A careful analysis of the text reveals:
No date is given for the Grant of Arms and Crest other than ‘[per
Camden Clarenc.]’, and the editors note. The Camden Clarenceux note is a 1623 2nd manuscript addition,
while the description of the Arms and Crest are primarily from the 1584 manuscript (rendered in italics). The number of arrows
which is given as three in each bundle, would appear to be derived from the 1569 manuscript (rendered as italics in parentheses).
This is significant in that there are descriptions in other sources of bundles of arrows consisting of four, five and more
arrows in a Benbow Coat of Arms.
William Camden was Clarenceux King of Arms from 1597 to 1623 (correspondence
to Dr. John A. Dick from W.G.Hunt, Windsor Herald of Arms, Oct.2000). This means that Callender and Britton erred in their
analysis which states that the Grant of Arms and Crest was made in 1584 (Callender and Britton p. 134-5). They may have arrived
at this date as a result of the Arms and Crest being rendered in italics which according to the editors code means it is derived
from the 1584 manuscipt. What they missed, is that the Camden reference signifying an official grant or confirmation is in
square brackets, so a 1623 addition.
However, the Visitation manuscripts do indicate that Benbows used a Coat of
Arms as early as the 1569 manuscript, and quite likely as early as Roger Benbow, circa 1475 (allowing 30 years per generation
of the pedigree). A fuller explanation of the Grant is explained in the correspondence from the College of Arms which I will
give on a separate page.
In terms of the Newport Arms as described in the College of Arms' Vincent Visitation notes, P.L. Dickinson,
Richmond Herald, in correspondence with W.R. Benbow in Feb.1998, gives the following description:
"The shield has two longbows, as in our registers, but on either side of them is a sheaf of three arrows bound
together, their points downwards. The crest comprises a harpy, but instead of an arrow through the neck, it has a wreath
of roses around the head."
This is of interest in that it indicates the arrows point downwards. Some Benbow Arms mistakenly show the
arrows pointing upwards.
The 1889 editors of the published Visitation note that John Benbow, son of
Roger and Margarett, is the officer shot in 1651 in Shrewsbury and buried at St. Chad’s. This is an important break
with Owen and Blakeway who mistakenly place the executed officer in the Cotton Hill line of Lawrence Benbow.
It is significant that the Coat of Arms as described, and as used by the Newport
branch of the Benbows for generations, is extremely close to that used by Admiral Benbow on the Alms dish. The only difference
being the arrow through the Harpy’s breast: the Newport Crest has no arrow, but rather a chaplet of scarlet roses wreaths
the Harpy’s head.
In addition, the Newport Benbow Arms bears a striking resemblance to the Medieval Arms found on a Kirton (Crediton)
Church window in Devonshire. The main difference being the number of arrows in each bundle. (Display of Heraldrie,
John Guillim, London, 1610)