I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
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.
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!
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."
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.)
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.
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.
place lieth ye body of Edward
Esqr., sun of Sr Edward Master,
who departed this life August
1675, Aged 36 years
lieth ye body of Hugh
sone to ye above named
Master by Ann his wife he
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)
the body of Sr
Master he dyed ye 22
Of Janu 1690
Aged 80 year 5 mo
this ston his Lady
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.
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.
Interrd ye Body of
Ann Masters widow of Ed-
Masters, Esq. late of this
only daughter of Iohn
As[?]ord Gent, she
this life Ianuary ye
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!
Continuing my survey of heraldic memorials in the church of St. Paul's Without the Walls,* a church which has an old (about 425 years old!) family connection, here are two more:
First, this plaque
Near this place Lyeth ye Body of Sr William
Rooke of St Lawrence in this Parrish Kt
who after some YEARS Imprisonment & other
sufferings in his Estate for his Constant
Loyalty was soone after King Charles ye
Seconds Blessed Restoration put into the
Commission of ye Peace - had likewise a Regiment
of Foote and the Same Time the Command of a
Troope of Horse. He was one of ye Deputy
Liuetenants for this County of Kent and
Highsheriff of the same for Several YEARS
Part in King CHARLES the Second's Reigne
and neare fowre YEARE in KING IAMES's Reigne
Hee Marryed IANE FINCH
Daughter and Coheire to THOMAS
FINCH of Coptre Esqr in Allington Parrish neare
Maidstone. By whome he had Issue - GEORGE
MARY URSULA ANN THOMAS
JANE and Finch ROOKE
He departid this Life March ye10th 1690 in
the 70th year of his Age
Above the descriptive plaque on the wall was this carved coat of arms:
Rooke of St. Lawrence. Quarterly: 1, Argent
on a chevron engrailed between three rooks sable three chess-rooks argent; 2, Argent
a chevron between three griffins passant sable (Finch); 3, Argent a saltire
engrailed between four bear’s heads erased sable muzzled or (Bettenham); and 4,
Azure a bend or (Scrope?). (The blazons for these quarters are taken from the description of the eight quarters on the memorial in Canterbury Cathedral to Vice Admiral (George) Rooke found in An Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral by Cecil R. Humphrey-Smith.) Crest (per Burke's General Armory): An
arm embowed in armor proper garnished or holding in the gauntlet a pistol or [the arm environed with a trumpet argent].
Sir William does not have an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, and I found only a little genealogical information on the web: Sir William Rooke of St. Lawrence, Canterbury, married Jane (died 1711), daughter and coheir of Thomas Finch of Coptree, Allington, Kent.
Sir William and Jane (Finch) Rooke were the parents of Admiral Sir George Rooke, born 1650, famous for his capture of Gibraltar in 1704. (The Admiral is buried in a vault beneath the organ in the church.)
We then move along to this memorial:
John Toker, died in 1713, age 45. Sable on a
bend argent three hearts gules.
These arms match those in Burke's General Armory for Tooker or Tucker, Vert
on a bend engrailed argent three human hearts gules. Crest: A heart gules encircled with a crown or.
I have, alas, found no more information for Lt. Toker beyond what appears on the inscription on the monument:
Near this Place lies interr'd
ye Body of Lieutenant Iohn Toker
who began his service under the
Crown of England in the Reign of
King Iames the 2d in Princess Anns
Royall Regiment of Horse in the
Year 1688. He departed this life
October the 7th 1713. In the
46 Year of his Age.
* The church has walls, but it lies just outside the old city walls of Canterbury, hence the name, without the walls, as opposed to within the walls.
I love visiting churches in Europe; they have a "feel" about them that most American churches do not have. I especially love visiting certain churches in England, and most especially those which have a family connection.
One such church is St. Paul's Without the Walls in Canterbury. My 11th great-grandfather, James Chilton, had four of his ten children baptized at St. Paul's, which is located just across the road which rings the walls of the old city of Canterbury.
On a side note, I was greatly moved to walk by St. Paul's on a Sunday morning, to hear organ music issuing from within. I looked in the door, and the congregation was preparing for Sunday services there. I didn't go in at that time, not wishing to disturb the service which was about to begin. But how can you not be moved to see with your own eyes that a church which some of your ancestors attended is still being used for that same purpose more than four and a quarter centuries later?
But I digress.
I went back a few days later to find the church open (but not holding services at that moment) and went in to look around again. (I had been able to visit St. Paul's several years ago on what I have come to call "Chasing Chiltons Tuesday", where we visited the three parish churches, two in Canterbury and one in Sandwich, that the Chiltons had attended.)
Like so many European churches, there were memorials to parish members who have passed away, and even groups of memorials to different members of the same family.
One such grouping in St. Paul's were memorials to members of the Daniell family.
Jane (Mantell) Daniell.
1 and 4, Argent a pale indented sable; 2 and 3, Or a wolf statant reguardant
sable (Daniell), impaling Argent a cross engrailed between four martlets sable
Daniell, Esqr., son of the above.
1 and 4, Argent a pale fusilly sable; 2 and 3, Or a wolf statant reguardant
(Butler) Daniell, widow of James Daniell, Esqr. (immediately above).
three covered cups or. (Many Butler families use arms which bear three
covered cups in various tinctures.)
and Sarah Cecilia (Whiteman) Daniell (both of whom are buried at Theydon Garnon, Essex), but who are memorialized here presumably because of his relation to the other Daniells here in Canterbury).
1 and 4, Argent a pale indented sable; 2 and 3, Or a wolf statant reguardant
sable (Daniell), impaling Argent on a bend engrailed gules between three
Cornish choughs two and one proper three leopard’s faces or (Whiteman/Wightman).
(These Whiteman [or Whitman] arms do not appear in Burke’s General Armory. Wightman is cited
with these arms in Burke.)
Burke’s General Armory gives the following entry: Daniell (Theydon Grove, near Epping, co. Essex:
James Le Gett Daniell, Esq.) Argent a
pale fusilly sable, quartering Argent a wolf statant reguardant sable.
Crest: A wolf statant reguardant sable.
I note the difference of the fields in the second and third quarters as shown here (or) and as cited in Burke (argent) without passing judgment on which is the "correct" tincture. None of these memorials date to the time in the late 1500s when my 11th great-grandparents and some of their children were here, but they are a wonderful remembrance of a family who also attended at St. Paul's Without the Walls, Canterbury.
Just outside St. Mary Magdalen Church on Burgate Street in Canterbury is an old heraldic memorial which has been protected from the elements by being enclosed in a "box" with glass walls and a solid roof.
(Unfortunately, the glass makes the monument harder to see in photographs, as it reflects the sky and buildings behind me. Sorry about that!)
There is a plaque nearby which explains a little of the history of the monument, its placement, and its restoration in May 1977:
On the monument itself is a carved tablet:
A translation of the text was made by David J. Shaw in 2013 which has been uploaded to the web:
John Whitfeild Gentleman:
An exceedingly celebrated name among our citizens:
Together with grandparents John and Katherine;
Also parents Henry and Anne;
Under this marble here lies buried.
A man of as generous a nature as could possibly be,
Expert in several arts and in almost all things:
Liberal protector of the poor:
A true and diligent worshiper of the true God:
Among the leaders in serving his country, especially Kent.
He had as wife Rebecca younger daughter of Robert Jaques
A most worthy former Sheriff of Kent.
She died Anno Domini 1685, aged 36.
She nevertheless bore her husband these surviving children
Anne, Rebecca, Roberta,
John, Robert, Henrietta
Beloved by their father.
For extinguishing fires in this City
As often as unfortunately it was needed,
He bestowed two machines of great size,
And also bequeathed a generous fund for getting them repaired.
Lest poverty should overcome praiseworthy industry,
He gave one hundred and fifty pounds
And also gave a trust to the City authorities
so that every five years,
For the benefit of six poor craftsmen of this City,
Turn and turn about,
They should be provided for, interest-free, forever.
Missed by everyone, he
Passed to his final rest, seized at the end by a stroke:
Or rather he departed hence to wake again in Heaven,
After reaching the praiseworthy age of 56.
This tomb as set up in the Year of our Salvation 1691.
John Whitfield (1635-1691), was a Canterbury lawyer and, as you can see from the above, benefactor. He claims in his will to have invented the fire engine, and Hasted's History of Kent tells us that he lived in St. Margaret Street; the impressive house he lived in survived until the Baedecker raids in 1942.
I even found a portrait of him on the internet:
But of course if was the heraldry which most attracted me to this impressive monument.
Burke's General Armory tells us: "Whitfield (Tenterden, co. Kent; descended from
John Whitfield, of Tenterden, living 1548, second son of Robert Whitfield, of
Wadhurst, co. Essex). Argent a bend plain
between two cotises engrailed sable. Crest-Out of a palisade crown argent
a buck’s head or."
The large quartered coat of arms on the face of the monument may be blazoned as follows (I am not at all certain that all of the colors painted on it are correct):
Quarterly: 1, Argent a bend plain between two cotises engrailed sable
(Whitfield); 2, Argent on a fess engrailed sable three escallops argent [Jakes, Jaques, Jex]; 3, Argent
on a chevron azure between three dog’s? heads couped sable/gules three
roundels? argent [miscolored? Tooke: Argent on a chevron between three greyhound’s heads
erased sable three plates; or Churche: Argent on a chevron gules between three
greyhound’s heads erased sable three bezants]; 4, Argent two bars gules (?);
overall an inescutcheon Quarterly per fess indented sable and or in the first
quarter a pelican or [Jacobs].
At the base of the obelisk proper are several putti each supporting a shield.
The arms here are those of Whitfield/Whitfeild impaling Jakes/Jaques/Jex: Argent a bend plain between two cotises engrailed sable [Whitfield],
impaling Argent on a fess engrailed sable three escallops argent [Jakes,
The arms held by this putto are the same (though colored in just black and white) as the large colored coat on the front of the monument, with the main difference being that the Whitfield arms appear in the fourth as well as the first quarter: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent a bend plain between two cotises engrailed sable (Whitfield); 2, Argent on a fess engrailed sable three escallops argent [Jakes, Jaques, Jex]; 3, Argent on a chevron azure between three dog’s? heads couped sable/gules three roundels? argent [miscolored? Tooke: Argent on a chevron between three greyhound’s heads erased sable three plates; or Churche: Argent on a chevron gules between three greyhound’s heads erased sable three bezants].
It was not possible to get a good view, and therefore impossible to obtain good photographs, of the two putti in the rear; the above photo is the best I could get of the arms held by one of them, which appear to match - as far as I can make out - the quarterly coat immediately above.
Still, though, for all of the issues that I might have with it (most especially, the probably incorrect colors of the painted coat of arms), it is a beautiful and intricate memorial to a man and his family, and I was happy to see it so well protected and cared for. I mean, really, it's over 300 years old! Here's hoping it lasts at least that long into the future.
So there I was, just living my life and minding my own business, when I noticed that someone had made a comment on an old blog post I had written way back on March 13, 2009 (during the first year of this blog!) entitled “Good Movie Heraldry.” The post (https://blog.appletonstudios.com/2009/03/good-movie-heraldry.html) was about the heraldry in Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, which was actually pretty well done.
But in February 2019 (so a full ten years after I had written that post!) a commenter asked the following question and then stated:
Has the film "THE WARRIORS" with Errol Flynn and Peter Finch ever been discussed here? Sir John Chandos is even a character as well as Bertrand du Guesclin both with fairly accurate Heraldry.
I allowed as how The Warriors had indeed not been discussed on the blog, and then went out on the web to find a copy to see for myself. It arrived in the mail a short time later, and I popped it into the DVD machine, and hit “Play.” And sure enough, though there are a few coats of arms in it about which I have some question, a lot of the heraldry in the movie is well done, accurate to the historical person bearing it, and lovely to watch. As only a few examples, we have the arms of:
King Edward III (played by Michael Hordern) wears the arms of the King of England, Quarterly France ancient and England, while his son Edward, the Prince of Wales (played by Errol Flynn) wears the arms of of his father with overall a label of three points argent.
Lady Joan Holland (the Fair Maid of Kent, who later married the Prince of Wales as her third husband and gave birth to King Richard II) is seen under a banner of the arms of her father, Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent, England [Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or] within a bordure argent.
Bertrand du Guesclin bore the arms of Bertrand du Guesclin, Argent a double-headed eagle displayed sable debruised by a bendlet gules. I couldn't find a still from the movie that shows his arms, but here is a drawing of his coat of arms from Wikimedia:
"Sir John" (played by Rupert Davies, below, left) wears the arms of Sir John Chandos, Or a pile gules.
Another knight (the cast list often gives only the given name for the knights in the cast, e.g., Sir Bruce, Sir Philip, or as above, Sir John, etc.) bears the arms of Hartland/Hertelond (below, left), Argent on a bend sable three stag's heads cabossed or.
Yet another knight wears the arms of Berkeley, Gules a chevron between ten crosses patty argent.
And those are just the ones I've taken the time to identify so far.
However, and leaving all of those good examples aside, I do have some questions about some of the heraldry in the film. As the primary example, the arms of Robert, Comte de Ville, Quarterly, 1 and 4, Azure semy-de-lys argent, 2 and 3, Checky argent and sable [or, sometimes, Checky sable and argent]. They seem a little complex for this period of time, and I've not found any arms borne by a de Ville that match the coat borne in this movie.
Still, for all that's it's a movie with a so-so plot featuring an aging actor as our erstwhile hero, and even allowing for some potentially questionable heraldry, there is a lot of great, and accurate, heraldry to be seen: on shields, on tabards, on jupons, on banners, and on horse barding.
If you like seeing good heraldry in the movies, I can recommend The Warriors (originally entitled The Dark Avenger) as one such example.
And if you would like to see a review of the movie as a whole, and not just the heraldry, my alter ego Da'ud Bob ibn Briggs has one which will be available all this month (May 2019) at http://www.appletonstudios.com/movies2.htm