Burnham Overy

Lest you think all heraldry is on monuments and in windows, I am adding a few ledger slabs.  This one is interesting, with three coats of arms:

Mary Mott, daughter of Robert and Ann Blyford of Burnham Overy.  She married first, John Thruston, by whom she had two children, Mary and John;  and second, Edmund Mott, Doctor of Physick, having three more children, Edmund, Mary, and John.  She died 24May1702, aged 40.

Mary Mott, with three coats of arms

In the centre, On a Bend three Mullets with a Crescent for difference. – BLYFORD; Crest: A demi-Lion rampant. – Blyford.

On the dexter side, Three Buglehorns stringed (Or garnished Azure). – THRUSTON, impaling BLYFORD; Crest: A Heron (Argent). – Thruston of Hoxne.

On the sinister side, Sable) a Crescent (Argent). – MOTT, impaling BLYFORD.  Crest: A Mullet of six points. (Mott: A Mullet of eight points Argent.)


The Hastings Brass at Elsing


                In 1408, a remarkable occasion took place in Elsing Church.  Sir Edward Hastings, great-grandson of Sir Hugh Hastings, was defendant to a suit by Reginald, Lord Grey of Ruthin in the Court of Chivalry, sitting in the Guest Hall of the Priory at Norwich, and concerning the title of  Lord Hastings.  He asked the Commissioners to adjourn to the church to see evidence on his ancestor’s tomb and in the windows which could not be brought to the Court without great damage being done to them.  This they agreed to do, resulting in a unique and detailed description of the memorial brass as it was in those days, written in Norman French, with the evidence and depositions being nearly 800 pages long.

Four generations later, it was Sir Edward Hastings who, on his uncle John’s death, claimed the title of Baron Hastings.  The Lord Grey of that time disagreed.  The Court of the Constable and Marshall, or Court of Chivalry, considered the matter, and found for Reginald Lord Grey, awarding him “971lbs 17s” costs, a fearsome amount of money in those days.  Edward refused to pay, still styled himself Lord Hastings and Stoteville, and was consigned to the Marshalsea prison, where here stayed, stubbornly refusing to give away his heir’s claim to the baronies, for twentyone years until his death.

It was Sir Edward’s son John, who was not knighted, who built (or re-built) Elsing Hall, a handsome moated mansion of flint and red brick, as evidenced by the arms that were in the porch, of Hastings quartering Foliot and impaling Morley – (Argent) a Lion rampant (Sable) crowned (Or);  his wife Anne was the daughter of Lord Morley.

The Brass

The brass itself was “rubbed” in 1781 showing many elements now lost.  A reconstruction has been made for rubbing and is at the back of the church.  The original was displayed in the “Chivalry” Exhibition of 1987, and afterwards was carefully restored and placed in a surrounding stone frame.  As before, it lies in the centre of the chancel, the founder’s place.  Its design was taken from the Earl of Pembroke’s tomb in Westminster Abbey.

The central figure of Sir Hugh stands within a canopy,with his body slightly flexed to the right (a French trait  which accords with the continental origin of the engraving;  King Edward, Lawrence Hastings and Ralph Lord Stafford show a similar sway to one side).  His hands are elevated before him in prayer.  The brass was gilded, and the coats of arms were coloured; the pommel of Sir Hugh’s sword has another small Hastings coat of arms,  In the corners there were shields of glass, two with his own coat and two with his wife’s coat, Gules a bend Argent,  but these have been long gone.

On the jupon, on the shield, and repeated on the sword pommel, are his arms:  (Or) a Maunch (Gules) with a label of three – Hastings.  The crest is on the finial over the central figure:  a Bull’s head erased – Hastings.

Two angels hold Sir Hugh’s eight-cornered diapered and tasselled pillow; two more angels above his head  assist the rise of his soul heavenwards in a napkin .  Within the upper part of the canopy, St. George attacks not a dragon but the devil.  On the finial is Hasting’s crest of a bull’s head erased; to either side, on brackets, the coronation of the Virgin Mary.  One upper corner has another angel with a censer; the other is missing.

     The surrounding inscription has gone as well, but according to an old record it read:

“Hic iacet humatus Hastynges Hugo, veneratus Y modum fari potuit, petijt tumulari Luce ter x mense Julij mors hinc terit ense Anno fertur in M. ter C quarter x. quoque septem Vos qui transitis Christum rogitare velitis, Hunc ut saluet a ve Finis sit cum pater Aue.”

“Here lies interred the revered Hugh Hastings;  He wanted to be buried in the style in which he lived.  On the thirtieth day of July 1347 death took his sword. You who pass by ask God to forgive his trespasses; pray for him with an Ave and an Our Father”.

There were eight panels of “weepers”, in this instance Sir Hugh’s relatives or companion in arms from his warrior days; six remain.  There is no evidence that these individuals actually attended his funeral.  Two shields have been lost from the panels; the edges remain smoothly turned in, and are free of the damage which might have been evident had enamel been cut from the brass there.  They were probably also inserts of coloured glass.  The whole must have looked spectacular.   The brass of Sir Hugh and the attendant figures provides a very rare record of the development of the armour of the day.

In each side pillar are four canopied panels showing the commanders and colleagues with whom he fought in France. On the dexter side, KING EDWARD III heads the “weepers”, his arms Quarterly France Ancient and England.  Below him, THOMAS BEAUCHAMP, EARL OF WARWICK, with Gules a Fess between six Cross-croslets Or.

Next was Sir HUGH LE DESPENSER, THE 3RD BARON DESPENSER, bearing Quarterly Argent and Gules Fretty Or over all a Bendlet Sable, though this panel is missing on the original. At the bottom is SIR JOHN GREY OF RUTHIN, with Barry of six Argent and Azure in chief three Torteaux a label of three points Argent.

On the sinister side, HENRY PLANTAGENET, KG, later DUKE OF LANCASTER is at the top; his arms are Gles three Lioncels passant guardant Or a label of three points Azure each charged with as many Fleurs-de-lis Or. Next, LAWRENCE HASTINGS, 4TH LORD HASTINGS AND ABERGAVENNY, and later EARL OF PEMBROKE, bearing Quarterly 1 and 4, Or a Maunch Gules – HASTINGS, 2 and 3, Barry Argent and Azure an Orle of Martlets Gules for VALENCE.

Third is RALPH DE STAFFORD, KG, LORD STAFFORD, with Or a Chevron Gules. Lastly, ALMERIC LORD ST. AMAND Or fretty Sable on a chief  Sable three Bezants.

Six of the “weepers” were related to Sir Hugh Hastings; Henry Lancaster was also the superior lord of the Foliot manors at Elsing and elsewhere.

Three of the figures bore shields which have been removed – it is likely these were also of enamel. The whole would have been one of the most magnificent memorials and works of art of the fourteenth century.

What were almost certainly Sir Hugh’s bones were found under a stone just to the east of the brass, where the founder’s tomb would be expected to lie. It showed recent damage to his jaw and teeth. Sir Hugh was sent home from the siege of Calais to deal with a riot in Lincolnshire. He received wounds, probably a sword blow across his face, and died near London from them. His will is still extant.

[This image is from a document in the Norfolk Record Office, probably drawn by Thomas Martin; it has been coloured by the author.]

There used to be an east window with Sir Hugh and Lady Margery kneeling before a church, bearing the Hastings and Foliot arms on their robes, and with the bull’s head crest between them, and with more shields of arms in four lateral lights, but these have all been destroyed.


Horatio, Lord Nelson

The village famous for being the birthplace of Horatio Nelson; he was born in 1758, the fifth child of a family of nine, when his father was rector here. His mother was Catherine Suckling, sister to Maurice Suckling, Captain in the Royal Navy, who took the young Horatio into his ship’s company when he gained command of the ‘Raisonnable’, a 64-gun ship of the line. The captain lived at Woodton Hall and had no children of his own; his wife was Mary Turner, grand-daughter (or great-niece) of Sir Robert Walpole of Wolterton, the first Earl of Orford, and he was thus related to many of the most eminent families of Norfolk, including the Wodehouses of Kimberly, Townshends of Raynham, Bullens of Blickling, and the Durrants of Scottow Hall. When his sister Catherine died in 1767, Maurice assisted her family in many ways.

Horatio Nelson entered the Navy in 1770 after attending the High School at Norwich; by 1797 he was Rear Admiral. He was invested with the K.B. in 1797 after losing an arm in a fight off Tenerife, soon after the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in which he also fought, and he was installed in that order in 1803. He commanded at the Battle of the Nile off Aboukir in 1798, and as well as receiving the thanks of Parliament he was created Baron Nelson of the Nile that year.

For his part in restoring King Ferdinand of Naples to his throne, the king made him a Knight Grand Cross of St. Ferdinand and Merit of Naples, and also created him Duke of Bronte in Sicily in 1801, giving him a large estate there. This award had to be approved by the English King and he obtained a Royal licence for himself and his heirs to hold this dukedom later that year.

At the Battle of Copenhagen in April 1801 he heavily defeated the Danish Fleet, and was rewarded by being made Viscount Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough (Norfolk). It was this title which in the event of his failing to produce sons was specially remaindered to his father and his male heirs, then to the male heirs of his sisters, Susanna, who was married to Thomas Bolton, Esq., and Catherine, married to George Matcham, Esq. There were no children from Horatio’s marriage to Frances Nisbet; his daughter was born to Lady Hamilton in 1800, by which time his marriage had broken down.

Viscount Nelson

It was his brother, the Rev. William Nelson who succeeded Horatio; his elder brother Maurice had died unmarried in 1801, and a younger brother Edmund even earlier. William was created 2nd Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough, and also Duke of Bronte; and in view of the remarkable victory in 1805 of Trafalgar where Horatio had died, William was also created Viscount Merton of Trafalgar and of Merton (in Surrey), and also Earl Nelson of Trafalgar and of Merton, with the same special remainder, as well as an annuity of £5000 p.a. and a gift of £90,000 for him to buy an estate. He died without surviving male issue in 1835; of his three peerages, the Dukedom passed to his daughter, Baroness Bridport, but the Earldom and Barony was inherited by Thomas Bolton, the only surviving son of Nelson’s sister Susanna.

 Nelson’s heraldry.

                 Nelson was granted, in 1797, as a mark of his distinguished service, the arms of the Nelson family of Lancashire which were registered in the Visitation of Lancashire in 1664. The Heralds, Garter and Clarenceux, recorded that he was descended by tradition from that family, though he was unable to produce evidence of any connection with them. The arms were: Or a Cross flory Sable over all a Bend Gules.

On top of this red bend was another Bend engrailed Or bearing three Bombs fired proper, given by the enthusiastic heralds of the day. This was augmented by A Chief undulated Argent thereon Waves of the sea from which issues a Palm tree between dexter a disabled Ship and sinister a ruined Battery all proper, given by the King to mark the Battle of the Nile. All this was within the circlet of the Order of the Bath with its motto ‘TRIA JUNCTA IN UNO’ – ‘Three joined in one’. He had supporters granted because of his membership of this Order: on the dexter side, A Sailor armed with a cutlass and a pair of pistols in his belt proper, the outer hand supporting a staff bearing a Commodore’s flag Gules; and on the sinister side, A Lion rampant reguardant proper, in his mouth a broken flagstaff bearing the Spanish flag Or and Gules.

Lord Nelson

Further embellishments were piled on to this extravaganza, which was surmounted by a Viscount’s coronet. There were two crests: dexter, on a Naval Crown Or, the Chelengk or Plume of Triumph presented to him by the Grand Signior; and on the sinister, above a Peer’s helmet and a wreath of the colours, the stern of a Spanish Man of War proper inscribed thereon ‘San Josef’. ‘San Josef’ was the name of one of the battleships captured in the battle off Cape St. Vincent in 1797, when Nelson’s commander was Admiral Sir John Jervis. The ‘Grand Signior’ was the Sultan Selim III.

A second augmentation was added after his death: A Fess wavy charged with the word “TRAFALGAR” Or. It seems that the supporters were augmented at the same time by two additions: on the dexter side, the Sailor grasped a palm branch proper in his left hand; and on the sinister, the Lion grasped a palm branch in his dexter paw and broken staffs bearing the Tricolour and the flag of Spain in his mouth. The palm branch refers to his motto, which read ‘PALMAN QUI MERUIT FERAT’ – Let he who merits the palm bear it. This illustration shows a ribbon suspending the Knight Grand Cross of the order of St. Ferdinand and Merit, which King Ferdinand of Sicily created specially for Nelson in June, 1800; above is a smaller unidentified medal. The arms are ensigned by the coronet of the Dukedom of Bronte, and over that, the coronet of a viscount.

[i] According to the pedigree in the College of Arms: see Wagner, A., p. 91).

[ii] Much of this information comes from Wagner, A: Historic Heraldry of Britain. London, 1939; and from Nelson and Associated Heraldry, a guide written by R. C. Fiske for The Nelson Society, 1983.

Sir William Calthorpe

A grand brass in the chancel, with full-length portraiture and two shields, for William Calthorpe, Knight, one-time lord of the manor and Patron of All Saints, Burnham, the son of Oliver Calthorpe, Kt.

He died 24 December 1420; and he has the Collar of SS with a pendent Forget-me-not flower, the Lancastrian Order of Knights, around his neck; he may have been a founder member of that Order.  His first wife preferred to be buried next to her first husband at Beeston St Lawrence.  Isabel his second wife, was daughter and heir of Sir Edmund de St. Omer.

There are two shields alongside the canopy: Chequy (Or and Azure) a Fess Ermine. – Calthorpe; and the second shield has: (Azure) a Fess between six Cross-crosslets (Or) with an annulet for difference. – St. Omer. Two falcons with jesses[i] hold scrolls in their beaks, bearing the motto in Norman French: PENSEZ DE FYNER. – Contemplate infinity(?). His feet rest on hairy dogs, possibly indicating that he died at home.

[i] ‘Jesses’ are thong or cords attached to the hawk’s legs.

East Barsham Manor

A splendid Elizabethan manor in red brick, with carved red brick coats of arms, sadly deteriorating with the acid rain and time.  It lies in  a hollow, screened by trees, on the road to little Walsingham and appears magically as one drives past the local inn.

The Fermor family apparently came to this parish around 1390, when William Fermor was vicar. Sir Henry Fermor, “a man of great worth and dignity”, first married Margaret, the widow of John Wode who held the manors of Wolterton and Waldegrave and these manors in Norfolk were settled upon him on payment of £35 each to Elizabeth Wode and her husband Sir James Boleyn, to Alice, a second daughter, and her husband Michael Mackerel, of London, and to Dorothy, a third daughter, and her husband William Whayte of Tittleshall. The manor of Wolterton included what we now know as East Barsham; St Martin’s, or East Hall, manor had been merged with Wolterton’s manor when it passed from Sir John Tuddenham and John Heydon’s hands to the Wode family in about 1352; Rochford’s manor was joined to Wolterton manor later, in 1571.

Henry married secondly Winifred Dynne of Heydon.

Henry was knighted, and became High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1533; and later that year made his will, leaving his wife her furnished lodging in the east wing of the manor during her widowhood, with two maids and a man to look after her, and “meat and drink” with “a bason and ewer of silver, a nest of gilt goblets, a dozen of silver spoons, two goblets, two salts, and a pleane piece” (? a plate) for life, along with sundry pewter pots pans and candlesticks, etc.  He probably died in 1534.

The house has Henry VII’s ROYAL ARMS with the greyhound and griffin supporters; on the gatehouse, the supporters are a lion and a griffin; the change in use can be dated to about 1527. Here as with most of the coats of arms, there has been severe deterioration over the last 25 years. 

It was Sir Henry who, about 1520-1530, built the magnificent manor house with its embattled south-facing façade, twisted chimneys and eight polygonal turrets. Above the front door was carved in the soft red Norfolk brick the ROYAL ARMS OF HENRY VIII: Quarterly, 1 and 4, (Azure) three Fleurs-de-lis. – FRANCE MODERN, 2 and 3, (Gules) three Lions passant guardant (Or). – ENGLAND, – though the supporters used were those of his predecessor Henry VII (who had died in 1509), the Griffin bezanty and the Greyhound. Above the arms is a Royal Crown, below it a Tudor Rose, and in each upper corner is a Portcullis apparently surrounded by a chain.

The gatehouse was evidently constructed afterwards, for here the ROYAL ARMS have supporters which Henry VIII adopted in 1527, the Lion bezanty and Griffin.

To the side of the royal arms here are more carved brick coats: to the right (west), FERMOR: (Argent) on a Saltire (Sable) between four Lions’ heads erased (Gules) a Martlet (Argent) between four Bezants on a chief (Azure) an Anchor between two Pallets (Or) impaling (Argent) three Pales (Gules) – ?;

and on the left,  FERMOR impaling (Argent) a Lion rampant (Gules). – STAPLETON. Why this impalement isn’t Knyvet is unclear.

On the inside of the gatehouse is a Tudor rose within a crocketed canopy. This canopy is flanked by two coats of arms on shields suspended from hands emerging from ornate cuffs. The coat on the left is very badly damaged; on the right it has (Argent) on a Saltire (Sable) between four Lions’ heads erased (Gules) a Martlet between four Bezants on a chief (Azure) an Anchor enclosed by two Pallets (Or).Fermor, impaling quarterly of six, i. (Argent) a Bend within a Bordure engrailed (Sable). – KNYVET; ii, a Bend a Chief  ; iii, Chequy  on a Chief three Fleurs-de-lis ; iv, ? ; v, (Argent) three Pales (Gules); vi,  three Bends within a Bordure .


Henry and Margaret’s son William married Catherine Knyvet, daughter of one of the most illustrious families of Norfolk; but they had no children and the estate devolved to his brother’s heirs, one of whom wasted much of the family wealth.

William Fermor, Henry’s son, was knighted and was made High Sheriff in 1541; he died without issue in 1558 and his nephew Thomas inherited. His father, William’s brother Thomas, had been killed by the Norfolk Rebels at Castle Rising. The son married Mary Fromond of Cheam, Surrey; it seems to have been this Thomas who spent the estate; his brother Nicholas tried minting counterfeit coins but was attainted; he is said to have died of drowning in the Thames. It was Thomas’s son William who had only a daughter Mary, and it was she that brought the estate and the manor house to the Calthorpe family.

The picture of James Calthorpe (the final ‘e’ seems variable) shows naked men with clubs in the left hands on either side of a Boar’s head couped on a wreath; and Blomefield describes how two wild men or giants, armed with clubs, stood in niches on either side of the gate as janitors. The niches are still evident below the brick coats of arms, but the figures are gone. These were Calthorpe supporters, rather than acquired through marriage to Mary Fermor.

The manor passed again in the female line to the Le Strange family.

Around the main house there are two rows of terracotta tiles, both about the level of the ceilings of the rooms behind. There are also tiles facing the risers of the battlements and in another row below these. Tiles are also inserted into brickwork decoratively but occasionally; these are usually of a formalized tree pattern, or four leaf-shaped indentations radiating from the centre into the corners. These are best seen rather than described, and they (most probably later copies) are shown in the photograph of the tower to the right of the main doorway.

The upper row are mostly of similar pattern, both both the rampant lion and the saltire between four ?caltraps can be seen, together with some heads, in plain tiles.

The lower row have more decorative tiles. Mostly the shields are set within an excavated pattern resembling an engrailed bordure; but the shields are outlined on rectangular centre-pieces. There are two coats of arms: – A Lion rampant crowned -, and – a Saltire couped between four ?Caltraps. (see picture). In between these are two sorts of be-hatted head and shoulder images. {Are these of one of the owners?]. There are also Tudor roses occupying some of the tiles.

The first coat of arms is almost certainly (Argent) a Lion rampant crowned (Sable). – for STAPLETON. The second seems to be Argent a Saltire between four Staples Sable – WOOD (WODE) .

East Barsham

St Mary’s Church

A splendid monument on the south wall has five coloured shields.

“James Calthorpe dedicates this monument to the pious memory of Mary, his wife, (daughter and sole heiress of William Fermor, Esq., and Ann his wife, daughter of Robert Brook, late Alderman of London), by whom he had issue 2 sonnes who all, in this chancel, lie together interred, who died 12th May 1640, aged 28”.

Ann Fermor   Febrva: J:

William Fermor  Nove: 24: 1625

Fermor Calthorpe SER died March 2nd 1635 aged 5days.

Fermor Calthorpe JVR Decem.:J; 1637 18 days”.

Above:  Quarterly, 1, Chequy Or and Azure a Fess Ermine. – Calthorpe, Gules on a chief Argent two Mullets pierced Sable. – Bacon; 3, Argent three Chessrooks Sable. – Rookwood ; 4, Argent a Lion rampant Sable. – Stapleton.  Crest: : A Boar’s head couped at the neck (Azure) bristled and tusked (Or)-  Calthorpe.  Motto: Arise and Come to Judgment.

Centrally, above the representation of Mary: Calthorpe impaling (Argent) on a Saltire (Sable) between four Lions’ heads erased (Gules) a Martlet between four Bezants on a chief (Azure) an Anchor enclosed by two Pallets (Or). – Fermor.

To the dexter:  Fermor.

To sinister: Fermor impaling Brook: Gules on a Chevron  Argent a Lion rampant Sable crowned Or.

Below:  Calthorpe.

Holkham (3)

A monument on the south wall of the south chapel, with kneeling figure and coloured shield: For: Miles Armiger, Gent., second son of William Armiger and Anne Mansure;  died unmarried 10May 1639, aged 64; Quarterly: 1 and 4,. Azure two Bars Argent between three close Helmets Or – Armiger, 2 and 3, Vairy Argent and Sable a Bend Gules with a crescent for difference – Mansur.  Crest: On a ducal coronet Or, a Tiger sejant Gules  – Armiger.

Holkham (2)

A superb memorial window for Margaret Baroness Clifford, Countess Dowager of Leicester, who repaired and beautified this church and chancel at her sole expense, in 1767-68.

Per pale Gules and Azure three Eagles displayed Argent – Coke,

in pretence Quarterly: 1 and 4, Sable an Eagle displayed Argent a Bordure engrailed of the second – Tufton; 2 and 3, Chequy Or and Azure a Fess Gules – Clifford.


A monument at the east end of the south chapel, with 21 kneeling figures and three coloured shields: 

For William Wheatley, Esq., of Fakenham and South Creake, late Prothonotary in the court of Common Pleas,  and Martha Skinner his wife, dau. of Anthony Skinner of Warwickshire; and for:

Anthony Wheatley Esq., and Anne Armiger his wife, one of the daughters of William Armiger the elder, late of North Creake, Norfolk, and Anne his wife, sole sister and heir of Richard Mansuer;  and for:

Meriall, the sole daughter and heir of Anthony Wheatley; died 3 July1636, having had six sons and nine daughters. She married John Coke of Holkham, the 4th son of the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Coke, Kt., (late Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, afterwards of the King’s Bench, and one of His Majesty’s Privy Council) by Bridgett Paston, one of the coheiresses of John Paston, Esq., her father.

Left:  Per pale Gules and Azure three Eagles displayed Argent – Coke, impaling Quarterly: 1 and 4, Sable a Fess Ermine between three Talbots passant Argent – Allenson? 2 and 3, Argent a Bend Sable between two Bears salient of the second, chained and muzzled Or – Wheatley or Whetley.

Centre: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Sable a Fess Ermine between three Talbots passant Argent – Allenson?, 2 and 3, Argent a Bend Sable between two Bears salient of the second, chained and muzzled Or – Wheatley; impaling Azure two Bars Argent between three close Helmets Or – Armiger.

Right: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Sable a Fess Ermine between three Talbots passant Argent – Allenson?, 2 and 3, Argent a Bend Sable between two Bears salient of the second, chained and muzzled Or – Wheatley; impaling Sable a Chevron Or between three Griffins’ heads erased Argent – Skinner.


Sir Robert Knollys, died 15 October1407, aged 92, at his manor house in Sculthorpe, though he was buried in a church in Fleet Street, London.  He was an eminent commander under Edward III, fighting in France and acquiring great fortunes there. He took Auxerre for the King of Navarre, and later fought for John Duke of Brittant, being richly rewarded. In 1371, he had 2000 men of arms and as many archers, fighting for the king . He was with John Duke of Lancaster on his Spanish expedition  in 1379, and was made a Knight of the Garter.  As such, he had supporters to his arms:  two naked savages, standing by two trees,  and his crest was a ram’s head, as shown on his seal.

His wealth was so vast that King Richard II pawned several valuable jewels and pieces of silver to him; he built a bridge over the Medway with a chapel and chantry at its east end; and built churches at Sculthorpe, Harpley, and at Whitefriars. With his wife he founded a college at Pomfret, Yorkshire, with the Knollys Almshouses, settling the lordships of Sculthorp, Dunton, Kettlestone, Tatterford and Tattersett, and Burnham together withthe advowsons of several churches on them.  The college had a master, six priests, with a hospital for 13 poor men and women. His arms were: Gules on a Chevron Argent three Roses Gules barbed vert and seeded Or.

Sir Robert Knollys married Constanzia, who bore these arms, those of the Beverlys of Yorkshire.  She sailed to Brittany in 1360, taking her husband reinforcements of 20 men at arms, 14 archers and horses, providing three ships for this purpose. Argent a Chevron dancetty Sable between  three Lions’ heads Sable.


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.