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Royal Fowey Yacht Club (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2014-07-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal fowey yacht club | red ensign |
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[Royal Fowey Yacht Club ensign] image by Clay Moss, 4 March 2006

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Flag of Royal Fowey Yacht Club

The badge is in effect the arms of the Duchy of Cornwall with the supporters and motto removed. The device above the shield is a coronet of the heir apparent. His coronet is the royal crown with one arch omitted. The Fowey Club, founded in 1880, became a yacht club in 1894, at a time when there was a connection of sorts, between having the title royal, and a special ensign. In September 1894 the secretary of the club wrote to the Admiralty asking how a club acquired a royal title. The Admiralty passed the letter to the Home Office, observing that the club had no warrant for a special ensign. The Home Office file noted that the club might merit the honour even if it had no special ensign, and replied to the club secretary that an application, signed by the President on behalf of club, should be addressed to HM the Queen, and sent to the Secretary of State at the Home Office, giving the number and the names of members, the number of yachts owned by them, their tonnage, and also whether there was a club house and annual regatta. The application was refused because "the Prince of Wales made it a rule to honour only such clubs as had proved their stability."

In May 1903, the secretary of the club wrote to the Home Office that the club had now existed for nine years, had two hundred members, ninety-three yachts with a total tonnage of three thousand, five hundred and eighteen, been in a club house for five years, and held an annual regatta in August. The Home Office asked the club for a list of its members and its balance sheet. It appears that the application was forwarded to the King with the recommendation that it should be refused, as an entry in the file dated 5 July noted that, "HM the King approved of the request being refused." Arthur Quiller-Couch, an author who wrote under the pseudonym ' Q ' was Rear-Commodore of the club. He wrote to Sir Godfrey Lushington, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, asking, " Where do we fall short ? Why have the Cruising Club, and the Norfolk and Suffolk lately been granted the title ?" He was told that applications were being granted only where special claims existed. The Admiralty refusal to grant special Blue Ensigns was universal.

Fowey is in Cornwall, and it seems that the Duke of Cornwall was approached about the matter. In August 1905 the club received a letter from Marlborough House, residence of the Prince of Wales, who was the Duke of Cornwall, granting the club the right to carry the coronet of the Duchy of Cornwall over the shield as its insignia. On 31 October 1905 the Admiralty issued the club with a warrant for a "Red Ensign with whatever device HRH may approve." In November 1905 the club applied for the title royal and was again refused. Another application in April 1907, when the club had two hundred and twenty members, and one hundred and seven yachts with a combined tonnage of five thousand, was granted with the note, "little different, but approved."
[National Archives (PRO) HO 144/598/B16959]

David Prothero, 28 November 2005

The crown is the coronet of the Heir Apparent, in this instance, in his role as Duke of Cornwall. He wears a coronet with two arches, as opposed to the Imperial State Crown, as worn by The Queen which, for example, has four arches. A standard ducal coronet does not have arches.

(1) Prince of Wales web site, consulted 04 March 2006
(2) British Monarchy web site, consulted 04 March 2006
(3) National Museum of Wales web site, consulted 01 March 2006
Colin Dobson, 4 March 2006

The Heir Apparent's coronet is quite different from a ducal coronet. The symbols on the Heir Apparent's coronet's top edge are four cross pattees separated by fleur-de-lys (the same as those on the St Edward's and Tudor crowns), whilst those on a ducal coronet are eight strawberry leaves. The Heir Apparent's coronet has a single arch, traditionally worn with the arch going from ear to ear. The arch does not dip at the top, but otherwise is the same as that on the main crown, with nine pearls on each side and an orb at the top. The orb normally differs from the main crown as it has a green mound with gold banding and cross pattee, but this is occasionally done as all gold, as in the Prince of Wales's personal standard for Wales, where the green orb wouldn't show against the green shield so gold is used instead. More details on British crowns at Crowns on Flags and British Flags and Emblems.

The crown as shown on the flag here is pretty much correct, but I think there are a few too many pearls on each arch. They are very small and I am finding it hard to count them but I think there are more than the normal nine. Also the central jewel is a sapphire, surrounded by two emeralds, with a ruby at each end. This is the same arrangement for all jewelled UK crowns. Note that all coronets below the rank of Heir Apparent do not have jewels, just gold representations of them.
Graham Bartram, 4 March 2005


[Royal Fowey Yacht Club burgee] image by Clay Moss, 23 May 2007