Thursday, June 20, 2019

More Heraldry(?) on Christ Church Gate, Canterbury


Moving on now to the upper row of painted coats of arms on the Christ Church Gate facade, each held by an angel, I have to admit that I am not even certain that they are actual heraldry. There are several where I cannot even identify what the charges on the shields are supposed to be, and I have been unable to identify anyone bearing any of them. So I am left with the question: "Are these heraldry, or are they just decoration?"

Nonetheless, there they are, painted on shield shapes, and so I include them here for your enlightenment, or at least, education. You can click on the images here to see a larger and therefore more detailed photograph of these arms.

As best I can make them out, we have here:

Azure, three dice (tincture?); something totally unidentifiable; and Gules twenty-five plates five, five, five, five, and five.


This next set is: (Argent?) a ladder gules; something within a bordure?; and three pallets? within a bordure?


For the next three, we have: Azure? an annulet of annulets (or is it a rosary?); Argent? a red framework of some kind; and Gules, with markings.


Finally, we find: Argent a coat (orange?); and Sable(?) two anointing spoons in saltire or?


They are certainly decorative; they are certainly interesting; but are they real heraldry?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Heraldry on Christ Church Gate, Canterbury


Christ Church Gate, an impressive edifice directly on one side of the Buttermarket at the intersection of Burgate and Mercery Lane, and the main entrance to Canterbury Cathedral, was built between 1504 and 1521. The original statue of Christ and the wooden gates were destroyed by the Puritan iconoclast Richard Culmer in 1643.  The gates were restored in 1660 by Archbishop William Juxon on the restoration of the monarchy. The original towers to the gate were torn down in in 1803 because Alderman James Simmons wanted to see the Cathedral clock from his bank Simmons & Gipps on High Street. The towers were replaced in 1937, and the statue of Christ was (finally!) replaced in 1990, having been destroyed in 1643.



There are two rows of armorial shields running across the gate; one carved and painted, the other merely painted. In today's post, we will review those in the lower row (the carved and painted ones), and do the upper row (the painted ones) next time.

So, from left to right (there is some overlap in the photographs; I do not repeat the identifications where this occurs), we have:


The Archiepiscopal See of Canterbury;

Guildford/Guldeford. Quarterly; 1 and 4, Or a saltire between four martlets sable on a canton argent a pomegranate proper seeded gules; 2 and 3, Argent a chief sable overall a bend gules (?); and

Scott (originally from Kent, settled in Shropshire at the end of the 16th Century. Argent three Catherine wheels sable within a bordure engrailed gules.


Fineaux/Feneus. Vert a chevron between three eagles displayed or.;

Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Quarterly of six: 1, Gules a bend between six crosses crosslet argent (Howard); 2, Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or overall a label of three tags argent (Brotherton); 3, Checky or and azure (Warren); 4, Gules a lion rampant argent (Mowbray); 5, Gules a lion rampant or (Fitzalan); 6, Gules three escallops argent (Dacre); and

Prince Arthur, eldest son of King Henry VII. Quarterly France Modern and England, overall a label of three points argent.


Crowned portcullis badge of the Beauforts used by Henry VII;

King Henry VII; 

Tudor rose badge of Henry VII; and 

Catherine of Aragon, wife of Prince Arthur.


Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. Quarterly France ancient and England within a bordure compony argent and azure;

Neville, Lord Bergavenny (now Abergavenny). Quarterly: 1, Gules on a saltire argent a rose gules barbed and seeded proper (Neville); 2, Checky or and azure (Warren); 3, Quarterly, i and iv, Or three chevrons gules (Clare), ii and iii, Quarterly, a and d, ? a bend sable, b and c, ? a fret or(?); 4, Gules on a fess between six crosses flory or a crescent sable (Worcester?), and

Poynings. Quarterly: 1 and 4, Barry of six or and vert a bend gules (Poynings); 2, Gules three lions passant gardant in pale or overall a bend azure (Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster); 3, Or three piles in point azure (Bryan).


A repeat of Guildford/Guldeford. Quarterly; 1 and 4, Or a saltire between four martlets sable on a canton argent a pomegranate proper seeded gules; 2 and 3, Argent a chief sable overall a bend gules (?), only lacking the charged canton.

The Latin inscription running underneath this row of carve shields is “Hoc Opus Constructum Est Anno Domini Millesimo Quingentesimo Decimo Septimo.” This inscription of 1507 on the stonework, however, is part of an ongoing dispute among historians about the accuracy of the dating. (I take no stance on the inscription, but add it here so that you can know of it and its controversy.)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Heraldry, Genealogy, and Serendipity


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Monday, June 10, 2019

It's International Heraldry Day!




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


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

Image result for geoffrey of anjou

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

Image result for William longspee

Happy International Heraldry Day!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Armorial Memorial Familial Connections - Part 3 of 3


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 3, 2019

Armorial Memorial Familial Connections - Part 2 of 3


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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