Guest Blogs

Ann Walker’s Coat of Arms – A Quest for Social Standing?

By Lynn Shouls

25 February 2022

Crownest, Lightcliffe (image credit Lightcliffe & District History Society)

In 1832, when Ann Walker made a chance reacquaintance with neighbouring landowner Anne Lister, she was a single woman of considerable means. By that time, Anne had mingled with the aristocracy for several years, but had come to realise that she could not aspire to the riches or the status necessary to be fully accepted into their world (Whitbread 2020, 301). She decided that Ann Walker could fulfil her desires and financial aspirations, and began to court her that year. On Easter Sunday in March 1834, Ann and Anne took communion together in church to solemnise their commitment to one another. 

In 1842, Ann petitioned the College of Arms for a crest and arms to use on a monument to her late father, John Walker. Was there more to Ann’s application for a coat of arms, and a recognised pedigree, than just this important memorial? Did Anne Lister, or her relationship with Ann, play a role in fostering Ann’s ambition for formal recognition of her status? 

In the Regency period 1, upper class families used coats of arms to display their high  standing in society. Anne Lister was an avid user of her own family’s coat of arms, and she was also an energetic and unabashed social climber. 

Ann Walker’s family was, despite considerable wealth, of a lower tier in society, and this disparity in her and Anne’s status came to cause problems in the couple’s relationship which could not be satisfactorily resolved. Could a coat of arms, and a pedigree, help repair the rift?

The Wrong Coat of Arms

Anne Lister’s journals suggest that, in 1834, she and Ann began to consider whether Ann’s family had been incorrectly using a coat of arms. In April that year, Anne records perusing William Berry’s Encyclopaedia Heraldica, and finding arms mentioned “the same as those now borne by the Walkers of Crownest”. A coat of arms cannot properly be used by more than one distinct familial line.

In 1842, the College of Arms confirmed that Ann’s family had previously borne arms without the College’s authority: they had either used the coat of arms of a Walker family from which they could not prove their descent, or they had adopted a coat of arms from a Walker family with which they had no connection at all. 

According to a note made by Ann, the coat of arms incorrectly used by her family may have looked something like this:

An early Walker coat of arms as depicted by Biljana Popovic

This design can be inferred from a note in Ann’s handwriting (dated 17 February 1836), which she had “copied … from a memorandum in the handwriting of the late James Lister Esquire which paper was left in Watson’s History of Halifax”. James Lister, Anne Lister’s uncle, died in 1826, so, if his memorandum and Ann’s note are correct, the Walker family must have been using a coat of arms in this form at that time

Ann’s note describes the “Arms of Walker of Crownest [as] Gules, a Fess, between three Crescents sable – Crest a Talbot” (i.e. red with a horizontal black band across the centre, with three black crescents 2, with a crest in the form of a hunting dog 3.)

Ann’s note copied from James Lister’s memorandum. West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, CN:102

A New Coat of Arms and Pedigree

Grant of New Coat of Arms

In order to establish a right to use an existing coat of arms, one must prove to the College of Arms legitimate descent from the person to whom the arms were originally granted. In 1817, Anne Lister proved her right to use the coat of arms of the Lister family by proving her pedigree, headed by Samuel Lister of Shibden Hall and recorded at the heralds’ visitation to Yorkshire in 1666. 

Ann Walker’s family had no pedigree recorded by the College of Arms, and no coat of arms that Ann could legitimately use. Therefore, Ann had to take a different approach in her application to the College. 

From Anne’s journals, we learn that Ann was interested in heraldry, and that she worked on her pedigree in 1835, 1836, and 1838. Ann and Anne attended the College of Arms in London in May 1838, and met with one of the heralds, Bluemantle Pursuivant.

Anne’s journal entries reveal the extent of the efforts made by Ann in her research over several years:

19 January 1835

“Then looking at the pedigree and setting Ann to copy the arms till 11 5/..”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/17/0148

31st March 1835

“she had been looking over old papers all the day – then looking over A-’s [Ann’s] old papers that she brought from Crow-nest for about an hour – several copies of wills – ”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0011

11 May 1835 

“then with A- [Ann] till 4 helping her to make out words in her old wills she was copying”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale,  SH:7/ML/E/18/0033

13 May 1835 

“about an hour with A- [Ann] till 4 trying to help her to make out papers of 1630 or 40 or thereabouts”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0033

6 August 1835 

“then drove to the Herald’s college … asked about the arms of Walker, and set A- [Ann] to work – the arms borne by the W-s [Walkers] of Walterclough argent a chevron sable charged with 3 garbs or not [to?] be found under the name of W- [Walker] but the Crownest W- [Walker] arms evidently the original arms of W- [Walker] varied in many ways – A- [Ann] to make out what she can, and send it to Mr Harrison – thought she can connect herself with a Thomas W- [Walker] registered in the college as having purchased arms being of Bow near Stratford Middlesex in 1714 – arms granted 28 January that year – ”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0075

13 January 1836 

“then sat with Ann reading the 1st 45 pages of Brydons Heraldry that came this afternoon from the library by George -”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH;7/ML/E/18/0160

26 April 1836 

“A- [Ann] sat copying out of Robson’s British Herald the different coats of arms borne by the different families of Walker -”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/19/0033
Two of Ann’s sketches and notes. West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, CN:102

2 May 1838

“… then began to pack. Ann had done hers and now sat working at, and finishing her pedigree for Mr Harrison, Blue Mantle, which took her till near 3 on Wednesday morning …”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/21/0089)

5 May 1838 

“… Mr Harrison Bluemantle came at 11 and waited: ten minutes or more – then staid 1/2 hour – took away with him Ann’s sketch of pedigree which she had done very neatly, and took my pedigree to enter the deaths”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/21/0090

After several years’ work, in 1842 Ann petitioned the College of Arms 4 for a grant of arms. Arms may be granted to ’eminent’ persons, and in the early 1840s, the College of Arms considered the prosperous Walker family to be sufficiently eminent to be recognised in this way 5. Following approval of the petition, one of the Kings of Arms 6 (the senior rank of herald 7) granted arms to Ann. Letters Patent 8 dated 9 December 1842 declared the grant of arms and crest to Ann Walker of Cliffe Hill in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, spinster, youngest daughter of the late John Walker. A transcription of the Letters Patent, along with a rough “record painting” of the granted arms, is held in the College’s records.


It is likely that the arms granted to Ann Walker in 1842 were newly designed for (or by) her. The design was probably based on one or more existing coats of arms borne by families with the same surname, but with certain differences added to make the resulting new coat of arms unique to Ann and her family. This approach was taken quite commonly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 9

Artwork depicting the design of Ann Walker’s coat of arms is shown below:

The Walker coat of arms as depicted by Biljana Popovic

The College of Arms’ formal description is as follows: 

The Crest: On a wreath of the colours a greyhound passant argent semy of mullets and gorged with a collar gemel sable

(i.e. a silver-coloured greyhound, strewn with stars, walking with its paw raised, and wearing a collar made from two narrow black bands, on top of a twisted band in silver and black)

The Arms: Argent on a chevron nebuly between three crescents sable as many mullets or

(i.e. a silver background with a wavy inverted V-shaped (black) band between three black crescents and bearing three gold stars)

The Motto is “Per ardua virtus”, meaning “virtue through difficulties”


A pedigree is the recorded ancestry or lineage of a person or family, and to have a pedigree placed on official record at the College of Arms, one must engage the services of an officer of arms (herald) who will research and draft the pedigree in the required format and advise on the documentary evidence needed to support it.

The College of Arms is extremely rigorous in its requirements for proving ancestral lines. In order to prove her lineage, Ann would have been required to produce proofs of births, marriages, deaths, and perhaps other familial lines, and extracts from parish records and local registers. 

A bundle of Walker family papers 10 held by West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale (“WYAS”), contains drawings and notes in Ann Walker’s handwriting; numerous certified copies of births, marriages and burials documents; and various extracts from wills, and lists of family names going back to at least 1606. This large collection of papers, together with Anne Lister’s diary notes, reveal that Ann did a great deal of work to have her pedigree formally registered.

In or shortly after 1843, a pedigree of seven Walker generations was placed on record at the College of Arms. It is headed by William Walker 11 of Scholes in the Township of Cleckheaton in Yorkshire, and of Lower Crow Nest in Lightcliffe. The pedigree states that on the death of their brother without issue, Ann’s sister, Elizabeth, inherited Crow Nest and Ann inherited Cliffe Hill. 

Why Did Ann Want a Coat of Arms and a Pedigree? 

Was Ann, in the mid-1830s, planning to memorialise her father, or was her relationship with Anne Lister, and problems that arose from the difference in their social status, behind Ann’s interest in securing a valid coat of arms? 

Ann’s stated purpose, when she petitioned the College of Arms in 1842, was the right to use a coat of arms on a memorial to her late father, which coat of arms could be properly borne by his descendants. 

But another, quite different, factor that may have been behind Ann’s decision to acquire a coat of arms is that by 1835 the difference in status between Ann and Anne Lister was causing some considerable difficulty in their relationship (Euler 1995, 371).

In the Regency period, a person’s place in society depended on their family’s social status rather than on their wealth. Being rich by no means granted one a lofty social standing – an affluent person who had acquired his (or her) money through trade may well have found himself kept outside of the highest social circles. This societal attitude is reflected in one of Anne Lister’s journal entries:

“I to travel with the honourable Frances Mc. K- [Mackenzie]? want blood and rank more than money she has three or four hundred a year would rather have her than Miss Prevost with a thousand or Miss Wynn of Norstall with three thousand 12” -7 May 1829

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/12/0017 – 18

In simple terms, in the United Kingdom the aristocracy lies one layer in society beneath the monarchy, with peers of the realm (from dukes down to barons) occupying the highest stratum of all. In addition to enjoying status and, typically, wealth, members of the aristocracy could wield considerable power.

The landed gentry are the landowning class – they are lower in standing than the aristocracy. At the time, the prevailing view was that a person would fall in the landed gentry tier if they had an income from rents of £1,500 a year or more (Mortimer 2020, 70). However, to be considered landed gentry it did not suffice merely to own an estate and be wealthy: in the Regency period, one must have owned land for perhaps three generations to be considered one of the landed gentry (and across the generations, a family had to work at establishing its superior social standing, for example by engaging in acts of public duty and by cultivating contacts amongst other local landed gentry families) (Mortimer 2020, 70).

Families without this kind of background who simply amassed great wealth, such as from trade or banking, came to be seen as something of a threat to the established social order (Mortimer 2020, 72). The newly rich were kept at arms’ length, and it was difficult for them to gain acceptance into aristocratic and landed gentry circles. 

Anne Lister, with her generations of pedigree and inheritance of the income-producing Shibden Hall estate, owned by the Lister family for centuries, fell firmly within the landed gentry class. Particularly after inheriting the estate, Anne felt keenly that this status and her long family lineage afforded her a significant social advantage over her more newly monied friends and acquaintances, who had acquired their wealth through industry and trade, and over those in the professional classes.

Ann Walker, the granddaughter of a wealthy worsted manufacturer and merchant (Liddington 2019, p. 28), was equally clearly of the more newly monied, or “trade”, class. The Listers and the Walkers, despite being neighbouring land owners, were not close acquaintances. The Walkers owned grand houses, built from riches which emanated from recent trade. The Listers of ancient Shibden Hall were of a higher social standing, and not only Anne but the other Listers, too, might have considered themselves “above” the Walker family (Choma 2019, 60). 

Anne Lister was highly attuned to her status in society, and, being socially ambitious, she sought to improve her connections. By the early 1830s, Anne had moved in aristocratic circles for some years, and some of her acquaintances became lifelong friends – being socially adept, she had achieved her goals with some considerable success, both in England and abroad. Anne’s journals demonstrate her eagerness to climb the social ladder, and to make a good impression. She also reveals anxiety about her manners and whether people she aspired to know would come to accept her – and, ultimately, she concluded that she might do well to aim her sights less high.

20 September 1828

“I must go again to Scotland in good style to visit and get into good society – ”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/11/0068

2 April 1830 

“– had my hair done in case anyone should come   pretend to my aunt Lady Isabella Blachford has not got my card   she has got it but perhaps will not return my call”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/13/0021

5 January 1831  

“I have always the idea that she [Lady Stuart de Rothesay] wishes to keep me at distance enough   and that after all my want of high family and larger fortune will and must exclude me from the gratification of my ambition as to society”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/14/0007

29 April 1832 

“the mortification on feeling my gaucherie is wholesome … I felt myself in reality gauche and, besides, in a false position   I have difficulty enough as to the usages of high society and feeling unknown but I have ten times more on account of money … My high society plans fail – unknown and without connections … I shall in future perhaps do more wisely and within my compass … I have been an Icarus … musing on my failure – resolved to give up all fine society schemes”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/15/0061

Looking closer to home, Anne’s attention alighted on Ann Walker and the pair became extremely close. However, this intimacy by no means dispelled the couple’s mutual consciousness of the difference in their status. Both Ann and her sister are shown by Anne’s journals to have been quite aware of their class, and of their status relative to Anne’s. 

31 Oct. 1832

she thought she might not be fit for the society I should wish”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/15/0136

6 Dec. 1832 

“Miss W- [Walker] read me last night the passage from her sister’s letter respecting me – … advised Miss W-’s [Walker’s] going abroad with me – thought it would do her good & be a great advantage to her, all my acquaintances being of a higher order.”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/15/0159

29 September 1837

“[Ann] had always said she would not marry a man in trade 13

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/20/0135

A discussion about livery buttons, which Anne had had imprinted with her own crest in June 1834, reveals that Ann also knew of the impact that a coat of arms can have.

4 January 1836

“Oh oh thought I she wants to sport her own livery   I quietly said but your livery is the same as mine she answered but not the button … the truth is she wants to take care of her money and to be important”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/18/0155

In an earlier discussion, Anne sought to persuade Ann that moving to Shibden Hall would bring Ann greater cachet than if she remained in her “new money” home.

1 October 1832 

Proposed her living with me at Shibden and letting Cliff hill … I advocated skilfully and I think successfully the advantages of Shibden … explained that there would be more éclat … for her at Shibden than at Cliff hill”  

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/15/0124

According to the etiquette of the day, a person who was lower in rank was always introduced into the higher rank – never the other way around (Mortimer 2020, 165). Anne Lister did not have the power to introduce anyone, including Ann Walker, into aristocratic circles. To do so, or even to try, would have jeopardised Anne’s own acceptance in the high society which she had worked so hard to enter. The insecurities about her manners described in Anne’s journals demonstrate that she knew that, if she was to be accepted, she must act at all times with the necessary decorum. She would also have been aware that if Ann made a poor impression on first meeting someone of a higher status, it would have been extremely difficult to recover from such a blunder. Equally, Anne would not have wanted to put a high society friend in the embarrassing position of being asked to meet someone at least two layers down in the strict social order. 

When Ann travelled with Anne Lister, rank was a recurrent problem for them. By mid-1835, Ann and Anne had several serious clashes due to Anne being unable or unwilling to introduce Ann, a woman of lower rank, to her aristocratic friends. Ann was not welcome in high society circles (Euler 1995, 370), and Anne Lister often visited her friends, such as Lady Stuart at Richmond Park, by herself:

1 August 1835

“She did not like my not taking her to Richmond Park but leaving her to call on or rather spend the day with Mrs Plowes   I explained affectionately and calmly   she cried and said she knew I should think it nothing and only turn it against her as I have done two or three times before   she thought the sooner we parted the better”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/18/0073

On another occasion, Ann sat in the carriage for 35 minutes while Anne called on Lady Stuart and Lady Vere Cameron at Whitehall, and on the same day Anne, alone, joined them for dinner:

5 August 1835

“at 2 1/2 out again – A- [Ann] sat in the carriage 35 minutes while I paid my visit to Lady S- [Stuart] and V- [Vere] at Whitehall … home at 5 50/.. – dressed all but having my hair done – dinner at 6 1/4 took a little that A- [Ann] might not have the désagrément of dining seule 14 – finished dressing – at Lady S. [Stuart] de R-’s [Rothesay’s] at 7 35/.. – ”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/18/0075

As recorded in Anne Lister’s journal, the problem appears to have arisen even among Anne Lister’s Yorkshire gentry circles:

17 April 1835 

“in fact she acquitted herself very well but I see they [the Norcliffes at Langton Hall] don’t want me unless they can have me alone

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/18/0020

And even after Ann and Anne had been together for some time, Ann still felt unwelcome:

20 November 1837

 “she got out of sorts again tho[ugh] she before seeming coming round   she feels that her society is no[t] prized above mine and here is and will always be the sore   well I must make the best I can of it but I think we cannot get on together forever” West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH/7/ML/E/20/0162

A coat of arms conveys a certain nobility of birth, or at least some other notable eminence – it is a status symbol, and was traditionally used to communicate the bearer’s wealth, standing, and prowess. One way in which people showed off their status was to publicly display a family coat of arms (if they had one) on, for example, carriage doors, stonework, cutlery, rings, and seals.

Given Anne’s class consciousness, and her awareness that Ann was not a welcome part of the high society circle (Euler 1995, 370), it is possible that she encouraged Ann to try to elevate her social standing by establishing and recording a pedigree and obtaining and displaying a valid coat of arms. It is also possible that Ann, aware that she was not accepted, herself decided to attempt to improve the perception of her status with the hope of gaining some recognition in the elite circles in which Anne liked to move. A coat of arms and pedigree, registered with the College of Arms, might have enabled Ann to demonstrate that she was from a notable, eminent family.

What Came of Ann’s Coat of Arms?

It is not unusual for the work needed in support of a petition for the grant of arms to take several years. Ann invested a great deal of time and effort gathering documentary evidence, researching different Walker coats of arms, drawing and painting some examples of coats of arms, and, as seems likely, devising her own. 

But before and after the grant of arms in December 1842, Ann suffered a number of turbulent and challenging life events.

In September 1840, whilst travelling in what is now Georgia, Anne Lister died in Koutais (or Kutaisi). Ann was stranded in the eastern reaches of Russia, and faced the gruelling task of arranging for Anne’s body to be returned to England, and of travelling home herself.

Arriving at Shibden Hall in February 1841, Ann was presumably involved, to some degree, in the arrangements for Anne’s funeral. She then moved into the Hall, in which Anne had bequeathed her a life interest. Dealing with everyday matters at Shibden Hall is likely to have involved working through Anne’s extensive and detailed estate papers and notes.

In April 1843, Ann was fined for wrongfully obstructing an ordnance survey of part of the Shibden Hall estate – surveyors had proposed the building of a railway tunnel within 70 yards of the hall (Crabtree 2020). That year, Ann was the defendant in another legal case, Horncastle v. Walker, in which she was sued for a debt, and in August 1843, she was even threatened with arrest (Oliveira, Labate, and Dobson 2020). She was also on the receiving end of another debt claim in 1843, this time Atkinson v. Walker, which resulted in bailiffs entering Shibden Hall (Crabtree 2020) 15

In addition to facing these substantial business and legal difficulties, during 1843 Ann might have been aware that her sister and others were concerning themselves with her mental state. In September that year, Ann left Shibden Hall and placed herself under the care of Dr Belcombe at Terrace House in Osbaldwick, a private asylum (Oliveira, Dobson, and Labate 2021). On 28 November, the Lunacy Commission declared her to be of unsound mind, and the Shibden Hall estate and her personal affairs came to be managed by a “Committee of Estate” (Oliveira, Dobson, and Labate 2021).

Ann then led a nomadic life for a number of months. It is understood that she left Terrace House after April 1844 (Oliveira, Dobson, and Labate 2021). She appears to have lived in and around the London area, first in St. John’s Wood, and later in Merton, Surrey (Various Contributors 2020). In April 1845, Ann moved again, this time back to Shibden Hall along with George Mackay Sutherland 16 and his children. 

As well as suffering a number of significant bereavements (a nephew in 1843, her sister in 1844, her niece in 1845, and her brother-in-law and her Aunt Ann in 1847, and cousins, uncles and other aunts), during this period, Ann might have been suffering from a decline in her physical well-being.  A memorandum of Robert Parker 17, written in September 1843, noted that handkerchiefs spotted with blood were found in Ann’s red room (Euler 1995, 389), possibly indicating that she was suffering from a serious illness or some other bodily distress.

Despite the years of work done by Ann to have a coat of arms and a pedigree registered at the College of Arms, no evidence has surfaced yet of her having displayed her coat of arms or having commissioned any objects bearing them. But the coat of arms was not forgotten. On Ann’s death, in 1854, her nephew, Evan Charles Sutherland, inherited her estate. In order to do so, and to use the Walker coat of arms, Sutherland had to add “Walker” to his name (this was a requirement of Ann’s will). In 1856, he was granted 18 the right to use the Walker name and to bear the Walker arms 19. In 1864, he dedicated a brass memorial plaque, engraved with Ann’s coat of arms 20, to a number of Walker ancestors who died between 1676 and 1809. The plaque is to be found beneath a window in the Halifax Minster. 

The Walker coat of arms on the brass memorial plaque at the Halifax Minster. Photo by Lynn Shouls.

No Longer Any Need for Social Clout

In contrast to Anne Lister’s enthusiastic and visible use of her coat of arms, to date there is no evidence that Ann commissioned any objects or artefacts bearing hers. She did not even arrange for the creation of a memorial to her father, which was stated as a key objective in her application for a recognised coat of arms. Did this failure to use her coat of arms, so assiduously worked for over a number of years, result from the challenges and restrictions 21 that Ann faced during the 1840s? Or, after Anne Lister died, did Ann no longer feel the need to establish a formal pedigree and a coat of arms to try to “prove herself” to Anne and her aristocratic friends? 

We shall likely never know for sure why Ann appears not to have used her coat of arms or, indeed, why she chose to expend such time and energy on obtaining the coat of arms in the first place. 

There can be little doubt, though, given how the upper classes displayed coats of arms to visibly communicate their status, that either Ann or Anne could have believed that a coat of arms and pedigree would be beneficial to the perception of Ann amongst Anne’s high class friends. Some recognition of Ann could have eased their acceptance, as a couple, into that society and thus smoothed the path of a difficult aspect of their relationship. 


 1. Although the “official” Regency period was 1811 to 1820, many historians use the term to denote the period 1789 to 1830. (Mortimer 2020, author’s note)

 2.Placing a sable (black) fess (band) and crescents against a gules (red) background would break the tincture rules of heraldry – the coat of arms as described by James Lister (and copied by Ann) must have been either unofficial or incorrectly described.

3.  James Lister’s record, or Ann’s copying, of the description of the crest is incomplete, and the colour of the talbot (hunting dog) cannot be inferred.

4Strictly speaking, the petition is made to the Earl Marshall, who is the Great Officer of State who has oversight of the College of Arms.

5. From the author’s private correspondence with the College of Arms. 

6. Technically, it is one of the Kings of Arms, and not the College itself, which makes the grant.

7. Heralds are officers of the College of Arms. They advise on matters relating to coats of arms and pedigrees.

8.  An openly published document issued by a monarch, head of state, or government conferring a patent or other right.

9. From the author’s private correspondence with the College of Arms. 

10. Genealogical Records of the Walker Family of Crow Nest, Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse and Scotland (the “WYAS Walker Genealogy Papers”) (catalogue number CN:102).

11. Ann was this William Walker’s four-times great-grand-daughter.

12. Anne Lister’s journal entries written in her “crypthand” are transcribed in italics.

13. Ann made this remark when she was, in Anne’s word, “low” about Anne often being out on business or working on the estate. Given Anne’s view of those who worked for their income, Ann’s remark may have been intended as a slight.

14. “Alone” (French).

15. The bailiffs would have taken this action to enforce the debt claim made against Ann, following the plaintiff’s success in the case and Ann’s failure to pay.

16. Ann’s brother-in-law, by then a widower.

17. Anne and Ann’s lawyer.

18. By royal licence.

19. “quarterly in the first quarter”.

20. Memorial brasses quite commonly bore coats of arms (Franklin 1973, 101).

21.  E.g. due to her affairs being managed by others.

Further Reading

To read more about:


Choma, Anne. 2019. Gentleman Jack The Real Anne Lister. London: BBC Books.

Crabtree, Steve. 2020. “In Search of Ann Walker – August 1843: Atkinson vs Walker.” In Search of Ann Walker.

Euler, Catherine A. 1995. Moving Between Worlds: Gender, Class, Politics, Sexuality and Women’s Networks in the Diaries of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall, Halifax, Yorkshire, 1830 – 1840. University of York: n.p.

Franklin, Charles A. 1973. The Bearing of Coat-Armour By Ladies. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.

Liddington, Jill. 2019. Female Fortune – Land, Gender and Authority. London and New York: Rivers Oram Press.

Mortimer, Ian. 2020. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain. London: The Bodley Head.

Oliveira, Marlene, Jude Dobson, and Livia Labate. 2021. “Ann Walker Lunacy Commission.” Packed With Potential. (Accessed January 2022).

Oliveira, Marlene, Livia Labate, and Jude Dobson. 2020. “Horncastle vs Walker.” Packed with Potential. (Accessed January 2022).

 Various Contributors, ISAW. 2020. In Search of Ann Walker.

Whitbread, Helena. 2020. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister I Know My Own Heart. London: Virago Press.


With thanks to Biljana Popovic, for permitting me to use her interpretations of coats of arms; Diane Halford and Marlene Oliveira, for sharing their knowledge of aspects of Ann Walker’s life; West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, for giving their permission to publish documents from the WYAS Walker Genealogy Papers; David Glover for casting light on Walker-related memorials at Halifax Minster; and Jan Webster for highlighting a splendid journal entry.

In Search of Ann Walker’s research into Ann’s life is ongoing, therefore new discoveries may change the way we chronicle her life in the future.

How to cite this article:
Lynn Shouls (2022) “Ann Walker’s Coats of Arms: A Quest for Social Standing?”: In Search of Ann Walker [Accessed “add date”]

Deb Woolson

Researching Ann Walker in the archives and online - Ensuring her legacy is continued.