Thursday, July 12, 2018

An Armorial Memorial to Two Brothers

The number of questionable coats of arms on memorials in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, continues to mount. For example:

This beautifully carved memorial to two brothers, Edward and Owen Reynolds, which has carved and painted arms at the top and bottom.

The memorial plaque reads:

Here lieth interred ye bodie of Edward
Reynoldes Esq., late Clarke of his maties
Privie Seale & Register of ye Court of Re-
quests who departed this life ye 18 day
of Decembr, Ano Dni 1623. By him also lieth
ye bodie of his brother Mr Owen Reynolds,
who deceased ye 16 of April, 1610. To whose
memories Edward, & Lancelot Reynolds Gent:
have here placed these ensving verses made
by ye said Edward Reynolds in his life time.

Gloria, vita, decor, thesaurus, fama, voluptas,
Vana, breuis, fragilis, fluxus, temeraria, mollis,
Fumus, bulla, jris, fax, ventus, dulce venenu,
Vanescit, perit, arescit, liquefit, fugit, angit.
Orbe nihil toto stabile est cito corruer orbis
Et vafti jn nihilu uanescet fabrica mundi.
Sola fides firman parit, æternad corna
Sola fides Christi meritis, sunt catera nugæ.

Hac vici, hac morior fide
Mihi Christ, in vita
Et morte lvcrv.

(And, no, my knowledge of Latin is not nearly good enough to translate the lower parts for you. Sorry!)

It was, of course, the arms which attracted me.

The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, Westminster, published in 1847 (and which I have been quoting in many of these posts of heraldry in St. Margaret's), blazons these arms as: Argent; a chevron lozengy gules and sable between three crosses fitchée of the third.

Before we get into the difficulty of the colors, let me discuss a couple of other issues with that blazon. First, the chevron is not "lozengy;" it is checky. "Charges, whether placed on, or in, an ordinary, always incline in the direction of that ordinary.  It would, therefore, be incorrect to draw the four billets, in the fourth quarter [of the arms of Panmure, Per pale argent and gules, on a saltire between four herrings naiant five billets all counterchanged], in the same manner as the centre one." (John E. Cussans, The Grammar of Heraldry, 1866, p. 50 (see also, Handbook of Heraldry, by the same author, 1882, p. 160)) This rule applies to ordinaries which are divided, as for example, checky. On a chevron, as here, the checks should follow the line of the chevron. So the chevron is properly blazoned as checky, and not lozengy.

Second, the crosses are clearly carved as crosses crosslet fitchy.

Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, let's discuss the tinctures. The chevron here is painted checky gules and or. I have no idea where The History got "sable" from. Further, looking closely (and you can click on the image above to see a larger picture), the crosses are painted azure, not sable.

Unfortunately, Burke's General Armory does not shed much light on the question of how these arms should be painted, though it does point to some possibilities. If we ignore (as I think we should) those Reynolds arms which bear a chevron ermine, we still have:

Reynolds (Carshalton, co. Surrey). Argent a chevron checky gules and azure between three crosses crosslet fitchy of the third.

Reynolds (borne by Sir Joshua Reynolds, as appears from a grant of the Freedom of a London Company to him). Argent a chevron lozengy gules and azure between three crosses crosslet azure.

Reynolds (Shotley, co. Suffolk). Argent a chevron checky azure and gules between three crosses formy fitchee vert, on a chief embattled sable as many [three] mullets or.

Reynolds (co. Suffolk, and Great Yarmouth, co. Norfolk). Argent a chevron lozengy gules and azure on a chief of the third [azure] a cross formy fitchy between two mullets or.

Reynolds. Argent a chevron lozengy gules and azure between three crosses formy fitchy vert on a chief sable three mullets of the field [argent].

So none of these arms match those (as painted) on the memorial here.

There is an Owen Reynolds of Westminster in the Visitations of Surrey, but only in a genealogy noting that Celina, daughter and co-heir of Owen Reynolds of Westminster married William Engler of Carsalton, Surrey. No arms are mentioned for Owen.

So, once again I find myself at a bit of a loss, here to determine the arms' correct tinctures of brothers Edward and Owen Reynolds. It may very well be that the author of The History mistook what was supposed to be azure for sable on the chevron and crosses of the arms, and that a later painter got the correct tincture for the crosses, but substituted gold for the blue on the chevron. At least that's the hypothesis I'm going with for now, unless and until additional evidence surfaces.

In any event, it's another really nice monument with some good heraldry, whatever the correct colors may be.

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