Thursday, August 8, 2019

Another Monument to a Clergyman

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:

Underneath Are Deposited
The remains of the Revd Thomas Bennett,
Rector of St Alphage, Vicar of Northgate,
Vicar of Stone in the Isle of Orkney,
and Minor Canon of this Cathedral
Who died Novr 22d, 1824, aged 54 years.
He married the daughter of the late
Francis Levett Esqr of Georgia N. America
who with a numerous family is left
to lament the loss of a tender husband
and affectionate parent.

Near this place lie the remains of
Charlotte Julian, infant daughter of the above.

The website Historic Canterbury ( 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):

Burke’s General 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 a bezant.

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