Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Memorial With a Coat of Arms, But Not His Arms

The next armorial memorial has a coat of arms on it, but atypically not the arms of the man it is memorializing.

The memorial is to Edward Youde, Governor of Hong Kong between May 20, 1982 and his death on December 5, 1986. Sir Edward is especially remembered for his tenure as the Hong Kong Governor and his role in negotiating the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which was signed in Peking in 1984. This, among other things, made it clear that the British would leave Hong Kong in 1997 after 156 years of colonial rule.

Hong Kong's only Welsh Governor was widely liked for his kindly demeanor and greatly admired for his formidable erudition. In an editorial following his death, the Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao compared him to Zhuge Liang, a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, who had “pledged to work diligently on state affairs until death.”

During a visit to Peking, Sir Edward suffered a fatal heart attack in the British Embassy in the early hours of December 5, 1986, while asleep. He was the only Governor of Hong Kong to die in office.

At his funeral - Hong Kong's first state funeral with full military honors - the streets were lined with people. The casket, draped in the Union Flag, was carried by ten guardsmen, and a 17-gun salute was fired from the shore station of HMS Tamar. Sir Edward was cremated, and his ashes buried in the memorial garden at Canterbury Cathedral.

The arms at the top of the memorial are not those of Governor Youde, but rather of Hong Kong: Argent two Chinese junks respectant proper sails barry argent and gules atop a base barry wavy of four azure and argent on a chief embattled gules a naval crown or. The crest is: A demi-lion erect or [armed and langued gules] imperially crowned proper holding in its forepaws a pearl [proper?]. The supporters are, Dexter, A lion rampant or [armed and langued gules] imperially crowned proper, and Sinister, A Chinese dragon or [armed and langued gules]. The compartment is a mount vert surrounded at the base by water proper; in effect, a peninsula or island (Hong Kong consists of both).

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Buffs, Again.

The next armorial memorial we came to in Canterbury Cathedral was one to the “Officer, N.C.Os and Privates of the 1st Battalion, the Buffs (East Kent Regiment) … killed in action or died of wounds and disease, from 1895 to 1898, during … the Chitral and Punjab Frontier Campaigns.”

I recommend clicking on the image here to see a larger picture of the memorial, where the names of the men can be seen more clearly.

The ornately carved stone memorial does have (just to the right of center) a shield that contains an altered version of the arms of the County of Kent (a rearing white horse, though the shield is left uncolored and the motto Invicta is placed on the shield rather than being placed under it), the main bit of heraldry on it is the badge of the Buffs, A dragon passant vert (bellied argent and wings marked gules).

Beneath the dragon is the motto of the Regiment, Veteri frondescit honore (Its ancient honor flourishes, or Its ancient honor is ever-green), all placed within a laurel wreath superimposed in base with a scroll bearing the words "The Buffs".

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Composers Get Armorial Memorials, Too!

Lest you think that it's just military men and former Archbishops who get all the armorial memorials in Canterbury Cathedral, we come now to one to an early 17th Century composer and organist. So there!

This is the memorial to Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), an English composer, virginalist and organist of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods. Due to his sudden and early death (he was only 42 when he died), Gibbons' output was not as large as his older contemporary William Byrd's, but he still managed to produce various secular and sacred polyphonic vocal works, including consort songs, services, motets, more than 40 full anthems and verse anthems, a set of 20 madrigals as well as at least 20 keyboard works and various instrumental ensemble pieces including nearly 30 fantasies for viols. He is well known for the 5-part verse anthem This Is the Record of John, the 8-part full anthem O Clap Your Hands Together, two settings of Evensong and what is often thought to be the best known English madrigal: The Silver Swan. He is considered the leading composer in early 17th century England and a pivotal transition figure from the end of the Renaissance to the beginning of the Baroque era.

More about his life, works, and death from a cerebral aneurysm can be found in his Wikipedia article at

The text of the memorial plaque below his bust is, as is so common for the time, entirely in Latin. (No, I'm not translating this one for you. Sorry! Not sorry.)

His coat of arms is carved and painted at the very top of the memorial.

This coat is blazoned Or a lion rampant sable overall on a bend gules three escallops argent.

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Memorial to a Hero

Our next armorial memorial is one to a General who as a young (age 26) lieutenant won the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Crimean War and other medals and honors (which are reproduced on his memorial, below) for his service.

The text of the memorial reads:

To the beloved memory of
General Sir Mark Walker, VC, KCB
son of Captain Alexander Walker
of Gore Port Co. Westmeath Ireland
Born Nov 24, 1827. Died July 18, 1902.

A devoted and distinguished soldier
he served throughout the Crimean Campaign
was wounded at the battle of Alma
won the Victoria Cross at Inkerman
and was again dangerously wounded
before Sebastopol. He also served
throughout the Campaign in China of
1860 and was present at the action of
the Taku forts and the taking of Pekin.

Erected by his Widow.
(The "action of the Taku forts and the taking of Pekin" are events covered - well, from an American point of view, anyway - in the 1963 Charlton Heston movie, 55 Days at Peking.)

General Walker was born in Gore Port, Finea, County Westmeath in Ireland, the son of Captain Alexander Walker and Elizabeth Elliott. His younger brother was Sir Samuel Walker, 1st Baronet QC.  During the Crimean War, Walker was a 26-year-old lieutenant in the 30th Regiment of Foot (later the East Lancashire Regiment) of the British Army when the deed for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross was performed.

On November 5, 1854 at Inkerman, Crimea, Lieutenant Walker jumped over a wall in the face of two battalions of Russian infantry which were marching towards it. This act was to encourage the men, by example, to advance against such odds – which they did and succeeded in driving back both battalions.

He was wounded by a howitzer shell later during his service in the Crimea which resulted in the amputation of his right arm. He retired from the army with the rank of general in 1893, and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. From 1900 until his death he was colonel of the Sherwood Foresters.

He died at Arlington, Devon, England on 18 July 1902, and is buried in Cheriton Road Cemetery in Folkestone, Kent.

His arms are blazoned: Azure a chevron engrailed ermine between three plates each charged with a trefoil vert. Crest: A dove [close] bearing an olive branch in his beak. Motto (a most fitting one, I think): Premo ad honorem (Pursue/press on to honor).