Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Tale of Two Bridges


One of the phrases that I occasionally hear or read in the newspaper here in Dallas, Texas, is the desire of the municipality to be a "world-class city."  And I've never really found a good definition for what the speaker or writer means by that phrase.  I get the impression that they think it means that Dallas should somehow be on the same level as cities like London or Paris or even New York.  But it seems that becoming a "world-class city" always seems to involve spending huge sums of money on projects that are "artistic" without necessarily doing much more than "prettifying" the area.  And so we come to the first of two bridges, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge over the Trinity River which runs along one side of downtown Dallas.


It is very pretty.  It's modern.  It's very artistic.  It cost a lot of money.  And yet ....

It doesn't really connect to anything.  You can get to it on the east end off of the Interstate highway I-35, but the west end of it feeds down into an ordinary street.  It doesn't connect with the east-west Interstate highway; you can get to I-30 directly from I-35 about half a mile south of the exit for the Bridge.

Then there's this other bridge, in the town of Sandwich in the county of Kent, England.  Sandwich truly was a "world-class" city; it was one of the Cinque Ports in southeastern England, and thus was one of the  major ports through which materials and goods and whatnot (for example, the elephant given to King Henry III in 1255 from the French king) traveled on their way into and out of the kingdom.

In the town of Sandwich, there is a bridge over the River Stour which, like the Trinity River in Dallas, runs alongside the city.


This bridge isn't so large as the one in Dallas, and presumably it cost nowhere near as much to build, but it actually does go somewhere; it used to be the main bridge into and out of the city.  It also used to be a toll bridge, but you can cross it for free these days.

And the bridge in Sandwich has something else that the one in Dallas lacks (well, besides a long history): a coat of arms of the city.


Blazoned as Per pale Gules and Azure three demi-Lions passant guardant in pale Or conjoined with as many sterns of demi-Ships Argent, this is a great rendering (dated 1892-3) in cast iron of the arms of Sandwich.

Maybe something like this is what Dallas needs to turn itself into a "world-class city;" a small but useful bridge with a nice display of heraldry on it, instead of a hip, modern, bridge to nowhere.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Littleton Shields in Temple Church, Part The Last


We now continue our counter-clockwise journey around the Littleton monument in the floor of Temple Church with the last seven of the small brass shields up the right-hand side.


22. _____ a chevron between three roundels (annulets?) _____. (Unidentified.  There is more than a page of entries in Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials for this pattern.)


23. Quarterly _____ and _____ a bend _____. (Unidentified.  Again, without knowing the tinctures or having more genealogical knowledge of the families involved, too many to choose from for identification of this shield.)


24. Paly of six _____ and _____ on a fess _____ three mullets _____. (Unidentified.  There are nine entries for this pattern in Papworth, but once again, without knowing the tinctures ....)


25. Quarterly per fess indented _____ and _____ (or, Per fess indented and per pale _____ and _____). (Unidentified.)


 26. _____ three escallops _____. (Unidentified.  There is a whole page of "three escallops" in Papworth.)


27. _____ three cinquefoils _____. (Unidentified. There are even more "three cinquefoils" than "three escallops" in Papworth.  Too many to choose from without knowing the tinctures.)


28. Barry of eight or and gules. (Poyntz) (Too many to choose from in Papworth, but in this case I had additional information.  Philip Kerr, Rouge Croix Pursuivant, noted that the shields on the right side of the monument relate to the family of Sir Adam Littleton’s wife, Ethelreda, daughter and heiress of Thomas Poyntz. (Monumental Brass Society, Bulletin 126, June 2014, p. 506) A quick search in Burke's General Armory for Poyntz led to the correct blazon.)

And with that, we have finished our review of the Littleton monument in the floor of Temple Church in London, a monument which has been described (not by me!) as "a vainglorious display of arms.”  (London: The City Churches, Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner, 1998, p. 136)

I hope that you've enjoyed this visit to this wonderful monument to members of the Littleton family.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Littleton Shields in Temple Church, Part 4


Having gone through the shields down the left-hand side of the Littleton monument in Temple Church, we're going to continue our journey by crossing over the bottom and making our way up the right-hand side. 


Basically, we're just going around the monument in a counter-clockwise fashion. So the first shield here, number 15, is the one just above and to the right of the roundel with the skull and crossbones, above.


15. _____ an eagle displayed _____. (Unidentified.  Again, without hatching or more genealogical information, deciding which of the many eagles there are in Papworth's Ordinary is a nearly impossible task.)


16. Either Checky or and gules a chevron azure (Botterell/Bottrell), or Checky or and azure a chevron gules (De Manes/Mayroll/ Redborne).


17. _____ three bends _____ (bendy _____ and _____?) on a chief _____ three increscents _____. (Unidentified.  Surprisingly, I found no examples - under either potential blazon - in Papworth.)


 18. Either Argent a chevron between three lozenges ermines Shaa/Shaw, or Sable a chevron between three lozenges ermine (Shaw).


19. _____ on a bend _____ three mascles _____. (Unidentified.  There are eight entries for this pattern in Papworth.  Without knowing the tinctures - please, people, is engraving proper heraldic hatching really all that difficult? - there was no way to decide to which surname this shield belongs.)


20. _____ billety _____ a fess dancetty _____. (_____ a fess dancetty between ten billets _____?) (Unidentfied.)


21. Per pale _____ and _____ all goutty _____ (counterchanged?). (Unidentified.  Papworth does give an entry for Grindoure, Per pale or and vert twelve gouttes in pale counterchanged four four and four. But as there are only eight gouttes here, and in a different arrangement, I think Grindoure is unlikely.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Littleton Shields in Temple Church, Part 3


Continuing our review of the brass shields down the left-hand side of the Littleton monument in Temple Church, we look at shields 8 through 14.


8. _____ a lion rampant overall a fess counter-compony _____ and _____. (Unidentified.  Papworth's Ordinary puts "lion and overall..." in the same section as "lion."  Unsurprisingly, there are pages and pages of "Lion." I chose to not go through all of them trying to track down this one coat of arms.)


9. Barry of six _____ and _____ on a bend _____ three mullets _____. (Unidentified.  this is another case where heraldic hatching would help; there are 2½ pages of entries of this pattern in Papworth.)


10. _____ two chevrons _____. (Unidentified.  There are two pages of "two chevrons" in Papworth.)


11. Argent three toads erect sable. (Botreaux, of Cokermouth, co. Cumberland)


12. Either Argent a griffin segreant azure (Botreaux), or Argent a griffin segreant gules armed azure (Botreux, in Cornwall). I'm willing to bet that it is more likely the former, but without hatching, or more genealogical information, I'm not willing to choose it over the other.


13. Checky or and gules a bend vair. (Botreaux/Botereux/ Botreux)

 14. _____ a bird close in chief a label _____. (Unidentified. Again way too many possibilities in Papworth to be able to choose just one as being likely.)

Next time, we'll start on the shields going down the right-hand side of the Littleton memorial.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Littleton Shields in Temple Church, Part 2


Continuing with our review of the Littleton monument in Temple Church in London, we're going to look at the first seven (of 14) of the small shields down the left-hand side of the monument.  These 14 shields are those which Philip Ker, Rouge Croix Pursuivant, identified as recording the genealogy of Sir Adam Littleton, first Baronet of Littleton of Stoke Milborough.

The shields are not hatched, which makes the identification of many of them a bit trickier, and I've not been able to identify or blazon all of them.  With more time to study the genealogy of the Littleton family, I'm sure we could track all of them down, but unfortunately, that's not a very high priority for me and is unlikely to happen.  That said, here are the first seven shields in order, starting at the top left side of the monument.


1.  Argent a bend cotised sable a bordure engrailed gules bezanty. (Westcote)


2.  _____ in pale two lions passant _____.  (Unidentified.  Do you have any idea how many arms are listed in Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials which consist of two lions passant?  Without knowing more of the Littleton genealogy, I'd just be guessing.)


3.  Most likely, Argent a fess gules between four hands couped appaumy azure. (Quatermaine) 

Burke's General Armory notes: Quatermain (quartered by Littleton, of Frankley, co. Worcester: Sir Thomas de Littleton, Knt., of Frankley, Esquire of the Body of Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, m. the dau. and heir of Quatermain, and d. 1422, leaving an only dau. and heir, Elizabeth de Luttelton, m. Thomas Westcote, Esq., ancestor of the Lords Lyttelton.  Visit. Devon, 1620).  Argent a fess engrailed gules between four dexter hands couped at the wrist and erect azure.  [That entry is not found in the Harleian Society’s publication of the Visitation of Devonshire 1620 under either Quatermain or Littleton.] [On the brass, the fess is not engrailed, but plain.]


4.  Either Argent two talbots passant sable (Martyn), or Sable two talbots passant argent (Montague). (It's in these sorts of cases that heraldic hatching would come in very handy.  But none of the engraving on these shields seems to be hatching, only a means of differentiating between different parts of the shield, as in the next example.)


5.  Barry of six _____ and _____ a bend _____.  The Visitation of Staffordshire, 1583, gives as one of the heiresses marrying into the Littletons, Elena Welshe, Gules four bars gemel argent a bend of the last. But the brass shield is clearly barry of six, not four bars gemel (four pairs of two bars).


6. _____ a bend _____ overall a fess _____. (Not a clue.  Not a single blessed clue. At least, none that I've been able to track down in Papworth.)


7.  Barry of six sable and or, on a chief of the last two pallets of the first, an inescutcheon gules charged with three bars ermine. (Burley) The brass makes the inescutcheon ermine charged with three bars (presumably gules).

Next time, shields 8 through 14.

Monday, February 9, 2015

“A Vainglorious Display of Arms”


There is in the floor of the Temple Church in London, under glass (or plexiglass; either way, it's thick enough to walk on, though I didn't) and lit from the sides, a monument to several members of the Littleton family: Edward, Thomas, and another Edward.  I found it to be a wonderful heraldic display, but not everyone seems to share my enthusiasm for it.  Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner in their book London: The City Churches describe it as a “Brass of Edward Littleton, 1664, with a vainglorious display of arms.”  Hence the title of this post.

The monument contains a total of 29 separate coats of arms, so I will probably break them down over several posts, instead of trying to do all of them in a single (overwhelming) one.


As you can see from the overall picture of the monument, there is a representation of the Littleton arms at the top, with a long and flowing scroll beneath it, and accompanied by 28 small brass coats of arms down each side and into the bottom. 

Philip Kerr, Rouge Croix Pursuivant and heraldic adviser to the Monumental Brass Society in the 1930s, identified the large shield as that of Littleton of Frankley, differenced with the label of an eldest son; for the line from the great judge through both Edward’s grandfathers. The shields on the left record the genealogy of Sir Adam, the first baronet of Littleton of Stoke Milborough; the shields on the right relate to the family of Sir Adam’s wife, Ethelreda, daughter and heiress of Thomas Poyntz of North Ockenden in Essex. (Monumental Brass Society, Bulletin 126, June 2014, p. 506)


The arms are blazoned Argent a chevron between three escallops sable, a label for difference.
The Littleton (or Lyttelton) arms as found in Burke’s General Armory are entered as follows:

Lyttelton (Baron Lyttelton; Sir Thomas Lyttleton, Knt., of Frankley, Judge of Common Pleas, author of "The Treatise on Tenures," d. 1481, leaving three sons: I. Sir William Lyttleton, Knt., of Frankley, ancestor of the Lords Lylletton; II. Richard Lyttleton, ancestor of Littleton. Bart., of Pillaton, extinct, and of Lord Hatherton; III, Thomas Littleton, Esq., of Spetchley, ancestor of Littleton, Bart., of Stoke Milburgh, extinct, and Lord Lyttleton, of Mounslow, extinct). Argent[gent] a chev[ron] betw[een] three escallops Sable[ble]. This family also bears the following quarterings: 1st, ar[gent] a bend cotised sa[ble] a bordure engr[ailed] gu[les] bezanty, for Westcote ; 2nd, gu[les] a lion ramp[ant] and a bordure engr[ailed] or, for Talbot; 3rd, ar[gent] six fleurs-de-lis, three, two, and one, and a chief indented or, for Paston; 4th, France and England quarterly, within a bordure gobony ar[gent] and az[ure], for Beaufort. Crest—A Moor's head in profile couped at the shoulders p[ro]p[e]r. wreathed about the temples ar[gent] and sa[ble]. Supporters—On either side a merman p[ro]p[e]r. in the exterior hand of each a trident or. Motto—Ung Dieu, ung roy.

The following illustrations are a portrait of Baron Littleton by Van Dyke and an engraving of Sir Thomas Littleton.  Just so you know some of the players here.



There is a fair bit of biographical information about various members of the Littleton family on Wikipedia and in the Dictionary of National Biography, so I’m not going to repeat all of that here.  Suffice it to say that the family was a prominent one, including barons, baronets, knights, statesmen, and a keeper of the Great Seal of England.

The legend on the scroll beneath the arms on the memorial is:

Edvardvs Littleton
D  Thomæ Littleton Baronetti
Filius Natu Maximus
Eduardi Baronis Littleton de
Mounslow
Magni Sigilli Angliæ Custodis
Ex Vnica Nepos

(I apparently missed photographing the last two twists of the scroll, and I’ve been unable to find a transcription of their text anywhere else I’ve looked.  Sorry!)

Ignoring for now the 28 small shields (we’ll start discussing those in the next post), at the bottom is a roundel with a skull and crossbones with the legend Anno Sæculi Supra decimum Septimi Sexagefimo quarto.  (The “f” in Sexagefimo is, of course, most likely the “long ess” which we would nowadays write as Sexagesimo.)


Next time, we’ll start looking at the 14 shields in the Littleton lineage from Sir Adam Littleton, followed by the 14 shields in the lineage of Ethelreda (Poyntz) Littleton, Sir Adam’s wife.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

An Heraldic Memorial to a Married Couple


Another heraldic memorial at St. Martin's Church in Canterbury, England, was erected in memory of a married couple, William Hougham, Esq. of Barton-Court, Kent (ca. 1752 - 1828), and his wife, Sarah (Robinson) Hougham (ca. 1758 - 1839).


It's a nice, stately memorial, but of course the part that most attracted me was the heraldry its apex.


The arms in the first and fourth quarters of the shield appear to be a variant of Hougham of Barton House, Kent (Solomon Hougham, Esq. of Barton House was Sheriff of Kent in 1696), descended from Robert de Hougham in the time of Richard I, Argent five chevronels sable.  On the memorial, the field appears to be or (gold) rather than argent (silver).  The crest is given in Burke's General Armory as On a chapeau gules turned up ermine a falcon argent with wings expanded or beaked and belled of the last.

The second and third quarters are difficult to decipher with confidence; the second quarter appears to be painted mostly gules, but it is possible to make out what looks like a bordure gules on it.  The third quarter might be Or in pale two (birds) within a bordure sable, but a close examination of the bordure makes it appear that there spots of red on it, which might (or might not) be charges of some sort.  Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials does give the arms of Corbet, Or (and in one instance, argent) two ravens in pale proper within a bordure gules, so that is certainly a possibility here.

On an inescutcheon of pretense we have a version of the arms of Robinson.  There are a number of similar variants in Burke, Sable, on a chevron between three stags passant (some statant, some at gaze) or three (quatrefoils, trefoils slipped, cinquefoils) gules.  I believe the charges on the chevron here are either quatrefoils or trefoils slipped.

Still and all, for all the heraldic confusion about the depiction of the arms, it's a wonderful memorial to a this married couple from Canterbury, Kent, England.