Bullen Coat of Arms


bullen coat of arms

There is evidence that the Bullen / Boleyn Coat of Arms was used by the family from about 1400 (It was probably used before then but we have not yet found any tangible proof)

  • Blickling Hall and its Church, in Norfolk, was the home of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn (1406-1463) from 1437. He was the Lord Mayor of London in 1465. There is a window, in the church, dedicated to his wife Ann and it displays the Boleyn Coat of Arms.
  • Blickling was inherited by Sir Geoffrey Boleyn’s (1406-1463) son Sir William Boleyn (1451-1505). William Boleyn’s daughter Alice Boleyn (1487-1538) married Sir Robert Clere.
  • In 1505 Blickling was inherited by William Boleyn’s son Sir Thomas Boleyn (1477/70-1538/9) (father of Queen Anne Boleyn. He was granted the title of Earl of Ormond by Henry VIII and with the title came lands in Ireland. Clonony Castle, in Co Offaly, was one of his possessions).
  • After the execution of Queen Anne and her brother George Boleyn, Blickling Hall became the home of Sir Edward Clere (died 1611). Sir Edward Clere’s tomb, in Blickling Church, displays the Coats of Arms and pedigrees of his family. His grandparents were Sir Robert Clere (died 1529) and his 2nd wife Alice Boleyn. Below is one of the inscriptions on the tomb.

Edward Clere


  • In 1726 John Bullen (?-1740) of Currahoe, East and West Ballyhander & Dromdough, his brother Edward Bullen (?-1737) of Old Head and Edward Bullen’s son Joseph Bullen (?-1745/6) erected the Bullen tomb, in the south-east corner of the wall of the Ringroan Church, which  is  now a ruin. This was to mark the death of Joseph Bullen’s first wife, Jane Hodder . The inscription reads

“This is the burial place of the family of Bullens In the Barony of Couceys
and erected by Mr Edward John and Joseph Bullen
This seventeenth day of December 1726
Here Lyeth the body of Jane Bullen, wife of Joseph Bullen of Ballyaidown, gentleman
and eldest daughter of Francis Hodder, of Hodderfield, esq,
who departed this life the 27th day of May 1726 in the 29th year of her age”

The Bullen Coat of Arms is engraved at the top of the tomb

The  Bullen  Coat  of  Arms in Ireland

  • The Bullen Coat of Arms was used by the Bullen Family and is particularly noticeable on seals to Deeds and Wills. Below is the seal of William Bullen on Deed D26082 dated Oct 16th 1708 (held at the Manuscripts Department Dublin)

The Bullen Coat of Arms on a seal

  • The right to use the seal ( with the Coat of Arms) would have appeared to have been passed down the through the eldest male. However the last proven knowledge of the use of the Coat of Arms is that of Thomas Bullen (1812-1889) receiving the right to represent the family and use the family crest and seal when his brother Lieut. Joseph Bullen HM 88th Regiment  (1807-1835) died. Interestingly Thomas Bullen was the 3rd son and the eldest son was William Bullen (1806-1887). These are the sons of Joseph Bullen (1756?-1822) and Suzanne Wakeham (married Aug 12th 1805)

From Notes and Queries 1860
“It is curious that the bull’s head is still the crest of my uncle, Thomas Bullen( who since the decease of his brother, Lieut. Joseph Bullen, HM. 88TH Regiment, represents the family)…….”
John Crosbie Fuller Harnett,
Late Captain, 2nd W.I. Reg
37 Upper Gloucester Street ,Dublin

  • Rev William Crofts Bullen (1824-1880) appears to have adopted a family coat of arms that is a combination of the Bullen and Crofts Families. This is in the “Pedigree of the Bullen Family” written by Rev William Crofts Bullen in about 1870.

The Bullen Coat of arms in Ireland


  • In all the documentation about Edward Bullen (?-1737) of Old Head it states that he could prove his ancestry back to the Boleyn Family of Queen Anne Boleyn. Unfortunately no proof of this claim has yet been found.
  • It was , in those days, an offence to use a family crest without proof of the right to do so. The common practice was to register your claim, along with a pedigree of your family, to the College of Arms. The College of Arms, in London, undertook a search on Edward Bullen of Old Head and were unable to find anything. This does not mean he did not have the right to use the Coat of Arms, which may have been registered in England some considerable time before.