Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Memorial to an Admiral

Moving along in our review of some of the heraldic memorials and monuments in Canterbury Cathedral, we come to a comparatively modest memorial to Admiral of the Blue* Richard Edwards, Esq.

The inscription reads:

To the Memory of
Richard Edwards, Esqr.
Admiral of the Blue
who departed this Life the 3d Februy, 1795,
in the 76th Year of his age

His remains are interred under
a Black Marble nearly beneath this

It appears that he was promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Blue less than a year before his death in Fordwich, Kent. Nonetheless, he served a long and distinguished career, and was twice Governor of Newfoundland, Canada, both times in time of war: first in 1757 for the defense of the colony against the French; and second in 1779 for the defense of the colony against American privateers.

This painting of then-Rear Admiral of the Blue Richard Edwards was made by Nathaniel Dance in 1780.

Richard Edwards Royal Navy Admiral by Nathaniel Dance 1780.jpg

At the top of this memorial is a painted depiction of his coat of arms:

The arms are blazoned: Per bend sinister ermine and counter-ermine a lion rampant and a bordure engrailed or.

* That is, Admiral of the Blue Squadron of the Royal Navy, at that time the third highest rank in the Navy, the two higher officers being 1, the Admiral of the Fleet, and 2, the Admiral of the White Squadron. (In 1805 a new rank, Admiral of the Red Squadron was added between the Admiral of the Fleet and the Admiral of the White Squadron, making Admiral of the Blue Squadron the fourth highest rank in the Navy.)

Stuff you might never otherwise have known had you not read this blog.

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Tale of Three Thornhursts, Part Three

The third, and final, memorial to a Thornhurst in St. Michael's Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral is to a woman who married into the Thornhurst family.

The Latin inscription below her effigy figure translates as:

Lady Dorothy Thornhurst, daughter of Roger Drew of Dentsworth in Sussex, Esq., who after the decease of Dr. Hippocrates d’Otten, a celebrated physician of the illustrious family of Otten, in Holsatia, married a second time to Sir Stephen Thornhurst, knight, and survived him; her ashes were mingled with his in this place on the 12th of June in the 55th year of her age, and in the year of our Lord 1620. In pious memory of her, her sorrowful niece Martha Norton hath erected this monument.

This memorial inscription is followed by a six-line elegiac poem in Latin, which translates as:

Had Juno, Venus, and Minerva praise?
Such thou wert once, yet who thy fame will raise?
Shall with and beauty meet superior foes?
And must this urn thy sundry gifts enclose?
Here lies thy dust, thy soul to heaven-ward flied,
And claims her seat above the starry skies.

Immediately below the memorial text (in the image immediately above) is her father's coat of arms (Drewe); Ermine a lion passant gules.

And at the peak of the monument is a quartered coat, presumably those of her father quartered by those of her mother.

These arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Ermine a lion passant gules (Drewe); 2 and 3, Argent two bendlets between two martlets sable (Bradshaw).

This Thornhurst memorial, too, is a fine example of the stonecarver's art, and a nice display of heraldry, too.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Tale of Three Thornhursts, Part Two

Our next Thornhurst memorial in St. Michael's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, has the carved figures of both husband and wife, Sir Stephen Thornhurst, the fourth husband of Mary (Giffard) Baker Fletcher Thornhurst. Yes, she was married three times.

The kneeling man in this memorial is said to be, on the website of the Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society, but is in fact not, Sir Richard Baker, MP (1527-1594), who died in Cranbrook, Kent, and is buried at St. Dunstan's Church there.

The figure here is that of Mary's third husband, Sir Stephen Thornhurst, d. 1616.

His second wife, the reclining figure just below him, resting her head on her right hand (in what is often called the "toothache" position, is Mary (Giffard) Thornhurst, d. 1609.

There are more coats of arms on the memorial than I could see from the entrance, but there are two that can be seen in the photograph above. (The coat of arms between the left-hand pillar and Sir Stephen, seen in a photo found on-line at, are the arms of Giffard on a lozenge; that is, Mary Giffard (Giffard) Thornhurst's paternal arms.)

The lower of the two arms that can be seen in my photos here, between the effigy of Sir Stephen Thornhurst and the pillar to the right, are the marital arms of Sir Stephen and Mary: Ermine on a chief gules two leopard's faces argent (Thornhurst), impaled by Gules three lions passant in pale argent (Giffard).

At the top of the monument is another, larger depiction of the Thornhurst arms and crest, similar to the that on the monument to Sir Thomas Thornhurst we saw in my last post.

Again, the Thornhurst arms are Ermine on a chief gules two leopard's faces argent, and the crest is A greyhound couchant or.

Here, too, the memorial is a credit to the stonecarver's art, as well as being a nice display of heraldry.

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Tale of Three Thornhursts, Part One

In St. Michael's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, there are three large, ornate memorials to three members of the Thornhurst family.

Going from left to right as you stand at the entrance to the Chapel, we first espy the memorial to Sir Thomas Thornhurst, son of Sir Stephen Thornhurst, d. 1627 during the unsuccessful English invasion of the French Isle of Rhee, and his wife Barbara, née Shirley, d. 1639.

As you can see here, Sir Thomas is shown in armor recumbent resting on his right elbow, his left hand holding up a shield of his arms (Ermine on a chief gules two leopard's faces argent). His wife Barbara is shown laying upon her back, her head on a double pillow, and her right hand resting on a book.

There are two explanatory plaques on the memorial, the upper one in Latin, and the lower one in English.

Near the top of the monument is an achievement of arms: shield, helm, mantling, and crest.

The arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Ermine on a chief gules two leopard's faces argent (Thornhurst); 2 and 3, Azure four pallets argent and a canton ermine (Shirley), overall a crescent sable for difference. Burke blazons the Shirley arms as Paly of six or and azure a quarter ermine, but that is not how they are painted here. The crest is a greyhound couchant or.

The whole monument is a tour de force of the stonecarver's art, in addition to being a nice display of heraldry.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

I'm Giving a Presentation on Heraldry to Genealogists, and You Can Attend

A little while ago, I was asked by the Georgia Genealogical Society if I would give my presentation An Introduction to Heraldry for Genealogists via webinar for them. I, of course, said I would be honored to do so, and as a result, on Thursday, December 12, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time I will be doing just that.

The webinar is open on-line live to the first 500 people, regardless of whether or not they are members of the GGS. (The webinar is recorded and will be posted in the Members Only section of the GGS, along with copies of the handouts.)

I received an email this morning that this webinar is now open for registration, so if any of you are interested in this topic, please feel free to go to to learn more about what this presentation will cover, and register to attend.

An Armorial Monument to a Soldier

Off in one corner of Canterbury Cathedral is St. Michael's Chapel (also called the Buffs' Chapel or the Holland Chapel), a place crowded with large memorials and closed to visitors walking in. However, having a good camera with a telephoto lens, I was able to take pictures of a number of the armorial memorials, and today will share the first of those.

This is a large memorial to, as you can see from the inscription immediately below, William Prude, Esq., Lieutenant Colonel in the Belgian Wars, slain a the siege of Maastricht on the 12th of July, 1632.

At the peak of the memorial is what truly caught my eye, of course.

I zoomed in to get a closer view of the coat of arms, helmet, mantling, and crest (as always, you can click on the image to see a larger picture):

The arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Azure three otters in pale each with a sand-pride (fish) in its mouth or (Prude); 2 and 3, Gules on a chevron between three trefoils argent three pellets (Searle).

The crest is: An otter's head erased or bearing in its mouth a sand-pride proper(?) [should be argent].

It is a massive monument, erected by his surviving son Searles Prude.

I have, alas, been unable to find out anything about his life; almost every reference to him on the internet goes back to this ornately-carved monument in Canterbury Cathedral.

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Coronation(s) Window in Canterbury Cathedral

Yes, I know that they named it the "Coronation Window", but really, considering that it contains the principal parties for two different coronations, shouldn't it really be called the "Coronations Window"?

As you can see in the photograph above, the lower register windows portray the figures of the 1937 coronation of King George VI (center left) with his Queen, Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother), and Princess Elizabeth (far left), now Queen Elizabeth II, and the late Princess Margaret (far right).

The upper register windows show the figures of the 1953 Coronation of Elizabeth II (center left) and Prince Philip, with their two children at the time, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. In the far left window, we have the four Lords Spiritual: the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of London and Winchester. The far right window portrays the four Lords Temporal: the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Lord High Chamberlain, and the Earl Marshall.

Also in that far right window is a banner of the achievement of the Royal Arms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

At the very peak of the window, just above the portion of the window showing the Annunciation, is another depiction of the Royal Arms, Quarterly: 1 and 4, England; 2, Scotland; and 3, Ireland, surmounted by a crown.

And finally, in between the upper register of windows and the upper part of the window we find two Royal badges and three coats of arms:

The Royal badges are a crowned Tudor rose, and a crowned portcullis.

The coats of arms are, from left to right:

The Salt-Fishmongers Company, Azure three pairs of keys crossed in saltire or on a chief gules three dolphins embowed argent.

The City of London, Argent a cross and in dexter chief a sword gules.

Barnewell, Per pale argent and gules three beavers statant in pale counterchanged.

The window was originally donated by John Barnewell (d. 1478), the London merchant who provided the priory with salt fish.

If you look carefully (you can click on the image above to see a larger photo), you can see that the dolphins on the chief of the Salt-Fishmongers Company also surround each of the three shields.

It's a beautiful piece of stained glass work; the two coronations by Sir Ninian Comper are a 1953 replacement of the 19th Century glass which was destroyed during World War II.

And, of course, the heraldry in it is nice to see, too!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

An Officer and a Gentleman, Who Is Also a Field Marshal and an Earl

Our next armorial memorial is one erected by his friends to Field Marshal Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, Earl of Ypres.

A somewhat controversial figure over the course of his career, he entered WWI as basically a cavalry officer used to thinking of movement who found himself in a stagnant war of entrenchments. But go to his Wikipedia article (,_1st_Earl_of_Ypres) to get a better feel for the ups and downs of his career, as well as his strengths and his weaknesses.

The plaque on his memorial reads in full:

This memorial was

erected by his friends
in memory of
The Right Honble
Sir John Denton
Pinkstan French
Earl of Ypres
P.C.K. G.C.B. O.M. G.C.V.O. C.M.G.
Born 1852 – Died 1925
He commanded the British Army
in France from the outbreak of
the Great War to December 1915
His courageous leadership in
front of Ypres helped to save the
Allied Forces in the great crisis
~ of the War ~

Not sure how well his friends here really knew him, since they seem to have gotten his third name incorrectly. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage (1938), gives his name as John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres (created 5 June 1922), Viscount French of Ypres and of High Lake, county Roscommon (created 1 January 1916).

His arms are blazoned: Ermine a chevron sable [a crescent for difference] (which crescent does not appear on his achievement here). The shield is surmounted by an earl’s coronet. The crest is: A dolphin embowed proper (that is, vert detailed gules). The supporters to his shield are: Dexter, A lion guardant or supporting a staff proper with a banner of the Union; Sinister, A lion or supporting a staff proper with a banner paly of three sable or and gules. (In simpler terms, his supporters are the British lion holding the Union flag and the Belgian lion holding the Belgian flag.) The motto scroll, which doubles for the compartment, reads: Malo mori quam fœdari (Death rather than disgrace).

Monday, October 7, 2019

Two More Fotherby Memorials

In our post of September 23, we saw the arms of Priscilla Fotherby, marshaling those of her husband, William Kingsley.

Today, we look at the memorial with the arms of two different Thomas Fotherbys; one of them Priscilla's parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (Moyle) Fotherby.

Regarding the first Thomas Fotherby, annoyingly, the two photos I took of this floor slab were both badly blurred. (I always take at least two pictures of everything, because often enough, one of them is blurry. Here, apparently, I should have taken a third.)

Hic requiesunt cineres Dni Thomae Fotherby qui Thomae filius Martini nepos Episcopi Sarisbesiumsis. [Followed by a long, but alas, entirely unreadable in my photos, inscription all in Latin.] I did, however, manage to get an in-focus photo of the arms on the memorial:

These arms are blazoned: Gules a cross of nine lozenges at each end a fleur-de-lis or (Fotherby); impaled by Argent two bendlets azure within a bordure engrailed sable (Hamon)

The crest is A falcon wings expanded proper beaked or holding in its mouth an acorn or leaved vert.

For our next memorial with the Fotherby coat of arms, we have:

Here lieth the Body of Thomas Fotherby Esq son of
Martin, sometime Bishop of Sarum: he married Elizabeth
daughter of Robert Moyle of Buckwel Esq by whom he left
three children, Thomas, Priscilla, and Margaret: aged 65
Yeares, he died Novr 27 anno dom. 1674.

Martin Fotherby, S.T.P., Thomas’ father, was Canon of Canterbury 1596 and subsequently Bishop of Sarum. He died in 1619 and was buried in the Church of All Hallows, Lombard St. London where his monument was burnt with the church in the fire of 1666.

Among his three children mentioned is, of course, Priscilla, who married William Kingsley, and whose memorial we have seen before.

Here, the arms are blazoned: Gules a cross of nine lozenges at each end a fleur-de-lis or (Fotherby); impaled by Gules a mule passant within a bordure argent (Moyle)

The crest, once again, is A falcon wings expanded proper beaked or holding in its mouth an acorn or leaved vert.

The Moyle arms are, of course, canting; that is, they are a play on the name “Moyle” by having the primary charge of a “mule”.

Not everyone, not even all heraldic authors, share my enjoyment of cleverly done canting arms. Regarding "armes parlantes" or canting arms, James Dallaway, in his Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of the Science of Heraldry in England, 1793, p. 275, wrote:

Wriothesley and Barker abstained in a great measure from this practice in the concessions of arms which were made by them; but so congenial was it with the taste of king James and the fashions which he patronised, that many bearings of this description were assumed during his frivolous reign, some of which have been subsequently confirmed to their families by the college of heralds. Some respect may be due to the few instances of high antiquity, but they should be generally considered as of easy and vulgar application, and very widely deviating from the chast[e]ness and simplicity of pure heraldry.

Needless to say, I disagree. I find well-done canting arms to be appealing, but what do I know? (By way of full disclosure, my own coat of arms is a partial cant on my surname.)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Two Related Armorial Memorials in Canterbury Cathedral

Continuing our meandering path through Canterbury Cathedral, we came across these two armorial memorials in the floor, related because the wife of the one bears the same arms as the husband in the second.

The first is a memorial to Thomas Hill and his wife, Matilda (Elstob) Hill:

Johan: Hill, Salopien: Armigri et Annae unicae
Filiae et Hæredis Roberti Sontly de Sontly
prope Wrexham in Agro Denbigen Armigi
Filius natu maximus
Hic requiscit
Qui uxorem duxit Matildam Filiam
Caroli Elstob S.T.P. et hujus Eccles.
Ex qua Filios duos et totidem Filias
Mortem obiit die 23 Martii An:
Dom: 1734 Aetastis 42.
Filiarum Altera tantem superstes.
Matilda their daughter died an infant 1727.
Mrs Matilda Hill died May 17th 1779 aged 82.
Charles Hill died January 10th 1780 aged 40.

The marshaled arms of Thomas and Matilda Hill are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Ermine on a fess sable a castle triple-towered argent (Hill); 2 and 3, Ermine a lion rampant sable (Sonlly); impaled by Per pale gules and vert a fleur-de-lis argent (Elstob). Crest: A wolf’s head erased azure holding in its mouth a trefoil slipped vert. (The blazon of the crest comes from Fairbairn's Crests; I don’t know where Humphrey-Smith in his Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral found the “overlaid with two bars” on the wolf’s head he blazons there.)

There is a coat of arms found in Bolton’s American Armory in use by a Hill (Ermine on a fess sable a two-towered castle proper), but the crest is entirely different (Issuant from a tower two branches erect).

I do not find the "Sontly" inscribed on the memorial in any of the general references. I suspect that “Sontly de Sontly” is an error for “Sonlly”. (Well, unless the “Sonlly” in Burke’s General Armory is an error for “Sontly”. I mean, it's not like Burke's doesn't also contain errors.)

Then, nearby, we found a memorial to Charles Elstob, the father of Matilda (Estob) Hill of the previous memorial:

Canonicus hujas Ecclesiae
Obit 19 Novembris
Ao Dni 1721, Aetatis 74
et MATILDA uxor ejus
Obit 30 Junii
Ao 1739 Aetat 81.
Hoc tumulo condiuntur.

The blazon of the marshaled arms here is: Per pale gules and vert a fleur-de-lis argent (Elstob); impaled by Argent on a fess engrailed gules between three martlets sable three cinquefoils argent (Payne). Crest: A fleur-de-lis [argent].

Charles Elstob was Prebendary of Canterbury from 1685-1721. His will, probated March 5, 1722, is in the National Archives, Kew. He is less well-known than his niece and nephew, of whom he had guardianship, Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756), the Anglo-Saxon scholar, and William Elstob (1673-1715), cleric, both of whom have their own entries in the Dictionary of National Biography. Indeed, most of the information available on the internet about Charles Elstob is in his relationship to his niece and nephew.