saved an important person from death, probably Henry IV when he took refuge at Muncaster Castle from his enemies. Mantling was originally a hood or cape worn over the helmet; this is of unusual design as it was many times torn in battle. The wreath holds the crest to the helmet. It has six alternate links of metal and color. The motto is "Vincit, Amor, Patria" - for God and Country.


Crests - 1 through 6 from Fairbairns Crests by James Fairbairns
10- American Armory and Blue Book- by Mathews
11- Burke's Peerage by Sir Edmund Burke
2 and 7- Heraldry in America by Eugene Zieber
8- College of Arms, London

The three words on the scroll of the Coats of Arms are "Vincit amor patriae"

"Vincit amor patriae" means "The love of my country prevails" or "Love of Country Conquers" which is the United States Army 28th Infantry Regiment's motto.   "Vincent amor patriae laudumque immensa cupido" means "The love of my country exceeds everything."

The following motto appears in English above the mountain cat of the original Baron Muncaster Crest.  "Firm, Vigilant, Active" -Virg. AEn. vi. 823 v. Muncaster b. Pennington

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