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.

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