Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Valour not garlands

Chester architect John Douglas (1829-1911) designed a number of buildings in the city of Chester on behalf of the Grosvenor family – the Dukes of Westminster.  

This Dutch style red brick building by the Eastgate was the Midland Bank (which later became HSBC).

The coat of arms is that of the Dukes of Westminster and the motto translates variously as “Virtue not pedigree” (the preferred translation of the Westminsters); “Valour not garlands”; or. more simply, “Courage”. 

The dogs on the coat of arms are talbots; predominantly white hunting dogs now extinct because of lack of purpose and the need for constant care.  The talbot has been credited with being an ancestor of the modern beagle and bloodhound. The term talbot is used in heraldry to refer to a good-mannered hunting dog.  I have mentioned talbots before in the context of inn signs.


  1. It's a grand building. To think it was younger than I am now when I was born.

  2. I think I've heard Talbot as a surname but never associated it with a dog...

  3. Valour not garlands -- i like that. To me it speaks of doing what is right for the sake of right, not for the sake of getting credit for it.

  4. How interesting about Talbot. I was surprised to realise that the old Ford Talbot of the 1950s reminds me oddly of that hunting dog. I can't really believe that this was why they called the car that name - after all there is a limit to how closely a dog can resemble a car! I must admit I had always assumed a talbot was a mythical creature, such as a griffin is.


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