Monday, June 12, 2023

An Armorial Memorial and Two Hatchments: More Jenyns Heraldry

Continuing our look at the heraldic memorials in Holy Trinity Church Bottisham in Cambridgeshire, England, I had to group this armorial memorial and two hatchments, because they all relate to the same married couple.

The memorial remembers George Leonard Jenyns (1763-1848) and his wife Mary Jenyns (née Heberden) (1763-1832), as well as their son Soame (died 1803 age 14).

There is a fair bit of information about Rev. Jenyns available on-line. Here is a brief synopsis (and, of course, you can always read the inscription on the memorial, above, to learn more):

George Leonard Jenyns was an English priest and landowner. He was the son of John Harvey Jenyns of Eye, Suffolk, and was born at Roydon, Norfolk. He entered Gonville and Caius College (whose arms we have seen before), Cambridge in 1781. He graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1785, and was ordained that year, and received his Master of Arts from Cambridge in 1788. He became Dean and rhetorical praelector of his college in 1787. He was vicar of Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire 1787–1848 and prebendary of Ely Cathedral, 1802–1848. He inherited Bottisham Hall in Bottisham and a considerable fortune from his first cousin twice removed Soame Jenyns in 1787. He became Chairman of the Bedford Level Corporation, and also of the Board of Agriculture. At Bottisham Hall he built a new house, constructed for him by 1797; and also expanded the Jenyns estate by purchases. In 1788 he married Mary Heberden (1763–1832), the daughter of the physician William Heberden and his second wife Mary (Wollaston) Heberden.

At the peak of the memorial is a marshaled coat of arms: Argent on a fess gules three bezants (Jenyns), impaling Erminois four lozenges conjoined in fess vert on a chief azure a crescent (should be an annulet) between two suns or (Heberden). Crest: Jenyns, A demi-lion rampant or maintaining in both forepaws a spear or headed argent. Below the arms is the Jenyns motto: Ignavis nunquam (Never lazy).

Also in the church are two hatchments relating to this couple. The oldest memorializes the death of May (Heberden) Jenyns. As is usual in hatchments, the background behind the wife's half of the shield, the use of a ribbon in a knot instead of a crest, indicates that it is she who died, and the white background on his side of the shield indicates the her husband survived her.

Here again we see the arms of Jenyns impaling those of Heberden: Argent on a fess gules three bezants (Jenyns) impaling Erminois four lozenges conjoined in fess vert on a chief azure an annulet between two suns or (Heberden).

The other hatchment memorializes the death of George Leonard Jenyns. Here we have the use of a crest over the arms and the black background behind his side of the shield indicates that now it is the husband who has passed away.

Argent on a fess gules three plates (should be bezants) (Jenyns) impaling Ermine (should be erminois) four lozenges conjoined in fess vert on a chief azure a crescent sable (should be an annulet or) between two suns or (Heberden).

As you may have noticed, only one of the three depictions of the marshaled arms matches with the blazons found in Burke's General Armory. The other two have errors: the use of a crescent instead of an annulet in the wife's arms on the memorial plaque and on the husband's hatchment; and the color of the roundels on the husband's arms on his hatchment. (Let this situation be a lesson: you can't always trust a depiction of a coat of arms to be an accurate rendition of what the arms are supposed to be!)

Nevertheless, it's not often that you can find an armorial memorial and the hatchments of both husband and wife all together. So this was an uncommon display of memorial heraldry in Bottisham church.

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