Anne Arundel County Seal
In 2016 the County Council approved a new design of the official County Seal (Fig. 1) proposed by County Executive Steve Schuh. The main elements of the seal come from a portrait of Charles Calvert (Fig. 2), son of Anne Arundel and Cecil Calvert, standing next to his coronet. The other major influence on the design is the oldest wax seal known to exist from a court document dating back to 1762 (Fig. 3).
Features of Charles Arundel's coronet include the ermine band and gold band. A tassel design was created to mimic his coronet as well, which was often depicted in period drawings as a pineapple, cross, leaf or seashell. Historic records were unclear as to whether the red and white Crossland family arms (the maternal side of the Calvert family) were to be displayed as rounded (as in the Maryland flag) or Fleur de lis. The Fleur de lis was chosen because it differentiates the Anne Arundel Seal from the State Flag, and also because heraldry experts stated that coats of arms of a son (Cecil Calvert) should be different from that of the father (George Calvert).
The seals used by Maryland's counties today may be divided into two broad categories: heraldic and pictorial. The pictorial seals generally contain naturalistic representations of the flora and fauna of the county. Heraldic seals display straight and curved lines, crosses and stylized animals, that follow strict rules as to the number, position, and coloring of the charges on the shield.
Of the heraldic seals used by Maryland counties, some (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Charles, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, and Worcester) reflect some version of the Calvert family arms. The present Anne Arundel County seal shows a variation on the Calvert and Crossland arms. This variation is in keeping with the heraldic philosophy that no two individuals (or institutions) should bear exactly the same arms. In its history of almost 350 years, the county has had at least four different seals.
In April 1950, Thomas S. Christian prepared a report on the Anne Arundel County seal. The drawing by Earl Duckwall that accompanied the report showed the traditional Calvert arms of six horizontal stripes, alternately gold and black, with a diagonal stripe of opposite colors quartering the Crossland arms of four quarters, silver and red, on which was superimposed a cross of opposite colors, with the arms of the cross ending in little buttons . The "buttons" on the crosses bottony were drawn rather large, and filled much of the space.
There was no motto, but under the shield were two brackets, each with a rose and a thorn. A county seal was adopted in 1968. Article 1-104 of the County Code stated that the seal of the county was to be the seal described in the report of Mr. Christian except that surrounding the heraldry, should be the words "Anne Arundel County, Maryland." When the seal was reproduced in color the standard gold and black of the Calvert arms, and the standard red and silver of the Crossland Arms were to be used. The roses in the brackets under the shield were to be red, and the circle (coronet) at the top of the shield and the brackets and thorn beneath the shield were to be gold. The background color was to be optional. When the seal is currently displayed the brackets under the seal still carry the rose and the thorn, and the colors are the same (Gold and black and silver and red.) However, the cross in the Crossland arms has become a cross floretty (its four arms ending in fleurs-de-lis). Just as younger sons sometimes made a slight difference in their paternal arms, so the Anne Arundel County seal depicts a slightly differenced version of the Calvert arms.
Credit: Maryland State Archives