by David Williams [1]


A black lion rampant, crowned or uncrowned, single or double-tailed, was used as coat-armour by the Morleys, the Burnells, and the Cressys from the 13th century. This led to a dispute during the 14th century between the Morleys and the Burnells, and the latter's relatives the Lovells, as to who had the right to use the arms Argent, a lion sable crowned or. This paper explores the background to the controversy; examines recorded variations to the disputed arms; and reviews the conflicting narratives and evidence presented to the Court of Chivalry in the causes of Burnell v. Morley (1347) and Lovell v. Morley (1385–1391). Differencing of the disputed arms by the Burnells with a bordure azure raises the question as to whether this was for cadency or for another purpose. Although the genealogies of some families with which both the Morleys and the Burnells had links do reveal relationships, nothing points to them having a common interest in the disputed arms by virtue of a descent in blood and arms from a common ancestor. Lack of evidence precludes a firm conclusion being reached, but it seems more likely that the differencing was for non-relationship, and took the form of and was meant as a change in the Burnell arms.

Foundations (2022) 15: 122-152                           © Copyright FMG and the author

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