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.