Heraldry seems to be a legacy that has lately been abused by capitalism. There are retail organizations that will sell prints of arms as if they represented the entirety of a surname. The Bearing of Arms was historically unique to Europe and has always been an individual presentation to a particular person for recognition of an event or upon special request. Most of the references to arms issued to Pinneys unfortunately, don't record the name of the individual that it was issued to. The only person that is entitled to bear or present the insignia is the recipient and usually direct male descendants. This is mentioned to encourage proper recognition of the significance of arms and their history and to say please don't use any arms that may be illustrated here, you might be mistaken for the male descendant of the wrong Briton. Please note that there are a number of references to Pretor-Pinney, which is a branch of a Pinney family that resulted when a Pinney descendant by the name of John Pretor inherited an extended family members estate and agreed to change his surname to Pinney.



        In my opinion, the earliest arms issued to a Pinney most likely was as simple as the red coat with three cross-crosslet fitchee issuing from gold crescents described as: Gules three crescents or, issuing from each a cross-crosslet fitchee argent.

        With that said, let's look at what has been mentioned about armaments issued to individuals with the surname Pinney. At this point personal research has involved numerous publications. These particular armaments have been found in: references to heraldic arms, documents discussing the origin of the surname, paintings and historical British books.



Major-Gen. Sir Reginald John Pinney  1863 - 1943

Residences - Coleshill, Warwick, England and the property, Racedown near Crewkerne, Somerset.



Robert Wake Pretor-Pinney 1867 -

Residences - Somerton Erleigh, Somerset and The Grange, Somerton, Somerset



William Pinney 1806 - 1898

Residence - Somerton Erleigh, and Burton-Pynsent, co. Somerset





Unknown Pinney

Residence - Bettiscombe, Dorsetshire, England


Unknown Pretor-Pinney

Residence - Somerton-Erleigh, Somerset, England



John Frederick Pinney 1717-1762

Residence - Racedown, Dorset, England

        Other historical arms have likely been issued for individuals with the Pinney surname, but no other information has been found at this point except the following crests. The College of Arms will gladly search their more than 700 volumes of data covering more than six centuries of arms and genealogies, for the name Pinney, but the fees involved are prohibitive for the author. The use of arms and devices were first mentioned around the time of the First Crusade4 and there has been undocumented mention that a Pinney was issued arms for contributing to the battle at Acre with Richard the Lionhearted. If there are any other known references to heraldic arts involving the Pinney name, please do share the information.




        There are numerous crests that have been issued to someone of the name Pinney, as well as to the Pretor-Pinney line. Those found to date are described and if possible, illustrated here.  A crest is the structure or ornament topping a helm in heraldic art above a coat or shield. Underneath the crest lies a wreath of two silken cords wound together. The colors of the wreath represent the colors of the shield. The colors added to the black and white illustrations are strictly my own interpretation of the descriptions and should be considered imperfect.


One crest for Pretor-Pinney is worth mentioning but has not been found in any illustrated form at this point. This Pretor crest mentioned earlier was found in Burke's General Armory2.

An eagle's head couped or, wings expanded sa. gorged with a collar ar., for Pretor.




The first listing of a Pinney crest in Fairbairn's41 is a very short reference with no indication of the name of the recipient.

An eagle displayed gu.


Frederick Wake Pretor- Pinney, Esquire was issued a crest of the following description from Fairbairn's41 while residing at the Grange, Somerton, Somerset.

An arm in armour embowed couped at the shoulder, the part from the elbow to the shoulder fesseways lying upon the wreath, holding in the hand ppr. a cross crosslet fitchee in bend sinister arg. (for Pinney).


This same image represents the crest issued to Major-Gen. Sir Reginald John Pinney.49

Crest - An arm in armour embowed, the part above the elbow in fess ppr., the hand holding a cross-crosslet fitchee arg.


Robert Wake Pretor-Pinney of Somerton Erleigh was also issued this crest.49

An arm in armour embowed, the part above the elbow in fesse ppr., the hand holding a cross-crosslet fitchee arg.






William Pinney, Esquire J.P. and D.L. was issued this crest to represent Pretor while residing in Somerton Erleigh, co. Somerset.

An eagle's head, couped, or, wings endorsed, sa., gorged with a collar, arg., for Pretor.






George Frederic Pinney, J.P. was issued a Pinney crest of the following description from Fairbairn's41 while residing at Brooklands, Beaminster, Dorset. This same crest was issued to William Pinney50, Esquire J.P. and D.L. while residing in Somerton Erleigh, co. Somerset.

An arm in armour embowed holding a cross crosslet fitchee arg.


This same illustration holds true for a reference to a Pinney crest from Burke's Encyclopedia.36

An armed hand and arm proper holding a cross crosslet fitchee.


Another reference to this same crest is found in Hutchins.51 This was issued to a Pinney in Bettiscombe, Dorset, England.

crest - An armed dexter hand and arm ppr. holding a cross-crosslet fitchee.




Robert Wake Pretor-Pinney was issued a crest matching the following quotation while living at Somerton Erleigh near Somerton in Somerset.49

A demi-eagle couped or, wings endorsed sa. Semee of trefoils slipped of the first, and holding in the beak a trefoil slipped vert.


Frederick Wake Pretor-Pinney, Esquire, a Pretor-Pinney descendant was issued this crest described in Fairbairn's41 for the name Pretor while residing at the Grange, Somerton, Somerset.

A demi-eagle or, the wings endorsed sa., semee of trefoils slipped of the first, and holding in the beak a like trefoil vert (for Pretor).









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