Thursday, October 10, 2019

An Officer and a Gentleman, Who Is Also a Field Marshal and an Earl

Our next armorial memorial is one erected by his friends to Field Marshal Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, Earl of Ypres.

A somewhat controversial figure over the course of his career, he entered WWI as basically a cavalry officer used to thinking of movement who found himself in a stagnant war of entrenchments. But go to his Wikipedia article (,_1st_Earl_of_Ypres) to get a better feel for the ups and downs of his career, as well as his strengths and his weaknesses.

The plaque on his memorial reads in full:

This memorial was

erected by his friends
in memory of
The Right Honble
Sir John Denton
Pinkstan French
Earl of Ypres
P.C.K. G.C.B. O.M. G.C.V.O. C.M.G.
Born 1852 – Died 1925
He commanded the British Army
in France from the outbreak of
the Great War to December 1915
His courageous leadership in
front of Ypres helped to save the
Allied Forces in the great crisis
~ of the War ~

Not sure how well his friends here really knew him, since they seem to have gotten his third name incorrectly. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage (1938), gives his name as John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres (created 5 June 1922), Viscount French of Ypres and of High Lake, county Roscommon (created 1 January 1916).

His arms are blazoned: Ermine a chevron sable [a crescent for difference] (which crescent does not appear on his achievement here). The shield is surmounted by an earl’s coronet. The crest is: A dolphin embowed proper (that is, vert detailed gules). The supporters to his shield are: Dexter, A lion guardant or supporting a staff proper with a banner of the Union; Sinister, A lion or supporting a staff proper with a banner paly of three sable or and gules. (In simpler terms, his supporters are the British lion holding the Union flag and the Belgian lion holding the Belgian flag.) The motto scroll, which doubles for the compartment, reads: Malo mori quam fœdari (Death rather than disgrace).

Monday, October 7, 2019

Two More Fotherby Memorials

In our post of September 23, we saw the arms of Priscilla Fotherby, marshaling those of her husband, William Kingsley.

Today, we look at the memorial with the arms of two different Thomas Fotherbys; one of them Priscilla's parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (Moyle) Fotherby.

Regarding the first Thomas Fotherby, annoyingly, the two photos I took of this floor slab were both badly blurred. (I always take at least two pictures of everything, because often enough, one of them is blurry. Here, apparently, I should have taken a third.)

Hic requiesunt cineres Dni Thomae Fotherby qui Thomae filius Martini nepos Episcopi Sarisbesiumsis. [Followed by a long, but alas, entirely unreadable in my photos, inscription all in Latin.] I did, however, manage to get an in-focus photo of the arms on the memorial:

These arms are blazoned: Gules a cross of nine lozenges at each end a fleur-de-lis or (Fotherby); impaled by Argent two bendlets azure within a bordure engrailed sable (Hamon)

The crest is A falcon wings expanded proper beaked or holding in its mouth an acorn or leaved vert.

For our next memorial with the Fotherby coat of arms, we have:

Here lieth the Body of Thomas Fotherby Esq son of
Martin, sometime Bishop of Sarum: he married Elizabeth
daughter of Robert Moyle of Buckwel Esq by whom he left
three children, Thomas, Priscilla, and Margaret: aged 65
Yeares, he died Novr 27 anno dom. 1674.

Martin Fotherby, S.T.P., Thomas’ father, was Canon of Canterbury 1596 and subsequently Bishop of Sarum. He died in 1619 and was buried in the Church of All Hallows, Lombard St. London where his monument was burnt with the church in the fire of 1666.

Among his three children mentioned is, of course, Priscilla, who married William Kingsley, and whose memorial we have seen before.

Here, the arms are blazoned: Gules a cross of nine lozenges at each end a fleur-de-lis or (Fotherby); impaled by Gules a mule passant within a bordure argent (Moyle)

The crest, once again, is A falcon wings expanded proper beaked or holding in its mouth an acorn or leaved vert.

The Moyle arms are, of course, canting; that is, they are a play on the name “Moyle” by having the primary charge of a “mule”.

Not everyone, not even all heraldic authors, share my enjoyment of cleverly done canting arms. Regarding "armes parlantes" or canting arms, James Dallaway, in his Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of the Science of Heraldry in England, 1793, p. 275, wrote:

Wriothesley and Barker abstained in a great measure from this practice in the concessions of arms which were made by them; but so congenial was it with the taste of king James and the fashions which he patronised, that many bearings of this description were assumed during his frivolous reign, some of which have been subsequently confirmed to their families by the college of heralds. Some respect may be due to the few instances of high antiquity, but they should be generally considered as of easy and vulgar application, and very widely deviating from the chast[e]ness and simplicity of pure heraldry.

Needless to say, I disagree. I find well-done canting arms to be appealing, but what do I know? (By way of full disclosure, my own coat of arms is a partial cant on my surname.)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Two Related Armorial Memorials in Canterbury Cathedral

Continuing our meandering path through Canterbury Cathedral, we came across these two armorial memorials in the floor, related because the wife of the one bears the same arms as the husband in the second.

The first is a memorial to Thomas Hill and his wife, Matilda (Elstob) Hill:

Johan: Hill, Salopien: Armigri et Annae unicae
Filiae et Hæredis Roberti Sontly de Sontly
prope Wrexham in Agro Denbigen Armigi
Filius natu maximus
Hic requiscit
Qui uxorem duxit Matildam Filiam
Caroli Elstob S.T.P. et hujus Eccles.
Ex qua Filios duos et totidem Filias
Mortem obiit die 23 Martii An:
Dom: 1734 Aetastis 42.
Filiarum Altera tantem superstes.
Matilda their daughter died an infant 1727.
Mrs Matilda Hill died May 17th 1779 aged 82.
Charles Hill died January 10th 1780 aged 40.

The marshaled arms of Thomas and Matilda Hill are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Ermine on a fess sable a castle triple-towered argent (Hill); 2 and 3, Ermine a lion rampant sable (Sonlly); impaled by Per pale gules and vert a fleur-de-lis argent (Elstob). Crest: A wolf’s head erased azure holding in its mouth a trefoil slipped vert. (The blazon of the crest comes from Fairbairn's Crests; I don’t know where Humphrey-Smith in his Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral found the “overlaid with two bars” on the wolf’s head he blazons there.)

There is a coat of arms found in Bolton’s American Armory in use by a Hill (Ermine on a fess sable a two-towered castle proper), but the crest is entirely different (Issuant from a tower two branches erect).

I do not find the "Sontly" inscribed on the memorial in any of the general references. I suspect that “Sontly de Sontly” is an error for “Sonlly”. (Well, unless the “Sonlly” in Burke’s General Armory is an error for “Sontly”. I mean, it's not like Burke's doesn't also contain errors.)

Then, nearby, we found a memorial to Charles Elstob, the father of Matilda (Estob) Hill of the previous memorial:

Canonicus hujas Ecclesiae
Obit 19 Novembris
Ao Dni 1721, Aetatis 74
et MATILDA uxor ejus
Obit 30 Junii
Ao 1739 Aetat 81.
Hoc tumulo condiuntur.

The blazon of the marshaled arms here is: Per pale gules and vert a fleur-de-lis argent (Elstob); impaled by Argent on a fess engrailed gules between three martlets sable three cinquefoils argent (Payne). Crest: A fleur-de-lis [argent].

Charles Elstob was Prebendary of Canterbury from 1685-1721. His will, probated March 5, 1722, is in the National Archives, Kew. He is less well-known than his niece and nephew, of whom he had guardianship, Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756), the Anglo-Saxon scholar, and William Elstob (1673-1715), cleric, both of whom have their own entries in the Dictionary of National Biography. Indeed, most of the information available on the internet about Charles Elstob is in his relationship to his niece and nephew.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Nothing Succeeds Like Excess

So, let's say that you are the Primate of a national church, for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury. And you want people not only to remember you after you pass on, but to remember you very positively. So you arrange for your burial and memorial to be in the best-known cathedral of that national religion, say, Canterbury Cathedral, a pilgrimage site for people from around the world. How would you impress your memory upon all of those pilgrims? By building something like this?

Ornate, colorful, and linking your memory directly to the most famous of your predecessors.

Yeah, that should do it!

The two coats of arms are, of course, those of William Warham (that is his portrait immediately above, by Hans Holbein), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1504-1532, which we have seen at least a couple of other times before, both in Canterbury and in the church of St. Mary-at-Lambeth in London (, Gules a fess or between in chief a goat's head erased and in base three escallops argent, and those of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to his martyrdom in this very cathedral in 1170, Argent three choughs sable beaked and legged gules.

So, he is gone, but not forgotten.

As I said, Nothing succeeds like excess.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Memorial to a Naval Officer with a Connection to the American Revolution

Our next armorial memorial in Canterbury Cathedral is to a Captain in H.M. Navy who took part in a famous (at the very least on this side of the Atlantic) naval encounter during America's Revolutionary War.

this Place are deposited
the Remains of
A Captain in the Royal Navy
of distinguished Merit in his Profession.

Which on no occasion was more conspicuous
than on the 23rd of Septr. 1779
when, in conjunction with
He valiantly engaged a very superior
French Force under the Command of
The event of which unequal Combat was security to a
Numerous Convoy sent under their Protection;
tho' it was unfortunately attended with loss of Liberty to
both the Commanders who had so gallantly stood forth
in their defence.

On his return from Captivity his services were
gratefully acknowledged by the RUSSIA COMPANY,
and the Corporations of HULL and SCARBOROUGH,
and were rewarded with advancement by his

On the 22nd of Septr. 1793,
He departed this Life
In the 63rd Year of his age;
To the great sorrow and regret
of his numerous Friends
and acquaintance,
Of none more than of his
affectionate Widow
who caused this Monument
to be erected to his

The battle of September 23, 1779, mentioned here is the well-known American Revolutionary War engagement between HMS Serapis under Captain Richard Pearson and the Bon Homme Richard (the refitted East Indiaman Duc de Duras) under John Paul Jones, during which Captain Pearson called out to Jones asking if he surrendered, and Jones replying "I have not yet begun to fight!" Jones ended up receiving Pearson's surrender, following which he abandoned his own sinking ship and took command of the Serapis under American colors.

There is no coat of arms on this memorial, but there is a crest at the top:

On a wreath or and sable, a lion’s head erased or.

I have not (yet) found a coat of arms for Capt. Piercy. For that matter, I have not found this crest associated with that name, either. The closest I can find in Fairbairn’s Crests is “Pearsall, Eng., a lion’s head, erased, or.”

Could this be a case of “bucket shop” heraldry, where someone “borrowed” a crest from another family with a similar-sounding surname and ascribed it to Captain Piercy here? It is not unknown for such to have happened in the 18th Century; the Gore roll of arms compiled in Boston, Massachusetts in the early and middle 1700s has some examples of exactly that procedure.

Monday, September 23, 2019

A Memorial to a Wife

For our next piece of heraldry at Canterbury Cathedral, we come to the memorial to Priscilla (Fotherby) Kingsley, erected by her husband.

A (very) loose translation of the Latin text of this memorial is found in The History and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Canterbury by John Dart (1726)

Near this Place lies interr’d PRISCILLA, the Daughter of Thomas Fotherby,
Esq.; wife to William Kingsley, Gentleman;
to whom she bare seven Children, William,
Anna, Thomas, Anthony, Phoebe, Elizabeth, and Edward.
She was always earnestly enflam’d with Zeal, for divine Worship and pure Religion.
She was Dutiful to her Parents, Courteous and Civil to all.
A loving Wife. An indulgent Mother. And in a Word
a Woman of primitive Faith and Virtue.
After she had long Languished with that Chronical Distemper, she died the Day after
the Nones of August,
in the Year of our Lord
1683. Aged 33.
In Memory of his beloved Wife,
her sorrowful Husband hath erected this Monument.

William Kingsley (the eldest grandson of archdeacon Kingsley) and Priscilla Fotherby were married on June 15, 1667 (when she was 17 or 18) by Mr. Alday, then Vice-Dean.

The shield at the top of the monument shows the marshaled arms of William and Priscilla (Fotherby) Kingsley:

Though carved here uncolored, the blazon of this marshaled coat is: Vert a cross engrailed argent (Kingsley), impaled by Gules a cross composed of nine of lozenges at each end a fleur-de-lis or (Fotherby).

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Stuart Royal Arms

It's not at all unusual for cathedrals and even churches in England to have a display in one form or another of the Royal coat (or achievement) of arms.

This carved wooden one in Canterbury Cathedral is one of the better ones I have seen.

It is, of course, the full achievement - that is, with the coat of arms, the Garter surrounding the arms, helm, crown, crest, mantling, and the lion and unicorn supporters, with the motto Dieu et mon droit (God and my will) below the shield - of the Royal Arms as used by the Stuart kings of England, 1603-1649 and 1660-1689. (The gap in their use being filled by the arms of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate.)

This is a beautifully carved display of royal heraldry; please feel free to click on the image above to see a larger and more detailed version.

I don't know the details of this carving; I assume that it would have been done following the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660. I just can't see that Cromwell and the Parliamentarians would have allowed it to remain.

Still, it's there now, and is a lovely sight to see.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Resting on Someone's "Laurels"

Or, at least on their coat of arms.

The benches in the nave of Canterbury Cathedral have cushions on them, so that you're not sitting on hard benches through services there.

These cushions are embroidered with the coat of arms superimposed on an image of the "Canterbury cross", given name, and years in office of the various Archbishops of Canterbury.

The following is a selection of some of those cushions. (To have tried to photograph all of them would have taken a much longer time, and involved much repetition.) For each, I have given the full name, years as Archbishop, and the blazon of the arms.

Simon de Mepham (1328-1333), Azure three bends or; and Walter Reynolds (1314-1327), Azure on a cross between the symbols of the four Evangelists or five lions rampant gules.

George Abbot (1611-1633), Gules a chevron between three pears or.

William Laud (1633-1645), Sable on a chevron between three estoiles or three crosses formy fitchy gules.

William Juxon (1660-1663), Or a cross gules between four Moor’s heads affront couped at the shoulders proper wreathed gules.

Gilbert Sheldon (1663-1677), Argent on a chevron gules three sheldrakes argent and on a canton gules a rose or.

Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie (1980-1991), The See of Canterbury, impaled by Argent on a fess sable between three roses gules barbed and seeded proper three crosses patonce argent.

Frederick Donald Coggan (1974-1980), Argent on a cross quarterly azure and gules between four crosses formy fitchy sable a rose argent barbed and seeded proper and ensigned by a mitre argent garnished or.

Reginald Pole (1556-1558), Per pale sable and or a saltire engrailed counterchanged.

Matthew Parker (1559-1575), Gules on a chevron between three keys argent three estoiles gules.

There was an amazing amount of needlework put into all of these cushions! The people who did the work should be congratulated on the quality, and the quantity, of their work.

And, truly, if you are going to be sitting through services on a hard wooden bench, wouldn't resting on someone's laurels, err, coat of arms, make it just a little bit more comfortable?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Armorial Memorial to an Archbishop

It's amazing sometimes to me to see something that is at once highly ornate and at the same time a little understated.

This is my reaction to the memorial (not tomb; he is buried at Addington in south London) of Archbishop William Howley.

He had a somewhat interesting and not entirely uncontroversial life; you can read a little more about him on-line at

Archbishop Howley presided over the coronation of King William IV and and Queen Adelaide in 1831. Six years later, it was he, along with the Lord Chamberlain, who informed Princess Victoria that she was now Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Anyway, it was, of course, the two different coats of arms on his large memorial which drew my attention:

On one shield, we have the See of London (Gules two swords in saltire points upwards or) impaled by Bishop of London William Howley (1813-1828), (Azure an eagle displayed erminois charged on the breast with a cross formy gules).

On the other shield, we find the See of Canterbury (Azure a cross-staff or with its cross argent overall a pall argent charged with four crosses formy fitchy sable) impaled by Archbishop of Canterbury William Howley (1828-1848) (Azure an eagle displayed erminois charged on the breast with a cross formy gules).

So on the one hand we have an ornate memorial, with stone arches and all kinds of architectural embellishments, including heraldry, and on the other, we find it all done in uncolored stone, almost plainly done.

As I said above, "highly ornate and at the same time a little understated."

Monday, September 9, 2019

An Impressive Display of Heraldry

Continuing our tour of Canterbury Cathedral, we came into a space with a number of monuments and coats of arms, but it was looking up a little that truly caught my eye! A row of angels, each bearing a shield. (As always, you can click on an image to go to a larger version.)

From left to right, we have the arms of: Pinchyon/Pynchon (Per bend argent and sable three roundels within a bordure engrailed counterchanged); New College, Oxford (Argent two chevronels azure between three roses gules barbed and seeded proper); and See of St. David’s (Sable on a cross or five cinquefoils azure [the cinquefoils should be sable]). 

Continuing we find: the See of Canterbury (Azure a cross-staff or with its cross argent overall a pall argent charged with four crosses formy fitchy sable); and Archbishop Henry Chicheley (1414-1443), whose arms are also those of All Souls College, Oxford (Or a chevron between three cinquefoils gules).

Turning right around to face the other side, we see:

The same shields as above in reverse order (l-r: Chicheley/All Souls College, See of Canterbury, See of St. David’s, New College, and Pynchon).

And here they are in greater detail:

Impressive, right? I know I was impressed!