Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Royal Ceiling

In the portion of Craufurdland Castle they call "the Laird's house," which was built in the 1600s, there is the King Charles Room. It is named that because of the ornate plaster ceiling which contains, among other decorative elements (just look at all that scrollwork!), the Royal Arms of King Charles I as used in Scotland.

The Royal Arms take up a square in the center of the ceiling:

Elsewhere we find examples of the Royal supporters - the unicorn and the lion - standing alone as decorative motifs.

And way off over in one corner is the date, 1648, with some more detail of the ornate scrollwork seen throughout the ceiling.

The current Laird told us that he didn't believe that Charles I ever stayed at the Castle. I have no doubt, though, that if he ever had, that this is the bedroom he would have been given to sleep in.

Now, though, it's just the bedroom of one of the Laird's daughters.

But with a really great ornate heraldic ceiling.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Some Really Impressive Heraldic Gifts

If you are going to have a specially-commissioned (heraldic) gift made for someone, you will probably want to go "all out," wouldn't you?

In this particular instance, the Craufurds of Craufurdland certainly did, and we were lucky enough to be able to see them still in Craufudland Castle.

The first was this very impressive armorial tapestry:

You'll want to click on the picture to get to the larger image. This smaller picture doesn't really do it justice.

It was, as the legend woven into the fabric near the base states: "Presented to the First Lord and Lady Kemsley by Sir William and Lady Crawford 1938."

Burke's Peerage (I have the 1938 edition) tells us that Sir James Gomer Berry of Farnham Royal, co. Buckingham, was created a baronet on January 25, 1938, and elevated to the peerage as Baron Kemsley on February 3, 1936. (A little further research shows that James Gomer Berry was created Viscount Kemsley in 1945. He was succeeded as Viscount, Baron, and baronet, by his son, Geoffrey Lionel Berry, on his death in 1968.)

His arms are blazoned as: Gules three bars or on a pile ermine three martlets sable. The crest is A griffin sejant sable collared and chained the chain reflexed over the back and resting the dexter claw on a Catherine wheel or. The supporters are On either side a stag guardant or gorged with a chaplet of mistletoe proper. The motto is Persevera et vince (Persevere and conquer).

What do the Berrys, Baron Kemsley, have to do with the Craufurds? The website for Craufurdland Castle gives us a hint, though, when it tells us that: "(John) Peter Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, ... the 28th laird, ... married Caroline Helen Berry, daughter of Lionel Berry, Viscount Kemsley" (the same Geoffrey Lionel Berry noted above).

Two other heraldic items related to the Berrys hang in the same hall as the tapestry:

These trumpet banners bear the arms of Berry, but with a silver label, so presumably they are for Geoffrey Lionel Berry during his father's lifetime. (Note also that there are two trumpets with banners of the arms, without the label but including the badge of a baronet, above the crest on the tapestry.)

I note also that the parts of the mounting brackets which are screwed into the wall have the form of the heraldic millrind.

But what a great way to display these banners! I'm not sure that I would have thought to leave them hanging on their trumpets when putting them on display, but if I ever end up with a trumpet banner, this is how it's going to be displayed in my little "castle."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Craufurd and Howison Arms in Craufurdland Castle

On our way to the library (with the armorial silver basin and ewer set) we passed a couple of old chairs with embroidered heraldry upon them.

And no, I didn't even attempt to sit on them! I did, however, take some close-ups of the heraldry on them.

Each one contains the quartered arms of Craufurd (in the first and fourth quarters) and Howison (in the second and third quarters), with the crest and motto of each family (see my previous posts for the blazons and mottos).

I always find it interesting, and often educational, to compare the depictions of arms by different artists, as we can here.

And finally, there was this:

A flag with the quartered arms.

You will notice that the quarters are reversed here, with Howison in the first and fourth quarters and Craufurd in the second and third. That's because we are looking at the back side of the flag. While the lettering of the mottos is correct, I believe that for the rest the artist simply followed the patterns he could see from the obverse rather than placing the quarters in their expected places. (You might notice too that the couped hand crest of the Howisons is painted here as a sinister hand rather than a dexter one; again, the reverse of what it should be.)

We were told that this side of the flag is displayed because the front side is much more deteriorated than this side is.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Howison Arms in Craufurdland Castle

Further on into Craufurdland Castle, we saw several more examples of the Howison coat of arms.

First was this very nice painting/plaque, done with supporters standing on the motto scroll beneath the shield, and with crest and mantling but without a helm:

Further on, in the library (and it's a wonderful old library, too!), were this silver basin and ewer set, each engraved with the Howison arms:

Below the arms, the inscription reads:

In Perpetua Rei Memoria
With this basin and ewer
William Howison Craufurd
Younger of Braehead and Craufurdland,
in place of his mother
Mrs. Elizabeth Howison Craufurd,
rendered to
King George the Fourth
The Ancient Servitium Lavacri,
By which tenure she holds her Lands of Braehead.
And that by tendering to His Majesty
The Basin and Ewer with a Clean Napkin,
After He had partaken of an Entertainment
Given by the Magistrates of Edinburgh,
in the Parliament House of that City,
upon the Twenty Fourth of August,

Here you can see how finely engraved (and hatched!) the arms and crest are:

After I had taken the first pictures of the silver set, the Craufurds moved the ewer to a mantle where it was less in danger from being accidentally knocked off by people's knees. In the picture below, Jo Ann caught me in the act of photographing it. (She's been known to complain that this is pretty much what she sees of me when we are on vacation, always walking around with a camera attached to my face!)

And here's the result of that effort:

And a (slightly out-of-focus. Sorry!) close-up of the Howison coat of arms engraved on the body of the ewer.

Next time: Example of the combined arms of Craufurd and Howison!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Heraldry in Craufurdland Castle

The Craufurds of Craufurdland may live in a very old, historical* castle, but while it is historical, it is also their home, as you can see as soon as you walk in the front door ...

 ... where you are greeted by this fine old carved oak armorial bench, with the "Wellies" and outdoor shoes of the family lined up beneath it, a perfect juxtaposition of historical home and modern use.

The are two painted coats of arms, with crests and mottos, on the back of the bench.

The arms on the right are, of course, those of Craufurd, which we discussed in more detail in the last post: Gules a fess ermine.

The coat of arms on the left is the arms of Howison:

Of the Howison arms, Burke says: Howison (Braehead, co,. Midlothian; now [this is the 1884 edition of Burke] represented by Howison Craufurd, of Craufurdland, co. Ayr, and of Braehead, co. Midlothian). Ar[gent] a man's heart gu[les] on a chief az[ure] three fleurs-de-lis or. Crest - A dexter hand couped apaumée [proper]. Motto - Sursum corda. Once again, we turn to Fairbairn's Crests for the translation: Hearts upward.

Next time, we'll look at some more examples of the Howison arms in the castle, and later see how the Craufurd and Howison arms are combined there.

* They believe "The Keep" was built in the 1300s, and that the tower was then abandoned and the Laird's house built in the 1600s. Early 1700s saw the joining of the Laird's House to the Tower.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Heraldry of a Fine Old Scottish Home

The day after our tours of the University of Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Art Galleries, Provands Lordship, Glasgow Cathedral, and the Burrell Collection, those of us who had signed up for it were taken on three days of tours around Scotland, and were treated to an amazing amount of heraldry.

First off on the first day was a stop at Craufurdland Castle, home to the Craufurds of Craufurdland since 1245. We were met and entertained by Simon Douglas Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, the 29th laird, and his wife Adity Priyadarshini, and their two daughters, Indra and Manisha.

Right off the bat we were treated to some heraldry, in the form of the Craufud remarkably simple coat of arms on the exterior of the house, both in the front and in the back.

The arms are blazoned in Burke's General Armory as: Crawfurd, or Craufurd (Craufurdland, co. Ayr: the heiress m. 1744, Howieson, of Braehand [s/b Braehead]). Gu[les] a fess erm[ine]. Crest - A marble pillar supporting a man's heart [proper]. Motto - Stant innixa Deo. Fairbairn's Crests gives the translation of the motto as "They stand depending upon God."

In a somewhat unusual use of heraldry, one of the chimney tops was made to resemble the pillar of the Craufurd crest:

Isn't that cool? I love it!

Next time: Heraldry as soon as you walk in the door.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A "Final" Heraldic Work from the Burrell Collection, Glasgow

To "end" our tour of some of the heraldic holdings of the Burrell Collection (yes, I know it's taken a long time to get through this, but they have a lot of stuff there!), I thought I'd finish up with a "final" heraldic work.

This is a painted limestone tomb from the monastery of Santa Maria de Obarra, at Calvera (near Huesca), in northern Spain.

The sign accompanying this work tells us, in addition to the information just above, that:

The effigy is said to represent Don Ramon Peralta de Espés (d.1348), Captain General of the Armies of Aragon and Grand Admiral of Aragon and Sicily.

A lot of the paint has disappeared from the stone over the centuries, but if you click on the image above to see a bigger version, you will find that a fair bit of paint is still left, especially his belt, some of the small shields on his surcoat, and on the second shield from the left on the side of the tomb (Azure a griffin segreant or).

The shields on the side of the tomb repeat, being (left to right) a quarterly coat (assuming that the colors on the small shields on his surcoat are correct, Quarterly or and gules), the griffin, the quarterly coat, and another griffin.

And so we "end" our heraldic tour of the Burrell Collection with this very nice 14th century funereal piece of heraldry, and say "final goodbye" both to Don Ramon here and the gallery which houses Mr. Burrell's extensive collection!

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Little Heraldic Something to Hang on the Wall

As the owner of a very nice heraldic tapestry myself (a tapestry version of a portion of the Nine Worthies and Nine Female Worthies taken from an early 15th century fresco at Castello della Manta castle in Italy. We purchased the tapestry while we were in Bruges/Brugge, Belgium, while attending the XXVI International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences back in 2004. It's been hanging in our living room ever since), this custom-made tapestry in the Burrell Collection caught my eye.

The accompanying sign included this information:

English, mid-17th century
Silk and metal on silk

The central panel depicts Old Testament story of the pious widow Judith and the Assyrian general Holofernes. Here, she is placing his decapitated head into a sack held by her maid.

The border depicts and number of different animals surrounded by a floriated scrollwork, from a rabbit to lions to a squirrel to a chicken to a wolf to other birds.

The accompanying informational poster tells us that the tapestry was made for Luke Lloyd (1608-95) and his wife, Katherine Whitney (1610-1701). Most of panels like this one were intended for large, wealthy houses, but this one belonged to Lloyd, a Puritan who served as a Captain in the Parliamentary forces during the [English] Civil War, and was Sheriff of Flintshire in 1648. He lived with his family in a timber and brick farmhouse known as the Bryn. His wife was from a Royalist family living in Acton, Cheshire.

Once again, though, what really caught my eye was the impaled coat of arms at the top center of the work.

I have been unable to find these Lloyd and Whitney arms in Burke's General Armory. Nor did I find these Lloyd arms in the Dictionary of British Arms.

In the Dictionary of British Arms, Vol. 3, I did find the following for the Whitney arms:

Richard Weteley/Whetely: Argent on a chief gules three garbs argent. (Though much of the silk thread has rotted away over the centuries, there does seem to be a little bit of red color remaining around the edges of the garbs.)

I did not find this Lloyd crest in Fairbairn’s Crests. (The majority of Lloyd crests were Demi-lions erect.) The closest to this crest (which appears to be atop a mount a boar statant pierced by a spear bendwise sinister), but none of which is an exact match, is attributed to Bacon.

Fairbairn’s Crests assigns the crest over the Whitney arms, A stag’s head holding in the mouth a serpent, to “Borthwick, Cart, Caw, *Finlayson, Tipper, Wigton.”

So the arms and crests are still a bit of a mystery, insofar as a confirmed identification goes, but still, what a wonderful piece of work, and how well it has survived over the last several centuries!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

An Old Armorial Chest

Also in the Burrell Collection was this old armorial chest dating back to the early 14th Century, and what a great way to haul and store your "stuff."

The accompanying sign read:

Painted chest of Richard de Bury
English; early 14th century
Inside the lid of this chest are colourful heraldic shields and fabulous animals. The outside of the chest would have been painted too. It was probably used to carry and store armour, both on the battlefield and at home. 
The "colourful heraldic shields and fabulous animals" are, from left to right:

With the exception of the third coat of arms (does anyone here not recognize England {though the quarters here are reversed; it is usually seen as Quarterly: 1 and 4, France [here, France ancient]; 2 and 3, England}. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?), I have yet not found a firm attribution for these coats of arms.

You gotta love those critters, though, don't you? The last one, especially, to me is reminiscent of some of the animals and monsters found in the Book of Kells.

You can find a little more information about the chest and its background at

All in all, what a great way to haul and store your stuff!