Monday, July 31, 2023

If It Looks Like Heraldry, and Acts Like Heraldry ...

... is it, in fact, heraldry?

Well, not necessarily.

One of the things that you see if you look up immediately after entering Ely Cathedral is this complex painted and decorated ceiling.

Perhaps the first thing you notice (if you are not a heraldry enthusiast like myself), are the complex crosses and Chi-Rhos* in the blue panels.

But then, among the red panels, some of which are decorated with intricate vegetable knotwork, are angels holding shields that would be blazoned Or a cross bottony gules.

But are these shields really heraldic? They could be Gullat/Gullet (Or a cross bottony gules), but the general consensus is that they are more likely for general Christian iconography than they are truly heraldic.

So, probably not "real" heraldry, but certainly "heraldry-adjacent".

And leaving me, at least, with the question of how much it might cost to do something like this in my living room ceiling at home. (The short answer: Probably more than I can reasonably afford.)

* The Chi Rho is one of the earliest forms of a Christogram, formed by superimposing the first two letters—chi and rho —of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ [Christos, or Christ] in such a way that the vertical stroke of the rho intersects the center of the chi. (The Greek for Christ is also the source of the abbreviation "Xmas" for "Christmas", but many do not remember the origin of the abbreviation Xmas here.)

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Arms of Prebendaries in Ely Cathedral

Having completed our tour of the heraldic glass in the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral, we now move to some of the heraldry to be found in the Cathedral proper.
I am being assisted in identifying the coats of arms I photographed in the Cathedral by a volume that we purchased at the Cathedral's gift shop, The Heraldry of Ely Cathedral by Tim and Chloë Cockerill.

While I found this volume extremely helpful, I also found that the heraldry I was able to photograph during the short time we were able to visit was only a small portion of that to be seen in the Cathedral. So I am a bit disappointed, not in the Cockerill's book, but that we did not have more time to spend in the building. Still, the photographs and explanatory text by the Cockerills is a great addition to my heraldic library, and if you ever have the chance to visit Ely Cathedral yourself, I highly recommend acquiring a copy of this book.

With all of that as background, we come to the first stained glass window, photographed from the upper floor where the Stained Glass Museum is located in the Cathedral.

This window, consisting of three panels: the central panel of which is hidden behind a pillar here but which (fortunately for us) contains no heraldry, but has a depiction of St. Peter; the other two panels containing four coats of arms each.

The Cockerills tell us that this window was commissioned by Bishop Mawson before his death in 1770, and that it shows the arms of the contemporary prebendaries.* (You should click on the image below to see a larger version of this window. It is well worth looking at in detail.)

The eight shields, beginning at the top left, going down, then up to the top right, and then down again are the arms of, respectively:

John Nicholls, Prebendary of Ely 1748-1773 (Sable three pheons argent);

John Gooch, Prebendary of Ely 1753-1804 (Per pale argent and sable a chevron between three talbots statant counterchanged on a chief gules three leopard’s faces or);

Charles Hervey (1703-1783), 5th son of the 1st Earl of Bristol, Prebendary of Ely 1742 (Gules on a bend argent three trefoils slipped vert, an annulet argent for difference);

John Warren, Prebendary of Ely 1768-1779 (Gules a lion rampant argent a chief checky or and azure);

Henry Heton or Heaton, Prebendary of Ely 1759-1777 (Argent on a bend engrailed sable three bull’s heads cabossed argent);

Thomas Greene, Prebendary of Ely 1737-1780, elder son of Bishop Thomas Greene (Azure three stags trippant or);

Matthias D’Oyley, Prebendary of Ely 1770-1787 (Or two bendlets azure); and

John Price, Prebendary of Ely 1741-1772 (Argent a lion rampant sable).

All in all, it is not only a fine example of stained glass art, and a great example of how heraldry can be done in windows like this, but it is also a colorful memorial to some of the 18th Century prebendaries who have served Ely Cathedral.

* A prebendary is: 1. a clergyman receiving a prebend** for officiating and serving in the church; 2, an honorary canon in a cathedral chapter. The prebendaries of Ely Cathedral are of the second definition.

** A prebend is: 1. the portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church formerly granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend; 2. the property from which a prebend was derived.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Coats of Arms: Marriages and Inheritances

For our next item from the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral, we have these four stained glass panels, possibly by William Price the Elder, which came from the Chapel at Denham Place.

Denham Place is a 17th-century country house in Denham, Buckinghamshire, surrounded by an 18th-century landscape park, possibly laid out by Capability Brown. The house was constructed in 1688–1701 for Sir Roger Hill. The architect was probably William Stanton.

Sir Roger Hill (1642–1729) of Denham Place, Buckinghamshire was an English landowner, courtier and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1679 and 1722. In 1667, he married Abigail Lockey, the daughter of John Lockey of Holmshill, Hertfordshire, Sir Roger was knighted in July 1668. He was appointed a Gentleman of the privy chamber in 1668, a position he held until 1685.

Now, one of the things that I like about heraldry in general, and these four heraldic stained glass panels in particular, is that it makes it possible to find at least some of the history of a family -- the marriages with other families and the inheritance of other coats of arms brought in through marriage to heraldic heiresses -- just by looking at the impaled coats (in the first instance) and the quartered coats (in the second instance) without requiring the observer to conduct detailed genealogical research in order to know whose arms they are.

Witness these four heraldic stained glass panels:

In the upper left of the panel, we find the marital arms of Sir Roger Hill and his wife Abigail Lockey. Gules a chevron engrailed ermine between three garbs or (Hill) impaling Argent a bend between two water bougets sable (Lockey).

In the upper right, we see the arms of John Hill and his wife Joan Banister. Gules a chevron engrailed ermine between three garbs or (Hill) impaling Vert a maunch argent (Banester).

The bottom two shields are the same quartered arms: Quarterly of eight: 1, Gules a chevron engrailed ermine between three garbs or (Hill); 2, Gules a lion rampant overall a bend ermine (Falcon?); 3, Vert a maunch argent (Banester); 4, Gules a cross argent between four plates (?); 5, Sable a saltire argent (?); 6, Sable a bend or between six fountains proper (Stourton) (brought into the family through the marriage of John Hill and Cecily Stourton before 1424); 7, Gules three lions passant in pale argent overall a bendlet compony or and azure (Fitz-Payne); and 8, Argent a cross between four mullet gules (Banbury? Danbury? Flamank/Flammyke?).

No, obviously I was not able in the short time I spent researching these shields to determine the exact family name for each quarter. For example, do you know how many different family surnames have borne Sable a saltire argent? Admittedly, it's not a huge number, but to determine which of the eight families (not counting spelling variants) that appear in the Dictionary of British Arms for this blazon would require more genealogical research than I have the "copious free time" to do. I mean, really, if I'm going to spend some hours doing genealogical research, I'm going to spend in researching my own family tree and not the 17th century Hills of Denham Place. Just sayin'.

Still, though, they're a beautiful set of window panels, aren't they?

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Is the Same True of Heraldic Stained Glass As It Is of Potato Chips?

(Or, since we're discussing English heraldic stained glass, potato "crisps".)

Anyway, in preparing to write this blog post, I was reminded of an old Lay's potato chips/crisps advertisement that dared: "Betcha can't eat just one!" And it made me wonder, in looking at today's heraldic window, if when it comes to creating coats of arms in stained glass, "Betcha can't make just one!"

Because this panel has three!

This stained glass window, was made in 1829 and designed by David Evans, and came to the Stained Glass Museum from the Church of St. Mary, Ellesmere, Shropshire, and has, as you can see, not one, not two, but three different coats of arms.

The topmost is Gules two lions passant or (Pedwardyn); that in the center is Or three piles in point gules on a canton argent a griffin segreant sable (Basset/Bassett); and the bottommost is Argent on a bend azure three stag’s heads cabossed or (Stanley).

I am not 100% certain of the identification of Pedwardyn for the topmost shield. I mean, it might be Bromeswike or Bromeswey (per Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials), but the family with the most-cited references to these arms are all variants of Pedwardyn (Patwarden, Pedwarden, Petwarden, Pedwardin). So it's likely Pedwardyn, but I can't swear to that without more research.

In any event, it's a lovely little window, made all the better for having three coats of arms on it.

Monday, July 17, 2023

St. Michael? Or St. George?

The primary figure in this next armorial stained glass panel in the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral is identified as St. Michael.* But the arms and banner he is carrying are more commonly known as the arms of St. George: Argent a cross gules. (Of course, these same arms can be used to identify England -- both standing alone and as, for example, the chief of the East India Company, or the arms of the City of London -- and Genoa, and several other places, all of which bear Argent a cross gules. So these arms are clearly not restricted to St. George.)

So this stained glass panel of St. Michael was designed by Arthur Anselm Orr in 1926, and comes from Rockley Chapel, Marlborough, Wiltshire.

It was created as a memorial for the Marlborough area soldiers who died in WWI. At the base of the window, the battlefields of the Great War are shown in tones of gray.

It is a beautiful, if somber, work of the stained glass painters art.

* Most of the images of St. Michael that I can find, while they have him bearing a shield with a cross (which is sometimes painted as Argent a cross gules), almost invariably show him with feathered wings. And often, just like St. George, he is shown slaying a dragon. See, e.g., the page of arms showing St. Michael on them on the Heraldry of the World site at So all in all, I am more inclined to believe that the figure here is patron saint of England, St. George, rather than St. Michael. But I am not Mr. Orr, and if he wants to say that this is St. Michael, who am I to say him nay?

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Three Coats of Arms in a Stained Glass Panel

Continuing our look at some of the heraldic glass in the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral, we come to this lovely panel depicting a scene from Arthurian legend which displays three (presumably attributed, or simply invented) coats of arms.

The scene shown is labeled right there in the window: Launcelot and Elaine. The panel was designed and made by Andrew Stoddart in 1910. This window is based on a German Art Nouveau tapestry designed by J.H. Vogeler in 1898. This panel was a gift of the Page family to the Musuem in 1977, and is from Stoddart’s home in Nottingham.

The story of Lancelot and Elaine was an Arthurian tale of unrequited love.

In the panel there are three shields. The one at the top of the window is: Argent an ancient crown or. On the left is: Per fess sable and or three arrows in pile on a chief argent a (cow’s?) head grey.* And on the right: Sable a saltire engrailed between four (fleurs-de-lis?) or on a chief argent a fleur-de-lis or between two mullets of six points sable.

I don’t believe that any of these are “real” arms, but expect that they are either attributed or completely newly invented for this panel.

Overall I think it's a lovely work of stained glass (if not of heraldry), but then, I've long had a fondness for Art Nouveau.

* This coat of arms might also be blazoned as Tierced per fess argent sable and or, in pale a (cow's?) head grey and three arrows in pile argent. But that does not best describe the position of the three arrows on the field, while the "Per fess ... on a chief" does that better.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Two More Royal Stained Glass Windows

Still looking at some of the stained glass panels in the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, I came across two Royal coats of arms.

This one should be pretty recognizable to most of you.

As the portrait alone should tell you, but with the added identification immediately below her, this is Queen Victoria, Queen ("Regina") and Emperor ("Imperator").

The two shields below are the arms of the Prince Consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (whose arms were granted in 1840, but this depiction lacks the label of three tags the center tag charged with a cross gules on the UK quarters) and the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom borne by the Queen.

This window was created in 1910 by Hugh Arnold (who died in action at Gallipoli in 1915). It comes from St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, Bear Street, Barnstaple, Devonshire. It was a gift to the Museum in 1989 from the London Stained Glass Repository.

The next one is of a Royal personage who may not be as familiar to you. It is entitled "The Duke of Clarence as St. George".

Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (Albert Victor Christian Edward, 1864-1892), was the eldest child of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), and was plainly named after his grandparents, Albert and Victoria. Victor fell ill with influenza in the pandemic of 1889-1892, and developed pneumonia and died at Sandringham House in Norfolk on January 14, 1892, less than a week after his 28th birthday. At the time of his death he was engaged to marry Princess Victoria Mary of Teck. The following year, she became engaged to Victor's only surviving brother, George, who subsequently became King George V.

The window was designed by John Lisle and made in 1905 as a memorial to the Duke. It was located in the Minister's Staircase at Buckingham Palace in London, and was loaned to the Museum by Her Late Majesty in 1984.

The Duke's breastplate and the trim on his cloak bear the arms of St. George (Argent a cross gules), while the shield by his side bears the arms of England (Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or).

These panels are great examples of the height of the stained glassmaker's art at the beginning of the 20th Century. And I'm not just saying that because they happen to have heraldry in them. No, really!

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Royal Arms in Stained Glass

There were a number of stained glass panels at the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral which were of, or included, the Royal Arms.

In this panel, we see the arms of King Henry VI (1421-1471) impaling those of Queen Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482).

The supporters in base are an heraldic antelope for Henry and a golden falcon for Margaret.

This glass window panel was made in 1843 by William Miller, and came to the Cathedral from Crockerton Church, Wiltshire.

I think it is a beautiful piece of the craftsman's art, and a lovely display of royal heraldry. Wouldn't you agree?

Monday, July 3, 2023

Armorial Stained Glass in the Ely Cathedral Stained Glass Museum

On an upper floor in Ely Cathedral they have a Stained Glass Museum, which exhibits stained glass, old and new, armorial and non-armorial, but all colorful, lovely examples of the art. Indeed, if you get the chance to visit the Cathedral, the Stained Glass Museum alone is well worth the trip. (Don't get me wrong, so is the rest of the Cathedral. But there is plenty to see in the Museum!)

Our example today of armorial stained glass in the Museum is a newrt piece displaying some nearly 400 year old heraldry.

These are the arms of The Worshipful Company of Glaziers (the full name is The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass), one of the London livery companies. The Company was incorporated November 6, 1631 and granted a Royal charter in 1638. The Company's arms are blazoned Argent, two grozing irons in saltire between four closing nails sable on a chief gules a lion passant guardant or. The crest is: A lion's head couped or between a pair of wings azure. And their motto: Lucem tuam da nobis, O Deus (O God, give us Your light).

The charges on the shield are, of course, tools of the trade, with what might be termed a "chief of England" (after the model of the Italian "chief of the Empire" and "chief of Anjou").

The Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral receives an annual grant from the Worshipful Company of Glaziers to help it continue its work. I have no doubt that these annual donations are the reason for this display of the Company's arms in the Museum.

Though the style of the glass is clearly modern, one of the aspects of it that really struck me was the upper portion of the pane and the shield, each of which give the impression of having been painted onto a panel made up of several jointed wooden boards. It is an unusual treatment that I have not seen before done in stained glass, and I found it very interesting. What do you think of this treatment in glass?