Recent information from the College of Arms in England confirms that the Visitation of Somerset 1623 accepted the use of the Jerrard Shield from 9th of Henry V or 20 Jan 1422 based on the continued use of a mediaeval sealed instrument from that time.
From our point of view, not expressed by the College in direct words, and because there is no record of the original grant in 1376, we can not today confirm the claim of a grant in 1376. (refer to section below).
The College of Arms, regarding the Crest, has stated that it has no official registered record and most probably was unofficially adopted by the family at some period of time prior to the publishing of Fairbairn’s published works in 1859. (refer to the section below). It must be noted that some scholars believe that most of the crests in Fairbairn’s opus are unauthorized.
Coat Of Arms or Shield
On page 53 of the 1912 Jerrard book the compiler states that the Sandford Orcas Jerrard coat of arms were granted in 1376. Quote “… as the Somerset and Dorsetshire J(G)errards only received their grant of arms in 1376, …”
We have been unable to find confirmation of this statement in any records, available to us, to date.
Scan, below, from the 1912 Book of the Coat Of Arms. The original coat of arms would not have the printed words in the red chevron.
“An Eagle displayed Or, charged with a Saltire, Sable”
“Jerard or Jerrard of Samford, Somers., an eagle displayed with two heads Or, charged with a saltier sa. [sa.=sable, in heraldic terms meaning black – edit note] Plate 74 number 1” from Fairbairn’s Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, being a fourth edition, revised and enlarged in two volumes. T.C. & E. C. Jack, London & Edinburgh, 1905. The preface states that the book of crests was first published in 1859 and passed through some number of editions.
(The picture should display the eagle in gold but all I had was a black and white of the crest.)
The symbolism of coats of arms and crests may be of value in showing early connections of family. In the Jerrard case, the Eagle of the crest, is said to be of the Geards of Camville, chalk area of Wiltshire, from the time 1066 to the 1300s. The Saltire meaning cross, black cross (sable), on the crest points to a connection with the crusades, as stated on page 60 of the Jerrard book of 1912.
Thus the crest may give us some indication of the family origins and their participation in the crusades.
I have to admit to a mistake on my part in that the cross displayed on the crest is a black cross not a white cross. The picture from Fairbairn’s Book (displayed below shows a white cross) but that may have been a result of the printing in black and white and the desire to show the cross thus having to depict it in white.
Now the proper colours displayed.