Monday, April 3, 2017

Another (Different) Version of a Founder's Arms

In our last post we looked at, among others, the arms of Bishop William Turnbull as emblazoned in a stained glass window in Glasgow University's Memorial Chapel.

Those arms we blazoned as Argent three bull's heads cabossed sable armed or.

Well, on the exterior of a nearby building at the University, there is another, different, depiction of Bishop Turnbull's arms.

As you can see, this depiction of his arms are different, in that rather than having three bull's heads cabossed, here we have a bull's head erased. The depiction is not hatched, and so the tinctures are impossible to determine here. The shield is ensigned with a bishop's mitre, and the scroll with the date "1451" conforms to the date of the founding of the University.

So, which should it really be: three bull's heads, or a single bull's head? The Lyon Ordinary has a few Turnbulls in it, though not this one, some with two and some with three bull's heads and also differenced with bordures and other charges.

The short answer is, I don't know, but either version is a nice cant on the surname, and a fine tribute to the man who worked so hard to establish this University.

1 comment:

  1. A link sent by friend and reader Margaret Sainte Claire led me to page 137 of "Descriptive catalogue of impressions from ancient Scottish seals ... from A.D. 1054 to the commonwealth," (1850) where item no. 824 is "Turnbull, William. A bull's head erased. 'S' Villelmi Trumbul' A.D. 1603," a seal at the General Register House. Which certainly lends support to the idea that the arms should contain a single bull's head.