Notes and queries
The following references were found as a result of investigations made in response to enquiries sent to the Society. This list does not attempt to be comprehensive, but picks out some aspects of Enfield that someone has expressed an interest in.
Quotations have been kept brief, and illustrations have not been reproduced here, to avoid infringing copyright. Sources of information have been given wherever possible, and readers must make their own judgement as to the reliability of each. The Enfield Society does not vouch for the accuracy of any of this information. Additions and corrections are most welcome, and should be sent to email@example.com
The Enfield beast
There are two areas of uncertainty about the Enfield, on which commentators differ. Any authoritative information on these points in particular would be very helpful.
- Did the Enfield originate in Enfield , Middlesex, or with the Kelly family in Ireland? If the latter, is the theory that it is an amalgam of the animals of Enfield Chase just subsequent rationalisation, or was it adopted because although it already existed it did incorporate these animals?
- Does it have the chest of a greyhound or an elephant? Some descriptions omit this. Does it have the body of a wolf or of a lion?
Descriptions of enfields
- Glossary of heraldic terms ; heraldic monsters / Gill Smith 1997–2000
"Enfield: A curious beast with a fox’s head and ears, a wolf’s body, hind legs and tail, and an eagle’s shanks and talons for front legs"
- Mostly medieval : exploring the middle ages. Heraldry » Fabulous Beasts in Heraldry » Dictionary of Heraldic Beasts / site designed and maintained by Susan Wallace.
"Enfield: Particularly associated with some Irish families, the enfield has the head of a fox, the chest of a greyhound, the body of a lion, the legs and tail of a wolf and the talons of an eagle. "
- Enfield - In: Dave's mythical creatures and places, 2004.
A hybrid animal, with the head of a fox, chest of a greyhound, talons of an eagle, body of a lion, and the hind legs and tail of a wolf.
- International civic heraldry: United Kingdom. Enfield
Illustration of the shield of the London Borough of Enfield, described in the next reference.
- Civic heraldry of England & Wales - Greater London. Enfield / compiled by Robert Young. - Accessed 2005-06-19.
Formal and explanatory descriptions of the civic arms of Enfield with a coloured illustration.
- International civic heraldry. Australian civic heraldry. Enfield [Australia]. (Incorporated into Port Adelaide, Enfield)
Description and illustration of the civic arms, which include three red Enfields, differenced by the seven-pointed star from the Australian Commonwealth crest ...
- O'Brien's celtic and medieval page : Enfield / Zoe O'Brien
Brief description and two illustrations. "The Enfield has the head of a fox, the tail, hind legs, and body of a wolf, the front legs being made of eagle's shanks and talons. It is the crest of the Kelly family, where it originated from."
- Heraldic monsters : opinion - Toronto : The Heraldry Society of Canada, Toronto Branch 1999. (Web version : The Mad Alchemist 2001)
"... in the arms of the London Urban District of Enfield the monster of that name, taken from the arms of several Irish families named Kelly, was clearly inevitable, and so it would be in arms for someone named Enfield. But if I were an armigerous Kelly, I wouldn't want my enfield granted to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who seeks a coat of arms."
- The Kelly & O'Kelly family crest. - Dublin, Ireland : The O'Kelly Heritage Project, 2000.0
"The armorial bearings of some of the O'Kelly / Kelly branches have slight differences. All, however , show the green enfield as their crest. There is a tradition among the Kellys that they have borne this fabulous animal since the days of Tadhg Mór O'Kelly who fell "fighting like a wolf dog" against the Danes with the High King Of Ireland, Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014AD. When Tadhg Mór fell this animal issued from the nearby sea to protect the dead body of the chief until it was retrieved by his O'Kelly kinsmen. The animal is sculptured on many old tombstones of the Kelly family in the Abbey of Kilconnell, and in the old church of Cloonkeen. A most extraordinary creature, it is composed as follows; the head of a fox, the chest of an elephant, the mane of a horse, the forelegs of an eagle , the body and hind legs of a hound , and the tail of a lion."
- Of beasts and banners : the origin of the heraldic enfield / N.J.A. Williams. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol.119, 1989, p.62-78.
- [Reference from Thaddeus C. Breen's contents lists of Irish archaeological and historical Journals - accessed 2nd July 2001]
Other mentions of enfields
- The meanings behind the symbols, or, What does it mean if your coat of arms bears a red boar's head?. - Knoxville, Tennessee : Fleur-de-lis Designs
- "Enfield: mythical beast said to have protected fallen chieftains' bodies for proper burial"
Modern interpretations of enfieldsI am indebted to Xenia Eliassen for the following links to modern artistic representations of enfields by herself and others:
Enfield of the Burren by 'Swandog' [i.e. Xenia Eliassen] 2005 Free registration required for access to this site.
Realistic coloured drawing of an enfield by Keaalu [i.e. A Scott], 2003.
Drawing of 'Maltrick the Enfield', with wings, by 'Foxy' [i.e.Jennie Lynn Silvernail], 1998
Cute coloured picture of an enfield called Taliesin by 'Foxy' [i.e.Jennie Lynn Silvernail], 2000