Phipps Crest and Arms

The Phipps family of Reading is discussed on page 195 of the firstFrancis Phipps arms volume of The Four Visitations of Berkshire. The coat of arms associated with Francis Phipps (born 1664) of “Reading Towne” (Reading), Berkshire, England is shown there, and has been discussed in earlier posts. Armorial bearings are also discussed here, as well as here.

The design is not only pictured, but described as “Sable, a trefoil slipped between eight mullets Argent. Crest: A lion’s gamb erect and erased Sable, holding erect a trefoil as in the Arms.”

Sable is black, and as the description opens, describes the color of the shield. The eight mullets are the eight stars which surround the three-leaf trefoil. They are argent, or silver. Silver is often depicted as white.

Many people, especially in America, mistakenly refer to the entire coat of arms as the “crest.” The crest is actually only the part which sits atop the shield. Above the wreath (which looks like a twisted rope), sits an erect lion’s “gamb,” or leg, holding aloft another trefoil.

The fact that the gamb is “erased” refers to the fact that it appears to be violently torn off, rather than neatly cut off. The lion’s leg is also sable (black).

Spode is a pottery based in Stoke-on-Trent which was founded by Josiah Spode in 1770. A pair of Spode dishes bearing the same Phipps crest is advertised by an online dealer. These, according to the description, were made around 1820.

That description also refers to the variant spelling of Phibbs. We’ve discussed this variant in connection with county Sligo in Ireland, and in connection with Guilford County, North Carolina.

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