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.)


  1. How big do you want them? -- Tadhg

    1. As I said, I wouldn't know what to do with armorial kneelers here.