St Lawrence’s Church

Ledgers at the west end of the north aisle are for John Raven, Esq., died 29.1.1785, aged 26, and Elizabeth, his wife, died 29.11.1783, aged 25. The family given is muddled; the sequence seems to be: Thomas and Catherine’s son Nicholas (1648-1711)  married Alice (1668-1754). They had two children, Nicholas (1696-1780) and Catherine (1688-1711).

Nicholas married Easter (1731-1772) and had this John Raven (1759-1785) who married Elizabeth (1758-1783). They had two children, Nicholas John (1780-1827), and John (1783-1848) of Summersfield John married Mary Ann Bowker (1783-1839); John’s second son, also Nicholas John, died aged 4 (1803-1807).His youngest son was the Rev. Nicholas John (1815-1876).  Thus these memorials commemorates six generations of Ravens.

(Argent) a Raven proper perched on a TorteauxRAVEN.   Raven of Creeting St Mary, Suffolk, of the time of Henry VIII, held these first.  This is a nice canting coat of arms.

            There are coloured shields above the doorway on the Rood Screen (which was restored in memory of Edward Beck, 1866), for Sir Robert Knollys, Knight of the Garter, who built the church. He was a famous captain, fighting in France, in the time of Edward III and Richard II. Gules on a Chevron Argent three Roses of the field KNOLLYS, KNOWLES,  or KNOLLES.

            Another   is    probably   for Sir Robert’s wife Constance who was a Beverley:  Argent a Fess dancetty Sable between three Leopards’  faces Sable langued Gules BEVERLEY.

A tablet on the north wall of the chancel, with a coloured shield:  is for the Rev. Christopher Spurgeon, A.M., rector of this parish for 43 years, died 23.1.1829, aged 72.  Argent a Chevron engrailed between three Escallops SableSPURGEON,  impaling  Sable  a Lion rampant ArgentPALGRAVE.[1]   Crest: Out of a ducal coronet a lion’s gamb erect.  On a ledger nearby, Eleanor, wife of Rev Christopher Spurgeon, A.M., daughter of  William Palgrave of Coltishall, died 9.10.1836, aged 62.

Shields on the battlements of the south aisle outside, in pairs, beginning from the west (I am indebted to Farrer and previous authorities which he discusses for the attributions below; most are not to be found in Papworth.   Further suggestions have been found in an article by Mrs Herbert Jones, Norfolk Archaeology, VIII, 17-38).

Farrer assigns the first to Constance, Lady Knowles, because this position would be granted to someone intimately associated with the church. (Argent) a Fess dancetty (Sable) between three (Leopard’s faces Or)  BEVERLEY. The charges are indistinct, more like an escallop than a leopard’s face.  The Beverley arms were inside the church and were impaled with Knollys in Sculthorpe church and elsewhere.

Sir John de Gournay or Gurney was lord, Patron, and rector of this parish in 1307; he built the present chancel, and was buried there on his death in 1332 beneath a marble in the centre of the chancel floor.           (Argent) a Cross engrailed (Gules)GOURNAY.


            St Lawrence is the dedication of this church:  A GridironST LAWRENCE.

Blomefield thought the next one,  A Fess between  three Cinquefoils, was UPHALL, though the arms are not found in Papworth (hence no tinctures); one of the local manors is called Uphall.   

Very indistinct.  The same coat appears to have been used by the Drew family; and a John Drewe was rector of Harpley from 1389 to 1421. He was chaplain to Sir Robert Knollys, surviving him by 14 years.  (Gules) on a Chevron(Argent) (three Roses Gules)KNOLLYS.


Chequy (Or and Azure)WARENNE, for William, Earl de Warenne, granted Harpley by the Conqueror.


Quarterly (Or and Gules) a bend (Sable)[2]DE LACY.    Mrs Jones says these arms are found on a seal of John de Laci, earl of Lincoln 1235, and that Blomefield quotes them on a figure at the old Riddlesworth Hall.  The Lacys were lords of Pontefract, where Knollys established  a college and hospital, and also where Constance his wife came from.

Quarterly – UNIDENTIFIEDFarrer says that the last two are identical; I disagree: there appears to be  no bend in this coat.    But like other arms in pairs, these were probably meant to be identical.  Mrs Jones does not differentiate between them.

(Sable) a Cross Lozengy (Or)UFFORD[3];  probably for Sir Robert Ufford, earl of Suffolk, and carved this way to distinguish it from the engrailed cross of Gournay earlier.


            (Or) a Fess between two Chevrons (Sable)WALPOLEWalpole was: “Or on a Fess between two Chevrons Sable three Cross-crosslets of the field“.  The Walpoles were immediate neighbours; an early deed at Houghton has this coat without the crosses, according to Mrs. Jones.   Farrer notes that many families in Norfolk bear similar arms.

            (Or) three Chevronnels (Gules)CLARE.  For Richard FitzGilbert, earl of Clare, who married Rohais, one of the coheirs of Walter Giffard, earl of Buckinghamshire. (Blomefield).

(Azure) three Cinquefoils (Or)BARDOLF The Bardolf family had land in many parts of the county.

(Argent) a Fess engrailed between three Catherine wheels (Sable)CASTELER.  Farrer quotes Her. and Gen. v.301 to the effect that these arms, with an argent field and sable charges were found at Sculthorpe, Mundford, North Barsham, and Cromer, accompanying Knollys; however, they are not recorded by Farrer in any of those churches.

(Gules) a Fess (chequy Argent and Azure) between three Pick-axes (Argent)PIGOTT A number of families have these arms.

(Sable) Three Ostrich feathers erect (Ermine) with EscrollsEDWARD THE BLACK PRINCE, thought to be a friend and patron of Sir Robert Knolles.  These arms were those of peace, used by him in jousts and tournaments, and are to be found on his tomb at Canterbury, as requested in his will.  Edward’s feathers usually lacked the escrolls;  an alternative is that John Duke of Lancaster had (Sable) three Ostrich feathers erect (Ermine)  Quills (Or) transfixed through as many Escrolls (Or).



Gyronny of twelve (Azure and Or)BASSINGBOURNE.


            (Gules) a Bend between  six Cross-crosslets fitchy (Argent) – HOWARD.  The Howards owned a lot of land here, and at Winch and Wiggenhall.

             (Gules) a Fess between  three Cross-crosslets (Or)BEAUCHAMP.   Mrs Jones says that these are the arms of Beauchamp, earl of Warwick.  It usually has six cross-crosslets, but up to the early 1300s the coat was semy of cross-crosslets, or crusilly.

(Gules) six Escallops (Or)SCALES.   The Scales family lived at Middleton.  These Escallops appear to be “fleury” i.e., to have a fleur-de-lis at the upper end.

Gyronny of eight (Azure and Or)BASSINGBOURNE.  Both arms, with eight and twelve segments, were used by various members of the Bassingbourne family.

Paly of twelve, in sinister canton a Lion passant guardantDE LANCASTER?  Farrer suggests Longcaster? – Paly of (six or) seven Argent and Gules on a Canton of the last a Lion passant guardant of the first.  Gournay, feudal baron of Yarmouth,  had “Paly of six Or and Azure” with no canton.  Mrs Jones refers to Glover’s Ordinary having this as De Longcaster; and a John de Lancaster had this at the Siege of Caerlaverock.  A John de Lancaster was rector of Titchwell from 1349 to 1360.

Chequy (Or and Azure) on a Crescent three CinquefoilsDE BURNHAM? This has been attributed to the Burnhams who were descended from the Warennes, and who were lords of the manor of Gournays here. Their arms are not in Papworth.

Chequy (Or  and Azure) a Fess ErmineCALTHORPE.   Calthorpes manor in this parish was held by Sir William de Calthorpe under the earl Warenne in c.1261, and remained in that family for many years.      Mrs Jones says that the De Burnhams, a younger branch of the Warennes, possessed Harpley in the reign of Stephen (1135-1153); it came to two heiresses, who married Matthew de Gourney and Sir William de Calthorpe.

(Azure) a Cross (Or)SHELTON.  Sir Ralph Shelton fought at Crcy and Poitiers.  Or this might perhaps commemorate the Knights Hospitallers.



[1] For Spurgeon, the field should be Or, according to Farrer.  The Spurgeon crest is : Out of a ducal coronet Or a lion’s gamb erect proper, holding  an escallop shell Sable.  Palgrave is Azure a Lion rampant guardant Or.

[2]  Quarterly Argent and Sable a bendlet Gules is given by Papworth as Breston,Norfolk.

 [3]  Papworth has: “Sable a Cross engrailed Or.” – Ufford; but there are many others with different tinctures.


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