Cornish Chough: a bird of the crow kind, very common in Cornwall. It is bluish black, with red or orange-coloured beak and legs. This bearing was confined to Cornish families until Barker, who was Garter King of Arms, temp. HEN. VIII. granted it indiscriminately to any applicants for arms, and amongst others to Cardinal WOLSEY, who was borne in Suffolk; and so now borne by CHRIST CHURCH College, Oxford. [See an illustration of these arms under blazon.]
Argent, three Cornish choughs proper--PENESTON, Cornwall[and PENISTON, Oxfordshire].
Argent, a Cornish chough proper--TREVETHIN, Cornwall.
Argent, a fesse gules between six Cornish chough--ONSLOW, Shropshire.
Azure, a bend or, and on a chief argent two Cornish choughs proper--VYNER.
Azure, three Cornish choughs proper; on a chief gules a lion passant guardant or--Town of CANTERBURY.
Sable, guttee d'eau, on a fesse argent, three Cornish choughs--CORNWALLIS, Bp. of Lichfield, 1750; Abp. of Cant., 1768-83.
On, a cross engrailed gules, in the dexter chief a Cornish chough proper--MASSENDEN, co. Lincoln.
Argent, three arrows gules one and two between as many Cornish choughs proper two and one--CHASTEIN.
Azure, a lion passant or; on a chief argent three Cornish choughs proper--ROFFEY.
The Beckit supposed to resemble the Cornish chough, though the name does not appear in works by modern naturalists. But it is interesting as the canting arms ascribed(at what date is not clear) to S.Thomas A BECKET.
Argent, three Cornish choughs[beckits] proper two and one--BECKET, Abp. of Canterbury, 1162-70. [These, with the addition of a lion of England on a chief gules, were taken as the insignia of the city of CANTERBURY].
[Cornish choughs are also borne S.Thomas' Priory, Canterbury, S.George's Priory, Canterbury, and by NICHOLAS, Bp. of Bangor, 1408-17.]