The Arms of the Carroll of Oriel Family

The arms of the Carroll of Oriel family are as follows:

Argent two lions respectant purpure armed and langued gules each regally gorged with an ancient Irish crown or supporting an heraldic fountain of the last and azure and on a wreath of the colours of the crest: on a tree stock couped erased and sprouting a heron all proper on a helmet mantled gules doubled argent and with the motto: Scutum Fidei.

These armorial ensigns were duly marshalled and assigned by the lawful authority of the Government of Ireland and have been duly ratified and recorded in the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is one of the very few republics that retain the services of a heraldic office at an official level. The Chief Herald and his staff are in fact civil servants under the authority of the National Library of Ireland.

The current head of the family, Dr. Vincent Carroll, considered it necessary to register the Coat of Arms so as to make it a legal document which, as a form of property, is inheritable. This prevents its misuse and misappropriation by others for whatever reasons and put the arms on a solid legal footing.

A heraldic office was established in 1552 by Edward VI. He appointed Bartholomew Butler as Ulster King of Arms which appointed him in fact as heraldic officer for all of Ireland. His role simply was to record titles and arms granted by English Monarchs to the new class of people coming to Ireland and claiming land from those to whom it had belonged for generations. As Irish titles and the gaelic legal system had been abolished he did not nor could not concern himself with Irish Arms or Titles. They did not exist from the point of view of King Edward VI and subsequent English Monarchs. In fact, an Act of 1587 stated that all Gaelic Titles would “henceforth cease, end, determined and be utterly abolished and extinct for ever”.

Needless to say Irish Gaelic Chieftains refused to accept this and of course the authority of Bartholomew Butler. This resulted in many Irish Coats of Arms being used without being recorded either at an official level or by a foreign Monarch depending on your point of view. These arms including the Carroll Arms are described as being “as used”. They have now been recorded by the modern Irish State as Dr. Carroll deemed that the time was right for this to happen. His preference would have been for this family’s Arms to be recorded by a Chief Herald with responsibility for the thirty two counties of Ireland as opposed to the twenty six counties which are under the authority of the Irish Chief Herald. In the six remaining counties which are part of the partitioned North East, the Ulster King of Arms who is based in London still assumes heraldic authority. However, Dr. Carroll reasoned that to have waited for the day when the Irish Chief Herald would have overall authority in Heraldic matters for the entire island of Ireland could have given opportunity to unscrupulous or malevolently motivated people to misappropriate the Coat of Arms so he deemed it necessary to give it the legal protection offered by the Irish Government.