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.
I recently ran across an article I hadn't seen before about an old heraldic roll of arms that had been found in a London antique shop o...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, November 18, 2019
Heraldry near the Cathedral Gift Shop
Like a lot of other Major Tourist Attractions™, Canterbury Cathedral has a gift shop area where you can buy picture postcards, guidebooks in several languages, knickknacks and a wide array of other souvenirs. (And, frankly, if you get the chance to visit on of these places, I highly recommend buying at the very least a guidebook. And maybe a picture postcard or two of something that catches your eye. And maybe a little souvenir. Or two. Or three. Frankly, when my wife and I are together in one of these places, we seldom get out of there for less than US$100 or more. The most common phrase heard while we are in the gift shop is, "But we need it." But I digress.) The gift shop in Canterbury Cathedral is off in one corner near a wooden door in a carved stone frame with two coats of arms, each held by an angel (I believe, unless their "wings" are actually meant to be a depiction of the back of a chair or some such. If that is the case, then they may be depictions of monks or other ecclesiastics).
Both coats are arms which we have seen before. The angel on the left side is holding the arms of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury 1375-1381, Sable a hound sejant within a bordure engrailed argent.
The angel on the right side is holding the arms of the See of Canterbury, which we have seen all over the Cathedral, the Cathedral grounds, and indeed all around the City of Canterbury, Azure a cross-staff or with its cross argent overall a pall argent
charged with four crosses formy [the crosses ought to be formy fitchy] sable.
Anyway, it was nice to have a little heraldry to look at while my wife was picking out a "few things" to bring home from the Cathedral gift shop. (We have one of those equal, 50/50 marriages; she decides what things to buy, and I pay for them. It's an even division of labor that way, apparently. 💏) So if you ever have the opportunity to visit Canterbury Cathedral, be sure to drop by the gift shop, buy a guidebook and whatnot, and stop to say hello to Archbishop Sudbury and the little fellows holding his and the See's arms.