Monday, September 16, 2019

Resting on Someone's "Laurels"

Or, at least on their coat of arms.

The benches in the nave of Canterbury Cathedral have cushions on them, so that you're not sitting on hard benches through services there.

These cushions are embroidered with the coat of arms superimposed on an image of the "Canterbury cross", given name, and years in office of the various Archbishops of Canterbury.

The following is a selection of some of those cushions. (To have tried to photograph all of them would have taken a much longer time, and involved much repetition.) For each, I have given the full name, years as Archbishop, and the blazon of the arms.

Simon de Mepham (1328-1333), Azure three bends or; and Walter Reynolds (1314-1327), Azure on a cross between the symbols of the four Evangelists or five lions rampant gules.

George Abbot (1611-1633), Gules a chevron between three pears or.

William Laud (1633-1645), Sable on a chevron between three estoiles or three crosses formy fitchy gules.

William Juxon (1660-1663), Or a cross gules between four Moor’s heads affront couped at the shoulders proper wreathed gules.

Gilbert Sheldon (1663-1677), Argent on a chevron gules three sheldrakes argent and on a canton gules a rose or.

Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie (1980-1991), The See of Canterbury, impaled by Argent on a fess sable between three roses gules barbed and seeded proper three crosses patonce argent.

Frederick Donald Coggan (1974-1980), Argent on a cross quarterly azure and gules between four crosses formy fitchy sable a rose argent barbed and seeded proper and ensigned by a mitre argent garnished or.

Reginald Pole (1556-1558), Per pale sable and or a saltire engrailed counterchanged.

Matthew Parker (1559-1575), Gules on a chevron between three keys argent three estoiles gules.

There was an amazing amount of needlework put into all of these cushions! The people who did the work should be congratulated on the quality, and the quantity, of their work.

And, truly, if you are going to be sitting through services on a hard wooden bench, wouldn't resting on someone's laurels, err, coat of arms, make it just a little bit more comfortable?

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