Monday, April 15, 2024

It's Sad to See Someone Die So Young

Our next armorial memorial is to a young wife to died far too early, at the age of 22, when she had been married for just a year and three months.

This is the armorial memorial of Lady Mary Hore, née Howard.

She was the daughter of Ralph Howard, 1st Viscount Wicklow, and his wife Alice Forward, the daughter and heiress of William Forward of Castle Forward, County Donegal. Following the Viscount's death, in December 1793 Alice was created Countess of Wicklow.

Lady Mary was the wife of Rev. Thomas Hore, the second son of Walter Hore of Harperstown, whom she married in 1797.

The inscription on the monument gives the particulars of her relations and the circumstances of her young death.

Finally, of course, we come to the relief-carved coat of arms near the top of the monument.

Sable a double-headed eagle displayed within a bordure engrailed argent, in chief a martlet for difference (Hore); impaling  Gules a bend between six crosses crosslet argent (Howard). The crest is A demi-eagle displayed [azure?], The motto is Constanter (With constancy).

It really is a lovely monument in a neo-Classical style. It's so sad that it is to the memory of a young wife, only 22, married for just over a year, whoe died here in York on her way to Scarborough "for the recovery of her health".

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Well, This One Turned Out to Be Frustrating to Properly Identify

I mean, really, I've been researching heraldry for a long time now, and particularly for something like quartered arms, attached to a family of a not terribly common surname, and accompanied with an inscription that helpfully gives the person's name, you'd think I would be able to track down the arms and its colors fairly readily.

Alas, no.

The armorial memorial in question is that of Ranulph or Randolph Hurleston, who died in 1587. He was, as the little information I could find about him explains, a member of the Council of the North.

There is a two-sentence description in A Guide to the Heraldry of York Minster that gives the above information. He does not appear in the Dictionary of National Biography, and an internet search simple repeats the information in the Guide. The inscription on his marker adds very little to that information:

"The bodi of Ranulph Hurleston, Esquier, one of the honorable councel in these north parts lieth here in hope of ioiful resurreccion who adorned with great gifts of lerning, gravitie, wisdom ioined with rare godliness: was alwais careful for advancing of the sincere doctrine of Christe, and of that æquitie which everiwhere ought to be observed, never ceasing his faithful labours to profite this church and common welth: until it pleased our gracious God merciful (in a veri short moment, without ani, or with the least, dolors of death) to ende all the labors of his faithfull servant and to translate his sowle into his æternal rest. XIII Aprilis Anno Christi Incarnati 1587. All the daies of his peregrinacon were LXII years for whose godli life the Anointed Saviour be praised for ever. Amen."

So we are left with the not especially well carved coat of arms:

Looking at quarters 1 and 4, Burke's General Armory gives us Hurleston/Hurlestone (both from Chester), with a blazon of Argent a cross of four ermine spots sable.

For quarters 2 and 3: There are three “[plain field] three garbs … within a [plain] bordure …” in Papworth:

Cummin/Cumming, Azure three garbs within a bordure or
Berkhead/Birkenhead/Brickbed/Brickhet, Sable three garbs or within a bordure argent; and
Berkhead/Brickhed and Segrave, Sable three garbs within a bordure or.

So it might be any (or, for that matter, none) of these.

In the fess point of the shield is a crescent for difference, the crescent being the cadency mark of second son.

Burke's gives the Hurleston crest as: An ermine passant argent. (What is carved here is pretty clearly a wolf statant.) Fairbairn's Crests gives a wolf statant as being borne by the following families, none of whom are Hurleston: Biddulph, Carden/Cardin, Dane, Iles, Knott, Lawley, and Preston.

The situation remains if we assume that the crest carved here is a fox; several families bearing a fox statant, none of whom are Hurleston.

Finally, the motto is, Virtus vitæ laus (Praise the virtue of life). It does not appear in my copy of Fairbairn's.

So, after doing all this research through the heraldry books, where did I end up?

Right where I began, with the two-sentence description in A Guide to the Heraldry of York Minster.

Well, sometimes that is both the attraction and disappointment of heraldry, and life, too, for that matter. Some you win, some you lose, and some (as here) you just break even.

Monday, April 8, 2024

It's Always Interesting to Run Across Some 17th Century Given Names

And some of those interesting forenames were not always necessarily borne by Separatists or Puritans, although they did seem to favor such given names (e.g., Increase, Praise God, Humiliation, or my current personal favorite: If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hads't-Been-Damned). But such forenames were not exclusive to the Puritans, as we will see looking at today's armorial memorial to an archbishop of York, Accepted Frewen.

Accepted Frewen was Archbishop 1660-1664, though as both the inscription on the memorial, above, tells us in part, and his entry in Wikipedia at tells us more fully, he was also: President of Magdalen College, Oxford; Vice Chancellor of Oxford University; Dean of Gloucester; and Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry; in additon to being Archbishop of York.

His arms, shown at the top of the monument, consist of the See of York (modern) impaling Frewen (Ermine four bars azure a demi-lion rampant gules [Burke says "proper"] issuant in chief). The arms here are ensigned with a mitre, which we are told is a style typical of the Restoration.

On a side note, Burke notes that his family's motto was Mutare non est meum (It is not mine to change). Not exactly a tenet of the Puritans, despite their desire to return to the simplicity of the early church without all of the forms, rituals, etc. (see, "popery") that they believed had been added over the centuries.

Anyway, I found it interesting to find a given name like Accepted in a context that was clearly not strictly Puritan. And with heraldry, too!

I swear, sometimes it just doesn't get much better than this!

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Is There Something About Marys and Martlets That I Don't Know?

Our next two memorials are to two wives, both named Mary, and whose memorials display heraldry which contains martlets.*

The first is that of Lady Mary Fenwick.

Lady Mary was the daughter of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle, and the wife of Sir John Fenwick, Baronet.

At the top of the monument, surmounted by a knight's helmet (for her husband) and an earl's coronet (for her father), we see Per fess gules and argent six martlets counterchanged, the badge of a baronet (Argent a sinister hand appaumy couped gules) (Fenwick), impaling Gules on a bend between six crosses crosslet fitchy argent an escutcheon or charged with a demi-lion rampant pierced through the mouth with an arrow within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules, on the bend a mullet for difference (Howard, Earl of Carlisle).

Flanking the marital arms of Lady Mary are two more shields.

On the left, the arms of her father, Gules on a bend between six crosses crosslet fitchy argent an escutcheon or charged with a demi-lion rampant pierced through the mouth with an arrow within a double tressure flory counter-flory gules, on the bend a mullet for difference. No crest, but the coronet of an Earl surmounts the shield.

And on the right, the arms of her husband, Per fess gules and argent six martlets counterchanged, the badge of a baronet (Argent a sinister hand appaumy couped gules). Crest: A phoenix rising from flames proper gorged of a mural crown or.

Though this next monument memorializes several deceased children of Richard Sterne, the only one remembered armorially is his daughter, Mary, who married Rev. Thomas Pulleyn.

The arms are painted on a cartouche:

Azure on a bend cotised or [Burke says "argent"] three escallops gules on a chief or three martlets sable [Pulleyn/Pullein/Pullen], impaling Or a chevron between three crosses patonce sable (Sterne)

So, as it turns out, there is nothing connecting "Mary" with "martlet", as all nine of the martlets on these two memorials belong to their husbands' coats of arms.

Still, it was an interesting juxtaposition, and I had to research it and report back to you!

* For those very few of you reading this blog who don't know what an heraldic martlet is, J.P. Brooke-Little's An Heraldic Alphabet defines it this way:

"Martlet. A very common charge which resembles a house martin but has no shanks or legs, just tufts of feathers. It may have originally been a swift, as these apparently legless birds were to be found in large numbers in the Holy Land at the time of the Crusades."

So now you know.

Monday, April 1, 2024

The Gibson Girls

But in this case, it's not the well-known personification of the feminine ideal of physical attractiveness as portrayed by the pen-and-ink illustrations of artist Charles Dana Gibson the turn of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

No, these memorials in St. Stephen's Chapel, York Minster, are about about the Gibson sisters, Ann, Joanna, and Penelope, daughters of John Gibson of Welburn, and Ann's husband, Samuel Terrick. 

First, let's look at Samuel Terrick's monument:

He was, in addition to being the husband of Ann Gibson, chaplain to Archbishop John Sharpe, among other ecclesiastical offices which are given (in Latin) on the face of the monument. Samuel Terrick died on January 2, 1718/19, aged 51.

Atop the monument are the relief-carved and painted arms of Terrick impaling Gibson:

Gules three lapwings or, impaling Barry of six ermine and sable a lion rampant or. The crest is: A lion salient or.

(I have to admit, I really like the way the helmet is carved and decorated!)

A little further along, and we come to the two memorial to Joanna Gibson and Penelope Gibson:

According to the insriptions, Joanna Gibson died in 1733, and her sister Penelope in 1715.

Each bears the arms of their father, John Gibson, on a lozenge, as is appropriate.

Again, the blazon of these Gibson arms is: Barry of six ermine and sable a lion rampant or.

The carving on each of these monuments is so very well done, and the painting of the arms is, too.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Another Comparatively Simple Armorial Memorial

In keeping with our theme from the previous post, today we visit another fairly straightforward and uncomplex armorial memorial.

This pyramidal monument is that of Thomas Lamplugh, son of Thomas Lamplugh, and grandson of of Thomas Lamplugh, Archbishop of York, and his (that is, Thomas Lamplugh III's) wife, Honor Chaloner. He (as we are told on the monument) was Rector of Bolton Percy and a Canon of York Minster. She was the daughter of William Chaloner of Gisborough. They had six children, one son and five daughters.

The pyramid monument is topped with a carved and painted coat of arms and crest. The arms are: Or a cross flory sable (Lamplugh), impaling Sable a chevron between three cherubim's heads or (Chaloner). The crest is: A goat's head erased argent attired and bearded or.

All in all, I think it a lovely piece of work, a fitting memorial, and topping it all, a nice bit of heraldry!

Monday, March 25, 2024

Or, You Could Go For Something a Little Less Overstated

After looking at the very ornate, freestanding memorial to Thomas Watson-Wentworth last time, today we're going to see an armorial memorial nearby that is somewhat less overstated.

This is the memorial of William Pearson, LL.D (1662-1715). He was Archdeacon of Nottingham from 1690 to 1715.

The son of Rev John Pearson, Rector of Great Orton in Cumberland, he was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, graduating MA in 1688. In 1689 he was appointed to the Prebend of Ampleford in York Minster, and the following year to the Prebend of Sariston in Southwell Minster. He also held the livings at Barton, Bolton Percy and Wheldrake. He was also Subdean of York, and Chancellor of the diocese.

His coat of arms, too, is not so ornate as the one in our previous post.

Argent a chevron gules between three roses gules barbed and seeded proper. (Barbed and seeded refers to the sepals and the seeds of the flower; the sepals are green and the seeds yellow per heraldic convention.) These arms could also be blazone a bit more succinctly as: Argent a chevron between three roses gules.

The vessel issuing flames above the shield is not a crest, but rather a somewhat stylized "eternal flame" in memory of the deceased, most often used to commemorate a person (for example, the eternal flame at the grave of U.S. President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia) or event (the eternal flame at the Kremlin in Moscow memorializing Russian losses in World War II).

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Armorial Memorials: Go Big or Go Home

No, really!

Sometimes I feel like some people feel they need to prove their status amongst the local peerage by having a larger, more ornate, more artistically carved, etc., etc., etc., memorial than their peers (if you will pardon the pun. Or even if you won't).

And extra points if you they can get a standing marble effigy carved by one of the best Italian sculptors of the day!

Anyway, here is the memorial in question:

This is the memorial of Thomas Watson-Wentworth, the third (second surviving) son of Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham (1630-1689). His mother was Anne Wentworth, only daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641) and heiress of her childless brother William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1626-1695) of Wentworth Woodhouse.

Thomas Watson-Wentworth m. Alice Proby, a daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Proby, 1st Baronet.

 He died in 1723, aged 58. 

Their oldest son was Thomas Watson-Wentworth (1693-1750), raised to the Peerage as Baron Malton, later Earl Malton, and afterwards 1st Marquess of Rockingham, KB, Privy Council of Ireland. He was a Whig politician who in 1725 rebuilt Wentworth Woodhouse as the palatial building surviving today.

Alas, his son, the 2nd Marquess, Charles Watson-Wentworth, died without issue in 1782, and all of his honors became extinct.

The reason for raising this monument is literally "carved in stone" on the face of the monument itself:

His justly afflicted relict and son
Thomas Lord Malton,
To transmit the memory of so great worth to future times,
Erected this monument.

But, of course, it's the heraldry (and wonderfully done heraldry it is, too!) that attracted us to this monument:

The arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent on a chevron engrailed azure between three martlets sable three crescents or, in chief a crescent gules for difference (Watson); 2 and 3, Sable a chevron between three leopard's faces or (Wentworth); overall an inescutcheon Ermine on a fess gules a lion passant or (Proby).

The crest is: A griffin passant argent beaked and forelegged gules collared vairy ermine and azure.

Oh, and that Italian sculptor I mentioned? The monument was carved by Giovanni Battista Guelphi (1690–1736).

All in all, maybe a little over the top, but it's a wonderful thing to see!

Monday, March 18, 2024

A Mother, a Father, and a Daughter Memorialized

In a contrast to the last two armorial memorials we looked at in York Minster, this next memorial has a lot more text and a lot less heraldry on its face.

It is the memorial to husband and wife Rev. Richard and Anne (Clarke) Thompson and to one of their two daughters. Thompson was a Prebendary of York Cathedral and Rector of Kirkdeighton (of which church we will have more later, because we took the opportunity to visit it!).

The inscription reads:

Sacred to the Memory
Anne, the Lamented Wife of the Revd Richd Thompson
Prebendary of this Cathedral, & Rector of Kirkdeighton
Who Departed This Life May the 29th Anno 1791, Etatis 76.
The Utmost Benevolence of Heart,
A Strong & Cultivated Understanding,
Uncommon Sweetness of Temper,
With the Most Kind & Affectionate Manners,
Form'd the Basis of Her Character.
Throughout a Long Life
Her Conduct Was So Truly Good & Amiable,
That Humanity Will Drop a Tear,
Not For Her,
But For Those of Her Family Who Have
The Misfortune of Surviving Her.

Near This Place Are Also Deposited
The Remains of the Said Revd Richard Thompson
(In Pious and Affectionate Memory of Whom,
This Tablet Is Subjoined
By His Only Surviving Daughter, Anne Thompson)
He Departed This Life Janry 30th, 1795,
Aged 75.
And Also the Remains of the Above
Mentioned Anne Thompson,
The Daughter of the Said Revd Richard Thompson,
Who Departed This Life April 6th, 1835,
Aged 88.

Richard Thompson, M.A. of Merton College, Oxford, was ordained priest at Bishopthorpe, August 19, 1744, and on the 22nd of the same month was instituted to the vicarage of Holy Trinity, King's Court. This he ceded for the rectory of Kirk Deighton (just a few kilometers west of the city of York), to which he was instituted April 20, 1747, on the presentation of William Thompson of York. On February 18, 1747/48 he was collated to the stall of Langtoft at York, which he held until his death.

He was the eldest son of Jonas Thompson, Esq. of Kilham, Lord Mayor of York in 1731 (grandson of Jonas T. of Kilham, elder brother of Sir Henry Thompson of Escrick and Sir Stephen Thompson of Kirkby Hall, aldermen of York), by Anne, daughter of William Justice, attorney, York, and sister of Henry Justice, Esq. barrister-at-law, lord of the manor of Rufforth in the Ainsty. By his wife Ann he had two daughters, Ann, who died unmarried in 1835, and Frances, wife of the Rev. Robert Tripp of Rewe, co. Devon, who died before her sister.

The arms on the memorial, painted rather than carved, are:

Per fess argent and sable, a fess embattled counter-embattled between three falcons close all counter-changed (Thompson); overall an inescutcheon, Vert three escallops in pale or between two flaunches ermine (Clarke).

The crest is: An arm embowed in armour proper grasping a tilting-spear or.

So, maybe not quite as "showy" as the memorials in my last two posts, but beautifully elegant in its own way, and clearly deeply meaningful to the younger Anne Thompson.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Another Early 17th Century Armorial Monument

I have the same general complaint about the lack of information in the various guides to and books about the heraldry of York Minster as I had in my last post, only even more this time, since there's a lot more heraldry on this monument than that one.

I mean, really! Just take a look at all of the shields on this monument.

And yet, not a word in Purey-Cust's two-volume The Heraldry of York Minster. So most of the information here was taken from A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster and supplemented with my own research in some of the general heraldry books in my personal library.

Sir Henry Belasyse (Belassis), 1st Baronet (1555–1624) was an English politician.. He was the son of Sir William Bellasis (d.1604) of Newburgh Priory in Yorkshire. He married Ursula Fairfax, a daughter of Sir Thomas Fairfax of Denton, Yorkshire, by whom he had one son and at least one daughter. Their son, Thomas Belasyse, 1st Viscount Fauconberg, 1st Baron Fauconberg, 2nd Baronet (1577–1652), in 1627 was created Baron Fauconberg and in 1643 created Viscount Fauconberg "of Henknowle". Sir Henry died in 1624 and was buried at St. Saviour's Church, York.

At the top of the monument we find the full achievement of Sir Henry's arms.* Quarterly of seven: 1, Quarterly: i and iv, Argent a chevron gules between three fleurs-de-lis azure (Belasyse); ii and iii, Argent a pale engrailed cotised plain sable (Belassis [Papworth says “Belassis, Scotland]); 2, Or a fess gules between three torteaux (semi-mythical Elgiva of Belassis); 3, Argent an escutcheon between six martlets sable (le Spring); 4, Argent three boar’s heads couped close within a bordure engrailed sable (Bernard); 5, Argent three bars on a canton gules a lion passant argent (Bellingham); 6, Argent two bars and in chief three fleurs-de-lis azure (Errington); 7, Argent a chevron gules between three fleurs-de-lis azure (Belassis). The crest is A stag's head erased proper attired or. The supporters are: Two stags rampant proper attired or. The whole is flanked by two crests: Dexter: A fleur-de-lis azure banded or; Sinister, A stag’s head proper attired or.

The Guide says nothing specifically about most of the smaller shields on the monument, except to note that they show "a sequence of married arms tracing Sir Henry's ancestry ... for thirteen generations." Here you go!

The coat of arms on the upper right of the photo above are those of the earliest heraldic heiress, Elgiva (with a question mark, so the author was not sure about the identification).

At the base of the monument are three kneeling figures:

From left to right, these represent the two most important heiresses bringing arms into the family, Elgiva(?) and Mazry le Spring, and Sir Henry's son and heir, Thomas Belassis, later Viscount Fauconberg "of Henknowle".

So lots of heraldry here with so comparatively little explanation that it leaves me wanting to know more. Much more.

* I have been unable to confirm most of these identifications (taken from A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster, pp. 46-47) in either Burke’s General Armory or Papworth’s Ordinary of British Armorials.

Monday, March 11, 2024

An Early 17th Century Armorial Monument

One of the things that can be a bit (or sometimes more than a bit!) frustrating when trying to learn more about the shield or shields on an heraldic monument is the lack of information given by the guides that have been published.

In some cases, this lack of information can go back guides published some 100 to 150 years ago.

Take today's monument, for example.

This is a general view of the monument of Dr. Henry Swinburne, c. 1551-1620, located in north Choir Aisle in York Minster.

A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster, published in 1986, on pp. 46 and 48, tells us that Dr. Swinburne was an eminent York lawyer, whose arms show him related to the Swinburnes of Capheaton, Northumberland. The Guide also gives us the names of his two wives, Ellen Lant and Margaret Wentworth, notes that only his second wife is commemorated on the monument, and then briefly reviews the heraldic shields there. And the information ends there.

The two volumes entitled The Heraldry of York Minster published back in 1890 and 1896 by Arthur Perceval Purey-Cust, whose arms appear in the Cathedral and which we have looked at recently, say nothing about the Swinburne monument.

Wikipedia, at, gives us a little more information about Dr. Swinburne, but leaves us on our own regarding the heraldry on his monument.

So now we are left pretty much to our own devices in trying to decipher the heraldry here. The bulk of the information I give here comes from the brief mentions in the Guide. It's not much, but it's what I can find.

Quarterly: 1, Per fess gules and argent three cinquefoils counterchanged (Swinburne); 2, Sable [may originally have been vert] a lion rampant argent (Heton); 3, Per chevron gules and argent three crosses crosslet counterchanged (Chartnam?); and 4, Or an orle azure (or perhaps vert) (Bertram). The crest, which does not appear in Fairbairn's Crests: A boar's head couped sable armed and langued or charged on the neck with a crescent argent (presumably for difference). 

At the top left of the monumene we see the arms of Chartnam again, which the Guide tells us distinguishes Dr. Swinburne's arms from those of the main branch of Swinburne of Capheaton.

On the upper right of the monument, we see the arms of Bertram again.

And on the lower left of the monument, the arms of Swinburne.

I am missing a picture of the arms on the lower right of the monument, which you can see in the first photo above are the arms of Heton.

Another photo of a shield that I am missing can be seen immediately below the figure of Dr. Swinburne, of Swinburne impaling Wentworth, Sable a chevron between three leopard's faces or, on the chevron a crescent gules for difference.

Anyway, it's a lovely old monument, some 400 years old. I just wish that there was a better description of the arms contained on it.

Maybe in my next life, when I expect to have a lot more time, I will offer to update some of these guides with better information about the heraldry contained in them.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

A Memorial to an Archbishop

In a notable contrast (in two different ways, better and worse) to the memorial to Archdeacon John Eyre we saw in our last post, today we are going to see the more impressive but also inferior (heraldically), memorial to one of York Minster's Archbishops.

This is the tomb of Richard Sterne (ca.1596-1683), Archbishop of York 1664-1683. He, too, has his own article on Wikipedia, at

As you can see from both the reclining figure of the Archbishop, the drapes above him, and the putti on each side, as well as the large and complex inscription (immediately below) to him, it far exceeds the rather simple memorial to Archdeacon John Eyre.

But this is where the comparison with the Archdeacon's memorial falters. While Archdeacon John Eyre's monument has a beautifully carved coat of arms in deep relief on it, the arms at the top of the Archbishop's monument are only painted onto the bare stone.

The arms are blazoned: Gules two keys in saltire wards upwards argent in chief a Royal crown or (See of York Modern), impaling Or a chevron between three crosses flory (sometimes crosses crosslet or crosses paty) sable (Sterne).

It seems a shame, at least to me, that with all of the beautiful stone carving that went into the creation of this monument -- I mean, just look at the carving that covers the Archbishop's mitre! -- that they couldn't have done better by the coat of arms than simply painting them onto the smooth surface of the stone here. It's better than leaving a blank cartouche where the arms should be, of course, but still, would it really have taken that much more work/time/money to carve the arms, as was done on the memorial to Archdeacon Eyre?

Monday, March 4, 2024

A Memorial to an Archdeacon

The next memorial we're going to look at in York Minster is to an Archdeacon with what should be a very familiar family name (though I doubt very much that this John Eyre is any kin to the fictitious Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë. Just sayin').

John Eyre, 1758-1830, was Archdeacon of Nottingham, to which postion he was appointed in 1810.

He was the second son of Anthony Eyre, of Grove, Nottinghamshire, and Judith Laetitia Bury. He married Charlotte Armytage, daughter of Sir George Armytage, 3rd Baronet, of Kirklees in Yorkshire, on 12 April 1790. The couple had six children.

He has a short biography on Wikipedia at

But of course it's the heraldry that is the reason for this memorial's inclusion here:

The arms, carved in high relief, are: Argent on a chevron sable three quatrefoils or in chief a crescent for difference (Eyre) impaling Gules a lion's head erased between three crosses crosslet argent (Armitage). With the crest: An armored leg couped at the thigh quarterly argent and sable spurred or.

All in all, it is a beautiful, if somewhat understated, memorial to Archdeacon John Eyre. But in heraldry, as often in life, sometimes less is better than more.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Marital Arms of a Viscountess and Heraldic Heiress

The next memorial we came to in our perambulations inside York Minster was that of Lora (Burton) Dawnay, Viscountess Downe.

The (very long) inscription reads:

At her hour in Charles Street
Near Berkley Square, London
(Where she resided alternately with
her seat Bookham Grove in Surry [sic]
for a period of above thirty five years
happy and respected)
at Midnight
of the twenty fourth of April
in the presence of all her five children
and three of her old and faithful attendance,
in the seventy third year of her age,
the Right Honourable
Burton Dawnay
Viscountess Downe.
Widow of John Dawnay Fourth Viscount Downe,
Mother of the Fifth Viscount and other children,
and only child and heir of William Burton, Esquire,
of Ashwell, Rutland,
by his wife Elizabeth Pitt daughter of George Pitt
of Stratfieldsay
by his second wife Lora Grey of Kingston, Dorset.
For her character and other particulars
see The Gentleman's Magazine for May MDCCCXII,
from which the following is an extract.
A real, unpretending, and almost unconscious, good sense,
and a firm desire to act right on all occasions,
to the best of her judgment,
were her most distinguishing characteristics,
activity of mind and body,
sound health,
cheerful manners,
the open confidence of an honest mind,
the lively serenity of an easy conscience,
wiht a benevolent disposition,
and hereditary personal graces, bot of form and face,
which even in age had not disappeared,
complete her picture.

There is a further ten-line poem beneath that inscription which I will not transcribe here.

It also notes that she was buried at Snaith in Yorkshire.

More information about her husband can be found in a brief article on Wikipedia at,_4th_Viscount_Downe

At the foot of the monument are a shield and a cartouche: the former bearing her maiden arms; and the latter her initials and coronet.

But of course it was the coat of arms at the top of the monument which caught my attention:

These arms are a lozenge bearing the quartered arms of John Dawnay, 4th Viscount Downe, with an inescutcheon of Burton, surmounted by the coronet of a viscount, supported by two crowned and collared lions, with the motto underneath.

The shield is: Quarterly: 1, Argent on a bend cotised sable three annulets argent (Dawnay); 2, Argent a bend gules goutty d'eau between two Cornish choughs sable a chief checky or and sable (Pleydell); 3, Sable a Saracen's head couped at the neck argent between three lion's jambes issuant from dexter chief, sinister chief, and base points all or (Newton); and 4, Azure a lion rampant or ducally crowned argent (Darell); overall an inescutcheon, on a bend [cotised?] three [animal's] heads erased, a martlet for difference (Burton).* The supporters are: Two lions rampant or ducally crowned argent each gorged with a collar cotised sable charged with three annulets argent. The motto is: Timet pudorem (He fears shame).

* I have not been able to find another representation or a blazon for these Burton arms. They do not appear in Burke's General Armory, nor in the Visitation of Rutland. I also checked the Dictionary of British Arms, but knew that was probably a long shot to begin with.

For that matter, it was tough enough to find the second, third, and fourth quarters of the Viscount's arms; the General Armory and all of my several editions of Burke's Peerage only gave the paternal arms and did not include the quarters for Plaeydell, Newton, or Darell.

Let this be a lesson to you; anyone who says that "heraldry is a science" is incorrect. It's an art, and a sometimes "loosey-goosey" art, at that!

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Tomb of a Young Prince

This tomb is also the only Royal tomb in York Minster. It is that of William of Hatfield, the second son of King Edward III and Queen Philippa of Hainault (and thus the younger brother of "Edward, Black Prince of Wales" as Shakespeare so poetically describes him).

Despite the effigy (above), which show a young man in his teens, Prince William, born at Hatfield Manor near Doncaster, Yorkshire, was only about two months old at his death, having been born in December 1336 and dying in early February 1337. He was buried in York Minster on February 10, 1337.

The two signs marking his memorial in the Minster (the precise location of his burial there is unknown, and the memorial has been moved several times, most recently to its present position in 1979), one of which confusingly bears the date August 15, 1347, each bear the arms of the See of York (modern), Gules two keys in saltire wards upwards argent in chief a Royal crown or.

The walls of the niche containing Prince William's memorial are painted a bright red, and powdered with golden branches of broom plants, the planta genista badge of the Plantangenets.

The memorial is flanked by two metal flags or banners of arms:

The banner on the right (seen partially above in the first photo; unfortunately a second photo of the entire banner was badly out of focus) are the arms of his father, King Edward III, Quarterly France ancient and England.

The banner on the left is the arms of his mother, Philippa of Hainault,* Quarterly, 1 and 4, Or a lion rampant sable; 2 and 3, Or a lion rampant gules.

As much as I enjoy seeing the heraldry used here, to have lost a son at so young an age is a tragedy.

* Yes, I know that technically speaking they are the arms of the province or county of Hainault used by Philippa's father, William I, Count of Hainault. Can we stop nitpicking now, and get back to enjoying the heraldry?

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Arms of an Archbishop?

Walter de Gray was the Archbishop of York 1215-1255, and Lord Chancellor 1205-1214. He has his own page on Wikipedia which outlines his life and work at

He was buried on 15 May 1255 at York Minster, His tomb is constructed of purbeck marble, and is thought to be the first canopied tomb in England.

The kneelers along each side of his tomb bear embroidered coats of arms within a decorative frame:

These arms appear to be Barry of six or and azure a bend gules.

I tried to discover whether these were the Archbishop's arms, and found the following that were similar, but not exact matches, in Burke's General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales:

Gray (William Gray, Esq., of York). Barry of six argent and azure on a bend gules three roses argent. Crest—On a chapeau a wyvern gules.

Gray (county Essex). Barry of six argent and azure a bend gules.

Grey (Lord Grey of Rotherfield; summoned to Parliament 1297; John, second lord, was one of the Founder Knights of the Garter, title passed to the Viscounts Lovel, attainted 1487; descended from [Lord Grey of] Codnor. Barry of six argent and azure in chief three torteaux, a bend gules.

Not having found any Gray/Grey arms that were Barry of six or and azure, I'm going to make make a wild guess, that the gold stripes on the arms on the kneelers should be white.

So certainly the arms here match a pattern of Gray arms, even from very early, of barry and a bend. But I never did find a confirmation that these arms are actually those of Archbishop Walter de Gray.

Still, it's heraldry, and its use here is likely appropriate.

All I have to do now is to find someone willing to embroider/crossstitch me a couple of kneelers with my arms on them. Not that I'd know what to do with kneelers here. (If I were a member of a small parish church in England, maybe, but here in Texas? Not so much.)