Friday, 24 June 2011

Belvedere Heraldry

The quartered coat of arms at Belvedere House poses an interesting question about the origin of the Rochfort family's arms.

The Rochfort arms are given as azure, a lion rampant argent.

It can often happen with quartered coats that the other quartering represents some heiress even going back to the 1300s say. The Lion is for Rochfort alright but I am not sure about the other quartering. Sometimes families had an 'ancient' coat of arms that they continued to carry in quartered form as well.


The following information from Denis O’Neill suggests the origins of the arms. The first mention of the Rochfort family was in the year 1243, when a family of French nobility named “de Rupe-Forti“settled in Ireland. The family name was hyphenated at that time as it was the result of a co-joining of two wealthy French houses, the house of de Rupe (now Roche) and the house of Forti (now Ford or Forde). The area around Avignon in France appears to be where the family name "de Rupi" originated though other sources place it further north. Avignon is not confirmed but the most likely origin of the Roche or "de Rupe" branch...little is known of the "Forti" family. An Intresting detail is the Irish version of the townland wherein they settled now called Gaulstown or in Irish "Baile na nGall" translates as "town of the Galls". Perhaps Gaul is the seat of the "de Rupi-Forte" family
The new family coat of arms shows clearly this union, with elements from both family arms merged to form a new family name, the name "de ROCHFORT"

The Earl of Belvedere By Denis O’Neill

A collection of poems and history about The Rochfort Family Of Gaulstown, Rochfortbridge

Written and compiled by Denis O’Neill, Beechwood Lodge, Gaulstown, Rochfortbridge,

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