I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
Not all of the armorial memorials are as large, impressive, or expensive as some that I've shared with you previously. Here are a couple of comparatively small, but still armorial, memorial brasses that are found in the Cathedral in Glasgow.
The first one is a small shield-shaped brass "Sacred to the Memory of George Laurie, Died 2nd Jan. 1821.
As you can see, though not large enough for his full coat of arms, it bears his crest (Two branches of laurel in saltire proper) and motto, Virtus semper viridis (Virtue is always flourishing).
I have, alas, not been able to find any additional information about Mr. Laurie. (He is not, for example, listed in my copy of the Dictionary of National Biography, and a search on-line has turned up nothing, either.)
The other small brass armorial memorial is dedicated to "Robert Cowan, M.D., Professor of Medical Jurisprudence in the University of Glasgow, Born, 24th March, 1796, Died 9th October, 1841." The memorial is also dated (presumably its date of erection) "1854."
The small, shield-shaped brass is also engraved with his crest, An escallop or, and with his motto, Sic itur in altum (Thus they go into the deep).
Dr. Cowan was appointed in 1839 to the Chair in Forensic Medicine founded by the Queen that year at the University of Glasgow, having graduated M.D. from the University in 1824 and been both Surgeon (1824-1830) and Physician (1837) to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He died after only two years' tenure in the Chair.
Before I start sharing some of the individual coats of arms that abound in the stained glass in the Glasgow Cathedral, I thought I'd give you an overview of the abundance of heraldic stained glass that exists in the Cathedral. The following are not exhaustive, but give you a good sampling of the armorial windows that are there:
I'll begin sharing some of my favorite individual coats of arms from the cathedral later, but isn't this sampling of the windows there a great start?
It's not quite as obvious on this memorial in the Glasgow Cathedral (to another military man) that it displays his coat of arms, but really, it is there!
I mean, sure, you can see the helm, mantling, and crest easily enough, but a coat of arms?
This memorial is dedicated to Robert Burn Anderson, Lieutenant in the 1st Bombay Fusiliers and later Adjutant in Fane's Horse, the second son of John Anderson, a merchant of Glasgow, born on October 14, 1833, and who died September 27, 1860 (so a fortnight short of his 27th birthday), in Peking (now Beijing), China, "a victim to the cruelty of a barbarous Foe." He had been "Treacherously taken prisoner by the Chinese, when in command of an escort, and under the protection of a flag of truce." His body was buried in the Russian Cemetery in Peking.
Here is the armorial portion of the monument. You can make out that the helm (and if you look closely, the mantling) has a border around its base of alternating mullets and crescents.
The crest atop the helm is a beautifully cast and highly detailed oak tree.
And here, almost hidden away beneath the mantling, sword and scabbard, gauntlets, and hero's laurel, is the shield.
It appears to be a variant of many Anderson arms in Scotland. The closest I found was in An Ordinary of Arms by Balfour Paul (often referred to as the Lyon Ordinary I), entry 4952, Anderson of Dowhill (1672-7): Argent a saltire engrailed between a crescent in chief and three mullets in the flanks and base gules within a bordure azure. (Balfour Paul gives no crests or mottos; Burke's General Armory has Azure a saltire engrailed sable beween a crescent in chief two mullets in flank and a boar's head erased gules in base with the crest An oak tree proper and the motto Stand sure for Sir Alexander Anderson, Lord Provost of Aberdeen, 1672.
Because of the way the shield is placed and partially covered, the best that I can make out for a blazon of these arms is Argent a saltire engrailed sable between [well, if you look very closely you can see that there is a mullet in each of the flanks] a bordure azure semy of mullets and crescents pendent alternating [argent?]. (The edging of the helmet and the mantling is Azure semy of mullets and crescents - not pendent - alternating.] So most likely a differenced version - with mullets and crescents on the bordure - of Anderson of Dowhill, but without being able to see the remainder of the charges around the saltire, I can't confirm this.
In any event, it's a beautifully rendered monument with highly detailed cast pieces and clear hatching on the shield and helmet, with a thistle and rose motif on the lower portion of the helm and thistles on the scabbard.
Another, and in some ways similar, heraldic monument to a military man is this one, erected to the memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Cadogan, of the 71st Glasgow Regiment, who fell at the age of 33 in the Battle of Vittoria, June 21, 1815.
The arms here, too, are displayed in front of a trophy.
Burke's General Armory blazons the arms: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Gules a lion rampant reguardant argent; 2nd and 3rd, Argent three boar's heads couped sable. The crest is: Out of a ducal coronet or a dragon's head vert. The motto is: Qui invidet minor est (He that envies is less).
I don't know how much I personally agree that he "gloriously fell" that day (I don't find all that much "glorious" about war and death in battle), but as a memorial to his bravery and his service (note the shamrocks and roses, for Scotland and England, at the base of the shield and appearing to issue from the motto scroll), this one is, I think, very fitting.
We spent literally hours in the Cathedral in Glasgow, there was so much to see (and so much of it heraldic!). I doubt that I am going to be able to give you what I would term a "complete tour" of the heraldry in Glasgow Cathedral, but I am going to share some that caught my attention, and I hope that you will find it of some interest, too.
The first example is a monument erected in 1829 by his brother officers to the memory of Lieutenant John Stirling of the Bombay Army, who fell the year before (age 23) while leading an assault on the Fort of Dundhootee, India.
He was the son of William Stirling, Esq., a Glasgow merchant.
The coat of arms (lacking a crest; it appears to have gone missing in the ensuing years, as I think I can see a small attachment for it, and the torse is quite visible) appears on the upper part of the monument in front of what is often termed a "trophy": a display of flags, swords, rifles, pistols, daggers or bayonets, trumpets, spears, cannon barrels, cannon ramrod, and cannonballs. Burke's General Armory gives for Stirling of Glasgow: Argent on a bend sable three buckles or all within a bordure sable. (The arms here are further differenced by eight crescents on the bordure, presumably argent.) Burke gives the crest as: A hart's head azure, and the motto (as above) Gang forward.
It is, all in all, a very touching tribute to a very young man done with a level of quality which demonstrates the esteem to which he must have been held.
The Cathedral in Glasgow is a wealth of heraldry: stained glass, wood, stone, brass, and more. In the next several posts, I'll be sharing some of these heraldic treasures with you, but I thought I'd start with some of the Royal heraldry depicted there.
First, here's a bit of an overview of where these Royal shields were placed:
Way up high along the sides of the nave at the ceiling! I tried to get photographs of each shield, generally taking two pictures of each one so that I would have at least one of each that was in focus and not blurred by movement, but even then I ended up with several which were unusable.
Still, those that did come out well give you a good idea of the skill and detail that went into the creation of this Royal heraldry, and the fact that they are not just painted, but have were done with depth, especially where they are so high up that it's hard to see that from the floor of the nave, speaks volumes about the care of the artists.
Continuing our heraldic tour of Glasgow, Scotland (and, not wanting to bore you with a surfeit, there's a lot that I'm not including in these posts), we come once again to one of my frustrations as a heraldry enthusiast: empty shields and cartouches.
There's a lot of heraldry to be found in Glasgow. Sadly, there's also a lot of non-heraldry to be found there, as well. Blank shields can be found all over the central parts of the City. Which is a bit of a shame, really, since some of them were ornately carved and otherwise decorated. It's like having a really nice picture frame, but not mounting a picture or painting in it. So, as I have before, I found myself wishing I had a ladder and cans of paint, so I could sneak out late at night and paint coats of arms on some of these shields. But, no ladder, no paint, and no desire to be arrested for vandalism, so I didn't. Thus I leave you with the following selection of (still empty) shields:
See what I mean? Lavishly decorated, surrounded by ornate, detailed carving. Blank shield.