Bear and Ragged Staff

The Bear and Ragged Staff is a heraldic emblem or badge associated with the Earldom of Warwick.

The Ragged Staff is believed to refer to Morvidus, an early legendary Earl of Warwick who is said to have slain a giant "with a young ash tree torn up by the roots."[1]

The emblem of a bear (Latin ursus) is believed to refer to Urse d'Abetot[2] (c. 1040 – 1108), 1st feudal baron of Salwarpe[3] in Worcestershire, a Norman who followed King William the Conqueror to England, and served as Sheriff of Worcestershire. His heir was his son-in-law Walter de Beauchamp (died 1130/3), whose descendant was William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick (c.1238-1298), the eldest son of William de Beauchamp of Elmley by his wife Isabel de Mauduit, sister and heiress of William Mauduit, 8th Earl of Warwick.

Turnbull (1995) however suggests that the bear emblem came from another early legendary Earl of Warwick named Arthal, which he suggests signifies "a bear".[4]

Similarly the proto-heraldic emblem of Sir Reginald FitzUrse (1145–1173), one of the four knights who murdered Thomas Becket in 1170, was a bear.

The emblem was also adopted by Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (1532-1588) of Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, younger brother of Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, descended from Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick (1382-1439) and especially fascinated by his Beauchamp descent.[5] His monument in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, displays the Bear and Ragged Staff emblem.

The emblem is today used by the County of Warwickshire on its flag.


  1. Stephen Turnbull: The Book of the Medieval Knight, Arms and Armour, 1995, ISBN 1-85409-264-2, p. 160
  2. Mason "Legends of the Beauchamps' Ancestors" Journal of Medieval History pp. 34–35
  3. Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, pp.75-6, Barony of Salwarpe
  4. Stephen Turnbull: The Book of the Medieval Knight, Arms and Armour, 1995, ISBN 1-85409-264-2, p. 160
  5. Adams, Simon (2002): Leicester and the Court: Essays in Elizabethan Politics Manchester University Press, pp. 312–313, 321
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.