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Robert Ian Neilson Gordon

Registration number 20080329A

This certifies that the heraldic arms of Robert Ian Neilson Gordon which marshal his arms of original design and the arms that honor his maternal grandfather Duncan Hamilton Neilson (1885 – 1976) are registered and described by the blazon below

Arms: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Or a Hart’s Head caboshed proper on a Pile Gules three Mural Crowns conjoined in pile Or (for Gordon), 2nd and 3rd, per chevron Argent and Or, in chief two sinister hands couped and erect Gules and in base on a torteau a cinquefoil Ermine (for Neilson).
Crest: Between two Wings Gules a Griffin’s Head Or armed Gules holding in the beak a Gem Ring jewelled Azure.
Motto: Ring true
Badge: Three Mural Crowns conjoined in pile Or within a Circlet of Chain Azure.


2007 College of Arms, England (Gordon)
2005 Court of the Lord Lyon (Neilson)

Biographical information

Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales; Leader of Hertfordshire County Council; lately Chairman of Watford Borough Council; sometime Chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority and Secretary of the Society of Genealogists

Design rationale

The field and ordinary (Or, a pile Gules) are taken as a gesture of gratitude from the principal arms used by my old school – Watford Grammar School – which are those of Comyn (alias Chlicot) recorded in the Heralds’ Visitation of Middlesex in 1663.

The pile is charged with three mural crowns, Or, conjoined in pile. Mural crowns are commonly granted as Crest Coronets to local authorities and the use of three such crowns refers to my service with three local authorities; Hertfordshire County Council (currently Leader), Hertfordshire Police Authority (Chairman 1995 – 97) and Watford Borough Council (Chairman 2004 – 05).

In base is a hart’s head Proper. The hart (although often blazoned as a stag) is the canting charge commonly used to allude to Hertfordshire and recognises my connections with – and service to – the County. It is used caboshed to refer to the Crest Badge of the Chief of the Clan Gordon.

The crest and badge include blue rings and the motto incorporates the word ‘ring’. These all refer to my initials, Robert Ian Neilson Gordon and, the blue, to my public service as a Conservative Councillor.

The gem ring stoned blue found in the crest is held in the beak of a griffin's head. These additionally refer to an (as yet) unsubstantiated legend arising from a family signet ring with a blue (lapis lazuli) stone, incised with similar device.

The motto captures the sense of Polonius’ advice to Laertes (in Shakespeare’s Hamlet) as to the secrets of living a successful life; “To thine own self be true”, but recast as ‘Ring true’ to capture my initials.

The badge uses a circle of blue rings to surround three mural crowns, repeating the charge on the pile. Such a circle of rings (but in red) is used in its badge by the Society of Genealogists – of which I am a former Director.


My entitlement to quarter the Neilson arms is formally recognised in my grant from the College of Arms and the quartered arms are illustrated on the Letters Patent.

Registered by



Personal, Ancestral, UK, G

Roll of Arms