The LANT COAT of ARMS was granted to Thomas Lant on 16 March 1587/8 by Cooke. (This must have been Robert Cooke, who had been the Chester Herald from 1562 to 1567, and was the Clarenceux King of Arms from 1567 to 1593.)
The coats of arms which have been granted to LANT family members in the past are described below (in the abbreviated archaic terms used in heraldry): (Quoted from Burke: The General Armory, published in 1842)

  • Lant. (cos. Devon, Northampton, and Stafford). Quarterly 1st and 4th, per pale ar. and gu. a cross engr. counterchanged, in the dexter chief a cinquefoil of the second; 2nd and 3rd, gu. a saltire or, surmounted by another vert.
    Crest -- a dove ar. beaked and legged gu. standing on a serpent nowed ppr.
  • Lant. (Thorpe Underwood, co. Northampton). Same arms.
    Crest -- On a serpent nowed az. a dove ar. on the breast a mullet of the first.
    Motto -- Prudentia et simplicitate.
  • Lant. Gu. on a fesse wavy betw. three swans with wings endorsed ar. as many crosses pattee sa. each charged with five bezants.
    Crest -- a swan's neck couped bendy of six ar. and sa. thereon a rose or, on each side of the crest a branch of rose tree leaved vert.
  • Lant. Or, a cross engr. gu.
  • Lante. (Exeter, co. Devon; John Lante, Visit. Devon 1620) grandson of William Lante, who "came out of ye North"). Per pale ar. and gu. a cross engr. counterchanged.
  • Lante. Same arms.
    Crest -- A serpent nowed vert.

These are not listed in order by date, so it is impossible to tell by merely looking at the list, which is the earliest. It is necessary to study the descriptions and get an idea what they would look like when drawn (blazoned). A general guideline is that simpler designs are probably earlier than more complex ones. The fourth one in this list is the simplest. Its meaning is as follows: "On a gold background, a cross of red, which is engrailed (the outline of the cross consists of a series of points and curves, rather than having straight edges"). The next two descriptions are slightly more complex.

  • The colors are now described as silver and red rather than gold and red.
  • The basic shape of the design is the same, but there is now a vertical dividing line down the center (per pale).
  • And the design is counterchanged -- this means that as the shield is divided down the center, the colors on either side of the line are interchanged.

In general, arms grew more elaborate as different families were joined in marriage (and therefore combined their coats of arms), or as designs depicting significant accomplishments were added to the arms. Any changes had to be approved and registered with the College of Heralds. The other descriptions listed in the Burke reference book are more complex than the ones described above, but none are as complex as the one shown below.
On the cover of the the booklet "Reminiscences of the Lant Family in Old England", by Thomas Heber Lant and F. Lant Haymore, a very elaborate coat of arms is shown. Inside, under a larger picture of the same coat of arms, it states that this is the "Lant Family Coat of Arms, granted to Thomas Lant in 1587". As soon as I saw the complexity, I felt that there must be a mistake in this conclusion. So I did a little research to see what I could find out.

I saw that on the banner attached to the bottom of the shield, is written in script:

Andrew Lant of Thorp:Underwood, alias Thorp:Billet in Northamptonshire Esq, son of Robert Lant of London, Merchant, by Elizabeth, daughter & heyre of Rich:Andrews of Thorp:Underwood aforesaid Gen't which said Andrew Lant is now maried to Judith, youngest daughter of Will Vannam of London Esq."

I looked up the Vannam coat of arms, and found that Burke's reference book described it as follows:

  • Vannam (London). Quarterly, ar. and gu. four martlets counterchanged.
    Crest -- a bundle of five arrows, points upwards, bound by a belt and buckle.

This description matches the design on the shield's left side. (In heraldry, "left" and "right" are from the point of view of a man holding the shield upright in front of his body. This is opposite to the observer's point of view.)

Inside the same booklet, on page 28, there is a sketch of a coat of arms which fits Burke's first description of Lant family coats of arms. Burke does not mention the "mullet" (five-pointed star) in the center of each quarter of the shield, but does mention, in his second description, a mullet on the breast of the dove. (Also, this sketch quite closely matches the "Lant side" of the elaborate coat of arms shown above). So this must have been just a decorative one, created for the Lant / Vannam wedding -- not the original Lant Family Coat of Arms, as it claims. It was apparently never registered as an official coat of arms. This explains why Burke's reference book does not list it.
This still does not resemble the miniature shield displayed in the portrait of Thomas Lant. The first quarter only of this sketch seems to be somewhat similar to the little medallion in the portrait. So, again, the sketch must be depicting a combination of the original simple Lant design along with another (probably denoting a marriage).
Finally, the coat of arms shown below is a colored rendition of that miniature shield (complete with crest and mantling). It is a relatively simple design, and it fits the last two descriptions given in Burke's reference book (the ones where the spelling of the name is "Lante").

Because of the fact that this one most closely matches the medallion in the portrait, I think that this must have been the one granted to Thomas Lant in 1587, although the plainer one of gold and red might have belonged to an earlier ancestor. However, most of the other more complex ones could have evolved from this one -- all of the rest (except #3, which seems to have no relationship to the others) have the engrailed cross combined with other things.

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra Shuler Bray