John Radcliffe: Notes on Family Crests and Mottoes

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MSS 428-439
  • Dates of Creation
      Early 20th Century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      12 boxes.

Scope and Content

The collection comprises twelve boxes of notes on family crests and mottoes, mainly compiled from printed works by John Radcliffe of Greenfield near Oldham, Lancashire. The notes may have been assembled in preparation for a book on heraldry, though Radcliffe is not recorded as the author of any such work. The contents of the boxes are as follows:

  • Eng MS 428 (box 1): Family Mottoes, A to J;
  • Eng MS 429 (box 2): Family Mottoes, L to Z;
  • Eng MS 430 (box 3): Family Crests, Acorn to Birch;
  • Eng MS 431 (box 4): Family Crests, Bird to Cypress;
  • Eng MS 432 (box 5): Family Crests, Dagger to Fetterlock;
  • Eng MS 433 (box 6): Family Crests, Filbert to Hands;
  • Eng MS 434 (box 7): Family Crests, Hare to Lion;
  • Eng MS 435 (box 8): Family Crests, Lion to Moorsheads;
  • Eng MS 436 (box 9): Family Crests, Moorcock to Stag;
  • Eng MS 437 (box 10): Family Crests, Stag to Yoke;
  • Eng MS 438 (box 11): Index I, A to Le (14 stitched gatherings and one detached board);
  • Eng MS 439 (box 12): Index II, Le to Z (6 stitched gatherings and numerous loose sheets).
The first two boxes are arranged in alphabetical order of motto, with lists of the families who adopted each one. The section on family crests comprises textual descriptions of the crests, listing the families who boasted each crest. As well as family crests, this section includes the crests of towns and corporations. The notes are written on slips of lined paper. The index relates to the section on crests only.

The compiler may have been the same John Radcliffe who edited The parish registers of St Chad, Saddleworth, in the county of York, 2 vols (Uppermill: 1887 and 1891).

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The collection was bequeathed to the John Rylands Library by J. Radcliffe in March 1928.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Klett, project archivists.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MSS 428-439).