Family Heraldry

Defending Sovereign, Church, and Country from the Forces of Darkness

As aristocrats with long histories, the families of Sir Differel Van Helsing are heraldic heirs; that is, they possess coats of arms and other heraldic devices that have been passed down through the generations along with their titles, estates, and wealth. They are as much a part of her heritage as her manor, the Order, and Vlad Drakulya. Though less important in the modern world than they have been in ages past, Sir Differel still cherishes them as symbols of a past she wishes hadn't disappeared.

Presented here are heraldic devices for the four main branches of Sir Differel's family tree and that of her husband, Victor Plunkett Lord Dunwich. The different variations are shown as the families intermarry and produce children. For a general explanation of heraldry, including definitions of terms, see About Heraldry.

See Sir Differel's family tree.

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Spencer Arms
Blazon: Quarterly; Argent; Gules, two Frets Or; over all on a Bend Sable three Escallops Argent
Description: This is the emblazon of the shield from the coat of arms of the Spencer family. As the daughter of an armiger, Arabella Spencer was able to display this device for her own use, however, she would not have been permitted to display it on a shield like this. Instead she would have used a lozenge, a cartouche, or a circle.

Churchill Arms
Blazon: Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules
Description: This is the emblazon for the shield from the coat of arms of the Churchill family. Possessing arms marked the Churchills and Spencers as upper gentry and entitled them to use the honourific "Esquire". This placed them above the lower gentry who were mere "Gentlemen"; of good breeding and gentle birth, but not entitled to bear arms. It also placed them just below Knights. In their specific case, this distinction only came about because of ancient usage; that is, they had borne their arms for centuries, long before the existence of any formal authoritative organization. But in typical chicken-and-egg fashion, British society assumed they possessed arms because of an ancestral right instead of realizing the right came from the possession.

Churchill-Spencer Marital Arms
Blazon: Parted per Pale; Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; in dimidiation; quarterly; Argent; Gules, two Frets Or; over all on a Bend Sable three Escallops Argent
Description: Being a woman, Arabella Spencer bore no arms of her own, and while she could bear her father's arms, being as she was not an heraldic heiress she could not pass them to her children. On top of which she was a younger daughter and thus had even less precedence than her older sister. When she married Sir Sebastian Churchill, she acquired the right to bear his arms, but British society expected that he would combine her father's arms with his own by impalement, in which he divided his shield in half using a vertical line, and placed the Churchill arms on dexter and the Spencer arms on the sinister. There was no legal requirement for him to do this, and she didn't demand it, but in gratitude for the dowry of the Denver estate that made him a baronet and out of respect for the prestige of her family, he decided to do so anyway. Unfortunately, since he made the change on his own without consulting the College of Arms, the Spencer arms were not truly impaled but were presented in dimidiation, or cut in half. Also, while Sir Sebastian was entitled to add an escutcheon bearing the emblem of a baronet, who chose not to do so.

Churchill-Spencer Children's Arms
Blazon: Quarterly; Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; quarterly; Argent; Gules, two Frets Or; over all on a Bend Sable three Escallops Argent
Description: When the children of Sir Sebastian and Arabella Churchill were born, they were entitled to bear both of their parents' arms, but as per the rules of heraldry, this was done by dividing the shield quarterly, with the Churchill arms on dexter and the Spencer arms on sinister. Thus they became one indivisible coat of arms. This was the device inherited by all the Churchills afterwards down to and including Dame Beatrice Churchill.

Van Helsing Arms
Blazon: Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or
Description: This is the emblazon for the shield from the coat of arms of the Van Helsing family. Abraham Van Helsing had never been particularly interested in heraldry until he became a part of British society and discovered that a coat of arms could elevate him from the status of a suspicious Germanic foreigner to that of a distinguished man of dignity.

Abraham Van Helsing Arms
Blazon: Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules surmounted by an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: Technically, Abraham Van Helsing was not an armiger. Not only did he have an older brother, his father had been a younger brother of the then-current armiger. As such, while he had a right to bear the arms and pass them on to his children, he did not own them. Nonetheless, Abraham petitioned Queen Victoria to grant him the Van Helsing arms as his own. She in turn issued a Royal Licence instructing the Earl Marshal, the head of the College of Arms, and the Kings of Arms to issue and record an exemplification to transfer the arms to Abraham. They complied, but in deference to his more senior cousins, they made a change: they added the Cross of St. George in a canton to distinguish Abraham's descendents from those of his cousins. They also included an escutcheon bearing the emblem of a baronet to signify that his descendents would inherit his wife's title.

Abraham Van Helsing Coat of Arms
Blazon: Shield: Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules surmounted by an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules; Crest: a demi-Eagle Displayed and Elevated Argent Beaked Or Langued Gules; Supporters: dexter, a Goat Salient Or Armed and Hoofed Gules; sinister, a Wolf Salient Proper; Motto: "Finis Coronat Opus"
Description: At the same he was having his family arms transferred to his name, Abraham Van Helsing also petitioned the Earl Marshal to grant a personal coat of arms. The Earl approved his petition based on his service to Great Britain and issued a Warrant to the Kings of Arms. The College then issued the Letters Patent authorising Abraham and his descendents to use these arms. Having been made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order entitled him to have supporters, and the badge of the RVO was included in the emblazon. The rest was artistic licence.

Abraham Van Helsing Heraldic Crest
Blazon: an Eagle Displayed and Elevated Argent Beaked Or Langued Gules; over all a Helm Visor Argent
Description: Crests are heraldic devices based on the crests included in coats of arms. Like the arms on the shield, the crest is meant to be unique for each person, hence it is often used separately from the arms as a design for indicating ownership. Abraham Van Helsing used the crest as a seal to sign personal correspondence and as a decoration on silver- and tableware, furniture, in windows, on door lintels, and more.

Abraham Van Helsing Heraldic Badge
Blazon: A Bear Or Couped on an Azure field surmounting a Purpure field; Motto "Hælsing: Finis Coronat Opus"
Description: Badges are heraldic devices that can be created and granted along with a grant of arms. While they belong to the armiger, they may be worn by anyone in his family, including descendents through female lines. They can also be worn by anyone who wishes to show allegiance to or association with the armiger, and they can be used to mark the armiger's property or as a seal for documents. Abraham Van Helsing had this badge created to be used on servant uniforms, as a form of ID for field agents, and to mark official documents and correspondence.

Van Helsing-Churchill Marital Arms
Blazon: Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules surmounted by an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules; on an Escutcheon of Pretense, Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules
Description: Unlike Arabella Spencer, Dame Beatrice Churchill was a heraldic heiress; her two brothers had died without issue, so when her father died she gained the right to pass his arms to her children. As such, when she married Abraham Van Helsing, he was required to combine her arms with his own. This was done by placing her arms in an Escutcheon of Pretense and superimposing that over the center of his arms. However, the College of Arms ruled that, since Sir Sebastian Churchill had combined his arms with those of wife as a courtesy, the Spencer arms did not need to be included. Dame Beatrice did not object, so only the Churchill arms were placed in the escutcheon.

Van Helsing-Churchill Children's Arms
Blazon: Quarterly; Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules; Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: When the children of Abraham and Beatrice Van Helsing were born, their arms were created by quarterly division, with the Van Helsing arms on dexter and the Churchill arms on sinister, with the inescutcheon bearing the emblem of the baronetcy superimposed over the center. This was the device inherited by all the Van Helsings down to and including Sir Henry Van Helsing, Sir Differel's father.

Pendragon Arms
Blazon: Purpure, between two Bezants on a Pile Or a Dragon Rampant Gules
Description: This is the emblazon of the lozenge from the coat of arms of the Pendragon family. It was based on the ancient Pen Draig arms: Or, a Dragon Rampant Gules. Though the Pendragons didn't use armorial bearings per se, they did use the arms as a crest or a badge for seals and to identify themselves to their supporters. When the College of Arms was created in the late 15th century, the then Pendragon tried to register the arms as an ancestral right through ancient usage. The College denied her request being as she was a women and because they were skeptical of her claim to be descended from King Arthur. She went before the Court of Arms and argued her case to the Earl Marshal, citing numerous documents that established her ancestors were all heraldic heiresses and that they did all descend from Arthur Pendragon. The Earl found in her favor on the basis that, while pushing the letter of the Law of Arms almost to the breaking point, she more than satisfied the requirements in spirit. However, he also ruled that otherwise she and her descendents must follow the Law exactly from that time forward. For example, they cannot display the arms on a shield, and if any of them ever have sons, the arms must pass through them and their descendents rather than the daughter. Also, the Earl sent a Warrant to the College instructing the Kings of Arms to modify the design so as to set it apart from legend.

Van Helsing-Pendragon Marital Arms
Blazon: Parted per Pale, Baron and Femme; parted per Fess; Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules; Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; Purpure, between two Bezants on a Pile Or a Dragon Rampant Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: When Gwendolyn Pendragon agreed to marry Sir Henry Van Helsing, she asked that her arms not be placed in an Escutcheon of Pretense over the Van Helsing arms. Her concern was two-fold: she didn't like the idea of Sir Henry claiming, if only symbolically, to be the head of her family, or that the Pendragons were being absorbed into his family. He agreed, and he petitioned the Earl Marshal to redesign the arms as per their request. The Earl denied their petition, though mostly because the new emblazon would be restricted to the marital arms, but they went ahead with the new design on their own.

Van Helsing-Pendragon Children's Arms
Blazon: Parted per Pall Inverted; Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules; Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; Purpure, between two Bezants on a Pile Or a Dragon Rampant Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: Before Sir Differel was born, but while Gwendolyn was pregnant, she and Sir Henry devised what would be the arms of their children. It didn't follow the rules as set forth in the Law of Arms, but they wanted them to represent the merging of three great families. They expected these would be the family arms for generations to come, until a Van Helsing married another daughter of an armiger.

Plunkett Arms
Blazon: Sable, on a Bend below a Tower Embattled Argent a Sun in its Splendor Gules dexter chief
Description: This is the emblazon of the shield from the coat of arms of the Plunkett family. When Lord Harold Plunkett became the 1st Viscount Dunwich, he petitioned the Earl Marshal for a mark of difference to set his arms off from the other Plunkett families. The Heralds at the College added a Sun in its Splendor Gules, to signify glory and magnanimity.

Plunkett Coat of Arms
Blazon: Shield: Sable, on a Bend below a Tower Embattled Argent a Sun in its Splendor Gules dexter chief; Crest: a Horse Passant Argent; Supporters: dexter, a Pegasus Rampant Wings Addorsed Proper; sinister, an Antelope Rampant Proper; Motto: "Peace Through Strength"
Description: This is the emblazon of the coat of arms for the Plunkett family. The heralds at the College of Arms used the same emblazon used by the other family branches, adding only the new shield and changing the crest.

Plunkett Crest
Blazon: an Ax Reversed Gules; over all a Horse Passant Argent on a Torse Sable and Argent
Description: When Lord Harold Plunkett petitioned the Earl Marshal for a mark of difference to distinguish his family's arms from the standard Plunkett arms, he also asked for a crest to use for seals and decorations. The Heralds at the College of Arms came up with this design to honour the family's military heritage and its love of horses.

Plunkett-Van Helsing Marital Arms
Blazon: Sable, on a Bend below a Tower Embattled Argent a Sun in its Splendor Gules dexter chief; on an Escutcheon of Pretense, parted per Pall Inverted; Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules; Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; Purpure, between two Bezants on a Pile Or a Dragon Rampant Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: When Sir Differel married Lord Victor Plunkett, as an heraldic heiress she was entitled to place her family arms in an Escutcheon of Pretense over the Plunkett arms.

Plunkett-Van Helsing Children's Arms
Blazon: Quarterly, four arms; first, Sable, on a Bend below a Tower Embattled Argent a Sun in its Splendor Gules dexter chief; second, Purpure, between two Bezants on a Pile Or a Dragon Rampant Gules; third, Azure, a Bear Or Couped, a chief Embattled Purpure, a Crown Mural Or, on a canton Argent a Cross Gules; fourth, Sable, a Lion Rampant Argent, over all a Bendlet Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: Shortly after Henry was born, Sir Differel and Victor decided on an emblazon for his arms and those of his children. It featured the arms of the four major families that made up his ancestry, divided baron and femme. She would not have objected had he insisted upon using his own family's arms for simplicity, but as with Henry's hyphenated surname, he believed it was both appropriate and necessary to remind their son of his heritage, and she did not disagree.

Sir Differel Van Helsing Arms
Blazon: Parted per Fess; Gules, a Talbot Sejant Reversed and a Cat Sejant Erect Gardant Aspectant, between a Rook and a Bezant, Or; parted per Pale; Azure, a Bear Couped Or; Or, a Dragon Rampant Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules
Description: This is the emblazon of the shield from the coat of arms of Sir Differel Van Helsing. Among the rewards she received as the Hero of Britain, she was given the right to petition the Earl Marshal for personal armorial bearings, and unlike her other rewards, this one she accepted gladly. She treats the shield as a personal emblem in lieu of a crest. However, she doesn't make as much use of it as her ancestors did the Hælsing badge made for Sir Abraham Van Helsing, being as she prefers to sign documents and correspondence with her own name, and use the Caerleon Order crest on official documents and correspondence. Mostly she uses it for decoration and on banners and standards.

Sir Differel Van Helsing Coat of Arms
Blazon: Shield: Parted per Fess; Gules, a Talbot Sejant Reversed and a Cat Sejant Erect Gardant Aspectant, between a Rook and a Bezant, Or; parted per Pale; Azure, a Bear Couped Or; Or, a Dragon Rampant Gules; over all an Inescutcheon Argent, a Sinister Hand Couped at the Wrist and Erected Gules; Crest: a Bat Displayed Proper; Supporters: dexter, a Gryphon Rampant Segreant Proper; sinister, a Cockatrice Addorsed and Elevated Proper; Motto: "This Line Shall Not Be Crossed"
Description: This is the emblazon of the coat of arms for Sir Differel Van Helsing. Though she provided input on the design and ultimately accepted it, she doesn't really like it, being as she disagrees with some of the symbolism used, and it too prominently displays honours she believes she does not deserve. However, there are a few times and situations when and where she must use it despite her misgivings. For example, in the entry halls of her manor, castles, and mansion she displays banners that have her full arms, and their great halls have carved and painted wooden plaques that bear the arms as well. One of her castles, Camdel, features the arms carved in stone on an exterior wall, and she keeps the letters patent that authorize her to use these arms framed on a wall in her office.

Sir Differel Van Helsing Heraldic Badge
Blazon: a Bat Displayed Proper between two vertical Crescents, above Reversed Or, below Azure, surrounded by a Civic Wreath Vert
Description: This is the emblazon of the badge for Sir Differel Van Helsing. It was created by the heralds at the College of Arms along with her coat of arms to be used as a personal emblem, but she likes it even less than her full arms, and uses her shield emblazon instead. In her opinion, it promotes her as a hero, which she feels is wrong.

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We Hold the Line, and This Line Shall Not Be Crossed!