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There have been a number of different coats of arms, crests and mottoes assigned to the name Thornicroft over the years, depending on where the family was located at the time.  With no attempt to be all inclusive, here are at least a few varieties.

I have made an attempt to translate some of the Latin phrases and the heraldic terminology describing these into more contemporary English, but I've probably made some mistakes, so I'd welcome any corrections from someone who knows about these things!

Π- Thornycrofts of Thornycroft Hall, Prestbury, Macclesfield

"Vert, a mascle or, between four crosses crosslet argent"
(Green, a gold bar, between four silver crosses) .
"Over a mural coronet gules, a falcon volant proper, jessed, membered and beaked or, between two palm branches of the same"
(Over a walled red crown, a falcon flying upright, on a cord, with all body parts and a gold beak, between two gold palm branches).
This was the arms granted to the family branch at Milcomb, Oxfordshire.

 - Thorneycrofts of Hadley Park, Shropshire

As above.
As above.
"Fortis qui se vincit"
(Strong is he who conquers himself).

Ž - Sir John Isaac Thornycroft of Eyot Villa, Chiswick, London

As above.
A slight variation on the crest of #1 above:
"Upon battlements of a tower gules, a falcon rising proper belled and jessed or, between two branches of a thorn tree"
(On top of a red tower, a falcon rising upright wearing bells and a golden cord, between two branches of a thorn tree)
As #2 above

 - Edward Thornicroft of Thornicroft in Chester and John Thornicroft of St. Andrews, Holborn, London

As #2 above (you can see it on the crest at the top)
The crest associated with these names is shown in the upper left corner of the pages of this web site, and at full size below:

Thornicroft Crest Full.JPG (40715 bytes)

The following letter accompanies this crest:

Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms,
The College of Arms,
Queen Victoria Street,
London E.C.4.
Telephone: City 1188

3rd October 1961

Miss Jessie M. Thornicroft,
Lane End,

Further to my letter of 25th September, I now write to inform you of the results of the enquiries that I have made for you concerning the Crest and Motto used in your family.

The bird perched on a mural crown, both shown within the outlines of the shield, on your writing paper, is in fact a falcon and forms a major part of the Thornicroft Crest which is the year 1687 on the 29th of October was blazoned as follows: "Upon a Crown mural Gules a falcon volant proper jessed membred and beaked Or between two palm branches Gold."

The Arms accompanying the same were blazoned thus: "Vert a Mascle Or between four cross crosslets Argent."

The Arms and Crest so described were depicted in Letters Patent of the Kings of Arms granting the same, the occasion being that John Thornicroft of St. Andrews, Holborn, London, a Barrister at Gray's Inn, born 1st January 1661, had applied on behalf of himself and his elder brother, Edward Thornicroft of Thornicroft in Chester, A Captain of Horse for King Charles I, aged 73 in November 1687, that such Arms and Crest might be granted as might lawfully be borne and used by the said John and the said Edward and their descendants.

John Thornicroft died before the Grant was made, whereupon his son John Thornicroft petitioned that the Arms and Crest intended to have been granted as aforesaid might still be assigned in due form unto the said Edward Thornicroft and his descendants and likewise unto the descendants of John Thornicroft, deceased.

It is interesting to note that this apparent Grant of Arms and Crest was later by the Earl Marshal declared to be a confirmation of Arms, and not a Grant, and the Earl Marshal's certificate to this effect is dated 26th November 1602. The reason that moved the Earl Marshal so to declare was that Edward Thornicroft of Thornicroft, had petitioned as follows:

  1. That his family had been Thornicroft of Thornicroft in Cheshire for 400 years and upwards.
  2. That the family had been one of note, as would appear from their inter-marriage with families of gentry in Cheshire.
  3. That they wrote themselves "gentlemen" in the reign of Elizabeth.
  4. That as for the Arms, the family sealed with the same in 1632.
  5. That in a copy made of the Heralds Visitation of Cheshire in 1613, the pedigree of the family was entered down to that year with the Arms shown in colour and that in the year 1651 Lancaster Herald, exercising the Office of Norroy King of Arms, declared the said Arms to be the ancient Arms of Thornicroft of Thornicroft by Patent under his hand and seal.

In none of the documents above mentioned is any Motto for the family set out, but in a pedigree entered here in 1720/21 for Sir John Thornicroft of Thornicroft (son of the first named John Thornicroft of Gray's Inn above), there is a painting of the Arms of Thornicroft with an inescutcheon for Sir John's wife, Elizabeth Key, which has under it a Motto scroll "Fortis qui se vincit".  There would appear to be no doubt therefore that Sir John Thornicroft living in 1720 was the first to use this Motto.

The Visitation of Cheshire made in the year 1663/4 has an extensive pedigree of the family going back in unbroken line to Robert Thornecroft of Thornecroft who lived in the 18th year of the reign of Henry VII (ie circa 1500).

There are earlier occurrences of the name which in tentative form trace the line of the family back to one Hamo de Thornicroft who was living about 1300.

Yours sincerely,
(signed) A. Colin Cole


Copyright � Glen C Bodie, 1998-2003