Monday, October 15, 2018

The Other Large Tomb in the Garden at St. Mary-at-Lambeth, London

In addition to the table tomb of Rear Admiral William Bligh and other family members and descendants in what is now the garden of The Garden Center (formerly St. Mary-at-Lambeth churchyard) (, is another marking the resting place of three generations of another family, the Tradescants.

Five members of the Tradescant family are buried here: John Tradescant the Elder (c.1570-1638); John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1662) with his two wives Jane and Hester, and his son, also called John, who died aged 19.

John the Elder and John the Younger were naturalists, gardeners, and collectors, who between them traveled to the Low Countries, Russia, the Levant, North Africa, and even North America to bring plants and other specimens back to England.

The present tomb (above) is the third on the site of the Tradescant grave and replicates the original design. It was restored by public subscription in 1853.

On the east side of the tomb is carved the family arms, on the west side a skull and a seven-headed hydra, on the south side broken columns, Corinthian capitals, a pyramid and ruins, and on the north side shells, a crocodile, and a view of some Egyptian buildings.

The epitaph on the top of the tomb was written by Tradescant's friend, John Aubrey (the spelling is modernized here):

Know, stranger, ere thou pass, beneath this stone
Lie John Tradescant, grandsire, father, son
The last dy'd in his spring, the other two,
Liv'd till they had travelled Art and Nature through,
As by their choice Collections may appear,
Of what is rare in land, in sea, in air,
Whilst they (as Homer's Iliad in a nut)
A world of wonders in one closet shut,
These famous Antiquarians that had been
Both Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen,*
Transplanted now themselves, sleep here & when
Angels shall with their trumpets waken men,
And fire shall purge the world, these three shall rise
And change this Garden then for Paradise.

* Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I

But, of course, it was the heraldry that caught my eye.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any reliable information about the Tradescant "family arms," which I would blazon (alas, without tinctures, as On a bend wavy three fleur-de-lis, impaling A lion passant. They do not appear in Burke's General Armory, Burke's Landed Gentry, Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, or any of my other armorials, ordinaries, and Visitations records. A review of Fairbairn's Crests for the crest here (Issuant from a chapeau a fleur-de-lis between a pair of wings) resulted in a list of the following names: Apeele, Apsley, Casson, Chamond, Chaumond, Crag, Cragg, Delins, and Edmonds. Nothing for Tradescant.

Given the comparatively lowly origins of the Tradescants, father from Suffolk, England, and son born in Kent, and despite their being gardeners to the first Earl of Salisbury, the first Duke of Buckingham, and to King Charles I and his wife Henrietta Maria, it may well be that the arms here are borne without right. It may very well be that as "up and comers" in early 17th Century England, they felt that they needed or were entitled to a coat of arms as a symbol of their status, even without the approval of (or having to pay the fees to) the College of Arms.

If that is true, it is certainly not without precedent. Remember that it was about this time that playwright William Shakespeare approached the College of Arms for a posthumous grant of arms for his father, which of course he immediately inherited, establishing his place in society as a gentleman.

Something I hadn't known about when we visited there, but which I totally would have wanted to do if we had, is that local Lambeth legend states that if the Tradescant tomb is danced around twelve times while Big Ben strikes midnight, a ghost appears. Now that would be something to write home about!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

More Arms in St. Mary-at-Lambeth Chapel

There are other coats of arms held by angels which support the roof arches in St. Mary-at-Lambeth (now the Garden Museum), which I feel I ought to share with you, but most of which I have been (so far) unable to identify.

The arms above, Barry of four argent and gules per pale counterchanged, I have been able to identify only as Barrett. I do not know which Barrett. Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials ascribes it to "Barrett, Bellhouse, Essex." I have been unable to narrow that attribution to any individual who had a connection to the church here.

The guidebooks and on-line information I can find about the church and the Garden Museum regarding heraldic memorials here tend to focus on the larger, more famous memorials in the churchyard, e.g., the tomb of Rear Admiral William Bligh (of HMS Bounty fame) and his family, which I discussed in my post of November 10, 2014 (, and that of John Tradescant, Sr. and John Tradescant, Jr., which I will include in an upcoming post. They have next to no information on the smaller memorials in the interior of the church.

Of these next several coats of arms, I have not even been able to narrow down to a single surname; for example, the husband's arms (on the left) in this next one is ascribed to some 39 different surnames (not counting spelling variants) in Papworth. The identification of the wife's arms (to the right) may rest on the accuracy of the painting of the arms: if it is Gules a chevron argent between three lions rampant or, then the surname is Heely/Heeley or Langton. If however, it is Gules a chevron between three lions rampant or, then there are eight potential surnames (ignoring spelling variants) in Papworth to try to track down. And, really, I only have so much time in a day to be able to devote to hunting down the owners of these arms.

For the rest of these carved and painted shields in the church, we have:

Once again, this last one has too many possible bearers to chose from. Papworth's ascribes Argent a lion rampant queue forchy sable to eight different surnames (again, ignoring spelling variants), from Barynton through Stanlow. (And even that good an identification assumes that I have interpreted the shield correctly. Which it is possible that I have not. Shocking, I know, but nevertheless ... possible!)

Still, though, even without being able to identify the owners of all of the shields at this point, it is a wonderful display of heraldry in an historical church in London, England.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Memorial to a Beloved Rector

The other heraldic stone memorial which I photographed in the Garden Museum, formerly St. Mary-at-Lambeth Church, was to a former Rector of the Church, an ecclesiastic of some reknown.

The text of the inscription reads:

to the memory of
The Rev. George D’Oyly, D.D.
Rector of this Parish and of Sundridge
in the County of Kent,

This monument has been erected by some
of his parishioners in testimony of the
high estimation in which they held his
character and whilst his sound learning
and unwearied exertions evinced in the
foundation of Kings College London are
generally acknowledged; they wish to
record their sense of the important
services which he rendered to this
populous parish by his zeal in the cause
of Christianity, especially manifested
in the erection of eight new churches
during the period of his incumbency.

George D'Oyly, 1778-1846, was a cleric, academic, theologian, and biographer. You can find out more about his life and works, along with an engraving of him made the year of his death, on-line at

Of course, it was really the carved and painted arms on the memorial which caught my attention.

The shield is: Or two bends azure between them two fleurs-de-lis sable (D'Oyly); impaling, Vert two bends wavy ermine on a canton or five roundels in saltire gules (Bruere). (For Maria Frances Bruere, daughter of William Bruere. These arms were granted in 1803 by Isaac Heard, Garter King of Arms, and George Harrison, Clarenceux King of Arms, to George Bruere of Ashted, county Surrey.)

The crest is: A demi-dragon or winged sable holding between its forelegs a fleur-de-lis sable.

It's a beautifully carved and painted marshaled coat of arms, though there is a little wear on some of the gold and red paint. The other colors, however, remain clear and identifiable.

All in all, a very nice memorial to someone who clearly won the hearts of his parishioners.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Memorial to an Archbishop

Set into one of the walls at the church of St. Mary-at-Lambeth in London, and partly hidden behind some empty flower pots and other gardening supplies when we were there (the chapel is now the Garden Museum, so much of the space is taken up with things having to do with gardening), was this carved stone memorial to Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1757 to his death in 1758.

As the Latin inscription on the monument notes with other ecclesiastical offices he held, he was made Bishop of Bangor in 1743, Archbishop of York in 1747, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury in 1757, just a year before his death.

Archbishop of Canterbury for such a short time, he never lived at Lambeth Palace, though he was buried here at St. Mary-at-Lambeth, just outside the gates of the Palace.

You can find a painting of Archbishop Hutton, and more information about his life and ecclesiastical career, on-line at

Once again, of course, it was really the impaled coat of arms at the top of the monument which caught my attention.

Surrounded by a laurel wreath, the shield displays the well-known arms of the See of Canterbury impaled with those of Archbishop Hutton, Gules on a fess between three cushions argent fringed and tasseled or three fleurs-de-lis gules.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Why Did I Think This Would Be Easier?

Continuing our circuit of the arms on the walls of the church of St. Mary-at-Lambeth, and given the prominence of some of the other coats of arms at the bases of the arches supporting the roof, I thought that determining the ownership of the rest of the arms should fairly straightforward.

Once again, I have been proven incorrect.

The arms in question are these:

A search of Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials resulted in this: Quarterly azure and gules four lions passant gardant or on a chief indented argent three pellets, assigned to Thomas Pert.

A close look at the photograph seems to show the roundels on the chief to be gules, not sable. And yet, we all know that sometimes painters will use an incorrect color when repainting a coat of arms, as I have pointed out before in some of the arms in St. Margaret's, Westminster. And besides, I couldn't find any other arms that were even close to this. (The closest was an ancient Welsh coat that was blazoned Quarterly azure and gules four lions passant counterchanged, which is not that close.)

A search through the Dictionary of National Biography and several other sources on-line discovered a number of Thomas Perts, none of whom, so far as I could determine, had a relationship with the church at Lambeth:

Thomas Pert “seems to have the parson at Loddon, and was presumably of the same family as John Pert, a servant of [Thomas] Moone.” Moone was convicted of heresy and abjured a few days later.  (Selections from English Wycliffite Writings, ed. Anne Hudson, p. 160);

Thomas Pert was Master and Warden of the Carpenters’ Company 1463, 1464, 1469, 1470, 1475, and 1476;

And in 1516, Cabot and Sir Thomas Pert (or Spert), then Vice Admiral of England, sailed in two ships to explore the coasts of Brazil and the West Indies for Henry VIII. (I believe, however, that his arms were entirely different from the shield here.)

So, I will (at least for now) admit defeat, and say that I am not certain to whom this coat of arms belongs. Nevertheless, there it is on the wall of St. Mary-at-Lambeth, carved, painted, and gilded, and must have belonged to someone at sometime.