Monday, June 5, 2023

A Very Armorial Pulpit

One of the very notable features in Holy Trinity Church Bottisham in Cambridgeshire, at least to a heraldist, is the armorial, albeit modern, pulpit.

There are, in fact, four shields with coats of arms on the outward sides of the pulpit.

Seen above, the first two are, from left to right, the arms of the Diocese of Ely (Gules three ducal coronets or), and the Archepiscopal See of Canterbury (Azure a cross-staff or its cross argent overall a pall argent charged with four crosses formy fitchy sable).

These are, of course, the arms of the See and Archepiscopal See to which Holy Trinity Church Bottisham belongs.

Moving around to the right of the pulpit, we find the following two coats of arms:

The first is, of course, the medieval attributed arms of the Holy Trinity, the Scutum fidei ("shield of faith") for whom the church is named. These attributed arms go way back, and can be found in this form (though on a blue shield) in the late 15th century Wernigerode Armorial from southern Germany. (In England, the scutum fidei almost invariably appears on a red shield.) The image on the shield appears in various manuscripts as far back as the 12th century.

These arms are a visual representation of the Holy Trinity, where each of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, and God is each of them, but the Father is not the Son is not the Holy Spirit is not the Father. It summarizes the first part of the Athansian Creed in a compact diagram form.

The final coat is the marshaled arms of a member of the Jenyns family (Argent on a fess gules three bezants) and his wife (Gules on a chevron between three (crows?) reguardant of three cinquefoils sable). Below the shield is the motto, Navis Nunquam.

I do not know which member of the Jenyns family the arms belong to; and the wife's arms appear in none of my ordinaries, I suspect because they were granted since the publication of those volumes. Nor have I been able to find anything in any of the numerous on-line photographs and articles about the Church which gives me any information. (There are several which explain the shield of the Holy Trinity, above, but none which give any information about when who paid for the renovation of the pulpit, which would at least give clues as to whose arms these are.

The Jenyns family has worshipped at Holy Trinity Church Bottisham for quite a while, and we will be seeing more of the Jenyns arms in future posts.

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