Monday, July 22, 2019

An Armorial Wall Memorial in the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral


Not all of the armorial memorials in the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral are in the floor; some are set into the wall around the Cloister.



Sacred to the Memory of
the Revd James Ford, B.A.
for forty seven years a Minor Canon of this
Cathedral, and Rector of St George the Martyr,
and St Mary Magdalene in this City;
Who departed this life the 5th of January 1824,
in the 74th year of his age.
And of Dorothy his wife, the third daughter
of William Spearman, of Durham, Esqr
who departed this life the 14th of December 1819,
in the 74th year of her age.
Also of Mrs Mary Spearman,
who departed this life the 1st of March 1811,
in the 68th year of her age.
And of Mary, the eldest daughter of
the said Revd James and Dorothy Ford,
who departed this life the 3rd of Decr 1853,
in the 50th year of her age.

They all lie buried in a vault near this place.



The arms, carefully carved here with hatching, are blazoned as: Gules two bendlets vairy or and azure on a canton or an anchor sable (Ford), impaling, Azure a chevron ermine between three spears argent headed or (Spearman). Burke’s General Armory blazons the crest, Ford, of Bexley, Gloucester, and Canterbury, Kent: Out of a naval coronet proper a bear’s head sable muzzled gules.

James Ford seems to be best known as the father of James Ford (1779-1851), an English antiquarian with his own entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The (Very Worn) Heraldry of a Husband and Wife


Continuing around the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral, we come to this worn stone:


The inscription reads:

Here lieth the Bodies of Martin HIRST, Gent.
and Lucie his wife. She dyed the Fourth day of
September 1679 in the 59 Year of her Age, he
the one and thirtieth day of March 1680 in
69 Year of his Age.

Parts of this inscription are very hard to make out; I have compared my transcription to that from a rubbing taken in the 1920s, which helped to fill in some of the most difficult words to read.

The heraldry carved into this memorial stone is, if anything, even harder to make out than the inscription:


Fortunately, we have a blazon: Argent a sun gules (Hirst), impaling Or a griffin segreant sable a bordure gules (Boys).

As you look at the carving and compare it with the blazon, you can begin to see the sun, the bordure around the sinister (to the right as you look at it) half of the shield, and then the tail, wing, and body of the griffin, and it becomes more readable.

The Hirst arms of Argent a sun gules are also to be found in the Gore roll of arms created in Boston, Massachusetts, in the early to mid-18th Century, as number 43: "John Hurst, Esqr. of Salem / in ye County of Esix [Essex, Massachusetts], Marchant [Merchant] / 1717".

There are several branches of the Boys family in Kent using variants of the griffin and bordure. Another branch bore: Or a griffin segreant per fess azure and sable within a bordure gules, and yet another branch of the family bore this coat (with the griffin per fess) charging the bordure with crosses formy alternating with acorns or.

Based on my internet research for Martin and Lucie (Boys) Hirst, I found that she was buried in the body of the church (not the cloister) on September 6, 1679; he was buried in the body of the church (again, not the cloister) just seven month's later on April 2, 1680. He was the "Register" (Registrar?) of the Archbishop’s Court.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Memorial to a Wife in the Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral


Continuing our march around the aisle of the Great Cloister of Canterbury Cathedral, I came across this armorial gem:


Here lyes the Body of
ANNE TENISON
Widow of Dr. Edward Tenison
late Bishop of Ossory
in Ireland,
formerly a Prebendary
of this Church.
She died the 8 Day of April
1750
In the 75th Year of her Age.

Looking at his entry on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tenison, where you can also find a portrait of him by John Vanderbank), we find that he died in 1735 and is buried in St. Mary's Church in Dublin, Ireland.

But of course it was the heraldry which caught my attention:


Though carved as leopard's faces erased crowned on this memorial slab, the arms of Tenison are Gules a bend engrailed argent between three leopard's faces jessant-de-lys or. (On the other hand, Burke's General Armory gives the arms of Tennison, Archbishop of Canterbury 1695-1715, as Gules three leopard's faces or jessant-de-lys azure a bend engrailed argent. The bend overall seems less likely to me, but what do I know? And the arms here clearly have the bend between the three leopard's faces, and not overall.)

Her family arms are not given in An Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral. Wikipedia says that Dr. Tenison's wife was "Ann Searle or Sayer", but neither Burke's General Armory nor the Dictionary of British Arms show the arms carved here for any Searle or Sayer under these or any variant spellings I could find.

Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials only cites one coat of arms in this pattern: Callecote: Argent a fess embattled counter-embattled gules between three Cornish choughs sable beaked and legged azure.

So Mrs. Tenison's arms are a mystery; I have no idea exactly what they are or where they came from.


Still, it's a nice memorial to her (and her husband's) memory, and a carefully, if not entirely accurately, carved marital coat of arms.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Armorial Memorial to a Father, Mother, and Son


Whew! After walking all around the Great Cloister at Canterbury Cathedral with my head in the air looking at all the shields on the ceiling (documented in my previous post), it was time to look at the other heraldry in the Cloister, which I will be sharing in the next several posts before getting to the interior of the Cathedral.

As an American, and as many European and British churches I have visited, it still feels "weird" to be walking down an aisle inside a church or cloister, and be treading on memorials to the dead, whether heraldic or not. And though there were a number of armorial memorials in the wall of the Cloister, there were a lot of memorials, heraldic and not, set into the floor.

One such one was this one in the South Aisle of the Great Cloister, to Robert and Rebecca (Laminge) Sprakeling or Sprakeley, and their son Adam.


The inscription reads:

Here lyeth the Bodys
of ROBERT SPRAKELING Esq &
Rebecca his Wife. She was the
Daughter of Richard Laminge, Gent.
by whom he had Issue two Sons
Robert and Adam. He dyed the
28th Day of Ianuary 1687 in the
Eightieth Year of his Age. She dyed
the 30th Day of March 1706 in the
Eight Fourth Year of her Age.

Who doe their Ancestors comment
But those whose Lives are Vertuous to the end
the above said Adam Sprakeling lyes
Here Interred who departed this life
the 16th of January 1727 Aged 74 Years


An Alphabetical Catalogue of Coats of Arms in Canterbury Cathedral by Cecil Humphery-Smith, which I bought because why should I do all the research from scratch when someone else, especially someone as knowledgeable as Mr. Humphrey-Smith, has already done a lot of the legwork, tells us:


Sprakeley, Robert and wife Rebecca Laminge, and their son Adam Sprakeley. Sable a saltire ermine between four leopard’s faces or (Sprakeley), impaling _____ two pallets _____ and on a chief _____ a lion passant guardant _____ (Laminge).

I have had no luck finding the Laminge arms, even looking under variant spellings (as one often has to do). The closest I could find in Papworth's Dictionary of British Armorials was Widnam (Sussex): Argent two pallets gules on a chief azure a lion passant argent crowned or. (Here there is no crown, and the lion is passant guardant.


The "New Papworth," the Dictionary of British Arms, only came marginally closer with: Hen[ry] de Gloucestria, two pallets and on a chief a lion passant.

Fairbairn's Crests blazons the crest shown here: A wolf’s head erased sable tufted armed and ducally gorged or (Sprackling). (Note: A third variant spelling of the surname!)


The arms, helm, crest, torse, and mantling are beautifully carved; I tried to tread lightly around it.

Monday, July 8, 2019

We Finally Get to Canterbury Cathedral


Okay, I've been leading up to this first post about the heraldry in Canterbury Cathedral for a while now, and we're finally at that point!

One of the most-often discussed heraldry at the Cathedral is on the ceilings of the Cloister. I'd read about these shields before, and seen a few photographs. None of that prepared me to how comparatively low the ceilings are in the Cloister, and thus how close the heraldry you are. (I mean, you can't just reach up and touch them, but I think I could get to them using my eight-foot stepladder from home.) Once overcoming my initial Wow!, I took photographs.

I am not going to even attempt to identify all of the arms in these photos. That has already been done, and probably far better than I would be able to, by Dr. Paul Fox, FSA. He has a whole page on his website, with links to identifications of the arms in the individual bays, at https://www.drpaulfoxfsa.com/canterbury-cloister

So feel free to take a look at my photos here, but be sure to visit Dr. Fox's website for the identifications.

As always, you can click on each picture to see a larger, and thus more detailed, image.

Enjoy these views of the Cloister ceilings!

































Thursday, July 4, 2019

It's the Fourth of July!


Today's date reminds me of the old joke:

Q:  "Do they have the fourth of July in Great Britain?"
A:  "Of course they do. It's just that it's not a holiday there."

Anyway, we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday here with flag-waving and fireworks, parades and barbecues, and beer and burgers.

And here on this blog, with variations on the achievement of arms of the United States of America.


Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Even if it's not a holiday for you.

Monday, July 1, 2019

It's Time to Start Preparing


Just a few days ago I ran across the announcement that the website for the XXXIV International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, to be held in Madrid, Spain in October 2020, was up and running.


I could talk a lot more about how these Congresses are wonderfully educational, the opportunities to meet heralds and heraldry enthusiasts from around the world, the day trips to learn more about the local areas in which they are held, and so on and so on, but, really, you should just go out to the website, look at what the Committees have planned so far for next year's Congress, and then start saving up to make the trip and find out for yourself.

The website is done in three languages: Spanish, French, and English. This link is to the English version: https://congresocigh2020.es/?lang=en