Achievement of arms
November 2006 / November 2013

Derivative arms

DOZENS of South African coats of arms are derived from other arms, especially those of 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century colonial governors. Some derivative arms also have derivatives of their own.

Here's a selection. To keep this page to manageable length, I've included only those arms from which at least five others have been derived.

Derivatives of personal arms

Van Riebeeck and derivatives : Van Riebeeck - Cape Town - Wynberg - UCT Medical Students - Cape Field Artillery - SA Museum.

Jan van Riebeeck — The coat of arms of the founder of the first Dutch settlement in South Africa (in 1652) has been incorporated into, or alluded to in, at least four dozen arms, most of them in the Western Cape. They include: seventeen local authorities, fifteen educational institutions, seven corporate bodies, seven military and naval units, three masonic district lodges, three official bodies, two hospitals and a medical school, and two sports clubs. No doubt there are more.

Van der Stel and derivatives : Van der Stel - Stellenbosch - SAS Simon vd Stel.
Van Reede and derivatives : Van Reede - Paarl Divisional Council - Oudtshoorn.

Simon van der Stel — This later Cape governor (in office 1679-99) is acknowledged in at least twenty coats of arms, including those of nine schools, five local authorities, three corporate bodies, and three military and naval units. Most are in the Stellenbosch district, which he founded in 1679 and named after himself.

Van Reede — A Dutch aristocratic family which left its mark on the Western Cape. Baron Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein was a high-ranking official after whom the Drakenstein valley (in the Paarl district) was named. His cousin Baron Pieter van Reede van Oudtshoorn was deputy governor and later governor-designate of the colony, and the town and district of Oudtshoorn were named after his granddaughter. The Van Reede arms appear in at least a dozen impersonal arms in the Paarl and Oudtshoorn districts, including those of eight local authorities, two educational institutions, a military unit, and a police college.

De Mist and a derivative : De Mist - KwaNobuhle.
Graham and a derivative : Graham - Grahamstown.

Jacob Uitenhage de Mist — This Dutch official's coat of arms is alluded to or incorporated in, at least nine arms in the Uitenhage district, among them those of four local authorities, three schools, an Anglican diocese, and a military unit.

Col John Graham of Fintry — He founded the frontier military post of Grahamstown in 1812, and his arms have formed the basis of the arms of several institutions in the district, including those of six educational institutions, four local authorities, and a hospital.

Somerset derivatives : Beaufort West - Worcester.
Grey and a derivative : Grey - Greyton.

Lord Charles Somerset — This 19th-century British governor (in office 1814-26) was descended from England's medieval royal family, the Plantagenets, and bore a differenced version of the 14th-century royal coat of arms. His portcullis crest features in arms in the districts of Beaufort West, Somerset West, and Worcester, including those of six local authorities, a chamber of commerce, a school, a military unit, and a sports club.

Sir George Grey — This governor's arms, which are also of medieval origin, form the basis of those of at least half a dozen places named after and/or founded by him, including four schools, a hospital, and a municipality.

Derivatives of civic arms

Two major cities' arms also have derivatives, borne by organisations and institutions associated with them.

Johannesburg and derivatives : Johannesburg - Johannesburg Hospital - Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Pretoria and derivatives : Pretoria - Kalafong Hospital - Pretoria Philatelic Society.

Johannesburg — The original city arms (1907-97) are alluded to in, or incorporated into, those of at least fourteen bodies, among them seven military units, two other local authorities, two schools, a hospital, a sports club, and a stock exchange. The gold battery stamp is the most commonly used element of the arms.

Pretoria — The former civic arms (1907-2000) have influenced those of more than a dozen bodies, including: seven educational institutions, two associations, two hospitals, two military units, and a Roman Catholic diocese. The bee, which represented industry on the city arms, is the most widely-used element of the arms.

From France to the Free State

France > Cape > Kimberley > Oppenheimer > Welkom

There is an interesting chain of coats of arms that links a Free State mining town with medieval France.

The French arms depicted three gold fleurs de lis. In 1875, the fleurs de lis were incorporated into the arms of the Cape Colony, to represent the 17th-century French Huguenot settlers.

Later, the Kimberley municipality used them, and other elements of the colonial arms, in the municipal coat of arms. In 1921, Kimberley mining magnate Sir Ernest Oppenheimer borrowed the fleurs de lis from the town arms for his own.

He later supported the establishment of the town of Welkom, and to honour him the Welkom municipality included a fleur de lis in its arms, which were registered in 1961.

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© Arthur Radburn
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