A Farewell to Arms



Despite the protestations made in various privately printed pedigrees, there has only been one Bedford line with a verifiable claim to hold Arms -- granted in 1677 to Thomas Bedford of London (1641 - abt. 1698), who worked as “Deputy Register of the High Court John S. Bedford Esq., of Pendrea, Cornwallof the Admiraltie of England”, also Examiner, Translator and Interpretor of Foreign Languages in the same place: Arms. Argent three Lion’s Gambs couped erect a bordure engrailed Sable [Certificates of the Gentry I.30 p.76] Crest: On a Wreath (untinctured) A demi Lion Sable crowned and holding between the paws a terrestrial Globe Or [3d. Book of Grants p.75 -- c1678], the motto being “Redde suum Cuique” (“Render to each his own”) — not “Animum fortuna sequitur” (“Fortune follows courage”), “Vérité sans peur” (“Truth without fear”), or even “Che sarà sarà” (“What will be will be”, echoing Marlowe’s spelling of the Italian in Doctor Faustus), as sellers of family crests would have it.

Although not registered at the College of Arms, John Sargent Bedford of Pendrea, Cornwall (19 May 1803 - 02 March 1856) adopted the French motto recorded above, confirmed by Burke’s A Visitation of Arms (Volume II, p. 41), which lists

    Arms. Arg., three lions’ gambs, couped, within a bordure engrailed sable [mimicking Thomas of London, above]
   Crest. An eagle rising from an anchor, arg.]

Thomas had no son, only one known surviving daughter, thus the Bedford Arms died with him.



A false claim was made by both Edwin Jackson Bedford and John George Hawkesley Bedford in their twinned Pedigrees of the Family of Bedford of Hull, Dewsbury, Penistone, etc., co. York (privately printed in 1879 and 1914 respectively) that the name Bedford of Oughtibridge Crestof Robert Bedford of Dewsbury (d. Jan. 1626/27) was entered at the Heralds’ College; both included the following description of the “ANCIENT ARMORIAL BEARINGS OF BEDFORD . ---- Argent, three lions’ or bears’ paws couped within a border engrailed sable.  These arms were granted probably to one of the Bedfords of Hull previous to the establishment of the Heralds’ College.  They have frequently been borne by later generations of the family.” Continued misrepresentations of the line’s armigerous status, including publication of a précis of the Yorks. Pedigree on page 8 of The Leeds Mercury on Saturday 09 June 1883, led to a public rebuke from the Somerset Herald, Stephen Tucker, printed in Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Vol. IV, New Series (p. 244) in 1884 – he had in fact rejected their submission to the College of Arms while acting as Rouge Croix. Errors originating in their versions of the Bedford Pedigree persist online to this day, significantly impeding Bedford of Oughtibridge Armsaccurate identification of their lineage prior to 1700.

John Bedford (b. 26 May 1815, Pensitone), father of John George Hawkesley Bedford and first cousin once removed to Edwin Jackson Bedford, resolved the family’s unauthorised use of bearings with the Heralds’ College after discovering that their Bedford line was in fact not registered, requesting a warrant for the granting and assigning of proper arms and crest (researched by Rouge Croix, Norf: 14, pp. 194 ff). Registration of variant arms took place on 28 August 1878 – adding a third paw above, with chevron beneath, mantled by terrestrial globe on paw – with Grayson (John’s mother’s maiden name) & Hall (his maternal grandmother’s maiden name) to be borne as quarterings: See Grantees of Arms Named in Docquets and Patents Between The Years 1687 And 1898 [Publications of the Harleian Society, Vol. LXVII]: BEDFORD, John, of Oughtsbridge and Birley House, co. York, [19 Nov.] 1878, // Vol. LX, fol. 194.  (Berry’s Suppl.)  [Misc. G. et H., New. S., III, p. 189.] The earliest ancestor of this line as accepted by the College of Arms, contrary to the twin Pedigrees’ assertions, was Robert Bedford of Smithey Brooke (b. circa 1680); his parentage remains unconfirmed, but he may well link back to the Bedfords of Dewsbury as claimed.