Thursday, December 18, 2014

Another Heraldic Memorial in Temple Church

Another very impressive heraldic monument in Temple Church is that of Richard Martin (1570-1618), which bears not only a beautifully carved image but is also surmounted by his remarkably simple arms.

Burke’s General Armory, cf. Martin: Martin (Baron Martin, abeyance 1325; William Martin, descended from Robert Martin, temp. Henry I., son of Martin de Tours, a Norman, was summoned to Parliament, 1295).  Argent two bars gules.

Also, Martin (Athelhampson, co. Dorset).  Argent two bars gules.

Burke gives a number of other closely related arms, some with a cadency mark, some with a charged canton, some with charges of various types on the bars, one with the bars engrailed accompanied by a charged chief, and one with three bars.

According to Wikipedia, Richard Martin was a member of a group of intellectual men, poets, and playwrights including John Donne and Ben Jonson who met the first Friday of every month at the Mermaid Tavern in Bread Street.  Martin was "universally well regarded for his warmth of nature, personal beauty, and graceful speech", and was elected "prince of Love" to preside over the Christmas grand revels of the Middle Temple in the winter of 1597/98.

In 1603, Martin was chosen to give a speech welcoming the new King James to London on behalf of the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex as part of the celebrations of the royal entry on 7 May.

He died of the smallpox, on Sunday morning 2 November 1618, and was buried in the Temple Church, London.

Here's a woodcut portrait of him done by Simon de Passe.

He has an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography which gives a lot more details of his life (I especially like the part about Sir John Davies writing a dedicatory sonnet to Martin but then later assaulting him with a cudgel.  :

MARTIN, RICHARD (1570-1618), recorder of London, born at (Merton, Devonshire, in 1570, was the son of William Martin by his wife Anne, daughter of Richard Parker of Sussex. He became a commoner of Broadgates Hall (Pembroke College), Oxford, at Michaelmas 1585, and was 'a noted disputant,' though he left without a degree. He entered the Middle Temple, but was temporarily expelled from the society in February 1591 for a riot at the prohibited festival of the Lord of Misrule (Archæologia, xxi. 109). Sir John Davies (1669-1626) [q. v.] prefaced his 'Orchestra,' published in 1598, with a dedicatory sonnet to Martin, but, provoked it is supposed by Martin's raillery, assaulted him with a cudgel in February 1597-8, while at dinner in the common hall of the Middle Temple. In 1601 Martin was M.P. for Barnstaple (Willis, Notitia Parl.) He was called to the bar in 1602. In 1603, on the progress of James I from Theobalds to London, he made at Stamford Hill 'an eloquent and learned oration' on the king's accession (Nichols, Progresses of James I, i. 113), which was printed (London, 1603, 4to) as 'A Speech delivered to the King's . . . Majestie in the name of the Sheriffes of London and Middlesex' (reprinted in Nichols, op. cit. p. *128f ; cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1803-10, p. 7). From 1604 tilt 1611 he was M.P. for Christchurch. In February 1612-13, on the occasion of the Princess Elizabeth's marriage, he organised a masque at the Middle Temple. Martin was Lent reader of the Temple in the thirteenth year of James I (1615-16), and on 1 Oct. 1618 was chosen recorder of London. He died on 31 Oct, 1618 (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1811-18, pp. 589, 591). Aubrey says his end was hastened by excessive drinking (but cf. Whitelocke, Liber Famelicus, p. 63). Martin was buried in the Temple Church, and has an alabaster monument on the north wall, representing his figure kneeling beneath a canopy (Malcolm, Londinium Rediv. ii. 292). The monument was repaired in 1683. A portrait of Martin, engraved by Simon Passe in 1620, is in the Ashmolean Museum, and is reproduced in Nichols's 'Progresses of James I,' 1, *128, By his will (in the Prerogative Office of Canterbury) Martin left 5l. to Otterton, and 5l. to Calliton Raleigh, Devonshire, where he had a house. The mayor of Exeter was his executor (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 168), Martin had a reputation as a wit, and 'there was no person,' says Wood, 'more celebrated for ingenuity . . . none more admired by Selden, Serjeant Hoskins, Ben Jonson, &c., than he.' Jonson dedicated his 'Poetaster' to him, Wood states that Martin was the author of 'Various Poems,' of which, however, he had seen no copy. A verse 'Epistle to Sir Hen. Wotton' by Martin is in 'Coryat's Crudities.'
    [Wood's Athenæ) (Bliss), ii. 260-1 ; Foster's Alumni Oxon. (1600-1714) ; Chamberlain's Letters, temp. Eliz, p. 112; authorities cited above.]

All in all, a remarkable man, who has left us a similarly remarkable monument and a bit of classic heraldry.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Heraldic Memorial in Temple Church

There is an old, and well-maintained (all things considered; after all, during WWII, the roof was bombed in!) heraldic memorial in Temple Church in London.

It is the tomb of Edmund Plowden (d. 1584), who was something of a legend, and even rarer, a Catholic who served Queen Mary I and remained well-known and respected despite his being a Catholic under Queen Elizabeth I, in addition to being, among other thing, the Treasurer of Middle Temple 1561-1566.

You (or at least, those of you who can read Latin) can get some idea of his accomplishments from the plaque which accompanies the memorial.  (For the rest of you for whom, like me, your Latin may be at best be called "rusty," there's more about him below.)

And, of course, there is a finely carved coat of arms with helm, crest, and mantling topping the memorial.

The entry in Burke's General Armory states: Plowden (Plowden, co. Salop; of this ancient family was the learned Serjeant Edmund Plowden, of Plowden, so eminent as a lawyer, temp. Mary I. and Queen Elizabeth).  Azure a fess dancettée, the two upper points terminating in fleurs-de-lis or.  Crest – On a mount vert a buck passant sable attired or.  (Clearly, the stag here has lost both his front legs and his antlers (attires) over the years, as well as having been painted entirely gold instead of black with gold antlers.)

Plowden may be most famous for the phrase, "The case is altered," which was a proverbial expression in the 17th century, as well as the title of a 1609 play by Ben Jonson. As "the case is alter'd, quoth Plowden", it is attached to anecdotes. In one of them, while defending a gentleman charged with hearing Mass, Plowden worked out that the service had been performed by a layman for the sole purpose of informing against those present, and exclaimed, "The case is altered; no priest, no Mass", and thus secured an acquittal.

He also has a very long entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia (which also mentions the story of "the case is altered":

Plowden, EDMUND, b. 1517-8; d. in London, February 6, 1584-5. Son of Humphrey Plowden of Plowden Hall, Shropshire, and Elizabeth his wife; educated at Cambridge, he took no degree. In 1538 he was called to the Middle Temple where he studied law so closely that he became the greatest lawyer of his age, as is testified by Camden, who says that "as he was singularly well learned in the common laws of England, whereof he deserved well by writing, so for integrity of life he was second to no man of his profession" (Annals, 1635, p. 270). He also studied at Oxford for a time, and besides his legal studies, qualified as a surgeon and physician in 1552. On Mary's accession he became one of the council of the Marches of Wales. In 1553 he was elected member of Parliament for Wallingford and in the following year was returned for two constituencies, Reading and Wootten-Bassett; but on January 12, 1554-5, he withdrew from the House, dissatisfied with the proceedings there. Succeeding to the Plowden estates in 1557, he lectured on law at Middle Temple and New Inn; in 1561 he became treasurer of Middle Temple and during his treasurer-ship the fine hall of that inn was begun. His fidelity to the Catholic faith prevented any further promotion under Elizabeth, but it is a family tradition that the queen offered him the Lord Chancellorship on condition of his joining the Anglican Church. He success-fully defended Bishop Bonner against the Anglican Bishop Horne, and helped Catholics by his legal knowledge. On one occasion he was defending a gentleman charged with hearing Mass, and detected that the service had been performed by a layman for the purpose of informing against those who were present, whereon he exclaimed, "The case is altered; no priest, no Mass", and thus secured an acquittal. This incident gave rise to the common legal proverb, "The case is altered, quoth Plowden". He himself was required to give a bond in 1569 to be of good behavior in religious matters for a year, and in 1580 he was delated to the Privy Council for refusing to attend the Anglican service, though no measures seem to have been taken against him. His works were: "Les comentaries ou les reportes de Edmunde Plowden" (London, 1571), often reprinted and translated into English; "Les Quares del Monsieur Plowden" (London, no date), included in some editions of the Reports; "A Treatise on Succession", MSS. preserved among the family papers. Its object was to prove that Mary, Queen of Scots, was not debarred from her right to the English throne by her foreign birth or the will of Henry VIII. Several MSS. legal opinions are preserved in the British Museum and the Cambridge University Libraries. He married Catherine Sheldon of Beoley and by her had three sons and three daughters. There is a portrait effigy on his tomb in the Temple Church, and a bust in the Middle Temple Hall copied from one at Plowden.

Quite a man, and a wonderful heraldic monument to him.  I'm glad that I was able to see (and photograph) it during our trip to London.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Heraldry of a Canon

Another heraldic memorial in the Cloisters at Westminster Abbey is found in the floor, a memorial to John Troutbeck, D.D.

The arms are canting, obviously.  Burke’s General Armory gives us a blazon for the arms under the names Troutbeck and Trowtbeck:

Troutbeck, or Troutback.  Azure three trouts fretted in triangle argent.

Trouwtback.  Azure three trouts fretted in triangle tête-à-la-guise argent.

Trowtbeck.  Azure three trouts fretted argent.

The crest is given by Burke as: A Moor's head couped below the shoulders, and in the centre a fleur-de-lis sable.

The image on the memorial has been badly worn, so I am taking the fleur-de-lis on faith.

The memorial text reads:

John Troutbeck, D.D.
Minor Canon of the [chipped here; could be "this"]
Collegiate Church 18[chipped here]
Precentor 1895 Chaplain-
in-ordinary to the Queen
Born November 12 1832
Died October 11 1899
Elizabeth Forbes his wife
Born January 29 1832
Died March 22 1923

According to Wikipedia, in the Anglican Communion “[a] precentor is a person, usually a clergy member, who is in charge of preparing worship services,” and “[a] Minor Canon is a member of staff on the establishment of a cathedral or a collegiate church. Minor Canons are clergy and take part in the daily services but are not part of the formal Chapter. They are generally more junior clergy, often chosen for their singing ability.”

Wikipedia also notes that his "renown rests on his translation of various continental choral texts including the major works of Bach."

Rev. Dr. John Troutbeck has his own entry at the Westminster Abbey website, so if you are interested you can learn more about him and his life at  (However, that page also says that the crest on the arms is a "wolf's head," which I simply don't see in the photograph of the monument above.  Unless they are mistaking the helm for a wolf's head, or the bits of mantling above the Moor's head for wolf's ears - which I also cannot see - that part of the entry on the Westminster Abbey page is simply incorrect.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lunch With Heraldry (or Vice Versa)

While wandering about Westminster in London, we found ourselves feeling a “might peckish” around lunchtime, and were looking for a place to eat when we ran across the following:

Did we have lunch there?  Well, of course we did!  I mean, what heraldry enthusiast could possibly resist?  Certainly not me!  (For the record, it was a pretty decent lunch, too.)

Burke’s General Armory gives us two entries with this coat of arms on it:

Grafton (Shrewsbury, Little Missenden, co. Bucks, co. Chester, and London), Per saltire sable and ermine a lion rampant or.

Grafton (Grafton Flyford, co. Worcester and co. Stafford; Richard Grafton, of Grafton Flyford, “had many possessions in the cos. of Worcester, Stafford, and Salop.”  Robert Grafton, grandson of the above, was “Bayley of ye Citty of Worcester,” temp. Edward IV.)   Per saltire sable and ermine a lion rampant or, armed and langued gules.

I assume that it is the first, with the connection with London, which is the source of the Grafton Arms’ sign with the arms of Grafton.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

An Heraldic Memorial

It is not permitted to take photographs inside Westminster Abbey, but there are plenty of heraldic items to photograph in the Cloisters and the Chapter House there, where cameras are allowed.

One really fine and moving example of such is this memorial to John Kemp, Baronet, in the cloister area.

The text reads:

To the Memory of
Sir Iohn Kemp Bart.
A youth, who to a graceful person added
such purity of manners, sweetness of temper
and pleasantness of conversation
as delights, and indeared him to
all his acquaintance.

Having passed through Westminster School
with improvement and applause
he was about to prosecute his studies
at one of the universities;
and (had it pleased the Divine Being
to have granted him a length of days)
he would probably have reflected
that lustre, upon birth and title,
which many are content to borrow from them.
But death was permitted to blast the hopes
conceived of him, e’er he had attained
the age of 17 years
upon the 16th of Jany. 1771.
This tablet is erected by
two of his young friends
who loved and lament him.

This is a close-up of the arms at the base of the monument:

Burke’s General Armory gives us the following:

Kemp (Gissing, co. Norfolk, bart.).  Gules three garbs and a border engrailed or.  Crest - On a garb or, a pelican vulning herself proper.  Motto - Lucem spero [I hope for light].

Wikipedia in its entry "Kemp Baronets" notes that Sir John Kemp was the 6th Baronet.  After his death, the baronetcy devolved upon his uncle, Sir Benjamin Kemp.

All in all, a very touching monument to a man of promise who died so young, and a nice depiction of heraldry for those of us interested in such things.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I’ve Been (Heraldry) Book Shopping

As some of you may know (and some of you may not), I have a website on which I try to promote myself as a speaker on various aspects of heraldry and genealogy, and where I also offer a number of heraldry-related items.  Among these are remaindered (new but sold at a discount) or gently-used books on heraldry that I have found here or there.  My thinking is, if I can find a book on heraldry at a bookstore that doesn’t advertise their wares on-line (because if they did, you could buy from them directly), and which I can acquire at a sufficiently reasonable price, I will buy them and make them available to you on my website.

Naturally, this search for books on heraldry is not without self-interest.  Despite the belief of some of my friends, I do not already own every heraldry book published, so I stop at bookstores in my travels to see what they might offer that I have not yet obtained for myself.  But I often find books that I already own, but which are available at a low enough price that I think they’re a bargain and would be of interest to others looking to expand their heraldic libraries, so I buy them to make them more widely available.

All this is to say that I’ve been out shopping again, and have added some more books to the website.  If you are interested in seeing what heraldry books I’ve found that are available for sale there, please feel free to drop by the Appleton Studios used books page at

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Heraldry

Well, it's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, a day set aside to be with friends and family, to stuff ourselves with turkey or ham, watch football, and get ready to fight the crowds and begin our Christmas shopping on "Black Friday."  Unless you're me (and some others), of course, in which case it's a day for remembering the half of those hardy souls who made it through that first winter of 1620-21 and celebrated bringing in the harvest in Plymouth, Massachusetts with three days of celebration and feasting with their Wampanoag friends.

Surprisingly enough, a significant percentage of the passengers on the Mayflower were entitled to bear coats of arms.  Among those so entitled, my personal favorite is the canting arms borne by Capt. Myles Standish (this image from the website of the Myles Standish Society):

"Really?"  I hear you ask.  "And how is this coat with three white roundels a pun on the name Standish?"

It's simple, really; the blazon (found in Burke's General Armory) is Sable three standing dishes argent.  (I suppose the more expected heraldic term "plates" might also work, but really, isn't "standing dishes" more appropriate here?)

So there you have it, a little Thanksgiving Day heraldry.  I hope you enjoy your day, whether you have it off from work or not.

As for me, I'll be thinking about then 14-year-old Mary Chilton, my 10th great-grandmother, who lost both of her parents during that first winter in New England, but who was also a part of that early thanksgiving celebration in the New World.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!