Thursday, February 9, 2023

The Arms of a Vice-Provost of King's College

King's College Chapel, being an English chapel, has burials and memorials to individuals who have a connection to the site.

In our example today, we have the grave marker of a man with a very common name: John Smith.

Fortunately, we can find out a little more about him, because he was not only a scholar at Eton College (many of whose graduates went on to King's College, Cambridge, witnessed heraldically by their very similar coats of arms granted on the same day, as we have already seen).

In brief, here is what we know about John Smith (1627-1706), alias John Hovell. He matriculated at Eton and was received at King's College, Cambridge, in 1646, received his B.A. in 1650/51, and his M.A. (M.S.?) in 1654. He was a Fellow at King's College 1649-1706, Proctor 1668-1669, and Vice-Provost 1694 until his death on August 23, 1706, aged 79, and finally, he was buried where I found his armorial memorial in King's College Chapel.

I could not find his (very simple) coat of arms ([Field], a crescent [tincture]) in Burke’s General Armory, Papworth’s Ordinary of British Armorials, or in The Dictionary of British Arms. A person of his background and status may very well have had a right to arms, but I have been unable to confirm it (yet).

Still, if you're going to use a coat of arms, you would do very well to make it a simple design like John Smith here. Just sayin'.

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