Monday, June 19, 2023

Pledger and Allington and Coningsby, Oh My!

For our final heraldic memorial in Holy Trinity Church Bottisham in Cambridgeshire, we come to the multiply quartered arms marking the tombs of Thomas Pledger (died 1599) and his wife Margaret Coningsby (died 1598), whose first husband was Robert Allington.

The inscription on the memorial reads:

Here lyeth Margaret, daughter of William Conningesbye of Kings Lynn, one of the Justices of the Common Plees at Westminster, who married Robert Allington ........ by whom she has five sons and six daughters that is to say; William, John, Gyles, James, George, Alice, Margaret, Elizabeth, Fraunces and Beatrix. After, she married with Thomas Pledger, gentleman, with whom she lived thirtie and fower yeres, and died the 16th day of Maye, ano domini 1598. and sayde Thomas Pledger dyed the 13th daye of March 1599 in the three score and tenth year of his age.

The full memorial bears three shields.

The first, at the top, is the arms of Pledger:

In Burke's General Armory we find: Pledger (Bottlesham [I suspect this should be Bottisham], co. Cambridge). Sable a fess engrailed between three bucks trippant or pellety. Fairbairn's Crests gives us: Pledger/Pledgred, Cambs., A buck’s head erased or in its mouth an oak branch vert fructed or.

So far, so good. But the we come to the other two shields of increasing complexity on the monument. The first, above the statue of Thomas Pledger, are those of Pledge impaling Coningsby:

Sable a fess engrailed between three bucks trippant or pellety, impaling Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules three conies statant [should be sejant] argent within a bordure engrailed sable [yep, sable!], a crescent argent for difference* (Coningsby); 2, Or a lion rampant gules; 3, Sable a fess ermine between three goat’s heads erased argent (Farby/Feerby/Fereby).

* The arms without the crescent are those of Coningsby of Norfolk and Hertfordshire. Margaret’s father, Sir William Coningsby, M.P. (~1483-1540), was the second son of Sir Humphrey Coningsby.

And finally, above the statue of Margaret (Coningsby) (Allington) Pledger, we find this shield (please feel free to click on the image below to go to a larger, more detailed picture):

These are the arms of Margaret's first husband, Roger Allington, impaling Coningsby: Quarterly of six: 1, Sable a bend engrailed between six billets argent (Allington); 2, Gules three covered cups argent(?); 3, Argent(?) on a fess between three birds three birds, a canton ermine; 4, Gules on a bend sable(?) three human(?) faces argent; 5, Per fess ? and ? a pale counterchanged three birds (?); and 6, (?) fretty (?), a canton (?); impaling Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules three conies statant [should be sejant] argent within a bordure engrailed sable[!], a crescent argent for difference (Coningsby); 2, Or a lion rampant gules; 3, Sable a fess ermine between three goat’s heads erased argent (Farby/Feerby/Fereby).

There is a lot of dirt and grime that has built up on these shields, making identification of the correct tinctures a bit of guesswork.

Nonetheless, it is an impressive display of heraldry, memorializing a man, his wife, and her first husband.

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