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Ancient Coats of Arms in Chichester Cathedral

By R.H. Codrington

From Sussex Archaeological Collections relating to the History and Antiquities of the County, published by the Sussex Archaeological Society, Vol. XLVIII, Lewes: Farncombe & Co., Printers, 1905.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2008



THE ancient Coats of Arms, in Glass, Sculptured, Painted and Engraved, in the Cathedral are very few. When the Precincts of the Cathedral Close are included and the limit of antiquity brought down to the year 1600, the number is still inconsiderable; but a notice of them is probably worth making. If it be asked why the number is so small, it may be answered that the Cathedral was never rich in monuments, that the building as a whole is of earlier date than the use of heraldic decorations, and that the contents of it have been twice subject to plunder and destruction. The brass memorials, once fine and numerous, had all been carried off before 1634, [1] [(1) Precentor Walcott in Gentleman's Magazine, November, 1858, from an Itinerary of 1634.] no doubt when the images and shrines were destroyed; and everything was again pillaged and defaced by the Parliamentary soldiers in 1642.

The absence of what is now the Coat of Arms of the See may be remarked, the Lord in Judgment, called Prester John. But this figure, though in very ancient use in seals, does not appear on any seal in the Cathedral Library as an heraldic charge on a shield till 1755.

I. In the CATHEDRAL there are only nine ancient Coats of Arms.

1. One solitary bit of old Glass remains; a shield now hanging in the window over Bishop Sherburne's tomb in the South Choir Aisle. This was formerly in the great window of the South Transept. It is very poor work and much damaged; but the leopard's faces, [138/139] plainly to be seen, show these to be the Arms of Edward Moore, Archdeacon of Lewes and Warden of Winchester, viz.: A fess dancetty between three leopard's faces. The time is that of Bishop Sherburne, about 1520. [2] [(2) Precentor Walcott (Early Statutes, p. 36) says these are the arms of St. Wilfrid, "azure three suns proper." It is now difficult to say what the field of the shield is, but the leopard's faces are plain.]

2. The Sculptured Coats are five.

i. The jupon of the effigy of an Earl of Arundel now in the North Aisle of the Nave bears the FitzAlan rampant lion. About that there is no doubt, though it is not certain which Earl the effigy represents.

ii. The Arms of William of Wykeham are in the spandrils, both within and without, of the doorway leading from the East alley of the Cloisters into the Presbytery.

iii. The boss in the centre of the vault of the second bay of the Choir before the Altar shows a shield carried by an Angel and sculptured with the Arms ascribed St. Richard, viz.: A Cross between four covered cups. This, which is evidently of 16th century date, has taken the place of the original boss, and probably belongs to Bishop Sherburne's adornment of the Sanctuary. It may be seen in the centre of the painted decoration of the roof represented on page 125 of the account of the Cathedral in Bell's Series. [3] [(3) It may be safely asserted that St. Richard bore no arms; but the cross between covered cups was in later times assigned to him, as the arms mentioned in the last note were to St. Wilfrid. The colours are probably unknown.]

iv. On the tomb of Bishop Sherburne, in the South Choir Aisle, prepared by himself before 1529, there is above his effigy his Coat of Arms, carved, coloured and gilded, viz.: Quarterly vert and or; in the first quarter pelican in her piety within a bordure indented; in the second and third a lion rampant; in the fourth an eagle displayed, all counterchanged. [4] [(4) The paternal Arms of Bishop Sherburne were quarterly vert and or, in first and fourth quarters an eagle displaced, in second and third a lion rampant, all counter changed. The Bishop substituted for the eagle in the first quarter a Pelican in her piety, as Cranmer substituted pelicans for the three cranes of his paternal coat. Bishop Sherburne in his Episcopal seal used only the pelican; as Bishop Foxe, of Winchester, used the same emblem for his Arms.

[140] v. The Arms of Bishop Bickley, ob. 1596, are sculptured and coloured on his monument now in the Lady Chapel. They are, or, a chevron embattled counter-embattled, between three griffins' heads, sable.

3. There remain two Coats of Arms cut in Brass.

i. On the South side of the tomb of Bishop Day, ob. 1557, in the South Aisle of the Presbytery there is let into the stone a shield of his Arms, viz.: A cross between four half roses, from which issue rays of light; all counterchanged; on the cross a daisy flower. The brass let into the top of the tomb is modern; the colours there shown, red and white, are likely to be correct.

ii. The only complete memorial in brass in the Cathedral is on the wall on the left-hand of the entrance by the south porch into the nave. It gives the arms of William Bradbridge, thrice Mayor of Chichester, ob. 1546. The tinctures are, of course, not shown; the Arms are or, a phoeon sable.

4. There remain, in fact, no ancient Paintings of Arms. [5] [(5) In the History and Description of the Cathedral, Bell's Series, the painted decoration of the roof, given on pp. 33, 125, from the copies made by T. Smith, shows the Arms of William of Wykeham, of Bishop Sherburne and those assigned to St. Richard. There is also a shield bearing three roundels, in the two upper ones two lions rampant facing each other, in the lower one the half-length figure of a king, with the inscription Cedwalla quondam rex Suthsexu fundator hujus ecelesie.] Those of Bishop Sherburne on his tomb and on the picture in the South Transept have been re-painted, and incorrectly. But there is in the Canons' Vestry a singular example of the written memorials commonly affixed to a hearse in the 16th century; a framed parchment which formerly hung over a grave near the tomb of Chancellor Blaxton, close to the South West Tower. On this are the Arms of Robert Buc, viz.: gules a cross or, in the 1st quarter [6] [(6) See next paragraph] a besant.

[(6) There are two quartered coats, viz.: 1. Paly of 4, or and gules. 2. Gules, a fess checky or and sable between 3 saltires or. The writing is as follows: D.O.M. et Piae Mem. Sacrum. Hic gloriosiss. Redemptoris reditum desideratissiumum Robertus Buc vir prudens et pius praestolatur, Robert Buc de Melford in Suffolcia [140n/141n] armigeri, ex antiqua equestri Bucorum familia de Herthill in agro Eboracense oriundi et charissimae faeminae Joannae Heigham Suffolciens, filius. Qui juvenis in expugnatione Bononiae et in praelio Musselburgense sub SS. regibus Henrico VIII et Eduardo VI militavit. Obit fere LXXnarius X die Jan. Anno Domini MDLXXX. Henricus Blaxton S. Theologiae Doctor, Ecclesiae Cicestren. Cancellarius, Testamenti Executor LMP.

Ego in justicia videbo faciem tuam:
Satiabor cum expergefacta fuerit imago tua.
-- Psalm xvi.]

II. In the CLOISTERS, over the door of the house in the South Alley, which belonged to the Royal Chantey, is a [140/141] a fine panel with the Royal Arms and Supporters of Henry VII. The moulding of the panel is ornamented with two sets of badges; on the dexter side, four times repeated, those which are seen on the tomb of Henry V., at Westminster, viz.: The Swan and Antelope of the Bohuns chained together, and the Beacon of Henry V. On the other side, three times repeated, are the Beaufort Portcullis, the Rose, and the Fleur-de-lys. The stonework of the doorway below is an imitation of the ancient one now in Canon Lane. [7] [(7) It is remarkable that the imitation of the ancient doorway is carried so far that eight neat holes have been bored round the rose on the shield in the left spandril, in the belief that they formed an heraldic charge.--Precentor Walcott, Early Statutes, &c., p. 53.]

III. In CANON LANE.--i. The Entrance Gate has over the large archway, and on one side of it, the Arms of William of Wykeham. On the other side is the shield of the builder, or re-builder, of the Gate, Archdeacon Moore, a fess dancetty between three leopard's faces.

ii. The garden entrance to the house which was the Royal Chantry, mentioned above, is now framed with the doorway removed from the Cloisters. It is much made up with cement. There is a small shield with the Maltravers Fret; a Portcullis chained; and in one spandril a shield, the charge on which, apart from the holes bored into it, is a plain Cross surmounted by a Rose. This coat has never apparently been identified; but it may be conjectured to be the same Cross of St. George belonging to the City Guild which was to be seen on the Market Cross.

iii. In a window of the Canon's house, next to the Palace Gate, are two shields of Arms in glass, which should be noticed. One of these, of very poor work, carries without [141/142] doubt the Arms of Sir William Weston, ob. 1540, the last Lord Prior in England of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, viz.: Quarterly, 1 and 4, ermine on a chief azure 5 bezants; 2 and 3, arg. 3 camels sable; above all a chief of St. John, arg. a cross gules. There does not appear to be any connexion of the Cathedral with the Hospitallers or the Westons; but these arms were in the ancient house which occupied the same site. [8] [(8) Dallaway, Dally. The arms of the Lord Prior Weston, on his tomb in Camberwell Church, were identical with these. See Harrison's Annals of an Old Manor House, p. 70. The glass at Sutton Place is very superior to this piece.] The other shield is larger, and, though the colours are gone, is of very good work. The bearing is a crowned lion rampant impaling on a saltire 5 water bougets. The loss of colour prevents identification of the dexter coat; but the impalement is pretty certainly that of Sacheverel. Ambrose Sacheverel was one of the Wiccamical Prebendaries in 1626.

V. In the BISHOP'S PALACE there are two collections of ancient arms.

i. In glass, in the east window of the Chapel, with the coats of Bishop King and of more modern Bishops, there are seven ancient and remarkable. Two of these were, no doubt, brought from Cowdray, corresponding to those described by Dallaway. These are--(1) The Arms of William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton (who bought the property and began the house at Cowdray), in fourteen quarterings, viz.:--1 Fitzwilliam, 2 Neville, 3 Montagu, 4 Monthermer, 5 Clarell, 6 Scropo, 7 Comyn, 8 (Reygate), 9 Plantagenet, 10 Tiptoft, 11 Charlton, 12 Bradston, 13 Inglethorpe, 14 de Burgh. (2) Arms of Browne, Viscount Montague, in four great quarterings, viz.:--first and fourth, Brown quartering, Fitzalan and Maltravels; second, Neville quartering Montagu and Monthermer; third, Plantagenet, Tiptopt and Charlton. (3) Arms of West, Lord La Warr, viz.: Quarterly, 1 West (restored), 2 La Warr and Cantilupe quartered, 3 Mortimer, 4 Gresley. This probably came from Halnaker. (4) The Arms of Bishop Sherburne, put in inside-out, the green gone. (5) Three of Ernley, viz.:--Arg. on a bend sable 3 eagles displayed or; the first impaling Spring, [142/143] argent on a chevron sable 3 bezants, the other two impaling Dawtrey, az. 5 fusils in fess argent.

There can be but little doubt that these, of Bishop Sherburne and Ernley, came from the old house at Cakeham, where the Bishop resided and built the tower, and which afterwards was leased to the Ernleys, of whom Sir John Ernley, ob. 1521, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, married Margaret Dawtrey, and William Ernley, ob. 1554, married Bridget Spring, of Lavenham. The coats impaling Dawtrey are not of the same date, and not contemporary with the Chief Justice.

ii. The beautiful ceiling of the Dining Room is painted on the wood with Arms, in four compartments. It has been re-painted, and all that should be gold is white. Each compartment contains four Tudor Roses, with the initials H, for Henry VIII., and K., for Katherine of Arragon, and four Coats of Arms, with the initials of those whom they represent.

The first compartment is shown by the initials R.S. to represent Bishop Sherburne. Three of the shields show the quarters of his Coat, viz.: The Pelican, the Eagle and the Lion. The fourth carries a Hat, now coloured red. If originally red it must have been placed in compliment to Cardinal Wolsey; but more probably it was originally green, and the Hat of the Bishop.

The second compartment is marked by the initials W.A. of William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, ob. 1543. The four shields bear, on two of them the lion rampant of Fitzalan, and on two the Fret of Maltravers.

The third compartment has the initials T.L. of Thomas West, Lord La Warr. The shields bear the Arms of West arg. a fess dancetty sable; of La Warr (gules crusilly a lion rampant arg.) quarterly with Cantilupe, gules, 3 lions' heads jessant de 1ys, or; of Gresley, gules, 3 bendlets; and of Mortimer. This last coat of Mortimer makes it more probable that the 9th Lord La Warr, whose mother was Elizabeth Mortimer, is represented than his father, also Thomas, who died in 1526. The ninth Lord was the builder of Halnaker.

[144] The fourth compartment has the initials H. O., which no doubt refer to Sir Henry Owen, the son of Sir David Owen and of Mary, the heiress of the Bohuns of Midhurst. Of the four shields one bears the arms of Bohun of Midhurst (or a cross azure), with quarterings; another bears quartered arms of Arden and Bohun of Hereford and Northampton; the third bears the arms of Owen, quarterly, a chevron between three men's heads and a chevron between three stags' heads; the last bears the arms of Croft, the wife of Sir Henry Owen being Joyce, daughter of Sir Edmund Croft.

The date of the work can be nearly fixed by these Arms and initials, since the persons represented were no doubt contemporary. William Fitzalan became Earl of Arundel in 1524, and Sir Henry Owen sold Midhurst in 1528; the ceiling therefore was painted in that interval. The painting is ascribed to Bernardi, but has nothing of that renaissance character which marks his work.

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