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.

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