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The Great Seal of Queen Anne's County

By John T. Marck

Queen Anne's County was created in 1706 (Chapter 3, Acts of 1706). The County was named for Queen Anne (1665-1714), who ruled Great Britain and Ireland, 1702-1714.

Queen Anne's County was the first English permanent settlement in the State of Maryland, under a 1631 patent from the king. In 1629, three years before the arrival of the Ark and the Dove at St. Mary's, Captain William Claiborne, an agent of the Virginia governor, established a trading post on an island he later named "Isle of Kent." Kent Fort Manor, built in 1640 and still standing is believed to be the oldest structure in Maryland.

On May 1, 1707, during the reign of Queen Anne, the second daughter of James II, and during the Royal Governorship of Colonel John Seymour, the county known as Queen Anne's was laid out by legislative enactment, and formed partially from Kent and Talbot Counties. From 1637 to 1692, the nine counties then in existence were permitted to use the lesser Seal of Lord Baltimore without official correspondence or legislative action proclaiming the fact. On October 13, 1692, following the Protestant uprising, the Council petitioned the Crown for permission to use the Arms of his Majesty William III as the seals of the various counties. Permission was granted and each county adopted the Kings Arms with the county name on the surrounding border. When Queen Anne's County was formed in 1707, no seal was requested or directed to be used. It is believed that various judges of the County Court used their own seals on official papers as no formal seal appears on official Queen Anne's County papers prior to the early seventeen hundreds.

Upon the death of Queen Anne in 1714, and the accession of George I to the throne, Calvert had his Colony restored to his family. Again for want of official records directing the type of seal to be used by Queen Anne's County, minor heraldic sleuthing proves that the original seal was produced after the Lords Baltimore regained control of the Colony. The Seal of Queen Anne's County is heraldically described as follows: The Arms of Calvert, paly of six, Or and Sable, a bend counter changed. Above the Arms, the Royal Crown of England surmounted by the Ducal Coronet of Calvert and the two pennons, or and Sable, flying from staves of Gules. This indicated that Calvert is permitted to indulge the Royal prerogatives in the Colony of Maryland and the Banner above the Crest proclaims the governed area as Queen Anne's County. The Arms are supported by two lions rampant. Below the shield is the motto, "Crescite Et Multiplicamini" (Increase and Multiply).

King William of England then revoked the Calvert charter and Maryland reverted to the Crown. Upon his death in 1702, Anne, sister of his wife, for whom the county is named, became the Queen of England. At her death in 1714, she was succeeded to the throne by George I, who restored the Maryland Palatinate to the Baltimore's.

When Queen Anne's County was first established in 1706, part of the territory included within its present bounds was taken from Kent County and part from Talbot County. At this time, the Calverts were out of power and because of this their western lands had been forfeited. The Arms of Lord Baltimore, which had been used as a basis for the official bearings of earlier sections, could no longer be used. Court records for the November term of 1728 contained the following directive: "A new County Seal is delivered to the Clerk of this Court, and it is ordered that all processes in matters of Record be henceforth sealed therewith, the said Seal being made pursuant to a late order of Council." Impressions made by this seal, on papers submitted to the Provincial Court at Annapolis for legal interpretation, are still on file at the Hall of Records in Annapolis. One of the clearest and most distinct of these appears on the case of Gilbert Barrow v. Thomas Reed, 1743. Through contributions, Queen Anne's County was able to secure the services of Mr. Thomas E. Stokle, of Leonardtown, who is a competent heraldic artist of wide experience with the early bearings of Maryland. In conjunction with personnel from the Hall of Records, and utilizing their facilities for study of these impressions from which the original seal of the Queen Anne's County Court, reproduction was made, first in line drawings, then in color. This interesting work is at "Wright's Chance," the Historical Society's home in Centreville. Heraldically the seal is described as follows: Shield, a paly of six Or and Sable a bend counterchanged. Crest, out of a ducal coronet, two staves with pennons flying to the dexter side; the dexter Gold, the sinster Sable. Supporters, two lions guardant Or.

The unknown engraver who executed this original Court Seal, which was used to dignify and identify official pronouncements of the colonial court for Queen Anne's County, was faced with a problem in reducing its size. To accomplish this, the heading was shortened to Q Anne's County. The present seal of Queen Anne's County is made of the Shield, Crest, and Supporters, as described above. Below the shield is the motto, "Vincit Omnia Veritas." Its translation is "Truth Conquers All."


Copyright 1990-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying seals, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. Maryland County Seals and Baltimore City Seal and their respective origin histories from: Maryland The Seventh State A History, John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. All Seals courtesy of the respective county, Office of the County Executive and/or the Department of Tourism. Reprinted with permission.

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