Monday, August 20, 2018

Meanwhile, Back at St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster ...

To return from our recent posts of "heraldic things I got distracted by" ("Ooh, shiny!") to go back to a final few heraldic monuments still to be shared from St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster. Here, we have the memorial to John Dorington, Esq., and his wife, Sarah. (You can click on the image to see the larger photograph of this memorial.)

To the memory of
of Queen Square,
Who departed this life
on the 27th of June, 1827,
aged 74 years.

Also of
of Clarges Street,
Relict of the Above,
Who departed this life
on the 13th of February, 1845,
Aged 85 years.

Though uncolored here, the arms are blazoned in The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, Westminster by Walcott (1847) as Sable three bugle horns argent stringed gules.

There is no entry for Dorington in Burke’s General Armory.

Papworth’s Ordinary of British Armorials assigns the arms as blazoned in Walcott to “Dodington, Dodington, co. Somerset; and Meere, co. Wilts.”

Burke gives the same attribution for these arms, but gives the crest as A lion’s jambe proper holding a flag gules charged with a chevron or.

Fairbairn’s Crests gives that crest cited in Burke as belonging to Dorington and Dorrington, as well as to Dodington.

No sources give the crest as it appears on the monument, which I take to be A stag’s or hart’s (or possibly an elk’s) head erased.

According to Burke’s Landed Gentry, John Edward Dorington, Esq., of Lypiatt Park (b. 1832), was the son of John Edward Dorington, Esq., of Lypiatt Park (d. 1874), and the grandson of John Dorington (d. 1827) and his wife Sarah Columbine (d. 1845), who are memorialized here. The Landed Gentry gives the arms of Dorington of Lypiatt Park as Sable three bugles argent stringed gules, with the motto Strepitus non terret ovantem (for which I find no entry in Fairbairn’s, and so no translation, except for a somewhat opaque one from one of the Latin-to-English on-line translators, which results in “Noise that scares mounting”).

Thursday, August 16, 2018

When Someone Asks, "What Good Is Heraldry?"

I've long had a quote that I like to pull out to help explain how heraldry can be useful to folks doing research, whether genealogical or historical:

Many are the incidents, but faintly written in the pages of history, which would have remained for ever dark and illegible, but for the light flashed on them by the torch of Heraldry. A shield of Arms, a Badge, or a Rebus depicted on a glass window, painted on a wall, carved on a corbel or monument, will frequently indicate, with unerring precision, the date to which such relics are to be ascribed, and  whose memory they are intended to perpetuate, when all verbal descriptions are wanting; and the identity of many an old portrait rests on no other authority than that of a coat of Arms painted at the side.

John E. Cussans, The Handbook of Heraldry, 1869, pp. 15-16

Then there's this one, quoted by Mr. Cussans immediately following the above quote, by C. James, Scotland in the Middle Ages:

For the pursuit of family history, of topographical and territorial learning, of ecclesiology, of architecture, it is altogether indispensable; and its total and contemptuous neglect in this country [Scotland], is one of the causes why a Scotchman can rarely speak or write on any of these subjects without being exposed to the charge of using a language he does not understand.

(Ecclesiology: the study of churches, especially church building and decoration. Just in case you hadn't run into this word before.)

Well, in addition to those two quotes, I recently came across another expressing a similar sentiment, in an article entitled What I've Learned by Harry Williams-Bulkeley, the Head of Silver at Christie’s:

Heraldry is incredibly important with silver. Hallmarks tell you who made the object, where it was made and when it was made, but the coat of arms will tell you for whom it was made. It’s the final cherry on the cake that leads you to the full story.

I love the sentiment contained in that final sentence, don't you?

And if you'd like to know some of the other things that Mr. Williams-Bulkeley has learned over the course of his 28-year career at Christie's, you can find the full article on-line at


Monday, August 13, 2018

Another Game With Heraldry

There are a few games around that involve heraldry.

Sometimes a "game" can be a task that a few bored heralds may assign to themselves. I was involved with one of these, where six of us, having been left pretty much unsupervised, tried to create a coat of arms consisting of a field and a single standard heraldic charge that everyone who saw it would say was "too complex."

I think we may have succeeded. This is what we came up with:

The blazon is: Gyronny [of eight] lozengy gules and or, and vair, a mascle throughout counterchanged.

Other heraldic games try to combine some fun with education, like the "Heraldic Bingo" game that can be purchased from

Well, the other day over on Reddit, I saw a new heraldic variant of an old game that someone has come up with: Heraldic Telephone. The way it is played is described as:

All the players are organized into a list, and the first person in the list is given a coat of arms that they need to blazon. They send their blazon to the second person in the list, who proceeds to draw a coat of arms using only that blazon. They then send their coat of arms to the next person in sequence and this continues until the final player and all the coats of arms and blazons are revealed!

(If you want to see something of the way it can go, you can see the results of a round played in April of this year at

What an intriguing concept! And it's the kind of thing that could be played on-line or in person with friends with a few pieces of paper. (Well, you'd also want something to write with, and colored pencils or Crayola markers or something similar to draw the coat[s] with.)

What an interesting idea for the next time you're sitting around with some other heraldry enthusiasts and want a fun way to pass the time.

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Heraldry Is ...

I ran across this meme on Facebook the other day, and it seemed too good not to share.

Some would take issue with the specifics stated for one or more of these six steps. Nonetheless, the progression is reasonably apt.

Still, I sometimes suspect that I started out on step one and simply raced through the others to get to step six.

As proof, here's a quick photo of a good portion of my heraldic library. (It extends out of frame both to the left and the right, plus there are some other heraldic periodicals, etc. tucked away in another part of the room entirely.)

It's not a problem. Truly, I could stop anytime. And I'm going to. Very soon. Any day now. Well, maybe I'll wait until after I receive that one book that I pre-ordered. No, wait, there's that two-volume set I've been looking at getting for a while. After that. Then I'll quit. No, really.

Okay, maybe not.

Monday, August 6, 2018

How Genuine Is This Coat of Arms?

This next memorial in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, is another old one, memorializing the death of a man in 1640, as well as two of his children, Richard and Elionor, and Richard's wife Elizabeth.

There's a lot of text on that plaque, not all of which came out entirely legible on either of the two photographs I took of it. (You can click on the image above to see the clearer of the two large pictures of the memorial.) In brief, it is a memorial to Richard Willis, Esq., who died June 21st, 1640 at the Starchamber in Westminster. His wife, Eleanor White, by whom he had eight children, was still living at that time. His son Richard erected this monument. The text then goes on to mention the other family members who are buried nearby.

But, of course, it was the coat of arms at the top of the memorial which caught my eye.

As painted, I would blazon the arms: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent three griffins passant in pale sable within a bordure engrailed gules bezanty; 2 and 3, Azure a wolf salient argent langued gules; overall at the fess point a crescent argent for difference. The crest atop the wreath (which ought by right to be argent and sable, not or and azure) is: A demi-griffin sable holding in its talons a poleaxe proper headed (azure?).

The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, Westminster by Walcott, 1847, gives the field in the second and third quarters as sable, and makes the battle axe fully sable like the demi-griffin. So there may be some mis-painted tinctures here.

The real trouble, though, is that I cannot find this coat of arms anywhere. It appears to be a bit of a mashup, and the sort of thing that one might expect to find being sold as "your family crest" by some heraldic bucket shop.

The arms in the first and fourth quarters are similar to - and different from - these two entries in Burke's General Armory for Wills (no second "i"): Argent three wyverns passant in pale a bordure engrailed sable bezanty (Wills, Landarke, county Cornwall), and Argent three griffins passant in pale azure murally gorged argent a border sable bezanty (Sir Charles Wills, K.B., died 1741). The crests are, respectively: A demi-griffin azure wings addorssed holding with both claws a battle axe proper, and A demi-griffin segreant azure murally gorged or sustaining a battle axe proper.

The arms in the second and third quarters may be Downe: Azure a wolf salient langued and armed gules. If the field is truly supposed to be sable, though, the closest match in Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials is Loude/Louthe/Lowte: Sable a wolf salient and in dexter chief a crescent for difference argent.

As I said, similar but different, both the arms and the crests.

The name on the memorial is quite clearly Willis, and is given as Willis in Walcott's book as well. Yet the arms appear to be a variant of Wills.

So is this coat of arms the product of a bucket shop heraldist? It is certainly possible, because we know that heralds were complaining about the work of some of the painters of heraldry at least as early as 1610, thirty years before this memorial, when John Guillim wrote in his A Display of Heraldrie:

In which respect it were fit that common Painters, the common disorderers of these tokens of honour, were better looked unto; who both in former ages, and much more in these daies, have greatly corrupted these honourable signs, by adding their new fantasticall inventions; that so they might make the things borne in Coat-Armour more perspicuous to the view, or because they would be thought to be well overseen in Heraldry. For indeed they want the eye of judgment, to see and discerne that such is the excellency of these honourable tokens, that the least alteration either by augmentation, diminution, transposition, or whatsoever other means, doth occasion a change in them so great, as that they thereby differ from themselves, not onely in their accidentall, but also in their substantiall parts, and cease to be any longer the same they were before, and their owners are debarred to challenge an propriety or interest in them, in respect of such alteration.  Modica alteratio in membro principali magnam alterationem facit (saith the Philosopher) A little alteration makes a great alteration in a principall part. As the least spot in the Eye, which is the worthiest part of the face, doth more disfigure the same, than ten times so much in any other member of the whole body.

And it was still going on 200 years later when William Berry wrote in his An Introduction to Heraldry:

[E]very coach, house, and sign painter pretends to a knowledge of the science of heraldry, rather than lose the job when offered.

I don't know that the coat of arms for this family memorial is a result of a bucket shop herald, but given the other evidence, I cannot say that it isn't.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Portrait of a Young Man

Our next armorial memorial is a charming one to a young man who was taken in what some would call "the bloom of life."

Topped by a carved relief portrait of the young man being memorialized, the inscription taking up the main portion reads:

     Near this Place is Interred the Body of Willm Arnold, Gent. ob:Aug:23:
     1734 Aged 25. He was ftrictly Pious juft & boundless in his Charity:
     Dutifull to his Parents Loveing to his Relations: true to his Friend:
     Humble, Modeft, and good Natured to All. In Painting was a great
     Artist, and has a Fine taste to Mufick and Poetry: his Lofs can
     Never be enough Lamented: his Sister in Justice to his Memory
     Has Erected this Monument.
He when on Earth Fixing his thoughts Above,
Hopes to enjoy eternal Peace and Love.

Once again, as usual, I noticed the shield first, and the rest of the monument after.

Burke's General Armory gives these as the arms of Arnold (Gloucestershire, granted 1653): Gules a chevron ermine between three pheons or.

The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, Westminster by Walcott (1847), gives the same blazon for these arms, but gives us no additional information about young William Arnold. Nor have I been able to find him in any of my usual internet searches. (Lots of other William Arnolds, yes; even one who died in 1734, but aged a number of years older.)

Still, it's a very sweet memorial by a loving sister to her brother, in addition to displaying some remarkably simple heraldry.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Right Honorable Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, Bt.

Our next armorial memorial is dedicated to the memory of Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, 1st Baronet (1868-1931).

In memory of
The Right Honourable
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans
1868 - 1931
For twenty-two years a Member
of Parliament and for ten years
a Cabinet Minister
Secretary of State for War
1921-1922 and 1924-1929
He served his country in war and peace
throughout his life and died serving

Glorious is the fruit of good labours
and the root of wisdom shall never fall away

Sir Laming has a good-sized paragraph in my 1938 Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, which outlines in more detail his political career as Member of Parliament for Colchester, his government offices during World War I, his being made Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire on June 3, 1922, and his assuming by Royal License the additional name of Worthington the day before he was created Baronet on November 15, 1916, among other things.

But, naturally, it was the heraldry that attracted my eye.

At the center top of the memorial are the arms of Worthington-Evans, flanked by the arms of the Borough of Westminster (where he spent so much of his career) (Azure a portcullis on a chief or on a pale azure between two Tudor roses gules and argent a cross flory between five martlets or) and the Borough of Colchester (for whom he served as MP) (Or four pieces of wood raguly conjoined in cross vert each side arm transfixed with a nail palewise sable ensigned by an ancient crown or the arm in base enfiling an ancient cross or and transfixed by a nail bendwise sable).

(As an aside, it seems to me that it would be less convoluted to simply blazon the main charge in the arms of Colchester as a cross raguly vert, but maybe that's just me.)

The arms of Worthington-Evans are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Per pale argent and gules a lion passant regardant between two fleurs-de-lis and a bundle of rods banded all counterchanged (Evans); 2 and 3, Azure a saltire engrailed argent between three tridents one in chief and two in fess or (Worthington). The crests are: 1, A lion passant regardant argent the body charged with three crosses moline and resting its dexter forepaw upoin a bundle of rods banded gules (Evans); and 2, A demi-goat proper charged on the shoulder with a saltire engrailed argent (Worthington). The motto is Libertas (Liberty).

Sir Laming was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, Sir William Shirley Worthington-Evans.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Memorial to a Husband From His Wife

It's neither one of the biggest nor one of the fanciest armorial memorials in St. Margaret's Chapel, but it's certainly one of the more touching ones, the memorial to Austen Henry Layard erected by his wife, Enid.

I pray you remember
Henry Austen Layard PC GCB
Discoverer of Nineveh
He served his Queen and his country with all lhis
heart and with all his might while representing
the Boroughs of Aylesbury and Southwark in
Parliament as Under Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs as First Commissioner of Works
as Minister at Madrid and as
Ambassador at Constantinople
Born 5 March 1817 Died 5 July 1894
Enid L

Sir Henry Austen Layard, PC [Privy Council], GCB [Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath] was, as his Wikipedia article notes, a traveler, archaeologist, cuneiformist, art historian, draftsman, collector, politician, and diplomat. he is best-known, though, as the excavator of Nimrud and Nineveh, where he uncovered a large portion of the Assyrian palace reliefs and, in 1851, the library of Ashurbanipal.

He married in London on March 9, 1869, his first cousin once removed, Mary Enid Evelyn Guest, daughter of Sir Josiah John Guest and Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Bertie. Henry and Enid Layard had no children.

The heraldic portion of the memorial shows two shield accolée (embracing), the husband's alone on the left encircled by the insignia of the Order of the Bath, and the right with the impaled arms of husband and wife. At the top, on either side of the crest, are his initials (HAL) and hers (EL).

His arms are blazoned: Gules a chevron between in chief two mullets of six points or pierced of the field and in base a crescent argent on a chief azure three mullets or. The crest is Out of a ducal coronet a mullet of six points or. The motto (below the shield) is Juvante deo (By the help of God). A second motto (not the wife's from all that I can find) appears above the crest in Scottish fashion, Perseverando (By persevering).

Enid's paternal arms are Azure on a chevron or between three swan's heads erased proper three crosses moline sable.

It's a beautiful little memorial with some very nicely done heraldry upon it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Two Modern Armorial Memorials

I found these next two armorial memorials in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, to be especially interesting because they appear to be of a new pattern of such memorials. They are dated 1978 and 1990, respectively, but are certainly of a particular type, a horizontal rectangular stone slate (I think. they look like slate, but I suppose they could just as easily be molded concrete stained or colored to mimic slate) containing the memorial language with a square notch extending from the center of the upper edge on which the coat of arms is carved and painted.

The first one is a memorial to Sir Dingle Mackintosh Foot, 1905-1978. He served as a Member of Parliament, for Dundee (1931-1945) and for Ipswich (1957-1970), and was Solicitor General for England and Wales (1964-1967) under Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Sadly, he died on June 18, 1978 in a hotel in Hong Kong after choking on a bone in a chicken sandwich.

His arms are beautifully carved and painted:

The arms would be blazoned Or on a chevron engrailed sable between three lion's jambes erased gules three wheels or. The crest is something like Atop a tower sable sustained by a pair of lion's jambes gules a Cornish chough proper (that is, sable beaked and legged gules). The motto is Pro lege et libertate (For law and liberty).

The other memorial of this type is that of Eric George Molyneux, Baron Fletcher of Islington, 1903-1990. He was a Member of Parliament for Islington East from 1945 to 1970, as well a Minister Without Portfolio from 1964 to 1966 under Prime Minister Harold Wilson. On July 9, 1970, he was created a life peer as Baron Fletcher of Islington in Greater London.

The arms (surmounted by the coronet of a baron), and once again beautifully carved and painted, have echoes of the ancient arms of Molyneux, Azure a cross moline or, as the well as the crest, which here (as then) issues from a cap of maintenance, or chapeau.

The arms here would be blazoned Azure two arrows in saltire points to chief between four crosses moline or. The crest is Issuant from a chapeau gules turned up ermine a cubit arm proper vested sable the hand holding a rolled scroll bendwise sinister argent surmounted by an arrow bendwise point to chief or. His supporters are bowmen from two different periods of English history, and the motto is Labor ipse voluptas (Labor itself is a pleasure).

I always find it interesting to see the various styles, and the evolution of styles, of armorial memorials, and these two are, I think, lovely examples of a modern form of such. Don't you?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Idea Wasn't a Bad One, But ...

... the implementation fell a little short.

This is the story of Jordan Webb and his wife-to-be, Kristen Onkka.

In discussing their upcoming nuptials, they - as many couples facing marriage do these days - talked about their options and their preferences. Would she take his surname? Would he take hers? Would they do a hyphenated combination name?

In the course of that discussion, they noted that both of their surnames came to them from their respective fathers. Father from whom they were estranged, and of whom they had memories they would rather not remember.

So they decided to create a new surname for their new family, and came up with Dhacroi, an Irish-Gaelic combination of "two" and "hearts".

So far, so good. (Not necessarily a choice I would have made, but this story isn't about me, so there's that.)

However, and this is where it goes awry, having created a new surname, they thought, "why not dive in and make a family coat-of-arms?"

I mean, he's an avid reader of fantasy novels, many of which have noble houses with their own coats of arms, and what an author of a fantasy novel can do in a book, he could do in real life, right?

Alas, as happens so many times with people who know very little about actual heraldry, its history, its rules, and its meanings, they came up with something that I feel sure has lots of "meaning" for them, but which comes across as something I call "kitchen sink heraldry," since it seems to have been designed by including just about everything, including the proverbial "kitchen sink."

I am not going to go into all of the things that I can find "wrong" about this design. Suffice it say that there are "problems" with it.

It would have been ever so much better if they had consulted with someone (anyone!) who has an understanding of and feeling for heraldry. (It does appear that they looked at one or more of those books or websites which purports to explain the "meanings" of the colors and charges used in a coat of arms, which probably only served to lead them even further astray. For some accurate information about such things, I recommend the MFAQ of the rec.heraldry newsgroup, which can be found at

Anyway, if you have the heart for it, you can find an article with more detail, and a photograph of the loving couple, on-line at

Monday, July 16, 2018

An Armorial "Antiques Roadshow" Find

I pretty regularly watch the television series Antiques Roadshow, both the English and the American versions. Partly because of my interest in history, partly because I learn a lot from listening the appraisers, and, yes, a little bit because I hope that someday soon something I own (besides my heraldry books) will be found to be worth  lot of money. (The fact that this latter has not yet happened, and realistically, probably never will, has done nothing to dampen my enthusiasm.)

Anyway, we were watching the latest episode of the American version of the series on our local Public Broadcasting Service station, KERA, and one of the items that had been brought in for an appraisal was one that immediately caught my eye: a piece of armorial china. So I whipped out my cell phone (whatever did we do in the olden days when we didn't have telephones in our pockets that would also take pictures?) and took a shot of the screen:

The appraiser spent a fair bit of the few minutes he had on-screen talking about the Chinese export trade and the figures in the white cartouches on the gold circle inside the rim of the plate. (My memory of what he said about them is that on china for use in China, there would be four, or perhaps six, different figures. On this plate, for the European trade, there are only two, which are repeated. This last was apparently something that would never have been done for use in China. The feeling that I got from his description was of a number of Chinese porcelain painters sitting around discussing among themselves that they didn't have to put in more effort than necessary, because the "foreign devils" would buy anything. Hahahahahahaha. But maybe I'm reading too much into a sixty to ninety second appraisal.)

Anyway, my interest, of course, was to see if I could identify the martial arms on the plate. And, sure enough, a quick review of Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, Burke's General Armory, and Fairbairn's Crests came up with the following:

The husband's arms (on the dexter, or left for the viewer, side of the shield):

Martin: Azure two bars or in chief a rose between two bugle-horns (no tincture given; on this plate they are argent). (Papworth)

Martin: Azure two bars or in chief a rose between two bugle-horns of the first. (Nope, nope, nope. That makes the charges in chief azure on azure, and thus effectively invisible. That cannot be correct.) (Burke)

The wife's arms (on the sinister, or right for the view, side of the shield):

Peck: Or on a chevron gules three crosses patty of the first. (Papworth)

Peck (Samford Hill, co. Essex, and Wood-Pelling and Methwould, co. Norfolk, temp. Charles II.). Or on a chevron gules three crosses formée of the field. Crest – Two lances or in saltire headed argent pennons hanging to them gold each charged with a cross formée gules the spears enfiled with a chaplet vert. (Burke)

The crest, An anchor or surmounted by a bugle-horn sable does not appear in Fairbairn’s Crests.

I have been unable to find which Mr. Martin married which Miss Peck, or when, or where, but it's nice to know that they were able to set their dinner table with a setting of nice chinaware with their marital coat of arms upon it.

And as I have noted many times before, you can find heraldry everywhere, even when you're just sitting of an evening relaxing while watching TV, with no expectation of seeing a coat of arms.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

An Armorial Memorial to Two Brothers

The number of questionable coats of arms on memorials in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, continues to mount. For example:

This beautifully carved memorial to two brothers, Edward and Owen Reynolds, which has carved and painted arms at the top and bottom.

The memorial plaque reads:

Here lieth interred ye bodie of Edward
Reynoldes Esq., late Clarke of his maties
Privie Seale & Register of ye Court of Re-
quests who departed this life ye 18 day
of Decembr, Ano Dni 1623. By him also lieth
ye bodie of his brother Mr Owen Reynolds,
who deceased ye 16 of April, 1610. To whose
memories Edward, & Lancelot Reynolds Gent:
have here placed these ensving verses made
by ye said Edward Reynolds in his life time.

Gloria, vita, decor, thesaurus, fama, voluptas,
Vana, breuis, fragilis, fluxus, temeraria, mollis,
Fumus, bulla, jris, fax, ventus, dulce venenu,
Vanescit, perit, arescit, liquefit, fugit, angit.
Orbe nihil toto stabile est cito corruer orbis
Et vafti jn nihilu uanescet fabrica mundi.
Sola fides firman parit, æternad corna
Sola fides Christi meritis, sunt catera nugæ.

Hac vici, hac morior fide
Mihi Christ, in vita
Et morte lvcrv.

(And, no, my knowledge of Latin is not nearly good enough to translate the lower parts for you. Sorry!)

It was, of course, the arms which attracted me.

The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, Westminster, published in 1847 (and which I have been quoting in many of these posts of heraldry in St. Margaret's), blazons these arms as: Argent; a chevron lozengy gules and sable between three crosses fitchée of the third.

Before we get into the difficulty of the colors, let me discuss a couple of other issues with that blazon. First, the chevron is not "lozengy;" it is checky. "Charges, whether placed on, or in, an ordinary, always incline in the direction of that ordinary.  It would, therefore, be incorrect to draw the four billets, in the fourth quarter [of the arms of Panmure, Per pale argent and gules, on a saltire between four herrings naiant five billets all counterchanged], in the same manner as the centre one." (John E. Cussans, The Grammar of Heraldry, 1866, p. 50 (see also, Handbook of Heraldry, by the same author, 1882, p. 160)) This rule applies to ordinaries which are divided, as for example, checky. On a chevron, as here, the checks should follow the line of the chevron. So the chevron is properly blazoned as checky, and not lozengy.

Second, the crosses are clearly carved as crosses crosslet fitchy.

Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, let's discuss the tinctures. The chevron here is painted checky gules and or. I have no idea where The History got "sable" from. Further, looking closely (and you can click on the image above to see a larger picture), the crosses are painted azure, not sable.

Unfortunately, Burke's General Armory does not shed much light on the question of how these arms should be painted, though it does point to some possibilities. If we ignore (as I think we should) those Reynolds arms which bear a chevron ermine, we still have:

Reynolds (Carshalton, co. Surrey). Argent a chevron checky gules and azure between three crosses crosslet fitchy of the third.

Reynolds (borne by Sir Joshua Reynolds, as appears from a grant of the Freedom of a London Company to him). Argent a chevron lozengy gules and azure between three crosses crosslet azure.

Reynolds (Shotley, co. Suffolk). Argent a chevron checky azure and gules between three crosses formy fitchee vert, on a chief embattled sable as many [three] mullets or.

Reynolds (co. Suffolk, and Great Yarmouth, co. Norfolk). Argent a chevron lozengy gules and azure on a chief of the third [azure] a cross formy fitchy between two mullets or.

Reynolds. Argent a chevron lozengy gules and azure between three crosses formy fitchy vert on a chief sable three mullets of the field [argent].

So none of these arms match those (as painted) on the memorial here.

There is an Owen Reynolds of Westminster in the Visitations of Surrey, but only in a genealogy noting that Celina, daughter and co-heir of Owen Reynolds of Westminster married William Engler of Carsalton, Surrey. No arms are mentioned for Owen.

So, once again I find myself at a bit of a loss, here to determine the arms' correct tinctures of brothers Edward and Owen Reynolds. It may very well be that the author of The History mistook what was supposed to be azure for sable on the chevron and crosses of the arms, and that a later painter got the correct tincture for the crosses, but substituted gold for the blue on the chevron. At least that's the hypothesis I'm going with for now, unless and until additional evidence surfaces.

In any event, it's another really nice monument with some good heraldry, whatever the correct colors may be.

Monday, July 9, 2018

An Old Memorial With Confused (or, at least, Confusing) Arms

This next memorial in St. Margaret's is an older one to a father and young daughter who predeceased him. It's a lovely monument, though time hasn't always treated it well; the head and feet of the father (on the left) are now missing.

If you look carefully (and you can click on the image above to see a larger picture), you will note that the eldest daughter (kneeling right behind her mother) is carrying a skull in her hands, as a mark of her being deceased.

The inscription below the carving of the kneeling family reads (I have substituted an "f" for the "long ess", since my keyboard does not have the long ess on it):

Heere resteth in afsured hope to rife in Christ the Body of Hugh
Haughton fourth Sonne of thomas Haughton of Haughton in ye Count
y of Chefter gent: who married Fraunces daughter of William Cooth of Sher
borne in the County of Dorfet gent: and by her had issue two
daughters, Elizabeth & Fraunces  Hee departed this life ye 17th day of
october 1616 aged 50 yeares & Elizabeth departed this life ye 28th day
of August 1615 aged 7 yeares and lieth here also interred.

Just above the kneeling figures of the family members is the inscription:

Frances Haughton in token of her love to her
husbande caused this monument to be erected

The monument bears two coats of arms: the paternal arms with crest at the top, and a marital shield impaling the husband's arms with his wife's at the bottom.

The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret's, Westminster, published in 1847, blazons these arms as: Sable, in chief for distinction, a martlet argent, three bars of the same. (A martlet is the difference for a fourth son.)

A more typical blazon for these arms would be: Sable three bars argent in chief a martlet (also argent) for difference.)

Unfortunately, the martlet seems to be missing here, and the bars are painted gold, or or.

Burke's General Armory gives the arms of "Houghton, or Haughton (Haughton, co. Chester ...)" as: Sable three bars argent, with the crest A bull's head sable attired argent charged on the neck with three bars of the last. Haughton of Haughton appears in The Visitation of Cheshire of 1580, with the arms Sable three bars Argent, and showing Hugh as the fourth son of Thomas Haughton of Haughton, Esq. and his wife Alice Steventon.

So it would appear that the bars being gold here is a (comparatively) recent error. The bull's head crest listed in Burke may have lost all of it its paint, nothing remaining of either the black on the head or the horns and bars in white.

Of the marital arms at the base of the memorial, the husband's arms are blazoned in The History as cited above, while the wife's paternal arms (Cooth) are blazoned there as: Gules a fess argent between three escallop shells of the same. (Nowadays we'd just say: Gules a fess between three escallops argent.)

But while the bars of the husband's arms are here closer to their correct argent, and if you look closely you can see something in the chief that might be a martlet (now overpainted black) (again, you can click on the picture above to see the larger image), the wife's arms only retain the red of the field, the fess having become black and the escallop shells gold.

Burke's General Armory has only one entry for Cooth, and he gives no county (we'd be looking for Cooth or Coothe in Sherbourne, co. Dorset): Gules a fess between three escallops or. Cooth does not appear at all in the Visitation of Dorset conducted in 1623.

So it may be that the modern painter followed Burke's blazon for the color of the shells, but that fess here is quite clearly black, and not either white (as it was blazoned in 1847) or gold (as it appears in Burke).

So there you have it; an early 17th Century memorial to a beloved husband and daughter, but with the arms of both husband and wife mispainted in one way or another in the years since.

Still, it's a beautiful monument, with a great use of heraldry.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

An Ornate Memorial With Complex Heraldry

There is quite a range of heraldic memorials in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, from those just about a hundred years old to those much older. This next memorial is one of the latter, in addition to being one of the more ornate memorials there.

This is the memorial to Blanche Parry, daughter of Henry Parry of New-Court, Hereford, who died February 12, 1589, aged 82. She was Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth's Most Honourable Privy Chamber and Keeper of Her Majesty's Jewels.

That death date makes her a contemporary of my 11th great-grandmother, Margaret (Haslonde) Bray, who was buried at St. Margaret's on March 28, 1588, and of my 10th great-grandparents, Thomas and Mary (Bray) Whitney, who were married at St. Margaret's on May 12, 1583, and who were both buried there (in 1637 and 1629, respectively). It is entirely possible that Thomas and Mary Whitney watched this memorial being erected in 1595. How cool is that?

Anyway, it was, of course, that great coat of arms at the top which really caught my eye.

The arms are blazoned in The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, Westminster, as: Quarterly: 1 and 8, Argent a fess between three lozenges azure; 2, Argent a lion rampant azure; Gules; 4, Azure three hands couped or; 5, Gules a fess azure between three escallops or; 6, Sable a fess gules between three pellets; 7, Gules a bend or between six crosses crosslet sable.

Obviously, there are several discrepancies between that blazon and what we see on the shield above.

Burke's General Armory lists two slightly different coats of arms for Parry of Hereford: Argent a fess between three lozenges sable and Argent a fess between three lozenges within a bordure azure. The lion in the second quarter appears to be langued and crowned gules. The gules of the third quarter is carved and painted here as Gules three bars paly argent and (sable/azure). The "fesses" in quarters five and six are pretty clearly carved as chevrons, and that in the sixth quarter is charged with a crescent (which here may be be the mark of a second son). The bend in the seventh quarter is painted as cotised, and the crosses crosslet fitchy are painted or rather than sable.

In a complete turnabout from the usual situation (finding a reasonable amount of information on the father, but much, much less on his daughter), I've been having a hard time tracking down Henry Parry of New-Court (or New Court), Hereford. The family does not appear in the Visitation of Hereford of 1569, nor in that of London of 1568. Most of the references on-line to him relate to his daughter Blanche (she apparently died a very well-regarded, and wealthy, woman! See, e.g.,, and, among others), and I've not found his coat of arms anywhere, so it is very hard to discover how many of these discrepancies are due to mistaken overpainting in the centuries since the monument was erected and how many to other factors.

Still and all, it's a beautiful monument to a woman who spent much of her life serving her Queen, and who died in service to that monarch.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Another Carved Marble Heraldic Memorial

I have managed to find (and download) a .pdf copy of The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, in Westminster by Rev. Mackenzie Edward Charles Walcott, published in 1847, which, among other things, gives a brief (very brief!) description many of the memorials and monuments in St. Margaret's Chapel. This is going to save me ever so much time in tracking down exactly who is being memorialized and how their coats of arms are blazoned. (It is by no means a panacea, but still, some of the basic research is already encapsulated in this little volume, and I hope that we all will gain something from that.)

Continuing my "amble" through the ambulatory of the chapel, I ran across this particularly nice carved marble memorial.

Lieth Interred the Body of
Late of this Parish, Esquire
Who departed this life
the Twenty eighth Day of
November 1715.
Aged 49 years.

His coat of arms, carved in relief and painted, are blazoned in the book above as: Party per pale. Sable; a lion rampant argent debruised with a bendlet gules. 2. Sable; on a cross or, four pellets between four fleurs-de-lys argent.

I would change the blazon a little to better conform with current practices: Per pale: 1, Sable a lion rampant argent debruised by a bendlet gules; 2, Sable on a cross or between four fleurs-de-lys argent five roundels sable.

Someone has clearly painted the lion and the fleurs-de-lys as gold since 1847! But they really should be argent (or white).

The Churchill arms (to dexter, on the viewer's left) are given in Burke's General Armory as: Sable a lion rampant argent debruised with a bendlet gules.

The arms on the sinister side of the shield (to the viewer's right) are given by Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials as Banks (London, baronetcy 1661-99), Sable on a cross or between four fleurs-de-lys argent five ogresses.

I have not been able to find John Churchill, d. 1715, in the Dictionary of National Biography or any of the usual on-line sources. (There is a plethora of information about John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, but though a contemporary, he is not the John Churchill we're looking for here.)

Nor have I found a likely identification for his wife, who seems not to be either of the daughters of Sir John Banks, baronet. Mary Banks married John Seville, and her sister Elizabeth Banks married Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Aylesford.

Still, though, it's a beautiful monument, with its little "garden" of flowers beneath the shield.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Carved Marble Armorial Memorial

There are, naturally enough, a number of carved stone armorial memorials in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster.

For example:

The inscription reads:

departed ye Life of
ye Small Pox March
ye 11th 1714/5 in ye 23d Year
of Her Age: and lies
Interr’d near ys Place
by Her Father ye
CARY of Clovelly
in the County of
Erected to Her memoy
by Her Friend

And, of course, I probably wouldn't have included this memorial here if it didn't have a coat of arms on it:

The arms of Cary are found in Burke's General Armory: Argent on a bend sable three roses argent (sometimes barbed and seeded proper). The Visitations of the County of Devon blazon the arms of Cary of Clovelly as: Argent on a bend sable three roses argent, a martlet for difference.

(Yes, I know that it looks like someone has at one time or another colored the field here as or, and the coat is so blazoned in The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, in Westminster.  Still, I have shared other coats of arms which have been miscolored before now, most notably this one: Given that example, don't give me any static about this one!)

In case you are wondering, Clovelly, Devon, is in the west of southern England on the southern shore of Barnstaple or Bideford Bay, about one-third of the way between Hartland Point to the west and the city of Bideford to the east.

Edward Cary and his daughter Judith appear in The Visitations of the County of Devon Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1565, and 1620, with additions by Lieutenant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, with these entries:

Edward Cary, 4 son [of George Cary and Anne, née Handcock), named in the wills of his uncle [Sir Robert Cary] and father, a minor 1679, Rector of Silverton and Sub-Dean of Exeter at 26 years of age, d. 28 Dec. 1695, buried in St. Margaret's, Westminster.

Edward Cary married a daughter of Thomas Pointington of Penecot.

Judith [Cary], only child, d. 11 Mar. 1714-15, aged 23, of small pox, bur. in St. Margaret's, Westminster.

It is so sad to see a life taken so young.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Monument to a Deceased Son

On one wall inside St. Margaret's Chapel is found a white marble memorial with a tri-colored mosaic border around it, containing a coat of arms and a short poem by American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes.

To the dear Memory of
Cyril Lytton Farrar
born at Harrow march 19th 1869
Died at Peking February 2nd 1891

Afar he sleeps whose name is graven here
where loving hearts his early doom deplore
youth, promise, virtue, all that made him dear
Heaven sent, earth borrowed, sorrowing
to restore.                              O.W. Holmes

Cyril Lytton Farrar was the son of the Revd. William Frederic Farrar, Rector at St. Margaret's from 1876 until he became Dean of Canterbury. More information about father and son can be found on-line at

The beautifully simple arms of Farrar are: Argent on a bend engrailed sable three horseshoes argent.

A beautiful memorial to a son who died young (age 22) in a far and distant land.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Brass Memorial to a Peer

The second brass memorial to share from St. Margaret's Chapel in Westminster was this one:

Sacred to the memory of
the Right Honourable
Charles Shaw-Lefevre P.C. G.C.B. D.C.L. L.L.D.
of Heckfield Place in the County of Southampton,
for nearly 18 years Speaker of the House of Commons.
Upon his retirement from the Chair in 1857,
he was elevated to the Peerage by the title
Viscount Eversley.
His Lordship was High Steward of Winchester,
Captain General and Governor of the Isle of Wight,
and A.D.C. to the Queen.
He died Decr 28, 1888, in the ninety fifth year of his age,
when the title became extinct.

These arms are found in Burke's General Armory and are given as follows:

Shaw-Lefevre (Viscount Eversley). Sable a chevron between two trefoils slipped in chief argent and a bezant in base issuant therefrom a cross paty or. (This last charge is more generally, and succinctly, blazoned a mound. Franklyn and Tanner, in their An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Heraldry, give the following: mound: [M.E.] lit. the earth; hence, the regal orb; hence, a representation of this: always equatorially banded with a rising demi-meridian ensigned with a cross paty.) Crest: Six arrows interlaced saltirewise three and three proper with an annulet or. Supporters: On eigher side a talbot, that on the dexter gules on the sinister sable each charged on the shoulder with a mace erect gold. Motto: Sans changer (Without changing).

Charles Shaw-Lefevre, Viscount Eversley, 1794-1888, has an entry amounting to a full page in the Dictionary of National Biography (,_Charles_(DNB00)), which discusses his career in some detail, as well as informing us that he married in 1817 Emma Laura Whitbread, the daughter of Samuel Whitbread M.P. for Bedford. She died in 1857. They had six children: three sons, all of whom died young; and three daughters. It was the death of the male heirs which caused the extinction of the title upon the death of Charles in 1888.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Some Heraldry in St. Margaret's Chapel, Westminster, London

On the other side of the street behind the Houses of Parliament in London, and standing next to Westminster Abbey, is the (comparatively) little chapel of St. Margaret's.

You can often see St. Margaret's in flyover pictures of the Houses of Parliament with the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the bell known as Big Ben, and of Westminster Abbey. In the photograph here, St. Margaret's is the white building with the attached tower right next to the two red double-decker buses. So you can see how it can often be overlooked, as people generally are much more interested in the two major landmarks between which it is sandwiched and by which it is dwarfed.

We were there (putting off our visit to the Abbey for earlier another day, when the line to get in was shorter) because it happens that I have a familial relation to St. Margaret's. A couple of my 11th great-grandparents (John Bray and Margaret Haslonde) were married and buried at St. Margaret's, and their daughter (Mary Bray) was baptized, married, and she and her husband Thomas Whitney (my 10th great-grandparents) were buried there. So you can see that I had a Very Good Reason™ for visiting.

St. Margaret's Chapel was founded not too long after the establishment of the Abbey next door because, as the website of the Chapel notes, "as the monks of the newly-founded monastery of St. Peter in Westminster were disturbed by the people of Westminster who came to hear Mass. So the monks set about building a smaller church next to the Abbey where the local people could receive all the sacraments and ministrations of the Church, thus leaving the monks in the Abbey undisturbed. The church was dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch about whom little is known, though her cult was extremely popular in the middle ages."

While we were there, soaking up the atmosphere of this church where some of my ancestors were baptized, married, and were buried, I (naturally enough) noticed a lot of heraldic memorials in the chapel, and over the next few posts, I will share some of these with you. (Not all of them, by any means. I had photographed less than half of the building when I was asked to stop photographing memorials, and it was only then that I saw the small sign that requested people not take pictures. I don't think it is strictly enforced; there were a lot of cell phones and cameras taking pictures. I think I probably just exceeded their limit. So when I was asked to stop, I stopped. But since I wasn't asked to delete the ones I had already taken, I feel that I can share them with you here in this non-commercial setting.)

So, to begin, let's start with a couple of brass memorials. Here's the first one:

In Memory of
Thomas John Estall,
son of Thomas and Sophia Estall,
died April 7th 1816, aged 15 months,
Sophia Estall, mother of the above,
died January 9th 1831, aged 38 years,
Alfred Charles Estall,
died March the 30th 1835 aged 9 years,
and Thomas Estall, husband of the above,
who died December 10th 1835, aged 47 years.

The arms are hatched, so a blazon would be: Azure three estoiles or on a chief gules a lion passant argent. The crest is: A lion passant argent maintaining in his dexter forepaw an estoile [or]. The motto beneath the shield is: Vi et arte (By strength and art).

I was entirely unable to find these arms in Burke's General Armory, or in Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, nor have I found the crest in Fairbairn's Crests, and the motto cited in Fairbairn's is attributed only to Chisholm, Ferguson, and Stevens. No Estall.

However, after bit more research, I found the following in the Armorial général des registres de la noblesse de France by d'Hozier (1867): "D'Estelle, en Provence. Jean-Baptiste-André d'Estelle, écuyer, justifie sa filiation depuis. Nobel Jean-André d'Estelle, commissaire d'artillerie (1531). Seigneurie de la Plage d'Aren." The blazon given there for the arms would be translated as: Azure three estoiles or on a chief gules a lion passant argent.

So I think it's safe to say that the family was originally French, though I cannot do more than speculate as to how they came to England, or when, or why they are memorialized in St. Margaret's Chapel in the heart of London, England.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wow! I Hadn't Realized I Had Missed Sharing These.

You know how it is, you are just going along and living your life and getting stuff done and making progress on some of your to-do projects, and then something happens that throws you completely off track, and by the time you're back on your feet you've completely forgotten about where you were and what you were going to do, and so you've skipped entirely something? And a few years later, you run across the fact that you have completely spaced on something and now you have to go back and begin again?

Yeah, that's never happened to me, either.

Well, maybe once.

Way back in March 2015, I had posted that I was going to be taking a short leave of absence from posting owing to breaking my ankle in the yard here ("I fought the yard, and the yard won") because, among other things, it had become very difficult to get upstairs and sit at my computer. (See my post of March 27, 2015 at for more details on this "incident" which has had such an effect as to blot from my mind some of the posts I was going to create back then.)

In any case, that hiatus interrupted a somewhat slapdash series I had been doing on the heraldry I had photographed in and around London, England in the fall of 2014. And in the process of doing another big project (I've decided to try to organize many of my photos of heraldry taken over the years into a single folder on my computer that amounts in essence to an armorial of coats of arms that I have seen and photographed), I discovered that I had, in fact, failed to continue that series of posts of heraldry found in and around London.

So here I am, three years later, finally taking up pen (keyboard?) in hand and writing about some of the coats of arms that I can identify (and then adding them to my folder of "heraldry I have seen").

So to begin anew:

We started out early one morning to visit a specific church in the City of Westminster.

The arms of the City of Westminster in London are not to be confused with the arms of Westminster Abbey, which is located in the City of Westminster, which latter can be found on a sign outside the Abbey:

No, the arms of the City of Westminster, though they also contain "on a chief [an x] between two roses" are, as you can see, quite different:

Here (above) they are as depicted on the wall of the City Archives ...

And here, drawn in a very modern rendering on a temporary wall around a construction site. (I have cropped out the words "Welcome to Westminster" that were also on the sign.)

And, frankly, it is examples like these two depictions, classic and modern, that I like to use when I see people arguing to replace an "outdated" coat of arms with a modern logo, as a way to demonstrate how heraldry is not a static art, and that a coat of arms can be updated to appeal to new tastes without tossing the arms into the dustbin of history to be replaced by something completely different, which itself may have a short shelf-life and itself need to be replaced in just a very few years.

Anyway, "Welcome to Westminster!" I hope that you will enjoy the next several posts of some of the heraldry to be found there.