In Search of The Lamb

Extracts from the Newsletters of The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment FURTHER COMMENTS

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The Lamb of The Queen's Royal Regiment

Newsletter, Nov 1975 page 9

The Lamb of The Queen's Royal Regiment
The following is an extract from the History of The Queen's Royal Regiment.

"The Paschal Lamb was the chief emblem in the Regimental Insignia. The origin of its adoption is obscure, but since early days it has been identified with the Regiment.

Some authorities, including Macaulay have suggested that as the Regiment was formed in 1661 to garrison Tangier–part of the dowry brought by Catherine of Braganza on her marriage to King Charles II–the badge was taken as a Christian emblem in the struggle against the infidel Moors".


This entry preceded various letters, two of which are reproduced below:-

The History of the Paschal Lamb

Newsletter, May 1976 page 7

Major General R. S. N. Mans writes:
"I was most interested to read in our last News Letter of Colonel Gerry Hollist's note on the history of the Lamb in the old badge of The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, and now of course borne on the button of The Queen's Regiment.

Old Queen's Surreys will of course recall that the late Brigadier Allen Block undertook what is probably the most authoritative study of the Lamb's history. He wrote up the results of this research in the Journals of The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment for November 1965 and December 1966 respectively. Allen Block's work not only took him to Portugal but also around the many institutions in the United Kingdom that bear the Paschal Lamb as part of their emblem or badge. Allen's conclusion was that all the evidence he had collected seemed to lead to the Paschal Lamb being connected with Queen Catherine of Braganza, for not only do we take our name "The Queen's" from Queen Catherine, but for a time after the death of King Charles II we were known as "The Queen Dowager's Regiment'. One of the most important pieces of evidence that supported Allen Block's conclusion was the discovery in 1966 by Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Lang, the then British Military Attaché in Portugal, of the Pastrana Tapestry in the Palace of Guinmaraes near Oporto. This tapestry symbolises the capture of Tangier by Don Joao de Braganza in 1471. The mounted troops were carrying lances the pennants of which were the Cross of St. George, similar to that carried by the old Regiment's Paschal Lamb. He also discovered in the Palace a portrait of Catherine of Braganza incorporating what, in Portuguese, was described as a Paschal Lamb.

In the Journal of December 1966, Allen Block also wrote that the connection between the Paschal Lamb and the House of Braganza had been substantiated by the Public Records Office and by the ex-President of St. John's College, Oxford, who also have the Paschal Lamb in their Arms. Allen also studied the so called Rowe Connection. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Rowe commanded the Queen's in 1689. Certainly a West Country family of that name bore the Paschal Lamb as their crest. Allen Block reported that he found this line of research interesting but it led to no definite conclusion. I myself believe that the evidence supporting the Braganza link is very well founded but nevertheless there does seem to be room for further research by anyone so inclined, based on the excellent detailed work done in the 1960s by Allen Block. Whilst penning these notes I came across another interesting but perhaps little known aspect of the history of the old Queen's Royal Regiment. In 1973 I had occasion to write to the then Chief Librarian of the Ministry of Defence, Librarian Mr. D. W. King, over a matter of the history of The Queen's Regiment. In his reply, Mr. King talked about the pre-1660 history of certain British Regiments, and told me that one Regiment which did have firm grounds for claiming a formal link in the pre-1660 Army was the Queen 's, but never appeared to have pressed it. He went on to say that the Queen's at Tangier incorporated the former Cromwellian Dunkirk Regiment which had distinguished itself at the Battle of the Dunes in 1658 during the Anglo Spanish War; a war in which the Royal Navy, unlike the Army, takes a special pride. For example, one Wing at Dartmouth is named after the English Naval Commander, Robert Blake."

CSA Avis, an original Queen's soldier then living in South Africa wrote:-

Newsletter, May 1976 page 8

Mr. C. S. A. Avis writes:
"The excerpt from a letter written by Lieut. Colonel E. G. Hollist published in the News Letter No. 18 dated November, 1975, was interesting to read: but I feel that the writer overlooked the fact that the original badge of the Queen Dowager's Regiment (The Queen's Royal Regiment) was a White Lamb only. The badge was not adopted until after the old Tangier Regiment of Foot had returned to England in 1684. That badge can still be seen in front of the mitre-shaped caps of the wooden figures at the Regimental Museum. The small flap of each cap, instead of bearing the White Horse of Hanover as in all other regiments, has the White Lamb. The origin of its adoption has not been established beyond doubt, but the Lamb carried by the Patron Saint (St. John the Baptist) of the House of Braganza of Spain may have had some influence, but that theory has not been precisely established. When and by what authority the rectangular flag borne by the Lamb was converted into a 'pennon' and the pole carried on the near-side shoulder, is obscure. Lord Macaulay's 'Paschal Lamb' version is considered a pipe-dream. When was the badge changed to make it according to Heraldic parlance a Paschal Lamb? In the Royal Warrant of 1st July 1751, it is confirmed to the regiment to be borne on its Colours as its 'Ancient Badge', i.e. the White Lamb."

A number of additional letters were received after the issue of the May Newsletter was published, one is reproduced below:

This article was written by the late Major P G E Hill a distingished officer of the Regiment and a long time Trustee of The Regimental Museum.

The Lamb-Plain or Paschal?

Major General Mans' interesting letter in the May 1976 issue of the News Letter has revived interest in the old badge of The Queen's Royal Regiment. This article seeks to examine the history of the Lamb and the Paschal Lamb as the badge of the Regiment.

The Lamb in Heraldry

The Lamb is not uncommon in armorial bearings and is always represented with a natural tail. The Paschal Lamb has certain well defined characteristics, the principal features being

  • the nimbus, or halo, behind its head.
  • its stance of "passant", that is, with the near foreleg raised.
  • the staff from which flies a white pennon charged with a red cross.

"The Ancient Badge"

Probably the earliest representation of the Queen's badge is in the cap of the Picture Board Dummies, in the Regimental Museum. These figures date from 1715. The badge is an ordinary lamb, all four feet on the ground, and without halo or flag. The Chancellor of Carlisle, describing the cap, records, "On the frontlet is a figure of a lamb, not a paschal lamb, but a plain lamb, with a tail like a fox's brush".

Regimental History, Volume III, page 11.

The 1747 Colours, illustrated on page 82 of Volume III, show the Lamb as described above, in the three corners of the Regimental Colour. He appears thus in the 1795 Colours in the Regimental Museum.

S. M. Milne's "Standards and Colours of the British Army, 1661 - 1881", the standard authority on Regimental Colours, refers to the Lamb on the 1747 Regimental Colour as follows:

"The Lamb, being the ancient badge of the Regiment, represented as an ordinary Lamb without nimbus or flag, indeed the latter was not added until the beginning of this (nineteenth) century. This badge of the Lamb has given rise to much comment ... Sir Sibbald Scott asserts that 'the Regiment used the Lamb as a badge without any obvious meaning, and that quite lately it assumed the paschal attributes',"

The Emergence of the Paschal Lamb

An article entitled "The Regimental Badge" in the Regimental Journal of May 1939, records, "The granting of the Paschal Lamb as the badge of the Regiment, that is, the Lamb with halo and flag, was only made in a warrant of 1751 ... In this warrant there is again the statement that the Lamb is the 'ancient badge' of the Regiment, but it is then declared that the Regiment is therefore authorized to wear 'in the three corners of the second Colour the Paschal Lamb'." It is odd that such an important decision does not appear to be recorded in the Regimental History.

The Lamb was slow in making his appearance in full Paschal regalia on the Colours. In the 1800 Regimental Colour he is shown as his old self with all four feet on the ground. In 1806 there is a distinct change. The Lamb is shown as "passant" and carrying his staff, from which flies a square flag with a St. George's cross, i.e., red on a white field. However, no nimbus as yet. It was not until 1820 that the Lamb on the Colours acquired his halo, and may, for the first time, be regarded as a fully equipped Paschal Lamb.

Pictures of the 1800 and 1806 Colours on page 68 of Volume IV of the Regimental History, while the 1820 Colours are shown at page 51 of Volume V.

It is curious so many years elapsed before the Paschal Lamb was emblazoned on the Colours, but he does appear engraved on the silver gorget worn by officers about 1795. There is a picture of one on page 6 of Volume IV of the Regimental History. This Lamb fulfils not only the basic conditions mentioned earlier, but certain others connected with the cross at the end of the staff, and the pennon.

The plain Lamb was "the ancient badge" of the Regiment. Its origin is unknown.

The Paschal Lamb superseded the ordinary Lamb as the badge of the Regiment during the second half of the 18th Century.


Letter to the Editor and Colonel J W Sewell, written by the late Brigadier M J A Clarke MBE in 1998.

During a recent visit to the Queens Surreys Museum at Clandon I asked why there is no explanation of the adoption of the Paschal Lamb as the badge of the Queens Royal Regiment in either the excellent guide to the museum and the potted history of the Queen Royal Surrey Regiment which are on sale there. I was referred expeditiously to a volume of correspondence on the subject which left me none the wiser, although clearly I was not the first to ask. Now, however, I may have fortuitously found the answer, which I shall try out on you.

I had thought, ever since I visited Braganza in north Portugal many years ago and found that the main church displayed the Paschal Lamb on pews and tombs and practically everywhere else that it was the badge of the Royal House of Braganza and had been adopted as the regimental badge because of Charles II's marriage to Princess Catherine. However Brigadier Block's erudite article published in the March 1965 Journal refuted that theory, and I may have overlooked that the church I visited was the Church of St. John.

The most recent edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: -

  1. Refers me to John 1:29 in which Jesus Christ is called the Paschal Lamb.
  2. Tells me that in heraldry a Paschal lamb is a white lamb passant carrying a banner of St. George.
  3. States that the 2nd Foot, originally raised for service in Tangier against the Muslim forces, adopted the Christian emblem of the Paschal Lamb as their badge.

So, if that is the reason, should we not say so?

Extract from a letter to the Editor of the Queen’s Surreys Newsletter in March 1999.

I remember Brigadier Allen Black’s research's and was then rather surprised at his conclusion that the Lamb might be connected with some West Country family. In my mind the connection with Catherine of Braganza has always been clear – although unproven- as Michael says, it was one of the badges, if not the main badge, of the Royal House of Portugal. It is also known that St John the Divine whose badge it is was her patron saint. With the badge it is also the badge/crest of St John’s College, Oxford founded well before us, as too is part of the Arms of the Merchant Taylor’s Company founded 1327. The Merchant Taylors lamb though does not have a flag but has a halo behind it – perhaps converting an exotic halo into a flag was a simplification heraldicly.

Also of course it would seem entirely logical for the Tangier Regiment to take a Royal symbol as a badge.  ‘Regiment’ in the past had usually worn the badge of their masters e.g. the Bear’s Ragged Staff of Warwick (the Kingmaker), the Rising Sun of Oxford etc. and Royal troops in the Middle Ages the Lions. And in support of this the 1st of Foot have the badge of Scotland, and the 3rd of Foot the badge of the Tudors. As you said too, our regiment must have been seen to be ‘Lambs’ before and at Sedgemoor, and it is hardly likely that the nickname ‘Kirke’s Lambs’ would have been dreamt up and come into use as a result of alleged rough behaviour in a short few days or weeks after Sedgmoor – anyway isn’t it right that in fact it was the 2nd Tangier Regiment (4th of Foot) who escorted the Bloody Assizes?

 J.W.Sewell. Colonel.


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