Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Newer Heraldic Memorial

It's not just old heraldic monuments in these churches in Scotland; sometimes, you may run across a much more recent one.

For example:

This heraldic plaque was erected in St. Michael's Church, Linlithgow, in 1990.

The entire inscription reads:

Merchant, Diplomat, and Friend of Scotland.
Ambassador of Charles, Duke of Burgundy,
to the Court of King James III,
Conservator of the Privileges of
Scottish Merchants in Flanders.
Born in Bruges 1424, killed in Scotland 1483,
and buried near this place.

Erected by the Heraldry Society of Scotland 1990.

The coat of arms is almost remarkably simple:

Rietstap's Armorial Général blazons his arms as D'or à la bande échiqueté d'argent et de sable de trois tires. I would blazon it simply as Or a bend checky argent and sable.

The collar surrounding the shield is that of a Knight of the Order of the Unicorn, into which Order he was inducted by King James III at the end of the year 1468.

While on pilgrimage, while staying at a monastery in North Berwick, he was attacked by an armed gang who killed him on January 23, 1483.

He has his own page on Wikipedia, which gives a much lengthier biography, and even lists his and his wife, Margriet van der Banck's, sixteen children. You can find that article on-line at

It's a really nice, modern memorial to an interesting man.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Here's a very last minute heraldic gift for the family pet, just in case you may have left him or her out of your shopping plans.

And some good advice for making it through the holidays; it also is, I think, good for life in general!

May your Christmas be a joyous, and heraldic, one!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

An Older Heraldic Memorial

One of the things that I really enjoy about visiting churches in Great Britain is the sheer number of heraldic memorials, their sometimes widely varying ages, and the many forms that they take.

Continuing our heraldic tour of St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland, we came across this memorial:

The form is not a common one; indeed, I don't remember seeing others just like this in our travels over the years. (I must say, though, that I really admire the carving of the rope around the circular top of this monument!)

The inscriptions on the main body of the monument read:

Sir James Sandilands Hamilton.
Died 1733.

Sir Walter Sandilands Hamilton, Bart.
A.D.C. to General Churchill,
Died 3rd April 1762.

Helen Lady Hamilton.
Died 13th November 1770, aged 79.

daughter of Thomas Hamilton, of Olivestob.
Died 23rd January 1771, aged 87.

It is, of course, the arms carved at the top which got my attention.

The arms of Hamilton of Westport are blazoned in An Ordinary of Arms by Sir James Balfour Paul as Gules three cinquefoils ermine within a bordure argent enaluron of eight martlets gules.

For those to whom the term enaluron is unfamiliar, Parker's A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry says: "Bordure enaluron: a name given to one charged with eight birds of any kind, and it may be blazoned an enaluron of (say) eagles, which would imply that it was a border, and that it was charged with eight eagles. The word is probably only a corruption of the French en orle."

The arms here are, of course, a suitably differenced version of the well-known arms of Hamilton, Gules three cinquefoils ermine.

Walter Sandilands, son of William Sandilands of Hilderston, Linlithgowshire, married in 1674, Anna Hamilton, daughter and heiress of James Hamilton of Westport, Linlithgowshire, and in consequence assumed the name and arms of Hamilton. Walter's son, Sir James Sandilands Hamilton of Westport, dying in 1733 (as noted on the monument), was succeeded by his brother, Sir Walter Sandilands Hamilton.

Sir Walter Sandilands Hamilton, a captain in the army who served thirteen campaigns under Marlborough, married his cousin Helen, daughter of Thomas Hamilton, of Olivestob, the "Helen Lady Hamilton" on this monument. Martha Hamilton, the last entry, would have been her sister.

They had two sons, James and Thomas, both military officers who died without issue, and daughters.

Sir Walter’s eldest daughter Grizel, married John Ferrier, Esq. of Kirkland, Renfrewshire, writer in Edinburgh, and their son, on succeeding his grandfather, Sir Walter, in 1763, also took the name of Hamilton.

What an interestingly complex family history, all wrapped up into a single monument to members of this family in a church in Linlithgow.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Brass Heraldic Memorials to Two Members of a Family

Continuing our way around the interior of St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, we came across two brass heraldic plaques in memory of different members of a family.

The first reads as follows:

To the Glory of God
for the adornment of his house
and in loving memory of
Sir William Baillie,
of Polkemmet, Linlithgowshire 2nd Baronet
born 2nd Feb. 1816, entered into rest 21st July 1890.
Deputy Lieutenant Convener of the Co. for 27 years
Hon. Colonel 1st Brig. Scottish Div. R.A.
formerly Captain Midlothian Yeo. Cavy.
A true friend and liberal supporter
of the Church of Scotland
and for 45 years a
Representative Elder
in her
General Assembly.

The second reads:

To the Glory of GOD
In loving remembrance of
William Lyon Dennistoun Baillie
Captain Royal Scots Fusiliers
killed in action
at Frederickstad, South Africa
on 25th October 1900 aged 28.
"Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life."

Both plaques bear a coat of arms, though on the plaque for Sir William Baillie the arms are done in black and white.

In the Lyon Ordinary the arms of Baillie of Polkemmet are blazoned as: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Azure nine mullets three three two and one or within a bordure counter-nebuly argent and sable; 2 and 3, Azure a lion rampant in chief three mullets argent (for Inglis of Murdiston). The first matriculation of these arms was made in 1672-7; the second in 1794; and the third in 1810.

The crest is A star [which I take to be an estoile, which has wavy rays] of eight points issuing out of a cloud proper, with the motto In caligine lucet (It shines in the dark), and with supporters Two lions guardant argent.

Sir William Baillie also bears the badge of a Baronet of Great Britain (Argent a sinister hand couped gules) in the center of his shield.

What a beautifully done set of brass armorial plaques to two members of the Baillie family.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Burgh Arms In and About St. Michael's

In addition to the various Royal Arms in various places in St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland, there are also a number of depictions of these arms:

On some of the ceiling bosses:

And behind the main altar:

They are the arms of the Burgh of Linlithgow, a Royal Burgh created about 1138 by King David I. The arms were granted July 16, 1673, and are blazoned Or a greyhound bitch sable chained to an oak tree within a loch proper. The motto is My fruit is fidelity to God and the King.

The arms may be canting; one of the possible meanings of Linlithgow is "the lake of the gray dog."

These arms were used until 1975, when Linlithgow was incorporated into the West Lothian District Council, which in 1996 became the West Lothian Area Council.

Nearby, outside St. Michael's, I also found these two armorial roundels:

The first, of course, is yet another rendition of the arms of Linlithgow.

The second is an alternate coat of arms sometimes used by Linlithgow, Azure St. Michael slaying a dragon beneath his feet with a lance in his dexter hand and holding in his sinister hand a shield of the Royal Arms of Scotland [Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules].

The motto more usually seen with these arms is Collocet in cœlis nos omnes vis Michælis (Michael's strength sets us all in heaven). The one used here, St. Michael is kinde to strangers, seems to me to be at odds with his depiction as slaying a dragon who, not being native to Scotland, must be considered to be a stranger, I think. But maybe that's just me. ☺

Monday, December 11, 2017

Royal Heraldry in St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow is a substantial edifice, and so it is not surprising to find examples of the Royal Arms there.

For example, the Royal Arms of Scotland;

On a panel behind the altar;

Another on a ceiling boss;

 And even in one of the needlework tapestries which depict events from the history of the church.

There are also the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom as used in Scotland:

Again, from a panel behind the main altar;

And a Hanoverian carved achievement of arms (King George I and/or II) mounted on some of the stonework.

There is even, in another one of the needlework tapestries there, the Arms of the United Kingdom under the Commonwealth.

The arms depicted are, of course, Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent a cross gules (for England); 2, Azure a saltire argent (for Scotland); and 4, Azure a harp or (for Ireland), on an inescutcheon of pretense, Sable a lion rampant argent armed and langued gules. (This last is the arms of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. Nothing quite like saying, "Yeah, that's me. I'm the boss" heraldically.)

It was really nice to be able to see some of the historical, as well as the current, Royal Arms in the church.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Another Saint, and the Arms of an Earl

In the third panel of the stained glass window at St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland that I've been sharing with you, above the lower portion of King David I and his attributed arms, is the figure of St. Bridget.

Above her head is a knight on horseback, bearing a banner with fleurs-de-lis and whose pauldron (shoulder armor) marks him as a Crusader (Argent a cross gules). But especially, he carries a shield with the well-known arms of Douglas: Argent a heart gules on a chief azure three mullets argent.

I suspect that this is meant to be "Good Sir James" Douglas, who was slain in August 1330 fighting under King Alfonso XI of Castile against the Muslims of the Kingdom of Granada, carrying the heart of Robert Bruce as a token of Bruce's unfulfilled ambition to go on crusade.

According to John Barbour's description of Douglas' last battle, when the enemy broke, Sir James and his companions followed hard behind. Having outstripped most of his men in the pursuit, Douglas suddenly found himself far out in front with only a few of his followers around him. As he rode back to rejoin the main body, he saw Sir William St. Clair of Rosslyn surrounded by a body of Moors who, seizing their opportunity, had quickly rallied and counterattacked. With the few knights who were with him, Douglas turned aside to attempt a rescue but, outnumbered twenty to one, the group was overrun. It has become a popular legend that Douglas then took from his neck the silver casket which contained the heart of Bruce and threw it before him among the enemy, saying, "Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die." (Alas, this story seems to be a 16th-century addition to Barbour's poem.)

By 1333 Bruce's heart was incorporated in the arms of Sir James' son, William, Lord of Douglas, and it has been a prominent part, sometimes with a golden crown, of the family's arms ever since.

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Saintly Coat of Arms

In the large four-panel stained glass window in St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland, which I showed you in my last post, one panel was dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew.

In addition to being shown with his cross, above his head is a shield Azure a saltire argent, which in flag form is probably the premier emblem of Scotland's people. (The arms with the red lion within a double tressure flory counter-flory is the emblem of the King or Queen of Scotland.)

The arms, as a symbol of Scotland, are also found elsewhere in St. Michael's Church, on a panel behind the altar;

and on one of the ceiling bosses.

Why, yes, I did almost get a dizzying  case of vertigo taking this picture. Why do you ask? All I can say is, "Thank goodness for a good telephoto lens!