The Wimsey Familyby C W SCOTT-GILES
Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary
A Fragmentary History compiled from correspondence with
Second edition, published by the Dorothy L Sayers Society
ISBN 978-0-9545636-2-2, hardback 83pp
During the nineteen thirties and forties Dorothy L Sayers had a long and continuing correspondence with C W Scott-Giles, Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary, a man extremely knowledgeable in heraldry. Together they explored the history of the Wimsey family taking it back as far as the Norman Conquest. Mr Scott-Giles used this correspondence to present the Wimsey family history and illustrated it with his own heraldic drawings. The history is, of course, fascinating and tells of such outré characters as Lord Mortimer Wimsey, the Hermit of the Wash; Baron Fulk de Wimsey, or Guimsey, who encouraged King Richard I to persist in the siege of Acre; Viscount St. George, son of the tenth Duke of Denver, and his “nine-days-wonder” marriage in 1751; and Roger de Guimsey who followed Duke William in his invasion of England in 1066.
Among the illustrations are the Wimsey Arms: sable, three mice courant argent; Crest: a domestic cat crouched as to spring, proper, etc; and a monumental brass of Gerald de Wimsey, first Baron, c.1235-1300.
With a continuing rise in popularity of Dorothy L Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels, this little volume, delightfully tongue-in-cheek, in a blue-stocking way, will undoubtedly appeal to a very wide readership.
About the author
Apart from C W Scott-Giles’s main area of work as Secretary to a professional institution, he had a flourishing career as a writer over nearly half a century. His first book, The Romance of Heraldry, was published in 1929, and he wrote eight further books, mainly on heraldic or historical subjects. In 1957 his work in heraldry was recognised by his appointment as one of Her Majesty’s Officers of Arms, with the title “Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary”. He attended the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament and other ceremonial occasions, including the investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon. He died in 1982.
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