Evidence from the heirlooms handed down through our families suggests that we are part of the Pickerings of Walford, Runcorn, Cheshire. Robert Pickering was the purchaser of Thelwall, Warrington in 1664 where, at the Pickering Arms hangs a sign bearing his shield.
Our lion is not ducally crowned so we are probably descended from a close branch of this family. The rest of the shield and crest are described in exactly the same manner.
“PICKERING (Walford, co.Chester). Erm. (ermine background) a lion ramp. az. crowned or, within a bordure of the second, charged with eight plates. Crest – A lion’s gamb erect and erased az. enfiled with a ducal coronet or.” Among the numerous descriptions of Pickering arms in Burke’s General Armory, Third Edition with a Supplement, London, 1844.
Few people who use a coat of arms and crest today have any actual right to do so. Armorial bearings do not pertain to all persons of a given surname but belong to and identify members of one particular family. Coats of arms and crests are a form of property and may rightfully be used only by the male-line descendants of the individual to whom they were first granted or allowed.
Unfortunately, over the centuries, many families have simply taken “ownership” of arms and crests belonging to other families of the same name, usually without proof of any relationship between the families. Mere usage of a coat of arms, even over a long period of time, does not necessarily indicate a descent from the family for whom it was first recorded. Indeed, more often than not, there is no such connection. Even in the days when a tax was levied on the use of armorial bearings, those paying the tax by no means always had an established right to arms.
However, I found “our” family coat of arms on my father’s ring a useful place to start my research and once I was able to provide a website direct relations of Pickering’s from around the world contacted me with a wealth of images handed down through their families.
It started with this ring …
My father, Arthur John Pickering, Jr. (b. 1918), owned this ring. It was said to have been handed down to him from his great grandfather, Charles William Harrison Pickering of Cheshire. Engraved intaglio on blue lapis was the Pickering family shield and crest. Finding out more about this ring was the beginning of my quest to tell the story of our family. So, I started with this heraldic symbol because it was all I had to go on as both my father and grandfather were deceased by the time I was interested in learning more. So I was on my own to began searching my genealogical roots in 1970.
The motto on the scroll of the ring reads “SIMILIS TUI SIS”. The very loose translation, according to a cousin, Skip Pickering of Salina, KS, is “Thought before Action” . . . Look before you leap?
The black and white drawing shows Charles William Harrison Pickering‘s [1815-1881] name below the drawing. He was my Great-Great Grandfather. This coat of arms and crest was sent to me in 1970 from a cousin who inherited the art from his ancestors.
The heirlooms handed down through our family shows the lion WITHOUT the ducal crown. So it is possible that our Pickering family comes from a brother to the Wallford, Cheshire family of Thelwall (see pub sign below).
Pickering de Walford
The pedigree at the Herald’s College lists “Pickering de Walford” which was the name of the estate within the chapelry of Daresbury. Pickering de Walford, b. Circa 1545; married Alice, only daughter of William Mathew, gent., and dying in 1602 left issue.
SHIELD: Erm. A lion ramp. Az crowned or within a bordure of the second charged with eight plates PICKERING, Wallford, co. Chester
CREST: Pickering, [Wallford, Ches.] A lion’s gamb, erect and erased, az. Enfiled with a ducal cornet or.
This is the shield of Robert Pickering (b. 1602) grandfather to Robert Pickering, purchaser of Thelwall. [READ MORE]
[Click on image above to enlarge notebook.] This was sent to me by Alfhard Kowallek in 2000 He is a descendant of Peter Pickering (1785-1877) and he writes, “In 1941 died in Berlin a very old unmarried aunt of mine: Florence Pickering. She was born in 1858 in Melbourne, Australia. She was very interested about the history of the family and I got from her a notice-book. In this book she had drawn the coat of arms.”
This copy of the family crest that was handed down through the family of Peter Pickering of Indonesia. Notice that the lion is crowned or. Also notice that this shield does not include the “eight plates” surrounding the shield as does the one handed down through my family.
This blue lapis ring was handed down through our family from Charles William Harrison Pickering > Alexander John Pickering > Arthur John Pickering, Sr. > Arthur John Pickering, Jr. > to John Jeffery Pickering (my brother), the only male descendant who died 1992. Apparently CWHP gave each of his children a ring with this coat of arms, some of which still survive. The ring now belongs to the nephew of John Jeffery, Matthew Rothamel.
Tapestry – Chalcraft-Pickeirng with Salem, MA connection
This is a beautifully embroidered tapestry depicting the Pickering Coat of Arms was created by a Sarah Pickering Clarke dated 1753. She was a niece of the Rev.Theophilus Pickering..
This photo was found among the archives of the Chalcraft-Pickering papers in the state of Washington. William Pickering, Governor of Washington Territory from 1862 to 1866 was the grandfather of Alice Chalcraft. He was born March 15, 1797 in a small village in Yorkshire and emigrated to North America in the 1820s. In the 1840s he was elected to the Illinois State Legislature, and in the later 1850s he attached himself to the political cause of Abraham Lincoln, who eventually appointed Pickering as Governor of Washington Territory. Pickering lived with his son Richard at Albion in later years. He died at Albion, Illinois in 1873.
“The Pickering Coat of Arms. From an embroidery wrought by Sarah Pickering [48. V. 17,] in 1753, now in the possession of John Pickering, Esq. Salem, Mass.”
“There is still another example of these arms, in te form of a hatchment, which was probably worked by Abigail (Pickering) Baldwin, a cousin of Sara Pickering, and from whom it descended to her niece Hannah (Pickering) Simonds and from her to her daughter Hannah M. (Simonds) Clark, of Lynn, in whose possession it was a few years ago.”
Source: The Pickering Genealogy: Being an Account of the First Three Generations of Pickering Family of Salem, Mass., and of the descendants of John and Sarah (Burrill) Pickering, of the Third Generation. By: Harrison Ellery and Charles Pickering Bowditch Vol I, Pages 1-287. Privately Printed 1897
A beautiful silver chalice was handed down through Alexander John to his son William Harrison Pickering, who was born in Junction City, KS and lived a good deal of his life in Sommerville, NJ. After his death in 1963 the cup was handed down to his only child, where it remains today.
This elaborate, full-colored coat of arms was sent to me by Alfhard Kowallek who lived in Berlin, Germany until his death in 2004. He was a descendant of Peter Pickering of Danzig, Prussia. Peter and William Pickering (my ancestor) were brothers who married two Steffens sisters in Danzig, Prussia. The two rings and the molds (below) that created those rings were also passed down to Alfhard through Peter’s descendants. Alfhard and I were 5th cousins. Notice that this version shows the lion crowned or.
The sign hangs on the Pickering Arms Inn in Thelwall, Cheshire (near Warrington). The sign closely matches our ring and drawing even in the details of the “eight plates” surrounding the lion. The differences being that this lion is crowned. Thelwall is located very near Frodsham which is where our family originates.
The pedigree at the Herald’s College lists “Pickering de Walford” which was the name of the estate within the chapelry of Daresbury. Pickering de Walford, b. Circa 1545; married Alice, only daughter of William Mathew, gent., and dying in 1602 left issue. (Photo by C. P. Stover, 2011)