Thursday, June 13, 2019

Heraldry, Genealogy, and Serendipity

The other day, my wife and I had a little over an hour to kill away from home, and so we dropped by one of our favorite antique malls in Dallas, not to buy anything, but to look around and give us something to do while we waited.

We should know better. We really should. Just over $130 later, we managed to get back to the car and off to the appointment we were waiting for.

Why so much? Well, partly because of this little piece we found there.

It's a beautifully calligraphed, illustrated, and framed descent tree, done by one of the ladies named at the bottom of the tree, Elizabeth Garfield Reed, back in 1931.

(Why, yes, I do use the Oxford comma. Doesn't everyone? No? Well, they should.)

Of course, it was the painted coat of arms that first caught my eye, but then, looking at the names on the descent, in addition to Sabrina Seraphina Hubbard (I have Hubbards on my family tree; Sabrina here is no relation that I can find), was the name of Mercy Bigelow.

I also have Bigelows on my family tree, so I whipped out my phone which has my Ancestry tree on it, and sure enough, there was Mercy Bigelow. So you can see that I had to buy this.

After getting it home, and doing a little more checking against my family tree, I discovered that the Mercy Bigelow on this chart is not the the Mercy Bigelow that I had first thought it was; that is, the Mercy Bigelow who is my 8th great aunt.

But there is another Mercy Bigelow on my family tree; that Mercy Bigelow is my first cousin, nine times removed, and according to my family tree, she married a Thomas Garfield, presumably the same as the Lieutenant Thomas Garfield on this descent tree.

Naturally, I did a little more research, and was able to confirm that my Mercy Bigelow is the same person as the Mercy Bigelow on this tree.

Burke’s General Armory gives the following for the coat of arms for Garfield:

Garfield. Or three bars gules on a canton ermine a cross formy gules. Crest: Out of a human heart a hand holding a sword all proper.

(The image below of the crest comes from Fairbairn's Crests.)

Burke also has: Garfield (Kilsby, co. Northants, and Tuddington, co. Middlesex; Benjamin Garfield, Esq., of the latter place, grandson of Ralph Garfield, of the former. Visitation of Middlesex, 1663). Or three bars gules on a canton ermine a cross gules, quartering [three other coats]. But with a crest: Out of a ducal coronet or a cross of Calvary gules. So the crest here is entirely different.

The motto given on the tree is In cruce vinco (I conquer by the cross). Per Fairbairn’s Crests, Copley uses that motto. No motto is cited by Fairbairn for Garfield.

So there you have it! A beautifully calligraphed, illustrated, and painted descent, with marginal notes on a few of the individuals in the tree, which not only contains some lovely heraldry, but a distant relative of mine.

All because we had an hour to kill and decided on a whim to stop by and look. How's that for some great serendipity?

Monday, June 10, 2019

It's International Heraldry Day!

International Heraldry Day, first celebrated in 2013, focuses one day each year when heraldry in all its forms is celebrated worldwide. Regardless of jurisdiction, geographic area, customs, favored styles and favored period, the community focuses on wider joys of heraldry. The goal of the original organizers was that eventually all heraldry enthusiasts will acknowledge the event in the years to come.

Why June 10?  On that day, in the year 1128, in Rouen, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, was knighted by his future father in law, King Henry I Beauclerc. During the ceremony a shield of blue decorated six golden lions was suspended on the neck of the young knight. This shield is recognized by most heralds, for the first time in history, as a fully formed coat of arms ...

Image result for geoffrey of anjou

... because these same arms were later borne by Geoffrey's grandson, William Longspee, Earl of Salisbury.

Image result for William longspee

Happy International Heraldry Day!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Armorial Memorial Familial Connections - Part 3 of 3

Finally, we come to our final heraldically-related memorial in St. Martin's, Canterbury.

The Latin inscription has been translated (not by me, I have to use one of the on-line Latin-English translators for something like this) as:

In hope of resurrection
lies in this grave Mary Kitchell,
wife of Edward Kitchell, gentleman and
member of the New Inn in the county
of Middlesex. Snatched away by envious death,
she who was gentle to all and 
hurtful to none is enclosed inside this tomb until
the joyful resurrection of the dead.
In the 20th year of her life, in the Year of Christ 1656

The last line of Latin may be slightly mistranscribed, but means something like:

Life is given to him that prays, death is the remedy.

Once again, we look at the marshaled coat of arms on the memorial:

Others have tried to identify the arms, with this result:

[Azure] within a bordure [or] a falcon rising with wings displayed and belled [or] for KITCHELL impaling [argent] a pile issuing from the chief within two piles from the base [sable] for HURLOE?

(I would have blazoned the central charge first: Azure a a falcon rising wings displayed within a bordure or, but maybe that's just me.)

I cannot find these, or any other, arms for Kitchell in Burke's General Armory, in Burke's Landed Gentry, in Papworth's Dictionary of British Armorials, or in the Dictionary of British Arms.

As for the wife's arms (to sinister), of which you may remember the pattern from the quartered arms of Austen in my previous to last post, I can find no "Hurloe", and have no idea where that name came from.

I did, however, find in Papworth: Argent three piles one issusng out of the chief between two others reversed sable. Hulles, Hules, Hulsey, Huls, or Howes, Newbury, co. Berks, and Bethersden, Kent. Given that information, I suspect that "Hurloe" above may be a mistranscription of Hulles or Howes.

So there you have it, four armorial memorials to three different families, but with heraldic ties between them to the Austen and Hulles/Huls/Howes families.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Armorial Memorial Familial Connections - Part 2 of 3

Our next armorial memorial in St. Martin's, Canterbury, has, along with two other coats of arms, the arms of Austen which we saw in our last post.

This mrmorial is to the Rev’d. Thomas Gurney, Vicar of Seasalter, Kent, d. 1773, age 36, and to his wife Rebecca, widow of William Hougham, Esq., d. 1815, age 76.

Once again, of course, it was the unusually marshaled arms at the base of the memorial which caught my eye.

Tierced per pale; 1, Paly of six or and azure(?) (Gournay/Gurnay); 2, Or five chevronels gules (Hougham); 3, Or a chevron gules between three lion’s jambes erased sable (Austen).

Burke's General Armory finds: Gournay/Gurnay: Paly of six or and azure; the paly here looks like or and sable, but that may be a trick of the light.

Burke's also gives us: Hougham (Kent). Argent five chevronels sable, though the chevronels here are clearly painted gules.

The third coat of arms here is Austen, as can be found on the memorials to Nathaniel Lawrence Austen, Sr. and Jr., discussed in Part 1 of this tripartite post.

Given the three coats of arms painted here, I have to assume that Rebecca Gurney was borne Rebecca Austen. The inclusion of her first husband's arms here is unusual.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Armorial Memorial Familial Connections - Part 1 of 3

This post and the following two are going to cover armorial memorials in St. Martin's Church, Canterbury, which share some heraldic elements.

The first two memorials are to a father and a son, Maj. Nathaniel Lawrence Austen and his only son, Nathaniel Lawrence Austen, F.L.S.

Major N. Lawrence Austen, born 1791, died 1867. Major Austen is buried outside in the churchyard at St. Martin’s.

The important parts of his military career are outlined on the plaque on the monument.

Marianne, his wife, who died in 1885, does not have her maiden name given on the plaque, but she was probably a Lawrence.

The arms shown on the memorial are: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Or a chevron gules between three lion’s jambes erased sable (Austen); 2, Argent a lion rampant reguardant sable (probably Jenkin, of Folkestone, co. Kent); 3, Argent a pile between two piles issuant from base sable (Hulles/Huls/Howes, which we will see again in Part 3 of this three-part posting); impaling, Argent a cross raguly gules (probably Lawrence).

Crest: Issuant from a mural coronet or a stag at gaze argent attired or.

And then we have the memorial to Maj. Austen's son, Nathaniel Lawrence Austen (1847-1874), killed by a fall from his horse:

The arms on the memorial are those of his father, with his mother's arms in the fourth quarter:

Next time, the Austen coat of arms on another memorial.

Monday, May 27, 2019

What Can Happen Heraldically When Cousins Marry

I have posted before with some of the heraldic memorials in St. Martin's Church, Canterbury (e.g.,

As a side note, St. Martin's is the oldest parish church in England, having been established in Canterbury in 597 A.D. by Augustine. The building itself, added to over the years, still has some of its original Roman walls visible in the oldest part of the church.

Anyway, having made my way there again on this most recent trip, I stopped to photograph this memorial:

The plaque is inscribed:

In the family vault
in this Church are deposited the remains
Robert Thomas Pyott Esquire
of this Parish who departed this life Vth July
MDCCCIV in the LXVIth year of his age.
Also of
Anne the relict of the above named
Robert Thomas Pyott, who departed this life
XXIVth July MDCCCXVI in the LXXIVth year
of her age.
She was the only daughter and heir
of Charles Pyott Esquire, and Anne his wife
who was one of the daughters and coheiresses
of Sir Richard Sandys Baronet
of Northborne Court
in this County.

(Got all that straight? Anne, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Sandys, married Charles Pyott. Their daughter and heir Anne married Robert Thomas Pyott, a cousin, though whether a first cousin, second cousin, or a more distant cousin, I have not been able to determine yet. The most specific information I have found to date is from some old legal records from the Vice-Chancellors' Courts which says that they "were related to each other before their intermarriage.")

Anyway, the result of an heir, daughter of a co-heir, marrying her cousin of the same surname, leads to these two pieces of heraldry:

The arms are those of Pyott (Sable on a fess or a lion passant gules in chief three bezants) overall an inescutcheon with the arms of Pyott in the first and twelfth quarters: Quarterly: 1 and 12, Sable on a fess or a lion passant gules in chief three bezants (Pyott); 2, Or a fess dancetty between three crosses crosslet gules (Sandys); 3, Per fess gules and azure(?) a tower argent; 4, Or on a fess dancetty sable between three (open books?) ? three bezants; 5, Argent a chevron between three [ducks?] sable; 6, Azure three ? or; 7, Argent two chevronels sable; 8, Gules a chevron ermine between three pine apples or (Pyne); 9, Gules a chief indented argent; 10, Vert a lion rampant guardant argent [maintaining something in its forepaw?] overall a fess gules; 11, Argent a chevron and in dexter chief a trefoil sable.

The Pyott crest, here placed below the shield, is A demi-lion rampant gules charged on the shoulder with three bezants one and two.

All in all, a fascinating work of heraldry with a complex history and an even more complex depiction.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Genealogy and Vexillology

Frankly, I love it when I can combine two of my interests into a single activity, or theme, or object.

In this particular instance, I am referring to my interest in my own family tree/history (genealogy), and the flags (vexillology) of the nations from which my ancestry is derived. (Like most Americans, my genealogical and DNA makeup is pretty much that of a mongrel, with ancestors coming here from a number of different nations.)

Several years ago, my wife and I gave each other a DNA test for Christmas. Since that time, the tools that they use to help define my "ethnicity estimate" have been refined, resulting today in estimates that match up very well with what I know the paper trail to be.

Just a couple of years ago, I ran across a tee shirt on-line that caught my eye, more than a little because I found it to be a nice representation of my own genealogy.  It was an image of a tree, the trunk and branches solid black, but with the root system in the colors of the Union flag, and with the words underneath, "British Roots".

Given that my DNA ethnicity estimate says that I am 61% from "England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe", I decided that I pretty much had to buy that shirt!

So more recently I began thinking about the remainder of my ancestral origins, and went looking for similar tee shirts that would let me wear something to celebrate these other roots. Here they are, along with my ethnicity estimate for each country, in descending order.

Sweden, 18%

Ireland and Scotland, 13% (Connors and Callahans and Forbes, oh my!)

and Germanic Europe, 6%

(My ethnicity estimate also gives me an estimated 2% from Norway, though I've not yet found any paper trail that links my family there. )

I find it a fun way to combine my interests in genealogy and heraldry/vexillology, as well as a way to celebrate the places from which my ancestors have come to this "melting pot" of a country, and which eventually resulted in me!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Opposition to Calls to Change the Coat of Arms of Canberra, Australlia

In an article today (May 22, 2019, although at the time I write this, it's already tomorrow there) in The Canberra Times, there's some pushback to the pressure being applied to change the arms of the city of Canberra, Australia.

Proponents pushing for the change call the current coat of arms "problematic" in that they believe the symbols are relics of foreign (British) colonization and do not represent the modern city.

But as the article notes, not everyone agrees, some calling the push to change the arms an "ideological attack".

According to Matthew Sait, Australian Monarchist League ACT chairman, "It's not the job of a coat of arms to encapsulate our perceived self-identity or the vague aspirations of the majority or something that came up in the latest opinion poll on a contentious issue."

My favorite quote from Mr. Sait: "Coats of arms aren't marketing logos, they're not Facebook profile pics."

Amen, brother. Amen.

You can read the whole article, entitled "Call to change coat of arms 'ideological attack': monarchists", on-line at

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Final Heraldic Memorial at St. Paul's Without the Walls, Canterbury

Our last heraldic memorial in the historic (there has been a church on this site since the 12th Century!) church of St. Paul's Without the Walls is this two-piece one:

The plaque explains:

Heere Resteth ye Body of Mary, ye Wife
Of Thomas Taverner, Gent., Daughter
to Laurence Rooke of Horton, Gent.
By Her Mother Descended of ye Ancient
Family of ye Scots of Scots Hall, Who
Deceased 17 of February, 1622

(As with several of the other memorials in St. Paul's, "ye" is an abbreviation for "the", in the same way that "St." is an abbreviation for "Saint". It is not pronounced "yee", it is pronounced "the".)

And, of course, it was the shield bearing a marshaled coat of arms that really attracted my attention:

Burke’s General Armory gives us: Taverner (Hoxton, co. Hertford, and co. Kent; granted 1575, and by patent 1604). Argent a bend lozengy sable in sinister chief a torteau. (There is no torteau, a red roundel, on the shield here.)

I do not find the paternal (Rooke) arms in Burke; most of the Rook, Rooke, and Rookes families there which bear a chevron do so between three chessrooks (, while the one here has a chevron between two fleurs-de-lis and a tower.

According to Burke’s General Armory, Scot of Scott’s Hall, county Kent, bore Argent three Catherine wheels sable a bordure engrailed gules (though of course those arms do not appear here, as belonging to her mother).

And, of course, since the arms here are carved but not painted, I have no idea of what the tinctures are supposed to be, making further research more time-consuming.

Nonetheless, it is a nicely carved marital coat of arms, and a fitting memorial to a wife and daughter who passed away nearly 400 years ago.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Some Master-ful Memorials

Well, okay, some heraldic memorials to members of the Master/Masters family, all found in the parish church of St. Paul's Without the Walls, Canterbury.

First is the memorial to Edward Master, Esq., son of Sir Edward Master, died 1675, age 36; and his son, Hugh Master, died 1693/4.

Near this place lieth ye body of Edward
Master Esqr., sun of Sr Edward Master,
Knit, who departed this life August
The 3d 1675, Aged 36 years

Here also lieth ye body of Hugh
Master, only sone to ye above named
Edward Master by Ann his wife he
died Feby ye 25th 1693/4 Aged 24 years

Burke’s General Armory cites: Master (Cirencester, and Knole Park, co. Gloucester, originally of Kent; descended from Sir William Master, Knt., of Cirencester…). Gules a lion rampant guardant queue forchy or supporting between the paws a Tudor rose proper stalked and leaved vert.

Next, we have a memorial to Edward Master, died 1690 at age 80, and his wife (no name given)

Heere lyes the body of Sr
Edward Master he dyed ye 22
Of Janu 1690 Aged 80 year 5 mo
Also under this ston his Lady
Lyes interrd
who dyed Decm 28 in ye year 70

Sir Edward Master(s) (2 August 1610 – 22 January 1690/91) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1679. He was High Sheriff of Kent in 1639. In April 1640, he was elected Member of Parliament for Canterbury for the Short Parliament. In November 1640, he was re-elected MP for Canterbury in the Long Parliament and remained until 1653, surviving Pride's Purge. He was elected MP for Canterbury in 1661 and sat until 1679 in the Cavalier Parliament. Master(s) died aged 80 and was buried with a memorial [above] at St Paul's Church, Canterbury.

Gules a lion rampant guardant queue forchy or supporting between the paws a Tudor rose proper stalked and leaved vert, impaling ? three goat’s heads couped ?

No name, given or surname, is given for his wife. Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials gives us several possible bearers of "three goat's heads couped": Ramsey, Scott, Gaytzforth, and Bloore; and several more for "three ram's heads couped": Rammas, Rammes, Ram, Ramsay, Ramsey, Nason, Hammersley, Hamersley, Levall, Whistew, and Aries. Without knowing the tinctures, it is difficult to know which of them (if any) is the correct one, although Ram or Ramsey, Azure three ram's heads couped argent attired or, comes from county Kent, and may, because of that, be the most likely.

Finally, we have the memorial to Mrs. Ann (Nowers) Masters, widow of Edward Masters, Esq., who died in January, 1775/6, age 73.

Here lyeth Interrd ye Body of
Mrs Ann Masters widow of Ed-
ward Masters, Esq. late of this
Parish & only daughter of Iohn
Nowers of As[?]ord Gent, she
departed this life Ianuary ye
12, 1775/76 Aged 73 Yeares

Here, the arms of Master are impaled with those of Nowers, Norwers, Nonwers, or De la Nouers (Gothurst, co. Buckingham, temp. Henry III), as listed in Burke's General Armory, giving us: Gules a lion rampant guardant queue forchy or supporting between the paws a Tudor rose proper stalked and leaved vert, impaling Argent two bars and in chief three crescents gules (Nowers).

There appears to be an inescutcheon of pretense on the shield, but it is so worn that I cannot make out the charges upon it.

Taken all in all, a "Master-ful" display of memorial heraldry!