Thursday, July 11, 2024

The Syme Window in York Minster


This next armorial window in York Minster, which I seem to be in the definite minority in wanting to call the Syme Window, is especially interesting to me because I do not seem to be able to identify with any confidence the two (or is it three?) coats of arms contained in it.


The lower right panel containing a marshaled shield, states that:

This window, which
disappeared in the year
1657, was reconsstituted
1951 mainly from panels
intruded 1658 into the
Chapter House; & replaced by
John Stuart Syme, Architect,
in memory of his wife
Adelaide Philippa 1872-1951.
It was completed 1960 to
commemorate John Stuart Syme
1872-1958 architect in this
City for 52 years

John Stuart Syme (1872-1958) was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a member of the Diocesan Committee of York, of York Civic Trust and of the Royal Archaeological Institute. By the post-war period, he was affectionately referred to as 'Dinky Dime' by some members of his staff. More information about Mr. Syme's career as an architect can be found on-line at: https://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=203537

However, ,while little enough can be found on-line about Mr. Syme, I have found even less about the marshaled coats of arms in the window, and nothing at all about Mrs. Syme.


Here's what I have:

The husband's arms in this panel are Azure a garb or, but these arms do not belong to Syme that I can find. They are best known as the arms of Grosvenor.

The wife's arms in this panel appear to be Gules a chevron ermine between three round buckles or. They pertain to the Barber family. Without knowing the family surname of Adelaide (or, for that matter, anything else about her), I am unable to confirm that she was a member of the Barbers who bore this coat of arms.

The crest, if that is what it is, floating above the shield, is entirely indeterminable. It looks most like a blue triangle with a red demi-roundel surmounting it from its base, but I cannot tell what it is supposed to be beyond that probablly incorrect guess.

Ah, but then, I mentioned that there may be a third coat of arms in this window, didn't I? Seen five times in this window, we find this lozenge:


My guess at a blazon would be: Argent an estoile within a bordure gules charged with four roses or in cross between eight roses argent. The design is repeated in the clear parts of the window, which is really kind of cool.

But, cool or not, I have been unable to find where this coat of arms comes from, to what family it might belong, or anything else about it.

Is this Mrs. Symes' paternal coat of arms? Then whose coat of arms is that on the wife's side of the marshaled coat?

I'm afraid that this window has left me with many more questions than answers. Of course, with no real answers at all, that's not a high bar to reach. Indeed, it may very well be that Weir, the author, has the same questions, as this window and Syme appear nowhere in A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster.

Do you know about any of these arms? If you do, please share in the comment section. I would love to know more!

Monday, July 8, 2024

The Mauley Window in York Minster


One of the tricky bits about identifying all of the coats of arms in the stained glass windows in York Minster is the dearth of good sources regarding those windows. The sources that I have to hand are the booklet A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster by Y.E. Weir, published in 1986, and A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster by John Browne, published in 1859 and reprinted in 1917. The first is a very good general guide, but it leaves out a lot of the windows entirely, and sometimes misidentifies those arms it does include. The latter, of course, was written more than 160 years ago, and much has changed in the Minster during that time: windows have been replaced, shields have been moved around, and new coats of arms have been added. What you have here in the identifications of these coats of arms is a combination of reliance on Browne with frequent reference to Weir, along with additional researches in Papworth’s Ordinary of British Armorials and the four-volume Dictionary of British Arms. Of course, these last two sources also do not help with identifying the newer coats of arms which have been added in more recent years.

With that caveat, we come now the to stained glass window in York Minster known as the Mauley Window. This window is thought to have been donated by Archdeacon Stephen Mauley, perhaps in remembrance of his brothers Peter and Edmund.


The three rows of shields, beginning with the topmost row, and going from left to right, are:


France ancient (Azure semy-de-lys or); England (Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or); and, in what is likely an error for Spain (Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules a tower triple-towered or (Castile); 2 and 3, Argent a lion rampant gules (sometimes purpure) crowned or (Leon)), Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules a tower triple-towered or (Castile); 2 and 3, Azure a dolphin argent.

Weir believes that this quarter is Dauphiné, in error for Leon, but Dauphiné is Or a dolphin azure finned gules, so I don't know why he believes that. In any event, the shield is most certainly not Spain, although it certainly may be meant to represent Spain.

In the middle row of shields, we see:


Trehouse, Vair a maunch gules; Anthony de Bek, bishop of Durham, Gules a cross moline ermine; and Piers de Mauley, Or a bend sable.

Finally, in the lowest row of shields, which I am going to separate into individual paragraphs because of the issue of identifying the center shield, we find:


Malbis, Argent a chevron between three roe’s heads erased gules;

Wake (per Browne) or Coleville (per Weir), Or a fess and in chief three roundels gules. Burke’s General Armory does cite “Colvile (Yorkshire). Or a fess gules in chief three torteaux”. The Dictionary of British Arms, Vol. III, cf. “Or a fess and in chief three roundels gules” notes these arms for some Beterle/Butterleys, a bunch of Colevilles, and three Wakes (one of whom is “Lord Wake”). Either Colville or Wake is possible, but given the placement of these arms elsewhere in the Minster immediately next to Wake (Or two bars and in chief three roundels gules), I suspect that Wake may be a little more likely than Coleville; and

William le Vavasour (d. 1311), Lord of Hazelwood, Or a dance sable.

Finally, and this is something I failed to notice at the time, and so failed to take a separate photograph of them, just above the bottom row of shields are three panels, each with two kneeling figures holding up two coats of arms. You can see much of these figures in the photograph of the bottom row of shields, and of course you can click on the image of the full window above to see the full-sized photograph which you can then zoom in on this row of figures.

Weir identifies the kneeling figures, two in each panel, from left to right, as:

Robert Mauley, a younger brother;
Peter Mauley of Mulgrave Castle, the eldest brother, died 1310;

Archdeacon Stephen Mauley, died 1317;
Peter de Trehouse, or Maloleau (Mauley), the great grandfather of the brothers, who married the heuiress to Mulgrave Castle from whom the gold and black Mauley arms were inherited;

Edmund Mauley, killed at Bannockburn, 1314; and
John Mauley, a younger brother.

All of the shields with the exception of Peter de Trehouse, who is holding the Trehouse arms of Vair a maunch gules, are differenced and undifferenced versions of the Mauley arms, Or a bend sable.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

We Declared Our Independence! Now What? I Know, a Coat of Arms


Late on the afternoon of July 4, 1776, the same day as the official date of the Declaration of Independence which had been adopted two days before, the Continental Congress of the newly-declared United States of America appointed three members of the committee of five which had drafted the Declaration (Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson), as follows:

"Resolved, That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to prepare a device for a Seal for the United States of America."

Over the course of the next month, these three gentlemen considered several possible designs, and on August 20, 1776, presented to Congress their final design, to wit:


“The great seal should on one side have the arms of the United States of America, which arms should be as follows:

“The shield has six quarters, parti one, coupé two. The 1st Or, a Rose enameled gules and argent for England; the 2nd Argent, a Thistle proper for Scotland; the 3d Vert a Harp Or for Ireland; the 4th Azure a Flower de luce Or for France; the 5th Or the Imperial Eagle Sable for Germany; and the 6th Or the Belgic Lion Gules for Holland, pointing out the countries from which these States have been peopled. The Shield within a border Gules entwined of thirteen Scutcheons Argent linked together by a chain or, each charged with the initial letters Sable, as follows: 1st M.B., 2nd N.H., 3d R.I., 4th C., 5th N.Y., 6th N.J., 7th P., 8th D.C., 9th M., 10th V., 11th N.C., 12th S.C., 13th G., for each of the thirteen independent States of America.”

The initials stood for: Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware Chesapeake, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. With supporters (Liberty and Justice), a crest of the Eye of Providence in a radiant triangle, and the motto, E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one.”

Congress’ action on this proposal? The Journal of Congress entry dated August 27th, 1776, notes: “the committee appointed to prepare a device for the Great Seal of the United States, brought in the same with the explanation thereof. Ordered to lie on the table.”

Apparently, rather like us, Congress was not impressed by the submitted design.

Two more committees and nearly six years later, the arms of the United States were approved on June 20, 1782. Here is how they appear on the reverse of the $1 bill today:


The arms on the breast of the eagle are blazoned Paly of thirteen* argent and gules a chief azure.




* Some heraldry enthusiasts get all "up in arms" (pardon the pun) about that blazon, which has come under criticism nearly since its original publication until today.

Much of that criticism is based on English blazon practice, as summarized in James Parker’s A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry:

Paly: when the field is divided by perpendicular lines into an even number of equal parts, the first of which is generally a metal, and that last of a colour. An uneven number … would be blazoned as of so many pales.

A difficulty with blazoning the arms of the United States in this manner is that the emblazon might not be reproduced accurately from the blazon. For example, many depictions of Argent six pallets Gules a chief Azure have the red stripes (the charges) significantly narrower than the white ones (the field), but such depictions lose the symbolism of having thirteen equally wide stripes, representing the thirteen original states of the union.

Then, too, as early as September 1786, in the Columbian Magazine, in “Remarks and Explanation” believed to be by William Barton, we find: “It is not consistent with the dignity of an imperial state, that its armorial insignia must necessarily be blazoned according to the general rules of blazonry prescribed by heralds.” Or in other words, “It’s ours, and we can blazon it however we like. So there.” Not the most convincing argument, I believe, but there it is nonetheless.

And finally, as John Gibbon stated in 1682, a full century earlier, in his Introductio ad Latinam Blasoniam:

Foreigners make no matter, neither in Paly, Barry, nor Bendy, whether the pieces be even or odd, provided they be of an equal latitude.

So, naysayers of the Eighteenth – or the Twenty-First – Centuries to the contrary notwithstanding, it seems, to me at least, that Paly of thirteen Argent and Gules a chief Azure is an accurate and acceptable blazon for the arms of the United States, one which will permit a faithful reproduction of the emblazon by any heraldic artist who follows it.

Monday, July 1, 2024

A Stained Glass Armorial Window That Is Truly a Family Affair


Having finished our tour of the Chapter House and its armorial stained glass windows, we find ourselves back out in the main body of York Minster, and looking at this window:


This is the Peter de Dene Window in the cathedral and it's a real family gathering.

We'll start at the top:


In the center of the three lights, at the top just below the roundel, we have in a small shield the attributed arms of St. Peter (not a relative), Gules two keys in saltire wards upwards or.

Then, in the top row of shields, from left to right, the arms of: the Emperor Frederick II (King Edward I’s uncle), Or a double-headed eagle displayed sable; the arms of King Edward I,  being England, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or); and Margaret of France (King Edward’s second wife), Azure semy-de-lys or (France ancient).


Further below, in the center row of shields, again left to right: the arms of Eleanor of Provence (Edward’s mother), Paly or and gules; Richard of Cornwall, King of Rome (Edward’s uncle), Or an eagle displayed sable beaked and membered gules; and finally, Eleanor of Castile (Edward’s first wife), Quarterly Castile and Leon.


Finally, in the bottom row of shields, we have but two: on the left, the Kingdom of Jerusalem (held for a time by Edward’s uncle Frederick II), Argent a cross potent between seven crosses potent or; and on the right, Joan of Navarre (Edward’s sister-in-law), Gules an escarbuncle of chains or (though there is a lot of white in amongst the gold of the "chains" here).

As I said, a real family affair!

All that said, the particularly eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that there are a series of human figures flanking the central column of shields, each of whom is wearing a surcoat of arms. You may click on any of the images above to see a larger, more detailed photograph, which will show these figures and their surcoats more clearly. You may also recognize a number of these arms from having seen them elsewhere in the cathedral.

Starting at the top of this column, in the first detail photograph, flanking the arms of England, we have*: on the left, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller; and on the right, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

Below those two figures, we find: on the left, the King of France; and on the right, the King of England.

Beneath those, in the second detail photo, we see: on the left, the Queen of France, and on the right, the Queen of England.

Underneath those, we have: on the left, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, King Edward I's brother; and on the right, the chevrons of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester.

Below those two figures, we find: on the left, the well-known checky arms of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey; and on the right, the fess between crosses crosslet of Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.

Beneath those, in the third detail image, we see: on the left, William, Lord Roos, Gules three water bougets argent; and on the right, John, Lord Mowbray, Gules a lion rampant argent.

And finally, underneath those, we have: on the left, Robert, Lord Clifford, Checky azure and or a fess gules; and on the right, Henry, Lord Percy, Or a lion rampant azure.

Didn't notice them? Please go back and take a closer look!





* The identifications have been taken from Weir's A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster, but following my own advice from an earlier post, I confirmed them in other sources.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 7 of 7 (the Southwest Window)


Alas, all good things must come to an end, and so it is that with this post, we come the last of the stained glass windows in the Chapter House in York Minster.


In the rose window at the top, instead of the arms of England that we have come to see in this position in so many other of the windows in the Chapter House, here we find the arms of France ancient, Azure semy-de-lys or. Immediately below the arms of France, we see the arms of Tatteshale, Checky gules and or a chief ermine, for Robert de Tatteshale or Tattershall, Lord of Buckenham.

In the rose window on the left, we have another example of France ancient. And immediately below those arms, we see the arms of FitzAlan, Barry or and gules.

In the rose window on the right, we find another shield of France ancient. Below that shield we have the arms of Percy ancient, Azure five fusils conjoined in fess or. (The Percy arms are also somtimes blazoned as Azure a fess fusilly or, or even as Azure a fess indented or.)

There is no coat of arms in the small rose window on the left.

But in the small rose window on the right, we find the arms of Blanchminster or Oswaldston, co. Salop, one of the lordships of Fitz-Alan of Clun, Argent fretty gules, or sometimes Argent a fret gules.

And thus we come to the circumambulation (how often do you get to use that word in a conversation?) of the Chapter House in York Minster, and our review of the heraldry contained in the windows there.

I hope that you have enjoyed this part of our visit to see the heraldry in York Minster. But stay tuned! There is more to come.

Monday, June 24, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 6 of 7 (the South Window)


Moving right along ("footloose and fancy free"*), we come now to the south window in the Chapter House in York Minster.


Again, we start out in the top center rose window with the arms of England, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or. Immediately below England we have the arms of Charleton, Baron Charleton of Powys, Or a lion rampant gulesA Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster says that this shield is Percy ancient Or a lion rampant azure, which this clearly is not. Browne, in A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster, also identifies this coat as John Cherlton, Lord Powis, Lord Chamberlain to Edward II.

In the large rose window on the left, we again have the arms of  England, and and immediately below England, the arms of Balliol, Gules an orle argent.

In the large rose window on the right, we see yet another shield of the arms of England, and below it the arms of William de Greystoke, Gules three lozenges argent.

In the small rose window on the left, we have the arms of Percy (ancient), Azure five fusils conjoined in fess or, for either Henry de Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Alnwick (1273-1314) or his father, Henry de Percy, 7th Baron of Topcliffe (d. 1272).

In the small rose window on the right, we have a disagreement between our experts regarding this coat of arms, which I would blazon as Per fess or and sable a cross argent. (You can click on the image above to see the full-size photograph to see for yourself.) Weir, in  A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster, says that these are the arms of William Vesci. Browne, in A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster, says these arms these arms are “unknown, probably the field has been altered.”

Doing my own research, since we don't seem to have an agreement here, I find that most of the Vesci arms in the Dictionary of British Armorials are Or a cross sable. The only “per fess … a cross” in the DOBA is that of Svyluer (typo for Sylvuer perhaps?), Per fess argent flory sable and argent overall a cross sable, and the arms in this window are clearly not that.

Should we split the difference between our two experts and say that these are the arms of Willliam Vesci (per Weir), but that the field has probably been altered (per Browne)? I'm not entirely satisfied by doing that, but without another candidate for the arms as they appear in the south window, I don't know what else we can do.




* For those of you who don't recognize it right away, this is from one of the songs in The Muppet Movie (the first one). It's a sad fact of my life that if I ever hear, see, or even think the words "moving right along," what follows immediately in my head, if I don't end up singing it aloud, is "footloose and fancy free."

Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 5 of 7 (the Southeast Window)


Next up on our look at the seven windows in the Chapter House of York Minster, we come to the southeast window:


In the rose window at the center top, we have the arms of England, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or. Immediately below England, we have again the arms of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or a label of five tags azure each tag charged with three fleurs-de-lis or.

Below that, in the rose window on the left, we have once again the arms of England, immediately beneath which we see the arms of Peter de Montfort, Gules a lion rampant queue-forchy argent.

In the rose windwo on the right, we see another shield of the arms of England. Immediately beneath that shield, we have the arms of John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall, England within a bordure azure semy-de-lis or.

Browne, in his A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster, says this shield is that of Philippa of Hainault, King Edward III's Queen: England within a bordure azure semy-de-lys or. But Philippa of Hainault's arms as consort are generally given as Quarterly: 1 and 4, England (Quarterly England and France ancient); 2 and 3, Hainault (Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a lion rampant sable; 2 and 3, Or a lion rampant gules. So I pretty much have to go along with the identification of these arms by Weir in his A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster as those of John of Eltham.*

In the two smaller rose windows below, on the left we have the arms of Robert de Ros (d. 1285), Gules three water bougets argent, and on the right the arms of William de Ros (d. 1316), also Gules three water bougets argent.




* These "battling identifications" from two different experts helps to demonstrate the need for the heraldic researcher to double-check every identification found and not simply accept the statement of an expert. Because, as I have found on several different occasions, the experts, and even such a luminary as Sir Anthony Wagner, quondam Garter King of Arms, as I found by doing my own research on one occasion, may be incorrect in something they say about an heraldic matter.

Monday, June 17, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 4 of 7 (the East Window)


Continuing our clockwise circumlocution of the Chapter House in York Minster, we come to the East Window.


In the rose window at the top, we see the arms of England, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or, and immediately below, the arms of Roger Bigod, Earl Marshal of England, Per pale or and vert a lion rampant gules.

Below those arms, in the rose window on the left we have the arms England repeated, just above those of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, Gules a fess between six crosses crosslet or.

And in the rose window on the right, we see the arms of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, England (Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or) with a label of three tags azure each tag charged with three fleurs-de-lis or. And immediately below Edmund's arms, we find the arms identified by both Weir in A Guide to the Heraldry of York Minster and Browne in A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster as those of Ralph de Bulmer. However, the Bulmer arms are Gules billety a lion rampant or, but the arms shown in the window are simply Gules a lion rampant or, and thus lacking the strewn billets on the field. (You can click on the image above to go to the full-size photograph to check for yourself.)

So, we have to ask: did the stained glass painter make an error by accidentally leaving out the golden billets on the field, or are these actually meant to be the arms of FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel, whose arms, Gules a lion rampant or, appear elsewhere in the Minster?

Far be it from me to say that I know more than the two knowledgeable sources cited above, but really, I'm not seeing the billets of Bulmer in the window. (You can click on the image above to go to the full-size photograph to check for yourself.) And so if it's not a mistake of the stained glass window painter, then I have to think that these are not the arms of Bulmer, but rather those of the Earl of Arundel.

Finally, here in the East Window of the Chapter House, the two small rose windows do not contain coats of arms, unlike the other windows here. The small rose window on the left contains a face or bust, and I cannot make out what is supposed to be in the small rose window on the right. But in neither case is it a coat of arms.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 3 of 7 (the Northeast Window)


Continuing along to the next (the northeast) window in the Chapter House, we find these coats of arms:


Following the same general pattern for the arrangement of coats of arms that is followed in all of the windows, here in the rose window at the top, we see the arms of England, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or, here, too, placed on aground of blue, the shield flanked by two golden fleurs-de-lis. Immediately below England, we have the arms of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or a label of five tags azure each tag charged with three fleurs-de-lis.

Below those two coats of arms, in the large rose window on the left, we have repeated the arms of England, also on a ground of France. Immediately below that coat of arms, we find another copy of the arms of Warenne, Checky or and azure.

In the large rose window on the right, we see yet another copy of the arms of England on a ground of France. Immediately below that coat, we see the arms of William de Ros, Gules three water bougets argent. The ground for his arms are blue, with a gold garb of wheat on each side.

Further below, in the small rose window on the left, we see the arms of Clare, Or three chevrons gules, which we have seen elsewhere in the Minster.

And in the small rose window on the right, we find the arms of Ralph Neville, Lord of Raby, Gules a saltire argent.

Monday, June 10, 2024

It's International Heraldry Day!


Greetings on International Heraldry Day! International Heraldry Day is the one day each year the entire heraldic community celebrates worldwide the wonderful science, art, and tradition that is heraldry, no matter the origin, group, or tradition from whence your heraldry originates!


(The image above by by Danilo Carlos Martins, 2023)

The goal of the original organizers of International Heraldry Day is that eventually all heraldry enthusiasts will acknowledge the event in the years to come. The celebration was started in 2013 by the International Association of Amateur Heralds (IAAH).


Why was June 10 selected? Because on that day in the year 1128, Geoffrey Plantagenet was knighted by his future father-in-law, Henry I Beauclerc, in Rouen. Suspended on the neck of the young knight was shield of blue decorated six golden lions. That shield was later borne by Geoffrey's grandson, William Longspee, and is generally recognized as the fully formed coat of arms.


So come and celebrate with heralds from around the globe, and with me, the wonderful, colorful world of heraldry on this special day!

"It’s like lions and unicorns and sinisters and rampants and shit and we’re like all over the slogans in Elvish and that yeah!"


Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 2 of 7 (the North Window)


Continuing our circular perambulation around the Chapter House in York Minster, we come to the heraldry in the North window.

Again, you can click on the image below to go to a larger, more detailed photograph.


In the rose window at the top, we have the arms of England (on a ground of azure, with two fleurs-de-lis or), and immediately below it, the arms of Gilbert de Clare, senior, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford (d. 1295), or Gilbert de Clare, junior, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford (d. 1314), Or three chevrons gules.

In the large rose window on the left, we have the arms of Robert de Clifford or Thomas Clifford, Checky or and azure a fess gules. Immediately below that are the arms (again) of Gilbert de Clare, senior, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford (d. 1295), or Gilbert de Clare, junior, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford (d. 1314), Or three chevrons gules.

In the large rose window on the right, we have the arms of England (without the background of France), Gules three lions passant guardant in pale or. And immediately below England, we see the arms of Warenne, Checky or and azure. Browne, in his book A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster says these should be the arms of John de Dreux, Checky or and azure a canton ermine, but there is clearly no canton of any tincture there.

In the small rose window on the left we have once again the arms of Warrenne, Checky or and azure.

In the small rose window on the right, Weir's A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster says this shield is Warrenne, but I am not at all sure that it is even a coat of arms at all! Browne does not note it, stating that in this window there are “only seven shields.”

It's always interesting, even if not at all fun, to try to mediate between two different knowledgeable authors to come to a conclusion about something that I am looking at with my own eyes. And in this instance, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with Browne, and say that this last is not a coat of arms, and that there are only seven coats in this window.

What do you think?

Monday, June 3, 2024

The Heraldic Glass in the Chapter House of York Minster: Part 1 of 7 (the Northwest Window)


Beginning with this post, we are going to visit each of these seven windows in the Chapter House in the order I photographed them, turning to the one immediately to the left of the entrance (that is, on the northwest wall) first and then moving about the circular Chapter House in a clockwise direction, photographing the windows on the north, northeast, east, southeast, south, and southwest, the entrance being in the western wall.

All of the windows in the Chapter House follow the same pattern: three small rose windows at the top, each containing two coats of arms, one placed immediately above the other, and below them a trefoil-shaped window between to smaller rosette windows, with each of the latter containing a single coat of arms.

And, as I found out while researching the Chapter House windows, you can't always trust your sources at face value. While Weir's A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster (published in 1986) on p. 75 gives identifications of the arms in these windows, they are not always correct in comparison with the identifications in the (harder to read, admittedly) book by John Browne, A Description of the Representations and Arms on the Glass in the Windows of York Minster, published in 1859. Where the two differ, I tend to go with Browne, who often speaks of some of the symbols flanking some of the shields, lending support to his identifications.

As Browne tells us in his book, “Interspersed with the arms of England, placed in the heads of the windows of the Chapter House, are the arms of the principal commanders of the English army either against the invading Scots, or at the Battle of Crecy with the King [Edward III] in 1346.”

And so, on to the heraldic glass in the first window!  (Feel free to click on the image below to see the full-size photograph in better detail.)


The two shields at the top of the window are the arms of the See of York, Gules two keys in saltire wards to chief argent in chief a royal crown or, immediately beneath which are the arms of John de Greystoke (d.s.p. 1306) or William de Greystoke (father of John), Gules three lozenges argent.

In the larger rose window on the left, we have what should be the arms of Gilbert de Clare, Or three chevrons gules, but which is glazed as Chevronny gules and azure. Immediately below is the arms of Percy (ancient), which should be Azure a fess fusilly or, but which is glazed as Azure a fess fusilly gules. It was Henry, 1st Baron Percy of Alnwick, who changed his arms from Percy ancient to Percy modern, Or a lion rampant azure.) In both of these windows, the glaziers seem to have substituted blue for gold (that is, azure for or).

In the large rose window on the right, we have the arms of Balliol, Gules an orle argent (here glazed as Azure an orle argent). Immdiately beneath The Balliol shield we have what Weir tentatively identifies as Latimer (who bear Gules a cross patonce argent) , but which  Browne says should be the arms of William Vesci, who also bears Gules a cross patonce argent. In either case they are glazed here as Azure a cross [not really patonce, but not pomelly, either] argent, which is incorrect for either Latimer or Vesci.

In the smaller rose window on the lower left, we see the arms which Weir identifies as FitzAlen of Bedale,, but which Browne identifies as FitzAlan of Clun. In either case, these arms, glazed as Gules three bars or should properly be Barry of eight or and gules.

And in the smaller rose window on the lower right, we have the arms of John de Greystoke (d.s.p. 1306) or his father, William de Greystoke, Gules three lozenges argent.

And that's the firrst of the seven windows in the Chapter House in York Minster. Next time, we'll look at the heraldry in the north window!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arms and Other Symbols in the Choir of York Minster, Part 3 of 3


Today is the last of our series of three posts on the heraldry and heraldry-like designs that appear in the choir of York Minster.

Scholarum de Cantu (the York Choir School), with the arms of St. George: Argent a cross gules.


Canonicus Laicus (lay canon), South Cave: Gules in pale three Saxon crowns or.


Stillington: Azure a cross recercely issuing from its base a pair of anchor flukes all or. Admittedly, the cross here appears to be copper-colored, but copper as an heraldic tincture only appears (so far) in the heraldry of Canada, not of England, so I went with the closest heraldic metal, gold.


2192: Ulleskelf: Sable a Maltese cross (?) azure and argent. Here again, as we had twice in my previous post, a cross that is not quite quarterly and not quite gyronny. Even after more research, I still don't know how to blazon its division. Still, it's pretty, if not quite heraldic.


Unnamed: Azure a crozier sable surmounted by a pallium or charged with four crosses paty fitchy sable. If the pallium were white instead of gold, this would be the See of York ancient? (or possibly the Archbishopric of Canterbury). As it is, I cannot make a firm identification for this design.


And finally, saving what may be the least traditionally heraldic for last, the Provincial Canon, or Canonicus Provincialis: Azure a fish leaping to sinister within the horns of a crescent of net bendwise sinister all argent. This design matches in style with some of the modern heraldic designs from Scandinavia and Greenland, but it's not traditional English heraldry by any stretch of the imagination. (Still, I was able to come up with a blazon for it, which is more than I can say for three of the crosses from today and last time!)


Until next time, enjoy!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Arms and Other Symbols in the Choir of York Minster, Part 2 of 3


Today is the second of three posts on the heraldry and other quasi-heraldic items found in the choir stalls in York Minster.

You will note that some of these are somewhat less heraldic than others.

Botevant, with a lesser-known attributed arms of St. Peter: Sable a rooster turned to sinister or beaked wattled and marked gules.


Ampleforth, with the arms of St. Hilda: Azure three serpents coiled or. (We have seen these in our previous post, representing the Bishop of Whitby by way of the arms of Whitby Abbey.) The coiled snakes are really ammonite fossils. According to legend, Abbess Hilda of Whitby Abbey rounded up the serpents that swarmed around the abbey. She hurled them from the cliffs, where they lost their heads and turned into stones.


Apesthorp: Azure an escarbuncle argent.


Bilton: Azure a cross (?) or and gules. I am at somewhat of a loss as to how to blazon this cross. It is almost quarterly and almost gyronny, without being either. (We run into exactly this same issue with the emblem for Knaresborough, below.) It's a pretty design, but I don't know how to blazon it.


Canonicus Laicus, Wilton: Argent on a lozenge azure a cross moline argent charged in the center with a delf bendwise argent marked sable. I have to admit, I don't know what the charge in the center of the cross is supposed to be. I was more than half-tempted to blazon it a "Rubik's cube", but have manfully resisted right until typing this comment.


Knaresborough: Sable a Maltese cross (?) argent and azure. As with Bilton, above, I don't know how to blazon the division of the cross here. It's pretty, but blazoning it is a problem.


Next time, the final part of the heraldry and quasi-heraldry in the choir at York Minster.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Arms and Other Symbols in the Choir of York Minster, Part 1 of 3


The Choir of York Minster is not without its own heraldic (and quasi-heraldic) decorations.

And we're going to cover many of those in this series of three blog posts. (Broken up so as to avoid making one very, very long post!)

First, here's an general view of some of the choir stalls, so you can see generally how these needlework emblems were placed in the stalls and (most of them) identified with name plaques above them.


First, representing the Bishop of Selby, the arms of Selby Abbey: Sable three swans proper.


The, representing the Bishop of Hull, the emblem carved on roof of Holy Trinity Church, Hull: Gules three annulets interlaced one and two argent.


The Bishop of Whitby, with the arms of Whitby Abbey (and the attributed arms of St. Hilda, d. 680): Azure three serpents coiled or.


The Bishop of Beverly, represented by the arms of Beverly Minster: Argent a crozier sable enfiling a crown argent all within a bordure sable charged with twelve bezants. Other versions of these arms that I have seen make the crown gold and the roundels on the bordure white.


Bugthorp, with the arms of St. Andrew: Azure a saltire argent.


And finally, Langtoft, with the arms of Stt Peter: Gules two keys in saltire wards to chief argent.


Next time, more heraldry from more choir stalls!

Monday, May 20, 2024

"I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General"


Well, sure, the inscription on our next memorial says "Lt.-General", which outranks a Major-General, but in addition to not scanning as well if you are singing the line from Gilbert and Sullivan (as I did repeatedly while researching this memorial), other sources give the rank of the man being memorialized as "Major-General".*


The website https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Charles_Daniell informs us that Major-General Charles Frederick Torrens Daniell CB (1827-1889) was a British Army General holding high office in the 1880s.

Born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, the youngest son of Thomas Daniell of Aldridge Lodge, Staffordshire and Little Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire and of Mary née Smith of the Smith banking family, Daniell was commissioned into the 38th Regiment of Foot.

He served as a Major in the Crimea with the 38th Regiment of Foot.

In 1884 he was invited to command an Infantry Brigade at Malta and then in 1886 he was appointed General Officer Commanding Northern District. He remained in this post until 1889.

He died on 26 July 1889 in Beaufort Gardens, South Kensington. There is a beautiful memorial to him in York Minster created from sculpted stonework with inscriptions around oaken doors in the area leading to the vestry. [This is the memorial we are looking at in today's post.]

In 1849 he married Charlotte Vernon, and then in 1856 he married Mary Smith, his first cousin: they had one daughter.


The memorial was erected by their daughter Constance and her husband Charles Graves-Sawle, whose initials appear in the inscription on the plaque, which also notes that York Minster is the church where they were married (this last explains why this memorial is erected here).

There are two coats of arms on the memorial. The one on the left is that of Daniell, Argent a pale fusilly sable, for General Charles Frederick Torrens Daniell. 


The one on the right is Sawle quartering Graves, with Daniell in pretense; these are the arms of the general’s daughter, Constance née Daniell, and her husband, Captain Charles Graves-Sawle. They are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 3, Azure three falcon's heads erased within a bordure or (Sawle); 2 and 3, Gules an eagle displayed in chief a mural crown [Burke's General Armory says it should be a naval crown] between two bombs or fired proper (Graves); overall an inescutcheon Argent a pale fusilly sable (Daniell).**






* "The seeming incongruity that a lieutenant general outranks a major general (whereas a major outranks a lieutenant) is due to the derivation of major general from sergeant major general, which was a rank subordinate to lieutenant general (as a lieutenant outranks a sergeant major)." (per Wikipedia)

** As General Daniell's only child was a daughter, in English practice she became an heraldic heiress, allowing her husband to place her paternal arms on an inescutcheon on his shield, denoting that any children they have would be able to quarter their father's arms with their mother's. It may be that in this case, the Daniell arms would be placed in the third quarter, replacing one of the Graves' quarters. Unless the Graves-Sawle arms were deemed to be in impartible quartering, in which case the quarterly Graves-Sawle arms would be placed in their entirety in quarters one and four as a "grand quarrter," and the Daniell arms would be placed in quarters two and three. Ain't heraldry fun?

Thursday, May 16, 2024

A Life That Sounds Like a Movie


Or a least, a movie title, something along the lines of: The Bengal Lancers. Or the old 1950s TV series, "Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers."

But seriously, one of the things that I really enjoy about researching for and writing these posts is when I can find a lot of information about the person whose memory is being memorialized. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's a fascinating look back into history.

Today's armorial memorial is one of those.


This is the memorial to Major C.E.T. Oldfield, of the 5th Bengal Light Cavalry.

The inscription reads:

In memory of Christopher Edward Thomas Oldfield,
Companion of the Most Honorable
Order of the Bath,
Major of the Fifth Regiment
of Bengal Light Cavalry,
and Lieutenant Colonel of
the Army of India,
who after a service of
thirty years, distinguished by
his gallantry and conduct,
especially in the defence of
Jellalabad in 1842,
and in the battle of Maharajapore, in 1843,
died suddenly at Nakodah,
in the East Indies,
on the 16th of April 1850,
aged 45 years and 5 months.
This tablet is erected
by his brother Officers
of the 5th Regiment,
to mark their admiration
of his gallantry as a soldier,
and to record their regard for him
as an honorable man,
and a trusty generous friend.

And now for the history: https://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/5blcoldfield.htm informs us that:

"Christopher Edward Thomas Oldfield was born in Murshidabad, Bengal, on 17 Nov 1804. He was the son of Christopher Oldfield, BCS and Mary Johanna. He was educated in England and trained as a cadet from the age of 16. He arrived back in India on 25 May 1821 and was posted to the 5th Bengal Light Cavalry in July. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 13 May 1825 and was Interpreter and Quartermaster in the 5th BLC from 13 July 1825. He went on furlough from 1833 to 16 Dec 1835.

He served in the First Afghan War, in the operations against the Ghilzais in 1841 and at Kurutu on 5 Aug 1841. He commanded the rearguard on the march from Khurd Kabul to Tazin in October 1841, and at the actions at Tazin and Jagdalak. He commanded the detachment of 130 men during the siege of Jellalabad, and the action at Mamu Khel. He was given Brevet Major for his services in the war, and appointed Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General on 1 April 1842. He was given command of the 8th Irregular Cavalry in April 1842 and the 4th Irregular Cavalry in Dec 1842.

In the Gwalior Campaign he fought at Maharajpore, commanding the 4th Irregular Cavalry. He went on furlough from 10 Feb 1845 until 1 Nov 1849 when he rejoined the 5th BLC. He was awarded the CB [Companion to the Order of the Bath] on 4 Oct 1842. He died at Nakodar, Punjab, on 16 April 1850. The memorial plaque to him is in York Minster."

But, of course, it's really the heraldry that warrants him a place on this blog.


The coat of arms is a variant of Oldfield, of Oldfield, county Chester, substituting here a gold field for their silver: Or on a bend gules three crosses paty fitchy argent. The crest appears to be a variant of Oldfield of Bradfield, county Chester, substituting here proper for argent: A demi-eagle displayed proper.

Beneath the shield, we see Major Oldfield's medal as a Companion of the Order of the Bath, with its three crowns within a circlet charged with the words Tria Junca In Uno (Three joined in one).

It's a very nice monument, erected to the memory of a man by his brother officers, whose white stone really makes the coat of arms and crest stand out.

Monday, May 13, 2024

An Officer and a Knight


Yes, I know that the phrase is usually "an officer and a gentleman," but in this instance, the gentleman was knighted, so there you go.

Our next memorial to a military man in the crypt of York Minster is that of General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell and his wife, Louise Selina née Bonynge, who both died in 1929.


You can find out a lot more about the General's life and career on-line at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maxwell_(British_Army_officer).


The arms are blazoned: Argent a saltire between in chief a rest* sable and in base a holly leaf vert. The crest is: A stag proper attired argent,couchant before a holly bush proper. And the motto over the crest is: Reviresco (I grow strong again).

Both the crest and the motto are those of Clan Maxwell. The Clan does not currently have a chief (the last one, William Maxwell of Carruchan, died in 1863), and is considered by Lord Lyon to be an armigerous clan. The General’s arms are a differenced version of the Clan’s arms, which feature an argent field with a sable saltire.



* More frequently blazoned as a clarion, this charge, as Franklyn and Tanner tell us in their An Encyclopædic Dictionary of Heraldry, is "a primitive musical instrument, being a shepherd's pipe; in heraldic art, highly conentionalized. ... In the course of its history it has been mistaken for, and blazoned as, a lance-rest ..., and as a ship's rudder, and has numerous alternative terms: 'clarendon', 'claricimbal', 'claricord', 'clavecimbal', 'lance-rest', 'organ-rest', 'rest', 'rudder', and 'shepherd's pipes'; all except clarion and organ-rest are now obsolete."