Thursday, September 2, 2010

Memorial Heraldry at St. Luke’s, Part 1

St. Luke's Church ("The Old Brick Church"), located near Smithfield, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, is the oldest existing church of English foundation in America and the nation's only surviving Gothic building. I have given the URL of their website below. It's a pretty church, and well worth the visit, even if you're not looking for heraldry.

Anyway, they have a couple of stained glass memorial windows with coats of arms. I'll discuss the first today, and the second next time.

In Memoriam
Col. Josiah Wm Jordan
Who departed this life
January 8th

Arms: Azure[?], a lion rampant or maintaining in the dexter paw a decrescent bendwise sinister within an orle of [eight] crosses bottony fitchy or.
Crest: A bezant[?]
Motto: Percussa resurgo
Name underneath: Jordan

The nearest Jordan arms in Burke are: Jordan (co. Somerset, and Chittern Whistley, co. Wilts, 1604) Azure a lion rampant between eight crosses crosslet fitchy or, a chief of the second (another, the lion charged with a crescent gules). Crest, A mount or, over it a scroll with this motto, Percussa resurgo. Another crest: A football proper.

The blue of the field has largely disappeared, though it does show a bit in a close-up of the window. It is entirely possible that the crest here is a football proper; the color is far darker than the gold of the lion and crosses.

Col. Jordan is apparently not buried in or near the chapel; at least he is not listed among the Miscellaneous Headstone Inscriptions list that I found. (However, the Church’s website at says that “Archaeologists believe that only ten percent of the markers still exist.”) Nor could I find out any real information about him, although I suspect that he is certainly related to the many Jordans who are buried in the church’s graveyard.


  1. Here's some more information on Col. Jordan:

    "Birth: Sep. 1, 1801
    Death: Jan. 8, 1852
    Isle of Wight County
    Virginia, USA

    Husband of Frances Moseley Dawley, son of William Jordan and Martha Bidgood. Col. Josiah William Jordan was buried in a family plot in Isle of Wight County, near Christ Church in Smithfield. The location of the plot has been lost.

    There is a memorial window dedicated to the memory of Col. Josiah William Jordan and his wife in St. Luke's Church in Isle of Wight County.

    According to Hardesty's Historical and Geographic Encyclopedia 1884, Col. Josiah William Jordan "was born in Isle of Wight County, Virginia on the 1st of September, 1801. He was a man of superior intellect, high sense of honor, and of undaunted courage. He held several public offices of trust in his native county and was honorably esteemed by all who knew him. In 1830 he was commissioned major of the 29th Regiment of Virginia Infantry, and was subsequently promoted to colonel of the same regiment, and ranked as such from the 4th day of October, 1836…In February, 1827, he was married to Fanny Moseley Dawley, daughter of the Rev. James Dawley, one of the most highly esteemed and influential citizens of Norfolk, Virginia. A family of ten children six sons and four daughters, graced this union, and when the civil war between the states commenced, five of those sons were among the first to go forward to battle in defense of Southern rights and freedom from oppression. He died on the 8th of January, 1852, and was buried with Masonic honors, of which fraternity he was at the time of his death district deputy grand master. His widow survived him only a few years. She died on the 12th of October, 1855, and her remains were interred by the side of her late husband. For more than thirty years, she had been a true and devoted wife, a fond and self-sacrificing mother, and to the surviving children her death was an irreparable loss."

  2. Nice find, Rufus! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I am a descendant of the Jordan family. The history of percussa resurgo is an amazing one. The Jordan bloodline goes as far back as Charles Martel and King Charlamaigne (sp?). The Jordans landed in what is now Cape Elizabeth Maine circa 1634. The Jordan Memorial, by Tristam Frost Jordan c. 1884 is an amazing resource for Rev. Robert Jordan III and his decendants. Here's the link:

    I digress though. Percussa Resurgo, or latin for "stricken down, I rise" is connected to the crusades. The story goes that one of our ancestors, possibly Thomas Jordaine, was knighted for his bravery as the flag-bearer in a battle at the river jordan in the 11th century. Stricken down by the enemy multiple times, he continued to rise, marching forward with his fellow crusaders in an eventual victory, being knighted with the surname Jordaine. There are so many anecdotal stories that I've uncovered in my short lifespan. Massacres, slavery, heroism, it reads like a movie. So much pride to be had in this great bloodline!

    1. Sir Duncan Kekewich JordanJanuary 29, 2016 at 11:04 PM

      I am the family historian for the branch that stayed here in Devon, England.
      Jordan Manor is still here on Dartmoor...although it is no longer in the family.
      The battle was an interesting one and as I understand it happened as such... at least one of the attacks happened within the river Jordan itself in sight of the king! He was so impressed with his knight's bravery and fortitude that he called him over and knighted him as Sir Jordan.
      My ancestor asked permission from the king to change the family name to Jordan as well as that of his estate...the king gladly agreed.
      It should be noted that due to the sheer weight of their armour it was very rare for a knight to be able to recover his footing once he had been felled...almost unheard of in water!!

    2. I am a descendant of the Jordans of Rosslevin (Rath Stephen) in Co. Mayo Ireland.

      That branch of the family also uses the motto “Percussus Resurgo”, based on the same crusade story.

      According to my research, the Jordan family was a branch of the De Courcy family from Normandy.

      An unnamed De Courcy went on(what I believe to be) the First Crusade in 1096 from Courcy in Normandy with their neighbors Hugo and Ivo de Grandmesnil with Robert Curthose under Count Stephen de Blois (the future King in 1135).

      After the famous battle, in which this De Courcy as the standard bearer, fell then arose, he became known as Jordan De Courcy, which was the beginning of the family branch.

      I don’t believe that name Jordan was adopted as the family surname until well after return from the crusade.

      The De Courcys arrived in England along with the Norman invasion at the Battle of Hastings. They were granted lands in Somerset at Stoguersy (Stoke Courcy).

      Subsequently, in 1171, younger sons, John and Jordan De Courcy set out for Ireland as mercenaries for Dermot MacMurrough.

      By 1205, John De Courcy, with his brother Jordan De Courcy, had carved out substantial lands in Ireland based around the current city of Down. They had run afoul of King John, who commissioned Hugh De Lacy oust the De Courcys. John De Courcy was captured on Good Friday 1205, and his brother Jordan was killed.

      Jordan’s son and the remaining family fled to Exeter, under protection of tier relation Hugh de Brionis, who was the sherrif there.

      At some point, a Jordan returned to Ireland and by 1239 has reclaim land and built castles, including Ballylahan around Ballina in Co. Mayo. Members of this branch of the family are known variously as Jordan d’Exeter; Jordan De Courcy; etc with variant spellings.

      I am interested to learn more about the Jordans who stayed in and around Exeter.

      John Jordan
      New York City

  4. Timothy,

    The Jordans of Virginia/North Carolina first landed in America in 1609 at Jamestowne, VA. Samuel Jordan was the first. He came from Dorset, England. His son Thomas soon followed him to the tidewater area of Virginia. Josiah Jordan is descended from these men. Smithfield was named after the Smith family (I believe Arthur was the first). A Jordan male married into the Smith family, hence the window at St. Luke's. The Jordans of Maine are a different family. The Jordans referenced in this blog pronounce the name "JURD-en." This is my last name. I don't know why it is pronounced that way. My father just says "that's the way we've always said it."

  5. The name "Josiah" is not even in the book you referenced.