Monday, May 8, 2023

Some Saintly Heraldry in Grantchester

Not surprisingly, the Church of St. Andrew and St. Mary in Grantchester, England, has some saintly heraldry within its hallowed walls.

The most obvious of these examples was found on a framed list of the Rectors and Vicars of the church from 1294 through 2007. (The document does state that the "Names of Earliest Rectors Are Not Known", so this is just the ones that they do know.)

The document contains three coats of arms:

In the upper left, the attributed arms* of St. Andrew, Azure a saltire argent. This coat can be seen elsewhere; for example, in the non-Royal flag of Scotland, of which country St. Andrew is the patron saint.

In the upper right, the attributed arms of St. Mary, Azure a fleur-de-lis argent. While there are a couple of different coats of arms attributed to Mary, the mother of Jesus, shields containing lilies and fleurs-de-lis are commonly seen.

And finally, on the left side of the document, the arms of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, which we have seen several times before. These arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules a pelican in its piety argent; 3 and 3, Azure three lily flowers argent. Here, too, though not directly related to the church here, the pelican in its piety is often seen as a symbol of Jesus, and the lily flowers as a symbol of his mother, Mary.

All in all, it's an amazing document, containing as it does not only heraldry -- both real and attributed -- but also a listing of incumbents, the rectors and vicars, of the Grantchester church from the year 1294. That's quite a history!

* "Attributed arms" are coats of arms given retrospectively to persons, real or fictitious. who died before the start of the age of heraldry in the latter half of the 12th century. They themselves did not bear a coat of arms, but such arms were "attributed" to them by later heralds and heraldic authors.

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