Thursday, December 5, 2019

Composers Get Armorial Memorials, Too!

Lest you think that it's just military men and former Archbishops who get all the armorial memorials in Canterbury Cathedral, we come now to one to an early 17th Century composer and organist. So there!

This is the memorial to Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), an English composer, virginalist and organist of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods. Due to his sudden and early death (he was only 42 when he died), Gibbons' output was not as large as his older contemporary William Byrd's, but he still managed to produce various secular and sacred polyphonic vocal works, including consort songs, services, motets, more than 40 full anthems and verse anthems, a set of 20 madrigals as well as at least 20 keyboard works and various instrumental ensemble pieces including nearly 30 fantasies for viols. He is well known for the 5-part verse anthem This Is the Record of John, the 8-part full anthem O Clap Your Hands Together, two settings of Evensong and what is often thought to be the best known English madrigal: The Silver Swan. He is considered the leading composer in early 17th century England and a pivotal transition figure from the end of the Renaissance to the beginning of the Baroque era.

More about his life, works, and death from a cerebral aneurysm can be found in his Wikipedia article at

The text of the memorial plaque below his bust is, as is so common for the time, entirely in Latin. (No, I'm not translating this one for you. Sorry! Not sorry.)

His coat of arms is carved and painted at the very top of the memorial.

This coat is blazoned Or a lion rampant sable overall on a bend gules three escallops argent.

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Memorial to a Hero

Our next armorial memorial is one to a General who as a young (age 26) lieutenant won the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Crimean War and other medals and honors (which are reproduced on his memorial, below) for his service.

The text of the memorial reads:

To the beloved memory of
General Sir Mark Walker, VC, KCB
son of Captain Alexander Walker
of Gore Port Co. Westmeath Ireland
Born Nov 24, 1827. Died July 18, 1902.

A devoted and distinguished soldier
he served throughout the Crimean Campaign
was wounded at the battle of Alma
won the Victoria Cross at Inkerman
and was again dangerously wounded
before Sebastopol. He also served
throughout the Campaign in China of
1860 and was present at the action of
the Taku forts and the taking of Pekin.

Erected by his Widow.
(The "action of the Taku forts and the taking of Pekin" are events covered - well, from an American point of view, anyway - in the 1963 Charlton Heston movie, 55 Days at Peking.)

General Walker was born in Gore Port, Finea, County Westmeath in Ireland, the son of Captain Alexander Walker and Elizabeth Elliott. His younger brother was Sir Samuel Walker, 1st Baronet QC.  During the Crimean War, Walker was a 26-year-old lieutenant in the 30th Regiment of Foot (later the East Lancashire Regiment) of the British Army when the deed for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross was performed.

On November 5, 1854 at Inkerman, Crimea, Lieutenant Walker jumped over a wall in the face of two battalions of Russian infantry which were marching towards it. This act was to encourage the men, by example, to advance against such odds – which they did and succeeded in driving back both battalions.

He was wounded by a howitzer shell later during his service in the Crimea which resulted in the amputation of his right arm. He retired from the army with the rank of general in 1893, and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. From 1900 until his death he was colonel of the Sherwood Foresters.

He died at Arlington, Devon, England on 18 July 1902, and is buried in Cheriton Road Cemetery in Folkestone, Kent.

His arms are blazoned: Azure a chevron engrailed ermine between three plates each charged with a trefoil vert. Crest: A dove [close] bearing an olive branch in his beak. Motto (a most fitting one, I think): Premo ad honorem (Pursue/press on to honor).

Thursday, November 28, 2019

In Memory of a Young Captain

Moving along in Canterbury Cathedral from St. Michael's Chapel, we came to this memorial to a young man (only 30 years old) who died in Northern Nigeria in 1904.

The text on the memorial reads:

In Loving Memory of
Formerly of XVI Lancers,
First resident of Azira, Northern Nigeria, West Africa,
who died Feb. 11th 1904, aged 30.
This tablet has been erected by his comrades to the memory of one
whose gallant and generous nature commanded the respect, admiration,
and affection, not only of his colleagues, but of the natives among
whom he worked and over whom he exercised a remarkable influence.
“By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Captain George Abadie was the son of Major General Henry Richard Abadie, C.B. (1841-1915), formerly Commanding IX Queen's Royal Lancers and Lt. Governor of the Island of Jersey, Commandant of the Cavalry Depot Canterbury from 1894-1897.

Captain Abadie died in Kano, Northern Nigeria, at the age of 30 of a malignant fever. He is interred in the European Cemetery there.

The arms, uncolored here, are blazoned: Bendy of six argent and gules four helmets in cross [tincture]. The crest is: An ostrich holding a sword erect in its dexter foot. The motto is Soiez prest. (This may be a misspelling of Soyez prêts, Be prepared.)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Once Again, "You Can Find Heraldry Everywhere!"

No, really!

I've said it many times before, and I will probably say it many times in the future, because it's true. You can find heraldry everywhere, sometimes in the most unexpected places, and even when you're not looking for it at all!

The most recent case in point:

I had dropped off one of my three-piece suits and a sports jacket at the dry cleaners. After I picked them up when they had been cleaned, I noticed that the clear plastic bags placed over them on the hangers to protect them from the elements had ... you guessed it! ... heraldry on them.

Running down the front was a row of a printed achievement of arms interspersed with shields with a lion rampant (to sinister) on them.

Here's an image of one of the latter:

Yes, I am sure that the lion is rampant to sinister, and not just printed on the other side, as the images of the achievements of arms with their accompanying lettering was correctly readable:

The achievement is, as many of you might recognize, the arms of the Kingdom of Sweden!

Now, why the arms of Sweden are printed on plastic protective bags for clothes in a dry cleaning business located in suburban Duncanville, Texas (just outside of Dallas), I cannot say. But they are undeniably the arms of Sweden:

I never expected, when I woke up in my home that morning just a few days ago, that I would find myself face-to-face, as it were, with heraldry out "in the wild".

As I said, and have said, and will say: You can find heraldry everywhere!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

An Armorial Memorial to a Prebendary

I learn a lot doing some of the research for these blog posts. In this instance, I realized that I really didn't know what the term "prebend" meant. So I looked it up.

Come to find out, the definition of "prebend" is "a stipend allotted from the revenues of a cathedral or a collegiate church to a canon or member of the chapter."

In other words, it's a cool thing to have a prebend. (I don't think I would qualify for one.)

Or maybe not so much; in the Church of England, at least these days, a "prebendary" is "an honorary canon having the title of a prebend but not receiving a stipend."

In any event, our next monument in Canterbury Cathedral is to a man who was advanced to a prebend of the Cathedral.

Beneath are deposited the remains of
A person of distinguish’d Abilities and Merit,
both as a Divine and a Man of Business;
He sustain’d with great Credit the Character of
Chaplain and Secretary to Several Embassies in the Reigns
and in recompence for his faithful service, was advanc’d by the latter
of those Princes to a Prebend in this Church:
He enjoy’d that Preferment 40 Years
and by his singular Diligence in the duties of a Retired life,
maintain’d the Reputation which he acquired
in his Publick Employment.

He died May 9th 1765, aged 81 Years.

His entry in the list of 'Canterbury cathedral: Canons' in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 12, states:

WILLIAM AYERST was installed in the third prebend of Canterbury Cathedral on Nov. 5, 1724. He was educated at Maidstone school, and then at University college, Oxford, and afterwards was fellow of Queen's college, in Cambridge; in 1703 he attended lord Raby, afterwards earl of Stafford, to the court of Berlin, as chaplain and secretary to the embassy; and again to the Hague in 1711, and to the congress of Utrecht in 1712; in the succeeding reign he attended Sir Robert Cotton, as chaplain of the embassy to France. He had been, at times, rector of Gravesend and Sturmouth, and vicar of Northfleet, and was afterwards rector of St. George and St. Mary Magdalen, Canterbury, all which he resigned, and in 1724 was promoted to this prebend. He published an elegant edition of Sallust, which he dedicated to Sir Joseph Williamson; he died on May 8, 1765, age 83, being then rector of North Cray, in this county, and of St. Swithin's, London. He was buried in the middle of the nave of the cathedral.

But it's really the heraldry that we're here for, and here is the shield placed near the top of the memorial.

The arms are blazoned: Argent on a bend engrailed sable a sun in his splendor in chief and an eagle rising wings expanded in base or, in sinister canton a cross crosslet gules.

Burke’s General Armory makes the eagle argent and the cross in sinister chief flory. Unfortunately, he cites no source for these arms, making a determination of which version is correct - the one painted here, or the blazon in the General Armory - extremely difficult.

That confusion notwithstanding, it's an interesting coat of arms, and the minor differences between the two sources do not make it any less so.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Heraldry near the Cathedral Gift Shop

Like a lot of other Major Tourist Attractions™, Canterbury Cathedral has a gift shop area where you can buy picture postcards, guidebooks in several languages, knickknacks and a wide array of other souvenirs. (And, frankly, if you get the chance to visit on of these places, I highly recommend buying at the very least a guidebook. And maybe a picture postcard or two of something that catches your eye. And maybe a little souvenir. Or two. Or three. Frankly, when my wife and I are together in one of these places, we seldom get out of there for less than US$100 or more. The most common phrase heard while we are in the gift shop is, "But we need it." But I digress.)

The gift shop in Canterbury Cathedral is off in one corner near a wooden door in a carved stone frame with two coats of arms, each held by an angel (I believe, unless their "wings" are actually meant to be a depiction of the back of a chair or some such. If that is the case, then they may be depictions of monks or other ecclesiastics).

Both coats are arms which we have seen before.

The angel on the left side is holding the arms of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury 1375-1381, Sable a hound sejant within a bordure engrailed argent.

The angel on the right side is holding the arms of the See of Canterbury, which we have seen all over the Cathedral, the Cathedral grounds, and indeed all around the City of Canterbury, Azure a cross-staff or with its cross argent overall a pall argent charged with four crosses formy [the crosses ought to be formy fitchy] sable.

Anyway, it was nice to have a little heraldry to look at while my wife was picking out a "few things" to bring home from the Cathedral gift shop. (We have one of those equal, 50/50 marriages; she decides what things to buy, and I pay for them. It's an even division of labor that way, apparently. 💏)

So if you ever have the opportunity to visit Canterbury Cathedral, be sure to drop by the gift shop, buy a guidebook and whatnot, and stop to say hello to Archbishop Sudbury and the little fellows holding his and the See's arms.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Somewhat Overstated Tomb in Canterbury Cathedral

After the somewhat understated tomb of William Grant Broughton, Bishop of Australia, which we reviewed in the last post, we come to the somewhat more florid tomb of Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 to 1896.

No, really, you should click on the picture above to see a larger, more detailed copy. It's worth it. I'll wait.

The tomb is emblazoned with the epitaph Benson had chosen: Miserere mei Deus Per crucem et passionem tuam libera me Christe ("Have mercy on me O Christ our God, Through Thy Cross and Passion, deliver thou me").

As with so many of the other "notables" buried, entombed, and/or memorialized in Canterbury Cathedral, you can find more information about Archbishop Benson's life in his article on Wikipedia at

But, of course, my passion is heraldry, and it was the three coats of arms along the base of the tomb which truly caught my attention.

The three shields are, from left to right:

The arms of the See of Canterbury, which we have seen quite a number of times in our review of the heraldry of the City of Canterbury and of Canterbury Cathedral, Azure a cross-staff or with its cross argent overall a pall argent charged with four crosses formy fitchy sable.

The impaled arms of the See of Canterbury with the personal arms of Archbishop Edward Benson, Azure a cross-staff or with its cross argent overall a pall argent charged with four crosses formy fitchy sable, impaled by Argent three trefoils slipped sable between four bendlets gules (Benson).

And finally, the Archbishop's personal arms, Argent three trefoils slipped sable between four bendlets gules (Benson).

Yes, I know that the arms here are painted such that you only see two red bendlets. Take my word for it, there are supposed to be four of them.

Additionally, Cecil Humphrey-Smith notes that: The field argent is strewn with trefoil-looking objects giving the appearance of ermine, but the Archbishop’s field should be argent. It is also observed that whilst on his seal as Archbishop there are three trefoils as here, on his seal as Bishop of Truro he bore a quatrefoil between two trefoils [between four bendlets].

So, there's apparently nothing like being able to change things up.

In any event, it truly is a beautifully wrought tomb, and the enameled shields are as bright and crisp as the day they were first installed.

Monday, November 11, 2019

An Armorial Tomb

Now we come to an armorial tomb set along a wall in Canterbury Cathedral.

As the sign next to it notes, this is:

The Tomb of
King’s Scholar, Canterbury
1834 -1853

I could copy a lot of stuff off the internet about Bishop Broughton, but really, it's probably a lot easier for both of us if you just look at his entry on Wikipedia at (Besides, if you do go to the Wikipedia page, you can see a painting of him, as well a the copy of this tomb (in which he is buried) at St. Andrews Cathedral in Sydney, Australia (in which he is not).

But of course it was the six armorial shields being supported by angels along the side of his tomb which caught my attention. (As always, you can click on one of the images here to see a larger one with more detail.) Going from left to right, we find:

To the left we have the arms of the Diocese of Melbourne (Azure on a chevron argent between in chief a crosier and a palmer's staff and scrip or and in base four mullets of six points one two and one argent an open book proper); and to the right, the arms of the Diocese of Tasmania (Azure, a crosier in bend surmounting a key (wards upwards and outwards) in bend sinister or between four mullets of eight points argent (representing the Crux Australis).

The arms of Bishop William Broughton/Diocese of Sydney (Argent two bars and on a canton gules a cross argent, impaled by Azure four mullets of eight points in cross argent). The arms on the sinister side of the shield (to the viewer's right) were granted on February 22, 1836 to Broughton as the first Bishop of Australia, and later on November 10, 1967, to the diocese of Sydney. This same shield is shown in the Broughton windows in St. James’ Church, Sydney, and in St. John the Baptist’s Church, Ashfield, except that those reverse the two sides in the more generally accepted pattern, placing the Diocesan arms to dexter (the viewer’s left) and the Broughton arms to sinister (the viewer’s right).

Diocese of Aukland, New Zealand, Azure three mullets of eight points one and two argent.

The arms to the left may be a version of the Anglican Church of Australia, which were granted in 1967 and are blazoned Azure on a cross gules fimbriated argent a mitre or between four mullets of eight points argent. The version here, which precedes the grant by over a century, places a crosier on the cross behind the mitre, and moves the four mullets to the field around the cross.

Cecil Humphrey-Smith identifies this shield as the arms of the Diocese of Adelaide, Argent on a cross between four estoiles gules a pastoral staff overlaid by a mitre or.

The second coat is the arms of the Diocese of Newcastle: Gules a pastoral staff enfiled with a ducal coronet or all within a bordure sable semy of billets palewise argent. (The billets on the bordure are very hard to see here, but if you look closely at a larger image, they are there.)

All in all, a nice display of heraldry from the Antipodes.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A (Comparatively) Simple Armorial Memorial

This next armorial memorial in Canterbury Cathedral is a comparatively simple one, and yet I can't help but think it holds every bit as much love and pathos as many of the larger, more complex ones.

Near this place
lies the Body of JOHN PORTER
of WANDSWORTH in the County of Surry Esqr.
He departed this Life
the 22d of March 1764, Aged 67.
He married CATHERINE
Daughter of
Lieut. General SUTTON
by whom he left
One Son and Five Daughters.

Requiescat in Pace.

John Porter of Allfarthing, married Catherine Sutton, daughter of Lt. Gen. Richard Sutton, and by her had six surviving children. The manor of Allfarthing, in Wandsworth (London), had been granted by James VI and I to his son Charles, apparently with a view toward it being given to Endymion Porter. Thomas Porter, son of Endymion, had a remainder interest but debt problems of his father caused the loss of the manor in 1652. Thomas Porter's brother, George Porter, recovered the manor and it descended to John Porter of Allfarthing, who was lord of the manor in 1723 when he married Catherine Sutton.

Still, it was the arms at the top of the memorial plaque which caught my attention.

This marital coat of arms is blazoned: Sable three porter’s bells argent and a canton ermine (Porter), impaled by Argent a canton sable (Sutton).

I find it interesting that both the husband's and the wife's coats of arms contain a canton; this is something that is not commonly seen. A canton is a rare enough charge; to find two of them must be very rare.

They did seem to go in for some pretty florid shield shapes in the late 18th Century, though, didn't they?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Three Armorial Memorials Without Personal Heraldry

I've grouped these next three armorial memorials together because, while they have heraldry of a sort on them, none of them bear the personal arms of the person memorialized.

First, we have the memorial to Maj. Gen. Henry J. Degacher:

To the Memory of
Henry James Degacher,
Major General in H: M: Service,
Companion to the Order of the Bath,
Colonel of the 24th
South Wales Borderers Regiment,
Commanded 3rd East Kent
Regimental District 1882~1887.
Born 24th Feb: 1835 ~ Died 25th Nov: 1902.

The heraldic portion of the memorial plaque consists of the badge of the 24 Regiment of Foot South Wales Borderers:

The Regiment has had a long and distinguished existence, much of which is outlined in its Wikipedia page at Early in its history, it was deployed to Egypt in the aftermath of the Battle of Abukir in March 1801. During the Anglo-Zulu War, it also took part in the battles of Isandlwana (dramatized in the 1979 movie Zulu Dawn) and Rorke's Drift (immortalized in the 1964 movie Zulu).

The Regimental Badge bears the figure of an Egyptian sphinx couchant atop a rectangle with the word "Egypt" all within a laurel wreath bearing the letters "SWB".

The next memorial is to a number of the officers (both commissioned and non-commissioned) and unnamed men of the "Rank and File" of the 3rd East Kent Regiment ("The Buffs").

Memory of
Lieutenant & Adjutant G.A. Colvill,
Lieutenant T.F.C. Armstrong,
Sergeant and Orderly Room Clerk S. Julian,
And 12 Rank and File,
Who died whil’st serving with the 1st Battalion
3rd (East Kent) Regiment “The Buffs” in the Campaign
In the Malay Peninsula, in 1875 and 1876.
Also in memory of
Captain H.J.M. Williams,
Lieutenant C.E. Mason, 2nd Lieutenant G.R.J. Evelyn,
And 27 Rank and File,
Who died whil’st serving with the 2nd Battalion
3rd (East Kent) Regiment “The Buffs” in the Zulu War,
South Africa, of 1878 and 1879.

This monument is erected by the officers,
non-commissioned officers and men
of the Regiment,

More information about the Regiment can be found in its Wikipedia article at

The badge of The Buffs is a crest, Atop a torse a dragon passant. Beneath the dragon is a scroll with the words "The Buffs"; beneath that scroll is another with the motto of the Regiment, Veteri frondescit honore (Its ancient honor flourishes).

Our final memorial is to Lt. Col. R.C. Cokayne-Frith, Major of the 15th "The King's" Hussars.

To the Memory of
Lieut. Colonel R.C. Cokayne-Frith
Major 15th “The King’s” Hussars.
Born 17th June 1863.
Died 16th September 1900.
From the result of an accident at Canterbury,
Whilst commanding the Cavalry Depot.

This memorial is erected by his brother officers
as a token of their love and respect.

Once again, more information about this Regiment can be found at Wikipedia at

The badge of the 15th "The King's" Hussars is a crown atop which is a lion statant guardant all within the garter of the Order of the Garter, which bears the phrase honi soit qui mal y pense. Below these elements is a scroll with the words "The King's XV Hussars".

None of these are, strictly speaking, heraldry, but they certainly are heraldic in the sense that they are each a visual representation of a regiment of HM Armed Forces, as well as a token of the esteem in which the men they memorialize were held by the men with whom they served.