Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Nine

Continuing on in our heraldic tour of the Basilica of St. Servaas in Maastricht, we come to some of the magnificent stained glass windows there.  And when I say "some," I mean I'm not going to do them all, at least not now.  (Someday, when I'm retired and can sit in my home office all day and do heraldic research -- a day I am looking forward to -- then I may present and discuss all of the heraldry I can find in a specific place.  But that day is not yet, and I've only got so much time to look up the coats of arms I am sharing with you here.  So, as I say, "some.")  But for now, here are two of the windows I photographed in St. Servatius, with details and the results of what little research I've been able to do on them.  (And I'll do two more windows in the next post.)

Here we have this wonderfully colorful window, with eight saints subscribed with their names (in Latin, of course).

And here is a detail of the armorial panel at the bottom.  The two left panes contain monograms.  The third pane contains the arms of Villers, blazoned in Rietstap's Armorial Général as: De gu. à trois estoiles d’or, entre deux cotices du mème.  An English blazon would be: Gules, three mullets of six points between two bendlets Or.  As you can see, though, the window makes the charges argent, white, and not gold or yellow.

The fourth panel contains the arms of Liedekerk, found in Rietstap as: De gu. à trois lions d’or, arm., lamp. et cour. d’azur.  (Gules, three lions rampant Or, armed, langued, and crowned Azure.)

 The second window for today is not as tall, and depicts four female saints.

The armorial panel at the bottom bears two coats of arms, each repeated.  I haven't had the time (see "looking forward to retirement," above) to track down the arms in the first and third panes.  An attempt at blazoning them might result in: Or, two bars wavy Azure alternating with two bars Gules.

The second and fourth panes contain the arms of South Holland: Or, a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure.

What beautiful examples of the glass stainers skill and armorial art!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Heraldry in Tyler, Texas

We interrupt our on-going series of heraldry in the city of Maastricht, The Netherlands, to share some heraldry we found in Tyler, out in east Texas.

I was there to give a presentation to the East Texas Genealogical Society ("An Introduction to Heraldry for Genealogists,", if you must know), and we arrived early enough to see a bit of the town and have lunch before going to the library for the presentation.  As we were driving around, we passed by this building ...

... which boasts two coats of arms on its facade.

Here they are in close up.

The two arms - Bergfeld and Brookshire - look suspiciously to me like they've come from one of the many bucket shop heralds available on the internet and at Gaelic and Scottish festivals just about everywhere.  You know, the folks who will gladly print you out a copy of "your family coat of arms" or worse, "your family crest," for US$20 or so (no matter that the arms they sell you may belong to another family entirely which only bears the same, or a similar, surname to yours).

Still, I tried doing a little research on these two coats, and was unable to come up with anything from any reputable source.  Neither shield appears in Burke's General Armory or in Rietstap's Armorial Général.  I tried a few other general American sources like Bolton's American Armory, Crozier's General Armory and Matthews' American Armory and Blue Book, but didn't run across either coat of arms in any book that I checked.

So I went on-line to see what I could find.  No real luck on this Bergfeld coat, though several firms offered different coats of arms for the name, a couple of them with horseshoes on them.

But several bucket shops all had this coat of arms for Brookshire: Argent, a chevron between three crosses moline gules.  Papworth's An Ordinary of British Armorials, however, cites this shield as belonging to "Bruckshaw or Bruckshow," as well as to Cheselden, Cheseldon or Cheseldyne, Chiseldine, and Chiselden.

Well, I guess that "Bruckshaw" sounds a bit like "Brookshire."  And that seems to be good enough for most bucket shops.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Eight

Continuing our heraldic tour of the Basilica of St. Servatius in Maastricht, we come to the heart of the basilica, as it were.  While cathedrals always have a cathedra, the chair of the bishop, basilicas have an ombrellino, an ecclesiastical umbrella.  And this is the one which marks this basilica as such.

And here is a detail, showing the heraldry emblazoned upon it.

The coat of arms on the red panel to the right are, of course, the arms of the Basilica itself, supported by a double-headed eagle.  The coat of arms on the red panel to the left are the well-known arms of Pope John Paul II, a blue shield with an offset gold cross, and a gold letter M which he adopted for his devotion to the Virgin Mary.  The arms have the crossed keys of St. Peter behind the shield, with the papal tiara above it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Seven

One of the things I enjoy seeing in European churches is the heraldic memorials to deceased persons that are called "hatchments."  They can be fairly plain; they can be ornate; they have just the coat of arms of the deceased or also have the arms of his (or her; some hatchments, including the first one below, memorialize women) parents and grandparents.  But they stand as a memorial to someone who lived, bore a coat of arms, and died, and who might not otherwise be remembered.

The following are seven hatchments that I saw in the Basilica of St. Servatius in Maastricht.  They are all painted on wood (in some you can even see the individual boards), and while the first several of them follow the standard format of being a square hung from one corner, some of the others surprised me (pleasantly, mind you!) with how they did not follow that format.  It's always a joy to me to see how people take something heraldic and do something different or unexpected with it.  I hope that you get as much pleasure out of these memorials as I did.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Six

One of the real treasures contained in the Treasury at Basilica of St. Servatius is a gilded bust, dating to 1580, containing a relic of the Saint's skull.

As you can see, it is a beautiful piece of work.  But, of course, the part that most attracted me was the enameled coats of arms encircling it between the bust of the saint and the casket the bust is mounted on.

The photo above is of the front of the reliquary, and has the arms, from left to right, of Liège, the early arms of the Holy Roman Empire (the eagle was single-headed until 1440, after which time it was double-headed),  St. Servatius, and what I believe are an early form of the arms of the Province of Limburg.  Certainly the second and third quarters, the upper right and lower left on the shield, match the arms of the Belgian Province of Limburg, and also match the first quarter and the inescutcheon of the modern arms of the Dutch Province of Limburg.

This photo is taken of the back, and has the arms, from left to right, of Bavaria, arms which I have not had the time to research properly to determine which entity it represents (Argent a cross sable.  Do you have any idea how many plain crosses there are in European heraldry?  Or even just how many black crosses on white shields there are?  Lots!), another portion of the Province of Limburg (this shield appears in the second quarter of the modern arms of the Dutch Province of Limburg), and France.

These next two photos were taken from the dexter (the reliquary’s right side) and sinister (the reliquary’s left side), respectively.

Isn’t it a remarkable work?  And what great heraldry, too!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Five

I told you in a previous post when I showed you these arms in one of the windows of the Stadhuis, the
State House...

... that I would be getting back to the coat of arms of St. Servatius (Sint-Servaas).  The other renditions that I found for these were at the Basilica of St. Servatius itself.  The first was over a door into the basilica.  (And isn’t that a great set doors!)

And here’s a close-up of the arms there.

The arms were also painted on a wall inside, over another doorway.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Four

One of the things that I like about traveling outside the United States is that you can often see representations of the national arms (which are often the arms of the reigning king or queen, in nations which are monarchies).  I mean, I can occasionally find the arms of the United States depicted here and there - mostly on courthouses and post offices - but not to the extent that one can find elsewhere.  So what follows here are some of the depictions of the arms of The Netherlands/Queen of The Netherlands that I saw in Maastricht.

The first three were found as the Dutch version of the display of the British Royal arms that can be found on various shops, etc. around England and Scotland, “By appointment to,” “purveyors of.”  These three are from, in order of descent, a whisky shop (which also had a large Scottish saltire flag flying out front, though I noticed that they had a number of non-Scottish whiskies, including some American), the panel van of a liquor store chain (BAMS slijterijen), and on a shop, Blanche Dael, selling “coffee, tea, nuts” (koffie thee noten).

Bij koninklijke beschikking = by Royal decision/decree
hofleverancier = purveyor

This next depiction of the Royal arms comes from the pediment of what I was told was the old armory, now the Theater aan het Vrijthof, facing Vrijthof Square.

Next is a very Art Deco variant of the Royal arms, found on the facade of the Hotel du Casque.

This rendition of the Royal arms was found on the exterior of the train station.

And, last but certainly not least, this version was found on the Post and Telegraph (Post en Telegraaf) building.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Three New Old Heraldry Books

The Walters Art Museum of Baltimore, Maryland, has been digitizing some of its holdings and making them available on-line.  And, perhaps unsurprisingly, some of these holdings are heraldic. The books below, and all of their other books, can be found in a listing on their website at All of these books can be read on-line, or you can download and save some or all of their pages in varying resolutions and in two different formats, .tif and .jpg.

The first book I want to bring to your attention is one of English heraldry, dated 1589, with arms dating from before the Conquest in 1066 (and since heraldry as we define it did not exist then, these are, of course, coats of arms attributed to the bearers, e.g., the Saxons) into the reign of Elizabeth I.  This book can be found at:

The second book is entitled English Brasses, “written & illuminated & bound by John Woodcock 1949."   It is a very brief history of English brasses from before 1350 through the 18th Century, with drawings of brasses to illustrate each period discussed.  It can be found at:

And finally, there is an Album of the House of Savoy, in Latin and dated to the 16th Century.  It is mostly illuminations, and the paintings - as you can see from the example above - often have heraldry in them.  This album can be found at:

There are, of course, a lot of other manuscripts and books there, ranging from single leaves to entire books, but these are the heraldic ones that jumped out at me, and I just had to share them with you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heraldry in Maastricht, Part Three

In this post, we get to look at some more heraldry from the Stadhuis (the State House) in Maastricht, this time in some of the windows of the building.  (There are more, and don't worry, I'm going to share. The armorial stained glass in the Stadhuis is really beautiful!)

The two windows in today's post are thematically linked in that they both contain some regional coats of arms as well as depictions of some of the buildings in Maastricht scenes of the city.  (Clicking on the pictures should take you to a larger version of each one.)

This window contains (across the top, from left to right) the arms of the Duchy of Brabant, Napoleonic France, The Netherlands, and the Dutch Province of Limburg.  Below these are depictions of two of the churches in the city, and beneath those are a depiction of the Stadhuis and a view of Maastricht in 1850.

The second window contains (across the top, from left to right) the arms of the City of Maastricht, the Basilica of St. Servatius (in Dutch, St. Servaas.  Born about 310 and dying in 384, he was the first bishop of Maastricht.), Germany, and the Province of Liège (which itself is a combination of the arms of the Cityh of Liège, the Duchy of Bouillon, and the Counties of Franchmont, Loon, and Horne).

Below the arms are depictions of a building (the Dinghuis) and a church (Janskerk), beneath which are a view of the city and bridge over the River Maas and another church (I can't quite make out the name).

But what a beautiful pair of windows, proudly displaying coats of arms important to the region as well as civic pride in the churches, buildings, and views of the city!