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.
In the Altes Schloss (the Old Castle) in Stuttgart, Germany, there is this wonderful room lined on two sides with the carved figures of some of the old Counts and Dukes of Württemberg.
Above each is a shield, helm, and crest of Württemberg(Or three stag's attires fesswise in pale sable, with the crest A hunting horn). They are, in as close to chronological order (I suspect the dates given on the inscriptions are death dates; at least one panel says vita defunctus est, or "died") as I can get them:
Ulrich, Count (Comes) of Württemberg, 1265.
Ulrich, Count of Württemberg, 1315.
Eberhard, Count of Württemberg, 1325.
Ulrich, Count of Württemberg, 1344.
Ulrich, Count of Württemberg, 1366.
Eberhard, Count of Württemberg, 1417.
Eberhard, Count of Württemberg, 1419.
Ulrich, Count of Württemberg, 1488. And
Eberhard, Count of Württemberg, 1492. These are the ones with the plain arms of Württemberg on them. Next time, we'll see how the Württemberg arms were quartered with the arms of Mömpelgard, and following that, we will really ramp things up, quarter-wise.
Here's another, and very spare, depiction of the coat of arms of Württemberg, also done in metal.
Again, the blazon of these arms is Or three stag's attires fesswise in pale sable. In this depiction, the round shield is surmounted by a minimalistic crown. The entire rendition is done with an eye to keeping it to a minimum, giving us no more than we need to identify the arms. How cool is that?
Our post before last, on January 16, we looked at a metal sign with the arms of the State of Baden-Württemberg on it. Today, we find these same arms, this time in full color, on a very large rectangular banner in the city of Stuttgart, Germany.
As before, the arms themselves are Or three lions passant in pale sable, the three lions harking back to the Dukes of Schwaben and the house of Staufen. On top of the shield is placed a popular crown, on which the arms of former territories that now form the State of Baden-Württemberg are shown. From left to right (dexter to sinister) these are: Ost-Franken (Franconia), Hohenzollern, Baden, Württemberg, Kurpfalz, and Austria. Here the arms are without their stag and griffin supporters. It is a very eye-catching display of heraldry!
On one side of the park across from our hotel in Stuttgart was a nicely impressive building with some coats of arms very well done in metalwork across its facade.
As you can see in the image above (and you can look at a larger image by clicking on it), there is a decorative metalwork balustrade across the building, consisting of panels which contain heraldry placed in roundels; the largest within a laurel wreath, and the two smaller ones within a sun or sunburst pattern.
The central panel contains the arms of Baden-Württemberg, Or three lions passant in pale sable, which we discussed in our last post.
The panel to the left (dexter) of this central panel has a different coat of arms ...
... the arms of Baden, Or a bend gules. (Notice that this depiction is even hatched correctly for gules!, Though I am not certain that it was done purposefully; it could just have been a good way to fill in the bend visually. Still, even if not intentional, it's a happy coincidence.)
And the panel to the right (sinister) has yet another coat of arms ...
... the Or three stag's attires fesswise in pale sable of Württemberg.
I always enjoy seeing the different media which may be used to depict a coat of arms. Here, we have three coats done in metalwork, all placed into a decorative whole. How cool is that?!
Right across the street from the hotel where we lodged in Stuttgart, Germany, was a lovely little park with a pond and surrounding grassy area.
The German on this sign translates to: State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg, built 1959-1961. But of course it was the heraldry on the sign that really caught my eye.
The arms, officially granted on August 2, 1954, are Or three lions passant in pale sable, the three lions of the Dukes of Schwaben from the house of Staufen. On top of the
shield is placed a popular crown, on which the arms of former
territories that now form the State of Baden-Württemberg are shown. From left to right (dexter to sinister) these
are: Ost-Franken (Franconia), Hohenzollern, Baden, Württemberg, Kurpfalz, and
Austria. As supporters a deer and a griffin, taken from the arms of Württemberg
and Baden respectively are used. We will see the arms of Baden-Württemberg and Württemberg (Or three stag's attires in pale sable) again in other places around Stuttgart, and Baden (Or a bend gules) in both Stuttgart and Heidelberg. Be watching for them!
Having seen the evolution of the arms of Württemberg, from the plain arms of the early County, to the quartered arms of the County, to the even more complex arms of the Duchy, you'd think that that would be enough. But, no. As they say, "Nothing succeeds like excess." And over on one ceiling in the Old Castle in Stuttgart, Germany, we find yet another version of the arms of the Duchy of Württemberg.
Here we have a shield in front of two crossed banners, a fasces, and an Imperial Elector's bonnet. The shield, used beginning in 1693, is blazoned: Quarterly: 1, Lozengy
bendwise or and sable (Teck); 3, Azure(?) a flagstaff bendwise gules steeled
argent flying a pennon or charged with an eagle displayed sable (the Banneramt,
the office of the Imperial banner); 3, Gules two fishes haurient embowed
addorsed or (Mömpelgard); and 4, Argent a bearded man’s head and shoulders
proper habited and wearing a pointed cap azure around the cap a turban argent
(Heidenheim); overall an inescutcheon Or three stag’s attires fesswise in pale
sable (Württemberg). Whew! Though this variant of the arms of the Duchy makes the simple arms of Württemberg a little more prominent, and of course also allows the incorporation of another civic coat, that of Heidenheim, to be added to the shield. But, yeah, nothing succeeds like excess.
Every once in a while in my Copious Free Time® I continue to work on an organizational project that I started last year.
I mean, I've been traveling, and taking photographs of heraldry, for quite some time now. As a consequence, I have accumulated a lot of pictures of coats of arms, and crests, and even blank shields from my travels. So as I can get the time, I've been going through a lot of those photos and trying to organize them into an "armorial" of my own on my computer, wherein I will label the pictures with the name of the owner (whether just a surname, the name of a specific individual, or corporation or civic body) as well as the place (usually the city) where it was found. (This last is particularly helpful when, for example, I ran across the arms of the Swiss city of Berne on a billboard for an RV company in Las Vegas, Nevada. No, really!)
Anyway, as I have been working my way through years of these pictures, I am running across coats of arms that, for one reason or another,* I have not already shared with you on this blog.** So, before I get into posting all of the photographs of heraldry that I took during last year's big trip to Belgium and Denmark, I thought I would share some of these previously unshared and newly-labeled pictures from earlier trips; specifically, two trips we took to Germany - one to Stuttgart and the other to Heidelberg. (Stuttgart was to attend a conference; Heidelberg was to visit the birthplace of my great-grandfather. Both were a lot of fun, and also resulted in a lot of pictures of heraldry.)
On the trip to Stuttgart, the appearance of heraldry occurred as we boarded the aircraft!
(Why yes, we were flying Lufthansa. How could you tell?)
The arms of Koblenz have been used by the city since the 13th Century, and are blazoned as: Argent a cross gules overall a crown Crown of Mary or. (St. Mary is the patron saint of the city.) Some renditions of the arms show the crown as a more common ducal or crest coronet.
Anyway, it was a great way to start a trip, with heraldry before even leaving the ground.
* Some might say "laziness". Maybe it rained that day. Or I wasn't feeling well. "Honest... I ran out of gas. I had a flat tire. I didn't have
enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old
friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.
A terrible flood. Locusts. It wasn't my fault!" (The portion in quotation marks is said by John Belushi's character in the movie The Blues Brothers. It's too good a quote not to use here.)
** It is possible that I actually have shared one or more of these pictures with you before, but I'm not going to go through all 1, 286 posts (so far!) to double-check. If you have seen one or more of these coats of arms on this blog before, you're tough, you can take it.
There are a number of heraldic artifacts to be seen within the confines of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, not the least of which is this very nice, and old, hatchment.
For those of you who don't know what a hatchment is, it is a funerary board in the shape of a diamond, upon which is painted a coat of arms. As a general rule, the hatchment was hung on the home for a year following the death and then donated to the local parish church where it was hung inside for a memorial.
There is a whole set of rules about shield shapes and when/where the background is painted in black or white (see, e.g., http://www.internationalheraldry.com/hatchments.htm), all of which are to help you identify who died, the gender of the deceased, any spouse(s), and whether the spouse(s) survives; suffice it to say that the hatchment above is that of a man who has died and whose wife had predeceased him, hence the shield shape and all black background.
Looking up the arms in Papworth's Ordinary and the crest in Fairbairn's Crests, we find the following (I have underlined where the blazons given there differ from the painting here):
Criche, co. Derby. Ermine on a pale sable
three crosses patty fitchy or.
Shield. Gules a lion passant guardant
between three escallops argent.
Criche, London and Oxon. Crest: A demi-lion
erminecrowned holding a cross formy fitchy or.
Additional information about the Criche family was found in Magna Britannia, Vol. 5, 1817, p. cxxiv:
Criche, of Stubbing-Edge. – It appears by the
deeds that this family was settled in Derbyshire as early as the reign of
Edward II., and they were probably originally of Criche. The Criches had been
settled for several generations in the parish of Ashover. William Criche,
father of Ralph, who was living in 1634, married the heiress of Sandford; his
second wife was one of the Hunlokes, of Wingerworth. Cornelius Criche, the last
of the family, died in very reduced circumstances, at the age of 101, in 1789.
‒ Ermine, on a pale Sable, three crosses
patteé fitchée, Or.
All in all, a lovely bit of heraldic art on which to end our armorial tour of Canterbury.
Yes, I know; there's a lot more heraldry in Canterbury Cathedral that I have not posted here. But, really, do you need yet another picture of the tomb of the Black Prince, his jupon and helm? I don't think so; there are plenty of images out there, at least some of which are better than any photographs that I might post here. And, yes, there are a lot of armorial stained glass windows in the Cathedral that I also am not posting here, for the same reasons.
But before leaving Canterbury entirely, though, I have one more place with heraldry to show you.
This is the building housing the Institute of Genealogical and Heraldic Studies, founded by Cecil Humphrey-Smith (full disclosure: I have met C.H-S. on a couple of occasions, almost made him chuckle once (ask me about that when you see me sometime), and I own most of his books). My friend Richard Baker is in charge of the day-to-day activities of the Institute.
They do a lot of good work there, and offer both on-site and correspondence/internet courses in genealogy and heraldry. If you are interested, you can find their website with more details as well as books for sale on-line at http://www.ihgs.ac.uk/
I did find the shield-shaped sign hanging outside the Institute a fun bit of whimsy; this is, of course, not their coat of arms.
This is their coat of arms: Azure a cross flory within an annulet of acorns bases outward or. (That may not be the official blazon, but that's what it looks like to me.) The motto is: Tentaverunt me patres vestri (Your fathers tested me).
This is just a quick announcement to let you know that over this weekend I have:
1 - Found a new source for some more coats of arms used in the United States;
2 - Added those arms to my Excel spreadsheet of arms used in the United States; and
3 - Uploaded that Excel spreadsheet, with its accompanying Word document (which gives some background, explanation, and bibliography of the sources used in creating the spreadsheet), combined into a .zip file, to the internet.
This time I have not, as I have in the past, uploaded two versions, one .xlsx and one .xls. Only the .xlsx/.docx version has been uploaded. Most folks who are interested in these documents can open and read them as they are, and for those who can't, there are a number of websites out there who will convert them - for free! - into just about any format you want, not just .xls and .doc.
So, there you have it! If you would like the latest version, there is a link to the .zip file in the left-hand column of this blog under "Some Articles I've Written". The link is labeled "American Heraldry Collection (in .xlsx and
Nearing the end of our tour of some of the heraldry contained in Canterbury Cathedral, we arrive at what I tend to think of (for reasons you will see in a moment) as the "Bourchier windows."
This windows have a background of badges: Bourchier knots (the badge of Bourchier) and
oak branches (a badge of Thomas of Woodstock). You can see see these badges best in the larger photo of the central window, or by clicking on any of the images here to see a large version which will show them much more clearly.)
I believe that what appear to be white bordures on surrounding most of the shields are merely decorative.
In the left-hand windows, we have the arms of: Bourchier: Quarterly: 1 and 4,
Argent a cross engrailed gules between four water-bougets sable (William
Bourchier, 1st Count of Eu, 1374-1420); 2 and 3, Gules billetty or a fess argent
(Louvain); impaled by Quarterly France modern and England, overall a label of
three tags argent (Anne of Gloucester, daughter of
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester). (Anne was William's second wife; William was Anne’s third husband) ...
andBourchier: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent a cross engrailed gules between
four water-bougets sable (Bourchier); 2 and 3, Gules billetty or a fess argent
In the central window, we find the arms of: Bourchier: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent a cross engrailed gules between four water-bougets sable (Bourchier); 2 and 3, Gules billetty or a fess argent (Louvain).
And in the right-hand windows, we have: Fulke Bourchier, 10th Baron FitzWarine (Fitzwarren), 1445-1479: Quarterly
1 and 4: Quarterly i and iv, Argent a cross engrailed gules between four
water-bougets sable (Bourchier); ii and iii, Gules billetty or a fess argent
(Louvain), overall a label azure flory or; 2 and 3, Quarterly i and ii,
Quarterly indented fesswise argent and gules (Fitzwarine); ii and iii, Argent
two bendlets wavy sable (Hankford) ...
and Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, 1402-1460: Quarterly France and England within a bordure argent, impaled by his wife Anne Neville, 1414-1480, daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland: Gules a saltire argent.