Transcription of a letter sent to John Joseph POPE of Toronto, Ontario;

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

There is no doubt that the arms used by your family are those properly recorded for a North Country family of Garnet, or Garnett. The arms are entered in, amongst other places, the 1615 Heralds' Visitation of c.Durham, (C.23, folio 156d).

They may be blazoned Azure three Griffins' Heads erased Or. Equally, the coat with the griffin passant crest, as shown in the bookplate of J.Pope are given in Sir Bernard Burke's "The General Armory" (1884) for Pope of Cornwall.

A search in the official records shows that the coat in Burke is of no authority and could possibly have been adopted by virtue of a descent in a uterine line from a Garnet. Such things did happen. On the other hand, the coat could have been used by the Cornish family of Pope from relatively early times, but simply escaped the scrutiny of the heralds. It is well known that Cornish families were very independent in their attitude to heraldry and often used arms without authority until matters were put right at one of the periodic Visitations.

The reason whyI suspect that this may have been the case is that when arms were granted to Sir Thomas Pope of Dedington, co.Oxon, by Christopher Barker (Garter King of Arms, 1536-1550) they resembled the Cornish coat. The arms may be blazoned: Per pale Or and Azure on a Chevron between three Griffins' Heads erased four Fleurs de Lys all counerchanged. Crest: Two Dragons' Heads addorsed and erased per pale Or and azure gorged with a Ducal Coronet per pale counterchanged (E.D.N. 56, folio lld). The heads in the crest are frequently blazoned as griffins's heads emerging from a ducal coronet, but the record is unequivocal, the heads are those of dragons and the coronet environs their necks. As the arms were allowed to Sir Thomas Pope's brother William, at the Visitation of co.Oxford, in 1574 (F.l., folio 87r and G.3, folio 26r) it must be assumed that the grant to Sir Thomas was to him and the other descendants of his father William Pope of Dedington. We cannot, however, further assume that the arms applied to the descendants of William's [cousin], your ancestor, Hugh.

Further research shows that none of your ancestors either recorded a pedigree, or was in receipt of a grant of arms. All Pope entries were carefully checked to confirm this.

J.P. Brooke-Little, Richmond