Thursday, December 14, 2023

One Historic Site, Two Different Coats of Arms: Part Two

The other way to get to the Merchant Adventurers Hall in York is to go via the Gatehouse on Fossgate.

Not as old as the Merchant Adventurers Hall, the Gatehouse is mid-17th century in origin, with the doorcase and coat of arms over it added in 1854.

There are two different but similar coats of arms on the Gatehouse. The first, on the sign hanging in front of the Gatehouse, is once again the arms of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York. However, there is at least one subtle difference between this coat of arms and the one over the gate in front of the Hall which we saw in our last post.

Have you noticed it? The Pegasus on the arms on Piccadilly Street make the wings blue; here the wings are less obviously blue, and they are charged with a white rose.

Now here's a photo of the Gatehouse and the arms over the door:

These arms on the Gatehouse are those of The Company of Merchant Adventurers of London, a trading company founded in the City of London in the early 15th century. The company had members from York, Norwich, Exeter, Ipswich, Newcastle, Hull, and other places. The merchant adventurers of these towns were separate but affiliated bodies.

These arms, in a molded surround and painted high-relief carving are: Barry nebuly of six argent and azure, a chief quarterly gules and or on the first and fourth quarters a lion passant guardant or on the second and third two roses gules barbed and seeded proper. The crest is A pegasus rampant argent charged on the wings with two roses gules. The shield is supported on each side by A pegasus argent charged on the wings with two roses gules seeded or. Beneath, and serving as a compartment on which the supporters stand is the motto: Dieu nous donne bonne adventure (God give us good adventure).

And isn't that some very ornately carved mantling behind it all!

And there you have it! The historic Merchant Adventurers Hall, with two ways to approach it, and two different but similar coats of arms denoting the Merchant Adventurers of York and the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London with whom they were affiliated.

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