Christ Church Gate, an impressive edifice directly on one side of the Buttermarket at the intersection of Burgate and Mercery Lane, and the main entrance to Canterbury Cathedral, was built between 1504 and 1521. The original statue of Christ and the wooden gates were destroyed by the Puritan iconoclast Richard Culmer in 1643. The gates were restored in 1660 by Archbishop William Juxon on the restoration of the monarchy. The original towers to the gate were torn down in in 1803 because Alderman James Simmons wanted to see the Cathedral clock from his bank Simmons & Gipps on High Street. The towers were replaced in 1937, and the statue of Christ was (finally!) replaced in 1990, having been destroyed in 1643.
There are two rows of armorial shields running across the gate; one carved and painted, the other merely painted. In today's post, we will review those in the lower row (the carved and painted ones), and do the upper row (the painted ones) next time.
So, from left to right (there is some overlap in the photographs; I do not repeat the identifications where this occurs), we have:
The Archiepiscopal See of Canterbury;
Guildford/Guldeford. Quarterly; 1 and 4, Or a saltire between four martlets sable on a canton argent a pomegranate proper seeded gules; 2 and 3, Argent a chief sable overall a bend gules (?); and
Scott (originally from Kent, settled in Shropshire at the end of the 16th Century. Argent three Catherine wheels sable within a bordure engrailed gules.
Fineaux/Feneus. Vert a chevron between three eagles displayed or.;
Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Quarterly of six: 1, Gules a bend between six crosses crosslet argent (Howard); 2, Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or overall a label of three tags argent (Brotherton); 3, Checky or and azure (Warren); 4, Gules a lion rampant argent (Mowbray); 5, Gules a lion rampant or (Fitzalan); 6, Gules three escallops argent (Dacre); and
Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII. Quarterly France Modern and England, overall a label of three points argent.
Crowned portcullis badge of the Beauforts used by Henry VII;
King Henry VII;
Tudor rose badge of Henry VII; and
Catherine of Aragon, wife of Prince Arthur.
Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. Quarterly France ancient and England within a bordure compony argent and azure;
Neville, Lord Bergavenny (now Abergavenny). Quarterly: 1, Gules on a saltire argent a rose gules barbed and seeded proper (Neville); 2, Checky or and azure (Warren); 3, Quarterly, i and iv, Or three chevrons gules (Clare), ii and iii, Quarterly, a and d, ? a bend sable, b and c, ? a fret or(?); 4, Gules on a fess between six crosses flory or a crescent sable (Worcester?), and
Poynings. Quarterly: 1 and 4, Barry of six or and vert a bend gules (Poynings); 2, Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or overall a bend azure (Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster); 3, Or three piles in point azure (Bryan).
A repeat of Guildford/Guldeford. Quarterly; 1 and 4, Or a saltire between four martlets sable on a canton argent a pomegranate proper seeded gules; 2 and 3, Argent a chief sable overall a bend gules (?), only lacking the charged canton.
The Latin inscription running underneath this row of carve shields is “Hoc Opus Constructum Est Anno Domini Millesimo Quingentesimo Decimo Septimo.” This inscription of 1507 on the stonework, however, is part of an ongoing dispute among historians about the accuracy of the dating. (I take no stance on the inscription, but add it here so that you can know of it and its controversy.)