Monday, August 5, 2019

A Follow-Up to a Previous Post

On June 20, 2019, I posted about "More Heraldry(?) on Christ Church Gate, Canterbury, which can be found at

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.

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