Tuesday 14 August 2012

Fadgyas Grant of Arms

1597 grant of arms and nobility to the Fadgyas (Faggyas) family - image courtesy of a member of the von Fadgyas family
the surviving secret seal of Emperor Rudolph II, attached to the grant - image courtesy of a member of the von Fadgyas family

 Here is an image of the grant of nobility and arms of the Fadgyas (de Rethe) noble family, granted in 1597 by Emperor Rudolph II in Prague. The document is still owned privately by the Fadgyas family, which is itself a rarity.

More generally, this is a good opportunity to demonstrate the fact that a Hungarian grant of nobility (a new grant, officially), does not necessarily mean that the family in question was plebeian beforehand. The Fadgyas family, and as far as I am aware the same Fadgyas of Reca family, was newly ennobled no less than three times: in 1597, in 1634, and then in 1780. All these ennoblements were officially new ennoblements, grants, not confirmations (as far as the existing wording and documentation suggest).

Often, with many other families, repeated grants of nobility often carried new coats of arms, remarkably different from their previous insignia. This led to many historians believing that the family in question was not aware, or lost the knowledge of their previous nobility.

However, the Fadgyas grants and heraldry confirms that they were aware of their noble status, because all grants and coats of arms feature the same motif, the lily, albeit in different composition. The 1597 grant features a demi-griffon, issuing from three rocks, and holding a lily; the 1634 one features a lion rampant holding a lily. While the coats of arms of the 1780 grant again features a griffin, this time holding three lilies.

It demonstrates the fact that a grant of nobility is not proof of the origins of a noble family - another peculiarity of Hungarian heraldry and genealogy.