In the early Middle Ages, when local Feudal Lords were choosing their coats of arms, they often used similar elements (known as charges) from the coat of arms of their Feudal Overlord. This was especially so with regard to the local lords in the Hoby district.
Following the Norman conquest of England, Geoffrey de Montbray, bishop of Coutances, was granted some 280 English manors. His heir, his brother Roger’s son, Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, was forfeited and imprisoned for life on rebelling in 1095. His lands were confiscat- ed and he was forced to divorce his wife, Matilda de L’Aigle, daughter of Richer de L’Aigle, Lord of L’Aigle. His Mowbray lands would pass with her to her new husband, a royal favourite, Nigel d’Aubigny.
Roger d’Aubigny (of Saint-Martin-d’Aubigny) had two sons, Nigel and William, who were ardent supporters of Henry I. They were rewarded by him with great estates in England. William was made king’s butler, and was father of William d’Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel; Nigel was reward- ed with the marriage, by dispensation, with the former wife of Robert de Mowbray, the impris- oned earl, and with the escheated fief of her former husband in Normandy and a number of lands in England. After a decade of childless marriage, he would divorce Matilda and remarry in 1118 to Gundred de Gournay (died 1155), daughter of Gerard de Gournay, lord of Gournay. They had one son by that marriage, Roger, who took the surname of Mowbray from his major Norman seat. Roger, a great lord with a hundred knight’s fees, was captured with King Stephen at the battle of Lincoln, joined the rebellion against Henry II (1173), founded abbeys, and went on crusade. His grandson William, a leader in the rising against King John, was one of the 25 barons of the Magna Carta, as was his brother Roger, and was captured fighting against Henry III at the rout of Lincoln (1217).
William’s grandson Roger de Mowbray (1266–1298), was summoned to parliament by Edward I, by which act he is held to have become the first Lord Mowbray. He was father of John (1286– 1322), a warrior and warden of the Scottish March, who, joining in Thomas of Lancaster’s revolt, was captured at Boroughbridge and hanged. His wife, a Braose heiress, added Gower in South
Wales and the Bramber lordship in Sussex to the great possessions of his house. Their son John de Mowbray, 3rd Baron Mowbray (d. 1361) was father, by Joan of Lancaster, a daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, of John, Lord Mowbray (c. 1328–1368), whose fortunate alliance with the heiress of John de Segrave, 4th Baron Segrave, by the heiress of Edward I’s son Thomas, earl of Norfolk and marshal of England, crowned the fortunes of his race. In addition to a vast accession to their lands, the earldom of Nottingham and the marshalship of England were bestowed on them by Richard II, and the dukedom of Norfolk followed.
At the 1st Dunstable Tournament in 1308 Sir John Mowbray, banneret, bore “Gules a lion rampant argent” (a white/silver lion on a red shield) as did his father, Roger. In the Caerlaverock Poem of 1295 we are told that Nicholas de Seagrave abandonded his father’s arms of, “Sable three garbs ar- gent” (three white/silver wheatsheaves on a black shield) in favour of, “Sable a lion rampant argent crowned or”(a white/silver lion with a gold/yellow crown on a black shield). It is very probable that Nicholas did this to reflect the allegiance to John, Lord Mowbray
The new arms of Seagrave
Similar differences are to be found in the coats of arms of the armigers (men who bore a coat of arms) of Kirkby, Kirby Bellars, Sutton Cheney (a manor east-south-east of Leicester and one of the manors belonging to the de Houby family) and, much later, Dilke of Kirkby.
Roberts of Sutton Cheney
Dilke of Kirkby Mallory
References; Various early medieval Rolls of Arms, “Feudal Pedigrees” – Foster, Wikimedia, “The Dilke Pedigree”, Samson Lennard, Bluemantle, 1619, and personal papers.
Dr Bernard Juby, Hon. FHS, etc.