Monday, July 31, 2017

Another Nice Piece of Armorial Silver

Another nice piece in the Burrell Collection was simply labeled "An English silver SALVER made in 1679-80."

There was, alas, no identification made of the arms that were engraved upon it.

However, a few minutes of research (Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials) led me to "Busbridge, Echingham, Essex. Erm. six roses gu. three, two and one."

Which is, of course, one less rose than is engraved here. Could it be an error for six? (Questions you always have to ask yourself when trying to trace a coat of arms.)

But a quick search on-line and here we are at a website called "Sussex Families," where under "Busbridge" we are given the following:

Arms. Erm. six roses gu. 3, 2, and 1.
Crest. A cubit arm, habited ...., cuffed ...., holding in the hand a cimeter [scimitar] ppr.
Quartering. Arg. on a fesse, engr. sa. betw. three escallops az. as many eagles, displayed, or, for Reve.
Note. These arms and crest attested, and belong to the family of Busbridge, of Kent, per Robert Cook, Clarencieux, 1588; but the coat of Reve was quartered now in the time of the Visitation.
I don't find Busbridge in the Kent Visitations of which I have copies (1619-23 and 1663-68), so that was a bust.

However, the Visitations of Sussex (1530 and 1633-34, published by the Harleian Society in 1905) give some slightly different information:

[Harl. 1562, fo. 129.]
Arms. Quarterly: 1, Ermine, seven roses gules, four, two, and one [Busbridge]; 2, Argent on a fess engrailed sable, between three escallop shells azure, as many eagles displayed or [Reve]; 3 and 4, [blank].
Crest. A cubit arm erect in chain armour or, the hand proper, grasping a falchion argent, hilt and pommel of the first.

These arms & crest attested to belong to the ffamyly of Busbredg of Kent P. Rob. Cooke, Clarenceulx King of Armes, but the coate of Reeve quartered now in the time of the Visitation 1634.

So that's where we get the seven roses rather than six, and the salver is apparently not in error.

Turns out that, according to the Sussex Visitation, John Busbridge of Hareman in the parish of Echingham, Sussex, married (as her second husband, of three) Mary daughter of John Reeve of the Abbey of St. Edmonsbury in Suffolk.

So, mystery solved! The salver was made for a member of the Busbridge family, of Sussex, and quarters the arms of Busbridge with the arms of Reve/Reeve, a quartering the family had been using for at least 45 years.

How cool is all that?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

And, Of Course, Some Fine Armorial Silver

Also in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow was this very fine piece of armorial silver:

The sign accompanying it says: "An English silver gilt SALVER made in 1695 and engraved by Simon Gribelin. Engraved with the Exchequer seal of William and Mary ..." (with the arms of Mary, having William on an inescutcheon):

"... and the arms of Montagu. Commissioned by Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax and Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time of Queen Mary's death in 1694."

The Montagu arms were a bit of serendipity for me; when I first looked carefully at them, I thought, "I've seen these arms somewhere else!" And it only took me a few minutes to remember where.

Yorktown, Virginia, when we visited there in 2010.

You can see my previous encounter at Yorktown with the Montagu arms (though at Yorktown, the arms were those of John Montagu, Second Duke of Montagu, created Master-General of the Ordnance in 1740 by King George II) in my posts of June 17, 2010 ( and June 21, 2010 (

George, second Duke of Montagu, is not a lineal descendant of Charles, Earl of Halifax, as the latter was childless and was succeeded by his nephew. The arms clearly demonstrate, however, a familial relationship.

But how cool to run across these arms again, in such a different venue!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Good Night, Sweet Prince ...

... And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! (Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2).

Or, put another way, "It's good to be the King!" (Mel Brooks as Louis XVI, History of the World, Part I)

In any case, you would think that you might sleep at least a little more soundly in something like this, found in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow:

It is, of course, an ornately carved (perhaps a little too ornate for my taste, but then, I'm a plebeian and not a king!) bed, with equally ornate canopy.

At the center of the headboard we find this:

The achievement of arms of the Stuart kings of England, 1603-1649 and 1660-1689.

I can almost hear the king now, saying, as does the character Dr. Sheldon Cooper in the TV show The Big Bang Theory, "That's my spot."

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Another Item for the Heraldic Dining Room Setting

In the same area of the Burrell Collection as the tin-glazed earthenware highlighted in my last post, there was also this really nice (almost understated, really) 17th Century German armorial stoneware and pewter tankard.

If you're serious about your beer-drinking, and your heraldry, you need a tankard like this!

The arms, of course, clearly relate to the German state of Saxony (Sachsen):

The first quarter of the shield (in the upper left) and the crest (above the helm) have a slightly simplified version of the lesser arms of Saxony, Barry sable and or a crancelin vert. The inescutcheon in the center show the crossed swords of the Imperial Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire.

It's all very fancy, with lots of quarters on the shield with lions and eagles, and three helmets and crests, and yet because it's all cream-colored throughout, it feels a little understated. ("Yes, I'm important, but don't mind me; I'm also just a regular beer-drinking guy.")

All in all, it's a very nice tankard, and I'm glad to have been able to see it, and also to be able to share it with you.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Heraldic Earthenware

Continuing our meanderings through the Burrell Collection Gallery, we ran across several items of tin-glazed earthenware which also happened to be heraldic.

Most of the items were made in Spain, but weren't all intended for the Spanish market.

This first one, however, most certainly was:

This is a 15th Century ceiling tile from the castle of the Count de Parsent, near Valencia, where it was made.

The arms are similar to, but not, the arms of Spain that we often see, Quarterly Castile and Leon. The difference here is that I don't think that's supposed to be a lion in the lower left. It looks to me more like a wolf, another animal that we often see in Spanish heraldry.

This next one, however, was made for the Tondi family of Siena, Italy:

This wonderful dish, with the Tondi arms in the center, was made in around 1460 to 1480. I presume that the upper portion is a capo d'Angio, the chief of Anjou, showing the family's allegiance to the Ghibellines oops! that should be Guelphs (as opposed to their opponents, the Guelphs Ghibellines).

And the final example, this fine copper lustre dish was, like the other pieces here, made in Valencia in the 15th Century. The photographs here really do not do the piece justice; it's a lot more spectacular in person!

I cannot say if the design in the center (the shield) is supposed to be an actual coat of arms, or whether it is just heraldry-like decoration. Still, what a great piece it would be to have in the dining room china cabinet, right?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Attributed Arms in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow

Further into the Burrell Collection, we saw this very nicely done and highly detailed stained glass window of Christ Carrying the Cross done in Cologne, Germany in the late 15th Century.

As I said, nicely done and highly detailed, a beautiful example of the art.

What caught my eye, of course, was not so much the central figure, but the two heraldic banners near the top.

I suppose that I'd blazon them as (l-r): Argent a scorpion fesswise sable and Gules a wyvern erect sable. (A German blazon would make the last charge a drache, a drake or dragon; Continental blazons tend not to differentiate between the two-legged and four-legged varieties of dragons the way that English blazon does.)

I can't say for sure if these arms are supposed to represent the Devil or not,* but they are certainly being carried by those persecuting the central figure of Christ and clearly working towards his death, so at the very least, the arms represent the minions of Satan, if not the Deceiver himself.

* Satan is often given the attributed arms Gules a fess or between three frogs vert. The banners in the window are clearly not these.

Monday, July 10, 2017

These Are the Arms of ... Wait! Or Are They?

Continuing our tour through the Burrell Collection, we ran across this German armorial stained glass window:

The card which accompanied this piece states:

"Donor couple with armorial shield"

This donor panel originally formed part of a monumental window in the Carmelite Church at Boppard-am-Rhein 1443 - 46.

For many years it was identified as representing Siegfried von Gelnhausen and his wife, but that has recently been called into question by art historians.

I'd love to know on what basis these unnamed "art historians" question the identification of the arms here. Is the art style wrong for the dates of the donor? His and his wife's clothes don't match the period? Are the coats of arms incorrect? (No, that wouldn't be a judgment for art historians without a solid background in heraldry.) So, what is the issue that casts doubt on the attribution of these arms?

Frankly, I'd be more impressed with the issue of identity if it had been called into question by heralds. I mean, really, the Court of the Lord Lyon is on 40-50 miles away from the Burrell Collection. (Yes, I know, Europeans think that that's a long way away, but it's the same as the distance I drive at least once a month from my house near Dallas to a regular meeting of a lineage society held on the west side of Fort Worth. So not that far.) And I'm certain that the very nice folk at the Lyon Office, if they don't have the resources themselves, have some excellent heraldic connections on the Continent.

Or, for that matter, I'm sure the people at Der Herold in Berlin (, the Westphalian Heraldry Society (, or the professionals at Pro Heraldica based in Stuttgart ( would be more than happy to assist in the identification of these coats of arms.

Harrumph! "Called into question by art historians," indeed!

Still, it's a great piece of heraldic stained glass, isn't it?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Some English Armorial Stained Glass

In my last post, I included a photo of the arms of Howard from an armorial stained glass window in the Hutton Rooms of the Burrell Collection. These rooms are reconstructions of three rooms from Sir William Burrell's home, Hutton Castle near Berwick-on-Tweed: a wood-paneled drawing room, hall, and dining room with their furnishings.

The rooms are kept pretty dark, and are roped off so you can't walk into them, but that dark means that you can really see the splendors of the armorial stained glass in the windows to their best effect. Here are some of the arms to be found there. There was nothing identifying these arms in the rooms, and so I am making some tentative attempts here using Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials and a few other sources.

The Royal Arms of England, of course, and those of the Prince of Wales as heir to the English throne:

Its difficult to be certain of the charges on the chevron the dexter arms on this coat, but if they are fishes, then this is likely the arms of Penniles, Argent on a chevron azure three fishes or. The arms on the sinister side may be Maunsell, Gules a fess argent.

I hope that the lion's face in the arms below are simply a re-use of some earlier stained glass, though I have to admit that I find his expression somehow appealing. If the arms are meant to be Azure a cross or, there are too many possibilities in Papworth's for even a tentative identification without additional information.

I'd blazon the following arms as Vair a chief quarterly gules a lion passant gardant or and azure two roses or. Its a very distinctive design, but I've not found who it belongs to yet.

Or three fleurs-de-lis sable are the arms of Bereford, Fors, or Mortimer.

The arms to dexter appear to be Tierney, Argent a chevron sable and a chief gules. I'm not certain how to parse the arms on the sinister side of the shield; it looks like three different coats in an odd "quartering."

The coat (and the dexter coat on the one immediately following) this shield looks like Or on a chief azure three lions rampant or, is most likely Lisle or Lisley.

The sinister coat, Sable a bend or between six plates, is attributed to Bubbewith.

I have to assume that the gold spots all over the lion in these arms are intended to be there, making this Argent a lion rampant azure bezanty crowned or, but I cannot find an identification in Papworth.

I suspect these arms are more religious than personal, representative of the wounds on the body of Christ. I've not found an identification for it, though.

Gules a fess between six martlets or has too many entries in Papworth for a certain identification, though Beauchamp is a strong possibility.

In this pair of arms, the dexter in each, Azure a cross argent, is likely to be Aylesbury, and the sinister, which looks to me like Quarterly or and sable a cross counterchanged counterermine and or between four birds (argent? counterchanged sable and argent?) may be Grindall or Gryndall, Quarterly or and azure a cross quarterly counterermine and or between four peahens counterchanged.

The arms in the window to the left are best-known as the arms of the Clares, Or three chevrons gules, though there are a few other possibilities. The arms in the right-hand window, Gules two lions passant gardant in pale or, are most famous as the arms of Normandy, but there are number of English families which bore this coat.

Argent a chevron gules between three broad arrowheds sable is borne by Walsh.

Argent a chevron gules between three leopard's faces azure is borne by Chamberlaine, Gibbs, and Gibons/Gybons. I'm not quite sure what to make of the "engrailed to base" in the depiction here, but I don't find these arms with a chevron engrailed gules in Papworth.

These final two complex coats from the Hutton Rooms (the first, Quarterly of seven, and the second Quarterly, impaling grand-quarterly) I'm not even going to attempt to identify. They are included here just for the pleasure of looking at them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

Which of course brings up the old question, "Do they have the fourth of July in France [or England, or any other country you wish to name]?

The answer, of course, is: "Yes, but they don't celebrate it as a holiday there."

Anyway, it's the Fourth of July here in the United States, and we're celebrating the anniversary of our nation's "casting off the shackles of oppression" in the usual fashion. (Though in my personal case, the "usual fashion" is not going out in the heat and humidity to cook stuff over an open flame, and in the evening, staying inside away from the heat and humidity and the mosquitoes but still being able to hear the local fireworks display at a nearby local park.)

So happy Fourth of July! Burgers, beer, and fries for everyone! (You know I had to tie heraldry into it somehow, right?)

Monday, July 3, 2017

An Early Sixteenth Century Armorial Beam

My only real beef with the Burrell Collection near Glasgow is that, despite being beautifully curated, organized, and displayed, there is sometimes a lack of information which can be a bit frustrating for those of us who would really like to know more detail about an object and its history.

For example, they have this on display:

The explanatory card next to it gives only the following information:

English, c. 1500
The shield of arms is connected with the Howard Dukes of Norfolk and the beam is said to come from their residence at Arundel Castle, Sussex.
Painted Oak

"Connected with" the Howard Dukes of Norfolk, but how? "Said to come" from Arundel Castle, but we don't know?

Here's a close-up of the arms themselves:

It doesn't contain the paternal arms of the Howards, which (before the augmentation was added after the Battle of Flodden) were Gules a bend between six crosses crosslet fitchy argent, which can be seen in the first quarter of this stained glass window found in the Hutton Rooms at the Burrell Collection with a quarterly version of the arms of Howard:

The first and third quarters here appear on the arms of the Duke of Norfolk in the second and third quarters (of eight!): Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or in chief a label argent (the arms of Thomas of Brotherton, fifth son of King Edward I, and Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk), and Checky azure and or (the arms of the Earls of Warren). His supporters are a lion rampant and a horse forceny. (Guillim, A Display of Heraldrie, 4th ed., 1660)

I have to think that the quarters on the sinister side of the shield (to your right as you view it) must belong to one of the wives of one of the Dukes of Norfolk,but without spending more time than I have right not to devote to it, I don't know which wife or which Duke, though given the approximate date of the beam, it may very well have been Thomas, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443-1524), whose first wife was Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Frederick Tilney. His second wife was Elizabeth's cousin, Agnes, the daughter of Hugh Tilney. (All that said, though, none of the Tilney arms listed in Burke's General Armory match any of the quarters here, and a knight would not be entitled to supporters, so the hound - like the wife's arms - must come from somewhere else.)

Or it may have been Thomas, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (1473-1554), though the arms borne by his two wives (Princess Anne of York and Elizabeth Stafford) do not match those on this shield, either.

So is there another beam somewhere that contains the first and fourth quarters of the Howard arms, impaled with other quarterings for a wife? Is this beam one of a set of four, the other three of which contain the other six quarters of the Howard arms, again, impaling the arms of one or more wives?

So many questions, so few answers.

Still, though, it was an interesting piece of heraldry, and history, to be able to see.

And, of course, it's got me to wondering how much a set of wooden carved beams like this would cost to have installed in my house. (The living room ceiling goes from about 10 feet on one side to about 20 feet on the other, so there's plenty of space to put up some heraldry!) But with my and my wife's arms on them, of course, not the Duke of Norfolk's arms.

I suppose, though, that it goes back to that old saw, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." Still, though, why not dream big?