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.)

Monday, February 19, 2024

An Heraldic Memorial to a Rear-Admiral

This next memorial dates to the early days of World War I.

Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Craddock (1862-1914) lost his life on November 1, 1914, in the Battle of Coronel, off the coast of Chile, a naval engagement between the Royal Navy and the German East Asia Squadron under Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee. There is a Wikipedia article which gives the story of the events leading up to, the course of, and the aftermath of the Battle of Coronel. It can be found on-line at:, and is well worth the read.

The inscription on the monument can say far better than I why Rear-Admiral Craddock is memorialized here (you can, of course, click on the image below to see a larger, and more readable, photograph of the insccription):

 At the top of the monument are the Rear-Admiral's arms:

His arms ar blazoned: Argent on a chevron sable three garbs or, a bordure wavy sable. His crest is A bear’s head sable muzzled gules charged with a bend sinister wavy or. And his motto is: Nec temere nec timide (Neither rashly nor timidly).*

The monument, sculpted by F. W. Pomeroy, was placed in York Minster on June 16, 1916.

* Although some of the Royal Navy sailors who died in the Battle of Coronel might not agree with the first half of his motto. Still, it was war, and I'm not going to play "armchair admiral" here and try to second-guess what the Rear-Admiral could've/should've done differently.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A Coat of Arms We Have (Partly) Seen Before

In today's post, we come to the arms of one of the Deans of York Minster, whose pronomial arms we have seen before on our way to visit the Cathedral. I am speaking, of course, of the arms of Arthur Perceval Purey-Cust.

You can refer back to my post of December 21, 2023 ( for the rendition of his pronomial arms impaled by those of the See of York (modern). (I didn't remark on it in that post, but that is a huge martlet "for difference" on those carved and painted arms!)

Anyway, here in the interior of the Minster is a large, carved, and brightly painted memorial to Dean Purey-Cust, set in the midst of a memorial to the "boys" of the Minster Choir who lost their lives in World War I and World War II.

Arthur Perceval Purey-Cust (born Cust) (1828-1916), was Dean of the Cathedral 1880-1916. He has his own entry on Wikipedia at where you can learn more about the man and his life.

This close-up of his memorial shows his quartered arms impaling those of his wife, Lady Emma Bliss Bligh.

The entire achievement would be blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Ermine on a chevron sable three fountains proper (Cust); 2, Or an escutcheon between eight martlets sable (Brownlow); and 3, Argent on a fess between three martlets sable three mullets argent (Pury/Purey), overall in chief a martlet sable for difference; impaling Azure a griffin segreant or armed and langued gules between three crescents argent (Bligh). Crest: A lion's head erased sable langued gules collared compony argent and sable (should be "compony argent and azure). The motto is: Esse quam videri (To be, rather than to seem).

The addition of the "martlet for difference" is, of course, the cadency difference for a fourth son.

Anyway, I found myself more than a bit overwhelmed by this memorial; the photographs here do not really do it justice. It really needs to be seen in person to get the full effect there in the cathedral.

But I hope that you can get a least a feel for how truly gorgeous this memorial is.

Monday, February 12, 2024

I Had That, and Now I Have This, Too!

Over the years I've had the opportunity to attend a number of conferences and heraldry society meetings which have included a formal banquet. And one of the features of these formal dinners is the oppoturnity to bring your own "table shield" or "table banner" to mark the place where you are sitting.

So some years ago I created a table banner of my own arms. Nothing too fancy; I mean, I printed the cardstock "banner" on my laser printed, and went to the local hobby/crafts store to get the materials to make the banner pole and stand.

And the results weren't too awful, if I do say so myself.

The "banner" wraps around (and is glued to) the pole, and so the arms show on both sides (just like on a real banner!). The pole has a round finial at the top, and slips into a hole drilled into the star (technically, I suppose, a "Lone Star", but then, I do live in Texas) that is glued to the round base. So it comes apart into two pieces for travelling, and I created a cardboard protective case for the banner itself, to help keep it from bending.

But I've had the urge to get something a little more professionally done, and finally decided it was time to do so.

So I contacted one of the members of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada who creates table shields (, and together we went through the consultation and design phases, and very shortly, just a few days ago, I received my new table shield in the mail.

It has my coat of arms (Argent two chevronels azure between three apples gules slipped and leaved proper) on one side,

and my crest (An apple tree proper fructed gules) on the other side:

Mr. Cowan decided to have a little fun with the crest; you'll note that one of the apples has fallen from the tree and is partially hiding behind the torse. I think it's a nice "addition" to the crest!

Clearly, the new table shield is larger than the old table banner, and is certainly less susceptible to the dangers of traveling (e.g., getting bent or broken in the luggage), and it comes with its own felt carrying bag (something my homemade table banner lacks).

Given the quality of the new table shield, it was less expensive that I had feared it would be, and I am as happy as I could possibly be with it.

I can hardly wait for the oppoturnity to attend a conference and set it up at my place at the banquet!

Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Arms of an Earl

Underneath one of the towers in York Minster is placed an armorial plaque commemorating the gifts and skills of those who saved the tower from collapse.

At the very top of this plaque are the arms of York Minster (modern), followed by the inscription:

With Thanksgiving to God
for those whose gifts and skills
saves this tower from collapse
and especially to
Lawrence Rogert Lumley
Eleventh Earl of Scarbrough K.G.
First High Steward of York Minster

At the base of the marker are the arms of the Earl:

His arms are blazoned: Argent a fess gules between three popinjays vert collared gules. (Burke's Peerage notes that these are the arms of the Thwengs, apparently assumed by Marmaduke de Lumley (1341-1365) instead of the original arms of the Lumleys, which were six popinjays.) The crest is: A pelican in piety in her nest proper. The supporters are: Two parrots wings addorsed and inverted vert. (Yeah, as depicted here, they look a little more like eagles to me, too.) And the motto is: Murus aeneus conscientia sana (A sound conscience is a wall of brass).

Lawrence Roger Lumley, K.G., (1896-1969), 11th Earl of Scarborough, MP for York, and as noted above, the First High Steward of York Minster.

He married Katherine Isobel McEwen, sister of Sir John McEwen, 1st Baronet, on 12 July 1922 at St. Margaret's, Westminster.* They had five children: one son, who succeeded as the 12th Earl, and four daughters.

Like Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales Edward Albert, whose cyphers we have seen before in the Philosophical Society's garden, Lumley was a Patron of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society.

* St. Margaret's, which stands next to Westminster Abbey in greater London, has a personal family connection, as my 11th great-grandparents, John Bray and Margaret Haslonde, were married in St. Margaret's on August 13, 1553. Both John and Margaret (Haslonde) Bray were also baptized, and later buried, at St. Margaret's, and all of their eight children were baptized there. So, as I said, a personal family connection.

Monday, February 5, 2024

So, This Happened

If you've been a regular reader here, then you know that I've been researching and writing and teaching about heraldry for a long time. I don't do it for any potential accolades; even the title of this blog informs you that I believe heraldry is "an esoteric topic".

So imagine my surprise when I was emailed to inform me about this little item shortly before it was posted on the American Heraldry Society Facebook page:

Did I expect anything like this? No, I did not. It had never even crossed my mind as a possibility.

I am deeply humbled that my work in the field of heraldry has been considered worthy of this honor.

Admittedly, it's not the only recognition I have received in this field over the years.

On September 19, 2019, I was elected an Associate member of the Académie internationale d'héraldique, and even way back in December 2006 (long enough ago that I had pretty much forgotten about it, way back there in the mists of time) I was elected a Fellow of the International Association of Amateur Heralds.

Anyway, it is deeply humbling to be honored by people whose work in heraldry I have long admired and which works I believe well surpasses my own little contributions to the field.

I will try to live up to be worthy of the honors that have been granted me. So you're probably going to be stuck reading this blog for quite some time to come!

Thursday, February 1, 2024

A Tale of Two Archbishops

Well, not a "tale", exactly, but certainly the arms of two archbishops.

On the raised pulpit in the nave in York Minster we find the personal arms of two different Archbishops of York, each impaled as is the custom with the arms of the See of York.

Immediately above is a closer view of the pair of shields.

In each instance, the arms of the See of York are as we have seen before: Gules two keys in saltire wards to chief argent in chief a crown or.

The arms should have a Royal crown in chief, but as A Guide to the Heraldry in York Minster notes on page 13, "Nineteenth cenntur antiquarian studies, which confused See of York Modern with the earlier attrigbuted arms of St. Peter ..., led to the appearance of a curious pointed cap instead of the crown. This can be seen on some modern furnishings, e.g. nave pulpit."

On the left, and immediately above, we have the arms of the See of York impaling those of Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth (1864-1945), Archbishop of York 1909-1928, and Archbishop of Canterbury 1928-1942. If you would like to know more about him, he has a large entry in Wikipedia at

His personal arms as painted here would be blazoned: Quarterly per fess indented argent and sable, in dexter chief an open book argent edged or and inscribed sable, in sinister base two leaves in fess vert, overall a crescent gules.

However, the blazon of these arms given in the Lambeth Palace Library Research Guide differs in significant ways from what is emblazoned here in the Minster. The blazon from the Research Guide is: Quarterly per fess indented argent and sable, in the first quarter an open book proper leaved gules in the last quarter two dock leaves vert. That blazon drops the crescent entirely, fixes the "no metal upon metal" tincture violation, and specifies the type of leaves.

And on the right, and immediately above, we have the arms of the See of York impaling the personal arms of  William Temple (1881-1944), Archbishop of York 1929-1942, whose entry in Wikipedia can be found at:

Archbishop Temple's arms, which as painted here match the blazon found elsewhere, are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or, an eagle displayed sable; 2 and 3, Argent, two bars sable each charged with three martlets or.