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Sebastian Nelson, MSt (Oxon), BA, FRSA

Arms: Bendy sinister of four Azure and Or, A chevronel and a chevronel reversed in fret counterchanged, at the fess point a crescent gules.

Crest: A Garb Or, charged with a lozenge Azure a cross Or between two California golden poppies (Eschscholiz californica) Or.

Matriculated: Lyon Court, 19th July, 2004.

Registered: 76th page of the 74th volume of the public register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland.

These arms are based on a design I came up with over a decade ago. The blazon of the shield was chosen on purely aesthetic grounds. My preference for interlaced chevronels was influenced by the work of the German heraldic artist Lothar Müller-Westphal and, in particular, the arms he designed for the von Eicken, Schad, Schepper and Amend families of Germany (which may be seen in Carl-Alexander von Volborth’s book The Art of Heraldry). Azure and Or, however, happen to feature prominently in the flag of my hometown of San Jose, California, and in the flag of Sweden (the land of my paternal ancestors).

The crest was designed by the late Heraldry of Society of Scotland member David Johnson. The garb reflects my farming ancestors (my brother and I were the first Nelsons in my family not raised on a ranch). A garb also features prominently in the seal of San Jose. California Golden Poppies were chosen as they are the official flower of my birth state, and the design of the lozenge was influenced by the Swedish flag.

On 23 October 1995 these arms (without the crescent) were certified in the name of my grandfather Yngve Nelson by the Chronicler King of Arms of Spain. You can learn more about Spanish Armorial Certificates at my


In 1996 Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight indicated that it would be possible to matriculate these arms in my name in Scotland, but that as a second son I would have to have my Spanish arms differenced with a border chequey or counter-compony Or and Azure. I preferred, however, to have these arms differenced with a crescent gules. So I first had to have these arms re-certified in my name in Spain with this difference. On 24 April 2000 the Chronicler King of Arms of Spain certified these arms in my name with a crescent gules in the fess point.

Robin Blair graciously agreed to matriculate these arms in 2001, and on 26 July 2004 I was appointed a Serving Brother in the Order of St John. This illustration of my arms was painted by Andrew Stewart Jamieson.
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