An uncle of mine by marriage, who was a very distinguished historian, once asked me, when I was a young man, whether I was interested in Heraldry. I said that I was not. ‘I'm glad of that,” he said, “heraldry strikes me as being for a historian about on the same level of interest as stamp collecting.” – Maurice Keen, in the Preface to Origins of the English Gentleman
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
Moving out of the Water Tower of Canterbury Cathedral, we ran across some more heraldry in the corridor which was leading us into the body of the Cathedral itself. First was this lovely window (if you look closely - and you can click on the image below to see a bigger version - the "frame" of the window consists of pieces of recovered stained glass with a variety of bits and pieces of different motifs:
Which has in it the arms of the See marshaled with those of Archbishop Matthew Parker (1559-1575), Gules
on a chevron between three keys argent three estoiles gules. And as if his arms weren't enough, the shield is flanked on each side with the letters M and P, the Archbishop's initials.
Moving along, we then came across this window:
On the left, we have the arms of King Henry VII, Quarterly France modern and England, with its distinctive Tudor royal crown:
And on the right, the arms of the See marshaled with those of Archbishop William Warham (1504-1532), whose arms we have seen before, Gules
a fess or between in chief a goat’s head erased and in base three escallops
Not a bad display of heraldry in something that is really not much more than a hallway from one room to another!
Moving out of the Chapter House on our way to the interior of Canterbury Cathedral, we passed through the Water Tower, built in the 1160s. The upper section was rebuilt in the time of Prior Chilleden (1391 to 1410).* And, of course, there was some heraldry in it.
We're not going to go over every coat of arms in these windows -- there are plenty of pictures of all of them that can be found on-line -- but here's a quick review of some of them: Here, the arms of the Archepiscopal See of Canterbury impaled with those of Archibishop Baldwin (1184-1190), Gules two
bendlets and a bordure argent.
In the lower windows below these arms, we have Humphrey Bohun, 12th Earl of Hereford
(d. 1372), who married Joan, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel. Azure,
a bend argent cotised between six lions rampant or (Bohun); marshalling Quarterly:
1 and 4, Gules a lion rampant or (Fitzalan); 2 and 3, Checky or and azure
(Warrene); And Edmund of Langley. Quarterly France modern and England a
label of three points argent each charged with three torteaux. (The red
roundels have faded almost completely to white.)
In the window immediately to the right of Bohun and Langley, we find the arms of Archbishop
William Courtenay (1381-1396), Or three roundels gules and a label azure
charged on each point with a mitre or; And Edward of Woodstock, the Black
Prince’s “shield for peace”, Sable three ostrich feathers each with a scroll
argent across the quill inscribed Ich Dien sable.
At the top of the next window to the right, we see the arms of the See of Canterbury impaled by those of Archishop Theobald (1139-1161), Barry or and
azure a chief indented gules. (The book Coats of Arms of the Archbishops of
Canterbury blazons Theobald’s arms as Or two bars azure and a chief
indented gules. I suspect an error by the stained glass artist for this window, as the arms look more like Azure two bars or and a chief per fess indented gules and or. But maybe that's just me.)
And finally, in the lower windows below Theobald's arms, we find Edmund of Langley (I believe), Quarterly France modern and England a
label of three points argent each charged with three torteaux. (Here again, the red
roundels have faded almost completely to white.); And John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset. Quarterly France and
England all within a bordure compony argent and azure. (The window shows
the bordure with the tinctures reversed, i.e., azure and argent.)
It's a small room, but it's got a lot of historical coats of arms in it. * There's an old saw about the difference between Europeans and Americans is that Europeans think a hundred kilometers is a long way, while Americans think a hundred years is a long time. So clearly, this tower was built, and then rebuilt, a very, veryvery long time ago!
So, after staring in awe at the massive east window in the Chapter House at Canterbury Cathedral, and then turning around to see the smaller windows with the arms of several Archbishops and Deans, we take a step back and then look up to see this:
The inscription across the bottom reads:
In memory of / Frederick William Farrar, D.D. / Dean of this Cathedral 1895-1903 / This window was erected on / Public Subscription.
We saw Dean Farrar's coat of arms in the immediately preceding post.
Like the east window, the main part of the west window contains figures important in one way or another to the history of the Cathedral, from Queen Bertha, Augustine, and King Ethelbert (in the first three windows in the top row) through Thomas Becket and King Henry II (the first two windows in the second row) through King Henry IV (who is buried in the Cathedral) and King Henry VIII (in the first two windows in the bottom row), through the coronation of Queen Victoria in the last window at the bottom right. The difference is that this window omits the Royal heraldry but portrays some of the events for which the people portrayed are famous.
In this window, as in the east window, there is a lot of heraldry at the top, but before we get to some of those, if you look carefully, you will notice four smaller windows in the center with images of (l-r, top to bottom): St Andrew, St. David, St. George, and St. Patrick. These are, of course, the patron saints of Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland, respectively.
Flanking these last is a row of shields, from left right, with the arms of: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Surrounding and above all of these we have the arms of a great number of colleges of both Cambridge and Oxford Universities.
And, at the very peak of the window, the arms (once again) of the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury.
Of the colleges, you may recognize a number of them right off. I know I did, though I couldn't necessarily put a name to each of them without looking them up.
Want a "cheat sheet" to help you identify the arms here? Here are a couple of old postcards with the arms of the colleges of both Cambridge and Oxford. Happy hunting!
After entering the Chapter House at Canterbury Cathedral, and finding yourself a bit overwhelmed at the sight of the large stained glass window at the eastern end of the room, if you turn around and look at the wall behind you, there are a couple of windows looking back out into the Cloister with coats of arms in them. In one window, all of the arms are of former Archbishops of Canterbury. In the second, the arms of those of some of the Deans of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury.
Once again, you may recognize some of this heraldry from where we have run across them elsewhere in Canterbury (or even earlier, at St. Mary-at-Lambeth in London).
From left to right, and moving from the left window to the right one, we have:
The attributed arms of Archbishop Anselm (1093-1109) [all the dates included here refer to their tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury], Argent goutty de sang a cross sable, and Archbishop Stephen Langton (1207-1228), Per pale azure and gules a bend or.
Simon de Sudbury (1375-1381), Sable a talbot sejant within a bordure engrailed argent (There is another coat of arms attributed to the Archbishop - Argent on a cross azure the letter M crowned or - but he bore these arms on his seal) and Henry Chicheley (1414-1443), Or a chevron between three cinquefoils gules.
John Morton (1486-1500), whose arms we have seen several times before, Quarterly gules and ermine in the first and fourth quarters a goat's head erased argent, and Frederick Temple (1896-1903), Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or an eagle displayed sable; 2 and 3, Argent two bars sable each charged with three martlets or (These arms were also borne by William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury 1942-1945).
In the next window, we find the arms of Nicholas Wotton (1541-1567) [here, too, the dates are those of the individual's tenure as Dean], Quarterly of six: 1, Sable a saltire argent; 2, Sable(?) on a chief argent a lion passant sable; 3, Azure on a bend argent three eagles displayed sable; 4, Ermine a fess checky or and azure (probably Arden or Arderne); 5, Bendy of six argent and gules; and 6, Bendy of eight azure and argent,* and Thomas Nevil or Nevile (1597-1615), Gules on a saltire argent a rose gules.
* The identification of the arms, or indeed of the tinctures themselves, here is very "iffy". Wotton is not found in Humphrey-Smith's An Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral. Burke's General Armory cites several Wotton coats of arms, but in the closest ones to the first quarter in this coat the tinctures are reversed, i.e., Argent a saltire sable. Further searches on-line, e.g., for "Wotton" or "Nicholas Wotton" + "a saltire argent", and off, e.g., Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, failed to turn up any useful information.
John Tillotson (1672-1689), Azure two bendlets between two garbs argent, and John Sharp (1689-1691), Azure a pheon argent and on a bordure or twelve torteaux.
And finally, Frederic Farrar (1895-1903), Argent on a bend engrailed sable three horseshoes argent, and Henry Alford (1857-1871), Or on a chevron sable between three roses gules three fleurs-de-lys argent.
Moving from the Cloister through a doorway into the Chapter House, the visitor is confronted at the far, east, end of the room by a huge stained glass window depicting in its main sections people important in the history of Canterbury from Queen Bertha to Queen Victoria. (You can click on the image below to see a larger version of this photograph.)
Most of these individuals, with the exceptions of King Henry III, King Edward I, the Black Prince, King Henry IV, King Henry VIII, and Queen Victoria, are not shown with their coats of arms.
The upper part of the windows display a number of coats of arms, mostly of different sees around England with the arms of a few individuals thrown in for good measure (e.g., the arms of Archbishop Temple impaling those of the Archepiscopal See). You may recognize some of them without even needing to look them up.
In between is a row of heraldry with four coats of arms we have seen several times before in our survey of heraldry in Canterbury:
Here, the Archepiscopal See of Canterbury, and the Canterbury Cathedral Dean and Chapter:
And the Grand Lodge of Masons (Gules on a chevron between three towers argent a pair of compasses sable, impaling Quarterly azure and or a cross quarterly argent and vert between 1st a lion rampant or, 2nd a bull passant sable, 3rd a man statant affronty hands elevated proper vested sable [should be vert?], and 4th an eagle displayed or), and the County of Kent.
It is an awe-inspiring window, and well worth the time to sit and glory in its construction and colors. And its heraldry.
For our final armorial memorial in the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral, we find this modern plaque inset into the wall:
In Memory of
Thomas John Claggett
First Bishop of Maryland
and first Bishop consecrated
in the United States of America
the United States Senate
A direct descendant of
Three times Mayor of Canterbury
and Alderman of the City
between 1599 and 1638
tells us that Thomas John Claggett (1743-1816) was the first bishop of the
newly-formed American Episcopal Church, U.S.A. (also known as the Protestant
Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.) to be consecrated on American soil and the
first bishop of the then-recently established (1780) Episcopal Diocese of
died August 4, 1816, at his family home, Croome, in Croom, Maryland. Originally
interred in the family plot on the property, his remains were moved in 1898 to
the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, then still in the early stages of construction.
epitaph, which includes the dates of his ordinations, was penned by his friend
and fellow churchman, lawyer-poet Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), author of the
"Star Spangled Banner".
even a portrait of Bishop Claggett on the Wikipedia page.
Once again, it was the heraldry at the top of this memorial that caught me like a fly in a spider's web.
find the diocesan arms (Sable a key and a pastoral staff in saltire or) to dexter (to the viewer’s left) anywhere, not even in
the comprehensive Heraldry in the Episcopal Church by Eckford de Kay. (The
arms of the Diocese of Maryland are unmistakably different from the arms on the
memorial.) The arms here do, however, show elements that appear on a number of
diocesan arms in the Episcopal Church: a key and pastoral staff in saltire (e.g.,
in the arms of the Diocese of Connecticut and the arms of the Diocese of
Armory gives the beautifully simple arms of Clagett (on the sinister side of the shield, to
the viewer’s right) of Kent and London: Ermine on a fess sable three pheons
Nearing the end of our survey of the heraldry in the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral, we come to this monument to a clergyman.
The lower part of the inscription is, alas, broken and only partly readable. The upper portion of the inscription reads:
of the Revd Thomas Bennett,
Rector of St
Alphage, Vicar of Northgate,
Stone in the Isle of Orkney,
Canon of this Cathedral
Who died Novr
22d, 1824, aged 54 years.
the daughter of the late
Levett Esqrof Georgia N. America
who with a
numerous family is left
the loss of a tender husband
place lie the remains of
Julian, infant daughter of the above.
The website Historic Canterbury (http://www.machadoink.com/St%20Mary%20Northgate.htm) tells us of Reverend Bennett: "He was of Trinity College, Cambridge, A.B. 1792,
A.M. 1795. He was elected Minor Canon in 1810, presented to St. Alphage in 1812
by Archbishop of Canterbury; and in 1820 to the Vicarage of Stone, by the Dean
and Chapter. *T. Bennett, a minor canon of Westminster, 1797, and also of
Canterbury, 1810; in the latter year he was presented by the Dean and Chapter
of Canterbury to the vicarage of Stone, Kent. He was likewise vicar of Herne
Bay, and, in 1812, made vicar of St. Alphege, and rector of St. Mary Northgate,
Canterbury. He died within the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, aged 58, at
the close of the year 1824. He took his degrees of B.A. in 1792, and of M.A. in
1795, and was second on the list of junior optimes in the former year." As ever, though, it was the coat of arms and crest near the peak of the monument which caught my attention. Though not painted in color, it is partially hatched (the field, for gules, or red):
Armory gives us: Bennett. Gules a bezant between three demi-lions rampant
argent. (Given the relative sizes of the roundel and demi-lions, I think I would have blazoned it Gules three demi-lions rampant argent at fess point a bezant, but I know that the usual grammar of blazon places the central charge before more peripheral charges, unless the central charge is a mark of cadency. Still, Burke's blazon could make you believe that the bezant, the golden roundel, in the center is much larger than carved here.)
Cecil Humphrey-Smith’s An Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in
Canterbury Cathedral blazons the crest: A demi-lion rampant couped or holding
At the time I posted that, I didn't know what the arms held by the angels were meant to symbolize, and I had my doubts that they were "real" heraldry.
It turns out that I was correct; they are not arms, but are instead instruments of the Passion of Jesus Christ. According to Humphrey-Smith's An Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral, the shields held by the angels are:
Azure three dice proper. Argent a cock proper. Gules thirty plates [the 30 pieces of silver]
Argent a ladder between a hammer and a pair of pincers all palewise proper. Gules a pillar between a whip and a birch palewise proper. Or the letters IHS sable.
Or a crown of thorns vert. Sable a lantern proper. Gules a wooden cross superinscribed I.N.R.I. all proper. Sable a staff with a sponge and a spear in saltire proper. Or three nails their points meeting in base proper.
So there you have it! If you compare the blazons here with my guesses, in the majority of the cases I was way off base. (In my defense, the paint on many of them is badly faded, making them difficult to identify.) It's nice to have some closure on these shields, though; if only I'd known enough to look up "Instruments of the Passion" when I originally wrote that post.
Continuing our perambulation around the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral, we found this memorial to an officer of the Royal Navy who lost his life in World War I in 1916.
The inscription reads:
To the Glory
of God and in Memory
Commander Julian Tenison
son of Charles and Isabel
born 1885, joined H.M.S.
1900, and was killed
of Submarine E4
Flotilla, August 15,
two years service
In the Great
Pro Rege et
from the Rev. Edward Tenison
Elverton Manor and Canon of this
Bishop of Ossery and from Lieut.
Tenison, Royal Fusiliers, who was
Canterbury 1739. He died unmarried
male representative of Thomas
Archbishop of Canterbury
is erected by his mother and
sister Eva Mabel Tenison.
The arms are
blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Sable [though the field here is clearly
painted azure (blue)] a fess embattled and in chief three moorcocks argent
(Tenison); 2 and 3, Or a griffin segreant sable, in dexter chief a trefoil vert
all within a bordure gules (Boys).
The crests are: A moorcock sable in his beak a rose gules slipped vert (Tenison); A griffin
sergeant sable charged on the shoulder with two trefoils in fess vert (Boys).
Armory blazons the birds in chief in the Tenison arms as three doves.
arms here are different from the Tenison arms we discussed in the post of July 15,
2019. Those Tenison arms are Gules a bend engrailed argent between three
leopard’s faces jessant-de-lis or. (Thomas Tennison, Archbishop of
Canterbury, 1695-1715, per Burke.) I have no idea why, if he was "the last
male representative of Thomas Tenison,
Archbishop of Canterbury", the Tenison quarters in his arms should be so different from those of the Archbishop.
some similarity between the arms in the second and third quarters here (for
Boys) and the arms of Anne Tenison (née Searle or Sayer) found in my July 15
post, in that in each there is a fess embattled and three birds, though the fess here
is only embattled to chief, and all three birds are in chief, not two and one
around the fess.
Regarding Lieut. Commander Tenison's death on the Royal Navy submarine E4, Wikipedia has the following to say about the submarine: HMS E4 was a British E class submarine built by Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness, costing £101,900. E4 was laid down on 16 May 1911, launched on 5 February 1912 and commissioned on 28 January 1913. The ship had a complement of 3 officers and 28 men. On 24 September 1915 E4 was attacked by the German airship SL3. On 15 August 1916, she collided with sister ship E41 during exercises off Harwich. Both ships sank and there were only 14 survivors, all from E41. Both boats were raised, repaired and recommissioned. She was sold on 21 February 1922 to the Upnor Ship Breaking Company.