TITUS COAT OF ARMS: The Titus Coat of Arms was awarded to the Titus family, specifically to Silas Titus, assumed to be the half-brother of Robert who came to America with his wife, Hannah and two sons in 1635. According to heraldic "rules" a family passes the coat of arms down through the eldest son. In this case Silas Titus had only daughters, so the entitlement to bear the Titus coat of arms died with him. An article entitled Arms and the Woman by J. Shaw throws some light on those rules as they would apply to any of Silas Titus's daughters. Shaw writes:
"In the February edition of 'Lancashire' I pointed out that the use of arms by a wife presented difficulties, as there is nothing in heraldic rules to give official sanction to how this should be done. This omission arises from the fact that heraldry developed at a period in history when a married woman was of little importance as an individual (shades of Feminine Lib!). As an unmarried
heiress she was important to suitors in that the arms, titles, and estates of her family were carried by her to her husband. As a widow she was important, bearing the titles of her husband, and often acting as regent for her young children.
But as a married woman she lost her individual identity, all rights and inheritance became the property of her husband. He even claimed peerage honours and titles that had descended to the wife, and would sit in parliament as a peer in his wife's peerage. These rights only changed in comparatively modern times with the passing of the Married Women's Property Act.
So the use of arms by a woman falls into three clearly defined areas, as an unmarried woman, as a married woman, and as a widow.
Every woman is entitled to bear, on a lozenge, the arms, quarterings and difference marks which belonged to her father. If her mother was an heiress she adds her mother's arms and quarterings to her father's, marshalling them into correct sequence on the lozenge. If she is an heiress these arms pass via her husband to her children. If she has living brothers or their descendants she is not an heiress so the arms she bore as a spinster, and on marriage impaled with her husband's, will on her death (or divorce) cease to appear on her husband's shield and will not be passed on to her children.
In actual fact, though she might bear many quarterings on her lozenge, it is incorrect to show more than her patronal coat when either impaled or bourne on an inescutcheon of pretence by her husband. No woman, save a Sovereign, can inherit, use or transmit crest or motto, helmet or mantling."
Silas Titus was born in 1622 and prior to 1632 the family moved to Bushey in Hertfordshire, England. He died in 1704 and is buried in the chancel of the parish church of St. James at Bushey, along with his father, Silas, and other members of his family.
In the rebellion led by Oliver Cromwell when the English parliament raised an army against King Charles I, Silas obtained a Captain's commission and took part in the siege of Donnogton Castle in 1644. He soon disapproved of the course taken by the independants and joined the forces of the King and subsequently was of great service to both Charles I and Charles II.
On Jun. 4, 1647, Silas brought word to the House of Commons of the capture of King Charles I. Silas had helped in Charles' attempt to escape, but was unsuccessful and Charles was later tried and executed. Upon the restoration of King Charles II, Silas was rewarded for his services and was made a "gentleman of the bedchamber" to Charles II. He was a member of parliament and a Knight of his Shire for many years.
For his service to both Kings, Charles I, and Charles II, Silas Titus was awarded by Charles II the augmentation to his arms of the lion of England "or [gold] on a chief embattled gules [red]." This is the basis of the Titus Coat of Arms.
Incidentally, I have found a record of Silas Titus being appointed to a Council for Foreign Plantations at 500 pounds per year by Charles II by Royal Commission on Jul. 30, 1670. That was an enormous sum at that time. I have often wondered if there was any communication with his elder brother, Robert who had been exposed to all the hardships of the New World, and with his wife, Hannah who, when she died, had a total estate of 50 pounds.
Here is the description of the Titus Coat of Arms from Crozier's General Armory, p. 127: "1st and 4th: or on a chief gules, a lion passant guardant of the field. 2nd and 3rd; gyronny of eight or and azure, on an escutcheon argent a blackamoor's head couped sable wreathed round the temple argent and azure. A blackamoor's head couped at the shoulders wreathed round the head argent and sable."
I am far from being an expert in heraldry, but here is my explanation: The 1st to 4th refer to the quarters of the shield of the arms. They are numbered as follows; (1) top left, (2) bottom left, (3) top right, and (4) bottom right.
In this case the 1st and 4th quarters are each divided horizontally in two parts. The upper third (chief) is red (gules) and has a lion passant (walking and looking to the right side with three paws on the ground and the right forepaw raised). The 2nd and 3rd quarters have a gyronny (the quarter is divided into eight parts with a vertical and a horizontal line, and diagonal lines) of alternate gold and blue, with a small shield in the centre containing a negro's head couped (cut) with a wreath around the temple of silver and blue. On top of the shield is the crest, consisting of another blackamoor's head, this time with shoulders, with a wreath around the temple of silver and sable (black).
I have a photocopy of a few pages of the pamphlet written by Captain (later Colonel) Silas Titus which caused quite a fuss among Cromwell and his supporters. So much so that Cromwell was said not to have slept twice in the same location once he had read it. Below is my translation of the first two pages in the old script of an edition printed in 1743, almost 100 years after the event.
I also have copies of fifteen letters written by King Charles the First to Colonel Silas Titus while Silas was trying to aid his escape from Carisbrook Castle from November, 1647 to November, 1648. This was twelve years after his older half-brother had left for the New World.
KILLING NO MURDER
(Originally applied to O. Cromwell)
A Discourse proving it lawful to kill a Tyrant according to the Opinion of the most celebrated Ancient Authors.
By Col. Titus, alias William Allen
Do we remember any Engagements, or if we do, have we "any Shame in breaking them? Can any Man think with Patience upon what we have professed, when he sees "what we wildly do, and tamely suffer? What have we of Nobility amongst us but the Name, the Luxury, and the Vices of it? Poor Wretches, those that now carry "that Title, are so far from having any of the Virtues, that should grace and adorn it, that they have not so much as the generous Vices that attend Greatness; they have lost all Ambition and Indignation." etc.
'See Page 34 LONDON
Re-Printed for the Heirs of Junius Brutus, in that memorable Year 1743
(Price Six Pence)
To his Highness OLIVER CROMWELL
May it please your Highness how I have spent some Hours of the Leisure your Highness has been pleased to give me, this following Paper will give your Highness an Account; how you will please to interpret it I cannot tell, but I can with Confidence say, my Intention in it is, to procure your Highness that justice no body yet does you, and to let the people see the longer they defer it, the greater Injury they do both themselves and you. To your Highness justly belongs the Honour of dying for the people; and it cannot choose but be an unspeakable Consolation to you in the last moments of your life, to consider, with how much Benefit to the World you are like to leave it. 'Tis then only (my Lord) the Titles you now usurp will be truly yours, you will then be indeed the Deliverer of your Country, and free it from a Bondage little inferior to that from which Moses deliver'd his: You will then be that true Reformer, which you would now be thought; Religion shall then be restored, Liberty asserted, and Parliaments have those Privileges they have fought for: We shall then hope that other Laws will have Place besides those of the Sword, and that Justice shall be otherwise defined, than the Will and Pleasure of the strongest; and we shall then hope Men will keep Oaths again, and not have the Necessity of being false and perfidious to preserve themselves, and be like their Rulers: All this we hope from your Highness happy Expiration, who are the true father of your Country: for while you live, we can call nothing ours, and it is from your death that we hope for our Inheritances: Let this Consideration arm and fortify your Highness's Mind against Fears of Death, and the Terrors of your evil Conscience, that the Good you will do by your Death, will somewhat balance the Evils of your Life. And if in the black Catalogue of High Malefactors, few can be found that have lived more to the Affliction and Disturbance of Mankind, than your Highness hath done; yet your greatest Enemies will not deny, but there are likewise as few that have expired more to the universal Benefit of Mankind, than your Highness is like to do. To hasten this great Good is the chief End of my writing this Paper, and if it have the Effects I hope it will, your Highness will quickly be out of the Reach of Mens Malice, and your Enemies will only be able to wound you in your Memory, which strokes you will not feel. That your Highness may be speedily in this Security, is the universal Wishes of your grateful Country; this is the Desire and Prayers of the Good and of the Bad, and it may be, is the only thing wherein all Sects and Factions do agree in their Devotions, and is our only Common Prayer. But amongst all that put in their Requests and Supplications for your Highness speedy Deliverance from all earthly Troubles, none is more assiduous nor more fervent than he, that with the rest of the Nation hath the Honour to be (May it please your Highness)
Your Highness's present Slave and Vassal, W.A.