The alphabet is one set of arbitrary symbols. The figures of heraldry are another set of arbitrary symbols. In the fourteenth century every gentleman knew one: in the twentieth century every gentleman knows the other. The first gentleman was just precisely as ignorant for not knowing that c-a-t spells "cat," as the second gentleman is for not knowing that a St. Andrew's Cross is called a cross saltire, or that vert on gules is bad heraldry. -- G.K. Chesterson
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.
This is what happens when an heraldic artist has never seen anything more than a very rough description of an heraldic beast when painting ...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, November 17, 2014
Curses, Foiled Again!
So there I was, standing in St. Peter's Church in Sandwich, England, walking about and photographing just about every bit of heraldry I could see. And there was plenty to see!
But among the heraldry there, there was a particularly nice hatchment, painted on wooden boards, hanging on the wall.
See? Isn't that a great piece of heraldic art? And I thought at the time that it should be reasonably easy to determine the husband and wife of this married pair. As it turns out, I was only half right.
A search in Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials quickly gave me the arms on the sinister side of this hatchment (to the right as you look at the picture, the wife's arms): Swinford. Paly of six argent and sable on a chief gules three boar's heads couped or. (Though Burke's General Armory gives no more information than Papworth; just the surname and a bare blazon.)
But the husband's arms, on the dexter side (to the left as you look at it), Per fess gules and or three fleurs-de-lis argent and a lion rampant gules, has evaded me. I can't find it anywhere in Papworth; not under Per fess; not under Three fleurs-de-lys and in base; not under Lion and in chief.
So I have been, at least for now, foiled in my attempt to identify who this hatchment is supposed to memorialize. If and when I finally track down the husband's surname, I have every expectation that I will be able to determine the specific married couple on the hatchment.
Still and all, though, isn't a beautiful piece of heraldic art?