Monday, September 28, 2020

Three More Saints

I swear, I learn so much history in researching these armorial stained glass windows. Even when I'm left with a few questions, or even one question (as in this window today), there is so much more that I have learned that to focus on the question just seems like a minor quibble.

Anyway, today we're going to look at an armorial window which, like the one we saw a few posts back, has no inscription telling us who the donor was.

It does, I assume, contain a coat of arms for the donor, in the form of a merchant mark, in the upper portion of the window. Alas, all of my heraldic references are exactly that; heraldic, and do not contain merchant's marks. So I have no way of looking up who the donor might be.

In the central portion of the window are three saints; above them are three coats of arms, and below them are three more.

The three saints are, from left to right: St. Willibrord, St. Walburga (or Walpurga), St. Norbert of Xanten 

St. Willibrord was "Apostle to the Frisians" in the Netherlands and the first Bishop of Utrecht. He died in Echternach, in what is now Luxembourg, in 739. 

St. Walpurga died in Heidenheim, Bavaria, in what is now Germany, in 777 or 779. In Finland, Sweden, and Bavaria, her feast day commemorates the transfer of her relics on 1 May from Heidenheim to Eichstätt. She is the patroness of Eichstätt and Weilburg, Germany; Oudenarde, Veurne, Antwerp, Belgium; and Zutphen the Netherlands. 

St. Norbert, called the "Apostle of Antwerp" for his success in combatting a eucharistic heresy in Antwerp proposed by one Tanchelm, died in 1134 in Magdeburg in what is now Germany. He preached throughout lands in what is now western Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France. 

So, with that as background information, let us try to identify the heraldry contained in the window.

In the top row, also from left to right, we have: the Diocese of Utrecht; the arms of Sweden or the attributed arms of King Arthur (St. Walpurga/Walburga's feast day is celebrated on May 1 in Sweden, Finland, and Bavaria), and she was born in what is now England); and the Diocese of Utrecht.

The left-hand coat of the Diocese of Utrecht has behind it a double-barred processional cross and is surmounted by a galero with 10 tassels on each side; the one on the right has a single-barred processional cross and is surmounted by a galero with six tassels on each side, demonstrating two high but different ranks among the clergy.

The bottom row of arms are, again, from left to right, and clearly relating to the saint above each one: Echternach, Luxembourg (where St. Willibrord died); Bavaria (where St. Walpurga/Walburga died); and Magdeburg, now in Germany, where St. Norbert died.

So, having identified all of these shields, the one question remaining (that "minor quibble" I spoke of above, is: does Azure three crowns or here represent Sweden, or as the attributed arms of King Arthur, does it represent England, where St. Walpurga was born? I suspect it was meant to be the latter, but I can equally argue for the former.

So there you have it! A minor quibble about one of six coats of arms on a lovely armorial stained glass window dedicated to three saints, all of whom had a meaningful connection to Antwerp. Plus, we've all learned a little ecclesiastical history, to boot!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Very Rare Medieval Seal Matrix Discovered

A recent (September 12, 2020) post on The History Blog remarks on the discovery (back in April 2019) of the silver armorial seal matrix dating back to the late 13th or early 14th Century.

The seal matrix is remarkable because its owner was a woman who is named in the inscription. As the post notes, seal matrices are not uncommon, but those with inscriptions naming a specific individual are more rare, ones that name a woman are "vanishingly rare", and those that are found in a context directly connected with the female owner "can be counted on the finger of one finger."

This particular seal matrix was discovered on the grounds of the Henley Business School in Hambledon, Buckinghamshire, and bears as its central motif a shield of Three garbs, two and one (that is, three bound sheaves of wheat, two in chief and one in base) surrounded by the legend: SIGILLUM * MAR * GERIE * PEVREL (the seal of Margerie Pevrel or Peverell).

The Henley Business School sits on what used to be the estate of Yewden Manor, owned by the Peverells from 1248 to the mid-1300s.

The Peverell coat of arms was Azure three garbs argent banded gules, often with a chief argent, which does not appear on the matrix here.

There are two strong possible identifications of the owner of this matrix. One is Margaret of Cornwall, the wife of James Peverell, d. 1349. The other is her granddaughter, Margaret Peverell, the daughter of Hugh Peverell IV, b. 1321. Both of them lived at Yewden Manor, where the matrix was found.

You can learn a little more about this rare find and see more pictures of the front, side, and back of the seal matrix, on The History Blog at:

Monday, September 21, 2020

Geelhand and Ullens: Two Families Together, The Final Part

This will be our final stops for the arms of the Geelhand and Ullens families, I promise!

For our first stop, we have yet another window donated to the Cathedral of Our Lady, in Antwerp, Belgium, by the same donors as the last two windows we have looked at: Jacob Ullens and his wife Clementia Geelhand.

That photo is not the best one, but the angle was a little weird, and was the best I could do to get as much of the window as possible.

This shot is a better view of the three central figures, St. Eligius (Eloi), St. Dympha, and St. Amand, between two rows of coats of arms that relate to them.

In the upper portion of the window, we have the arms of the two donors, Jacob Ullens and Clementia Geelhand, placed side-by-side, surmounted with a helm from which the crest of the Ullens, A garb or banded vert issues from the coronet of a marquis.

Of the coats of arms above the the three saints, we have, from left to right, the arms of:

Tornacum (Diocese of Tournai, Belgium, where St. Eligius (Eloi) was bishop, 641-660);
Ireland (where St. Dymphna was born in the 7th Century); and
Maastricht, The Netherlands (St. Amand was bishop of Maastricht, 647-650). 

Below the three saints, we have three more coats of arms relating this time to their deaths. From left to right we find the arms of:

Noviodunum (Noviodunum is a name of Celtic origin, meaning "new fort"), now Noyon, France (where St. Eligius died, December 1, 660);
Gheel, or Geel, Belgium (where St. Dymphna was martyred to protect her chastity in the 7th century); and
Tornacum, now Tournai, Belgium (St. Amand died in 679 in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, near Tournai).

And now we go to our final photograph with the arms of Ullens and Geelhand:

This is, alas, another painted wooden panel underneath that row of windows with the sun shining in, and giving my digital camera a little sun flare that washes out the image a bit on the right.

Nonetheless, and as always, you can click on the image above to see a larger, more detailed one, in this row of four coats of arms, the first two on the left are essentially merchants marks, followed by Ullens (surmounted by a helm and the Ullens crest of A garb or banded vert, and Ullens impaling Geelhand. This last, being on a lozenge, is presumably for the wife of the Ullens in the third panel here.

Anyway, it's been fun, compiling - and sharing with you - all of the depictions of the coats of arms of these two significant Antwerp families. I can only hope that you have found it at least a little bit educational as well as entertaining.

Next time, somebody else!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Geelhand and Ullens: Two Families Together, Part 3

This next window has the same donors (Jacob Ullens and Clementia Geelhand), designer (Edouard Didron), and year of installation (1872) as the last armorial window we looked at in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium.

In the main scene of the window, Saint Norbert restores the cult of the Blessed Sacrament in Antwerp. Although in about 1124 there was absolutely nothing like a Blessed Sacrament Procession, since the Counter-Reformation St. Norbert has been pictured with it as a defender of the Eucharist against the alleged heresy of Tanchelm. The immediate background to the procession is main porch of the cathedral and the late fifteenth century well attributed to Quentin Matsys. So it's a little anachronistic, but nonetheless conveys the location in the city of Antwerp well.

At the peak of the window, within an annulet inside of a five-lobed tracery, surmounted by the coronet of a marquis, we have two shields set side-by-side of the arms of Ullens and of Geelhand.

In a row beneath those two shields, we have the arms, from left to right, of: Cornelissen de Schooten (Per pale indented sable and or on a chief azure an escallop or between two lozenges argent), Ullens (which we have seen before), Geelhand (which we have seen before), and de Wael/de Wal (Argent three martlets sable). (I've not yet done the genealogical research to determine how these two families are related to the Ullens and the Geelhands, but I feel confident that they are.)

Anyway, it's a lovely window, and I just had to share it with you!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Geelhand and Ullens: Two Families Together, Part 2

Our next armorial stained glass window doesn't have quite as much heraldry in it as the last one, but is well worth looking at on its own.

In the main scene of this window, created by Edouard Didron in 1872, Saint Amandus preaches in Antwerp. The pioneering missionary work of this Frank in Flanders, Brabant, and Maastricht took place in the 7th century, so in the images here there is no lack of anachronisms. In the background there is Saint Michael’s Abbey (founded only in 1124). The citizens’ clothes are 15th century, and an (early Medieval) missionary, even though he was a bishop, would never have walked around in his liturgical vestment, let alone a Gothic one. Flying from the castle are several flags, Gules a hand couped appaumy argent, which appear in the arms of the city and Margraviate of Antwerp. Flanking the tower of the castle are two shields, that on the left the arms of the Holy Roman Empire, Or a double-headed eagle displayed sable, and on the right quartered arms that may be Brabant and Flanders quarterly, Sable four lions rampant or. They are there, in any event, to make the location clear to the viewer.

Once again, you should click on the image above to see a larger, more detailed photo. There is a lot of detail in this window that you will miss if you only look at the smaller picture above.

The window has an inscription at the bottom which states that it is in the memory of Charles Geelhand, and was donated by Jacob Ullens and his wife Clementia Geelhand.

At the top of the window we see the achievement of arms of Geelhand, as well as the separated quarters of the arms of Ullens and Geelhand.

The shield of the Geelhand arms are surmounted by a barred helm with the crest A hand couped appaumy or between a pair of wings displayed argent. Beneath the shield is the Geelhand motto, Animo et fortitudine (Inspired and strengthened). Flanking the shield on each side is the coronet of a marquis.

The really fun part of this display of heraldry comes immediately below the coronets, where on the left you have the four quarters of the arms of Ullens, each on its own shield, and on the right, the four quarters of the arms of Geelhand, each on its own shield! (Here, too, you should click to see the larger image. It's a lot more impressive.)

This is not a form of armorial display that I recall seeing before (except perhaps in some memorial boards or hatchments where the arms of the various grandparents and great-grandparents are displayed), but I find it really attractive. Don't you?

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Geelhand and Ullens: Two Families Together, Part 1

Well, this may take a little longer than I had originally supposed. I've been looking in greater detail at the images I have from the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, and it looks like it's going to take more than two posts to review all of the photos with the arms of both the Geelhand and the Ullens families.

Now, you'll remember the arms of the Ullens family from our next to last post, and those of the Geelhand family from our last post. Now, we're going to look at those armorial stained glass windows and painted panels that contain the arms of both of those two families.

This stained glass window, designed by Pieter van der Ouderaa and executed by August Stalins and Alphonse Janssens in 1881, was a present of the Geelhand family to commemorate canon Christiaan Geelhand (died 1731). Underneath the traditional name saints, Saint Christian and Saint Louis, his motto is Animo et Fortitudine (Inspired and strengthened).

At the peak of the window, surmounted by a purple galero with three tassels on each side, are the arms of Christiaan Geelhand. (Note the tripartite division of the shield, as opposed to the later quarterings of the Geelhand family.)

The arms here are flanked on each side with a scroll containing his motto Animo et Fortitudine. Flanking those, are the arms of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Our Lady (which we have seen before), and the arms of the Margraviate of Antwerp (which we have seen many times before).

At the bottom of the window are two rows containing pairs of coats of arms (presumably representing married couples, relatives of the Canon. (Again, here I recommend clicking on the image above to see a larger and more detailed photograph of this part of the window.)

The top row, from left to right, has the heraldry of van Praet and Geelhand; and Geelhand and Guyot. (The arms of van Praet appear make up the third quarter of the arms of Geelhand everywhere but in the shield at the peak of this window. Presumably, that marriage is when the van Praet arms were brought into the family coat.)

In the bottom row, from left to right, we find the arms of: Moretus and Geelhand; Geelhand and Moretus; Robert and Geelhand; Ullens and Geelhand; Geelhand and de la Bistrate; and van der Werwe and Ullens.

What a beautiful and colorful way to memorialize not only an ancestor (canon Christiaan Geelhand), but his many relatives and their spouses.

Monday, September 7, 2020

The Second of Two Families

In this post, we're going to look at the quartered arms of the other family whose arms are seen with those of the Ullens (the first family we looked in the previous post) in the windows of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp: the Geelhands.

In the center of this window, below the images of St. Eugenius, St. Mary, and St. Francisca Romana, surmounted by a coronet, we see the arms of van Delft impaling Geelhand. Seen better in the next photo is the van Delft motto on a scroll beneath the sheild: Fortiter et recta (Boldly and rightly).

Below those arms is an inscription noting the names of the donors, Baron Eugène Louis van Delft d’Eyssel and his wife, Françoise Marie Joséphine Geelhand de Merxem.

Eugène Louis van Delft d’Eyssel (1815-1877) was the son of Louis-Balthazar van Delft (1780-1853) and of Hélène van der Aa de Randerode (1784-1828).

He married Françoise Marie Joséphine Geelhand de Merxem (1799-1875), daughter of Henri Joseph Geelhand de Merxem (1760-1819) and Catherine Reine Constance Joséphine Mols (1766-1804). The couple remained childless.*

In the top row of shields, we have, from left to right: van Delft and van der Aa, the husband's parents; van Delft impaling Geelhand, the couple's marshaled arms; and Geelhand and Mols, the wife's parents. (Please note that the first two coats have their attributions reversed; van Delft is labeled van der Aa, and vice versa.)

In the bottom row of shields (which I can only assume are further relatives, perhaps the female grandparents of each of the couple)**, we can only see the two on the left: de Neuf and de Coninck. 

The two shields on the right are hidden from our view at this angle. Had I noticed that while I was still there, I would have tried to get a different angle, but I didn't, so we're stuck with this. 

* I could make some snark here about how the fact that they were childless perhaps helped them to have sufficient monies available to be able to donate this window to the cathedral, but that would be mean, and should be beneath me, so I'm not going to do it here.

** Louis-Balthazar van Delft's mother, the paternal grandmother of the window's donor, was Marie-Jacqueline van Neuf. I'm not certain about de Coninck. The genealogical records I can find on-line are not particularly helpful. It doesn't help that there are a lot of 18th Century van Delfts to try to keep sorted!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

A Tale of Two Families

Or, at least, the windows and paintings of the coats of arms of two families.

Today, we're going to review the stained glass windows and paintings memorializing one of these two families. Next time, we'll look at those of the other family. And following that, we'll look at those containing both families, which will probably take two posts, simply because of the sheer number of times their coats of arms appear together, sometimes in conjunction with, sometimes marshaled.

The first window we're going to look at contains quartered arms of the families of Ullens and Verbiest. This window was created by Hendrik de Coninck in 1708, and was repaired in 1867 by Jean-Baptiste Capronnier, but in a somewhat more austere version than most of the other windows in the Cathedral.

Although it was devoted to Henricus (Henrik, or Henry) Ullens, the caption mentions even more the merit of his uncle, Peter Verbiest. Thanks to the latter’s initiative the Blessed Sacrament could be taken to the ill at home, in the Fortnight’s Anointment of the Sick Procession. This was a triumphant parade, accompanied by six lantern bearers and four trumpet blowers into the bargain.

The Ullens arms would be blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent an eagle displayed sable beaked membered and crowned gules; 2 and 3, Argent a chevron gules between three garbs or.

The one other place in the Cathedral where I saw the Ullens arms without those of the other family we're going to look at next time was on a painted panel accompanying the arms of two different Popes.

(I apologize for the quality of this photograph; the sun was coming into the Cathedral from a window directly above this panel, and there is a lot of washing out from sunglare. Still, you can click on the image above to go to a larger version with more detail.)

The four coats of arms, from left to right, are: Popes: Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455),* Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), Ullens, and Ullens impaling Ullens (these being the arms of an Ullens woman - whose arms are placed on a lozenge shaped shield, with no helmet - who married an Ullens man).

* It is possible, of course, that these are simply meant to be the arms of the Papacy, and not those of any specific Pope.