Discussion:
John Blount (d. 1358) and Eleanor Beauchamp
(too old to reply)
Joe
2018-06-10 02:06:34 UTC
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Many older sources state that John Blount (d. 1358), married as his second wife an Eleanor Beauchamp, and the she was the mother of his 3rd son Walter Blount.[e.g. 1, 2, 3] It is my understanding that there is no actual evidence in the way of deeds, charters, grants, or land ownership that Eleanor Beauchamp was the mother of Walter Blount, or that a Blount-Beauchamp marriage even occurred. It is an account which likely originated with Dugdale and was caused by a confusion over the quarterings of the Blount arms.
In 2008 Nat Taylor wrote, “On the alleged Blount-Beauchamp marriage, an article by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith, "The Blount Quarters," _The Coat of Arms_ 4 (1957), 224-27, is corrected by G. D. Squibb, "The Heirs of Beauchamp of Hatch," ibid., pp. 275-77, showing that the particular claimed marriage cannot have happened.” [4]
This marriage still appears on many websites and even recent publications. [5] I am wondering exactly what was this definitive proof that the “claimed marriage cannot have happened” so that this can be put to bed. The reference given is not readily available.

1. Collections for a History of Staffordshire. vol. 4 (London: William Salt Archaeological Society, 1883): page 80. [http://tinyurl.com/y9c8mb5g HathiTrust.org LINK]
2. George Grazebrook and John Paul Rylands eds. ''Visitation of Shropshire, taken in the year 1623'', part I, (London: Harleian Society Visitation Series vol. 28, 1889): [http://tinyurl.com/yaqb5jft page 50-57].
3. Croke, Alexander. ''The Genealogical History of the Croke Family, Originally Named Le Blount''. (Oxford, 1823). [http://tinyurl.com/y8d5kcm3 page 140]
4. Soc.genealogy.com Discussion Group. Post: ''Mountjoy family - ancestors of the Blounts'' (First post 17 February 2008 by MA-R). http://tinyurl.com/y8aj8al7
5. E.g. Burke’s Peerage, 2003.
Peter Howarth
2018-06-14 13:49:18 UTC
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Post by Joe
Many older sources state that John Blount (d. 1358), married as his second wife an Eleanor Beauchamp, and the she was the mother of his 3rd son Walter Blount.[e.g. 1, 2, 3] It is my understanding that there is no actual evidence in the way of deeds, charters, grants, or land ownership that Eleanor Beauchamp was the mother of Walter Blount, or that a Blount-Beauchamp marriage even occurred. It is an account which likely originated with Dugdale and was caused by a confusion over the quarterings of the Blount arms.
In 2008 Nat Taylor wrote, “On the alleged Blount-Beauchamp marriage, an article by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith, "The Blount Quarters," _The Coat of Arms_ 4 (1957), 224-27, is corrected by G. D. Squibb, "The Heirs of Beauchamp of Hatch," ibid., pp. 275-77, showing that the particular claimed marriage cannot have happened.” [4]
This marriage still appears on many websites and even recent publications. [5] I am wondering exactly what was this definitive proof that the “claimed marriage cannot have happened” so that this can be put to bed. The reference given is not readily available.
1. Collections for a History of Staffordshire. vol. 4 (London: William Salt Archaeological Society, 1883): page 80. [http://tinyurl.com/y9c8mb5g HathiTrust.org LINK]
2. George Grazebrook and John Paul Rylands eds. ''Visitation of Shropshire, taken in the year 1623'', part I, (London: Harleian Society Visitation Series vol. 28, 1889): [http://tinyurl.com/yaqb5jft page 50-57].
3. Croke, Alexander. ''The Genealogical History of the Croke Family, Originally Named Le Blount''. (Oxford, 1823). [http://tinyurl.com/y8d5kcm3 page 140]
4. Soc.genealogy.com Discussion Group. Post: ''Mountjoy family - ancestors of the Blounts'' (First post 17 February 2008 by MA-R). http://tinyurl.com/y8aj8al7
5. E.g. Burke’s Peerage, 2003.
C.R. Humphery-Smith, 'The Blount Quarters' /The Coat of Arms/ 4 (Apr 1957) pp 224-227, is a knowledgeable antiquarian, rather than an historian. He wanted to interpret a shield in a window of the north aisle of Northiam parish church, Sussex.
The arms were: per pale, dexter: Gules, a lion rampant argent, a border vert semy of escallops or (Oxenbridge);
sinister: quarterly:
1. Or, a castle triple towered azure (Sanchez)
2. Argent, two wolves sable, a border or semy of saltires gules (Ayala)
3. Vair (Beauchamp of Hache)
4. blank (supposedly Barry nebuly or and sable for Blount)
His explanation for the third quarter was that it represented Eleanor, sister and co-heiress of John de Beauchamp, baron of Hache, second wife of John Blount (d.1358) and by him mother of Sir Walter Blount who married Sancha de Ayala from Castile. In doing this he followed Croke, /History of the Croke Family/ ii. 131, rather than GEC ix. 333.

G.D. Squibb, 'The Heirs of Beauchamp of Hatch', /The Coat of Arms/ 4 (July 1957) pp 275-277, was a QC specialising in the law of peerage claims and heraldry. He pointed out that when John Beauchamp of Hatch died on 12 Oct 1361, his sister Eleanor had already predeceased him, and his heirs were then Cecily, his sister, and John Meriet, son of Eleanor, the other sister.[1]

Eleanor had married Sir John Meriet, who outlived her and married a second time in or before May 1362.[2] And since Eleanor cannot have married John Beauchamp before Sir John Meriet (since her heir would then have been Sir Walter Blount), the vair quartering used by the Blounts cannot be due to a marriage with Eleanor Beauchamp.

Since the younger John Meriet left as sole heir a daughter Elizabeth, then aged four, who did not survive to womanhood, the issue of Eleanor Beauchamp failed. Squibb then referred to a peerage claim in 1921 to the barony of Beauchamp of Hatch by a descendant of John Beauchamp's sister Cecily. Regarding the vair quartering of Blount, he said it remains unexplained, but asked whether it might be another Spanish coat brought in by Sancha de Ayala.

Peter Howarth

[1] Cal. Inq. P. M., xi. 24; /Beauchamp Peerage Case/ (1921) Doc. No. 34.
[2] B.W. Greenfield, /Genealogy of the Somersetshire Family of Meriet/ (1883) 31, and records there cited.
taf
2018-06-14 14:50:17 UTC
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Post by Peter Howarth
The arms were: per pale, dexter: Gules, a lion rampant argent, a border vert
semy of escallops or (Oxenbridge);
1. Or, a castle triple towered azure (Sanchez)
2. Argent, two wolves sable, a border or semy of saltires gules (Ayala)
3. Vair (Beauchamp of Hache)
4. blank (supposedly Barry nebuly or and sable for Blount)
[snip]
Post by Peter Howarth
Regarding the vair quartering of Blount, he said it remains unexplained,
but asked whether it might be another Spanish coat brought in by Sancha
de Ayala.
I find this suggestion unsatisfying.

Each country's heraldic preferences differed, and just as you rarely see wolves and a saltaired border in medieval English heraldry, vair was not all that common in Iberia. I think it more likely these were English arms. However, something other than standard heraldry is at play. This quarterly display is far from typical, as it gives priority to the exotic Spanish heraldry of a non-heiress wife over that of the ancestral male line (the towered castle probably represent the arms Diego Gomez de Toledo, and hence "Sancha's", not "Sanchez").

I have done some work on a Devon family that would use elaborate arms, incorporating shields for marriages that bore no fruit (or in some cases were just outright nonsense and confusion) but were remembered in a garbled manner in family lore. Given that the Blount arms are already at odds with standard English heraldic practice, I would suggest that the Blounts somehow ended up incorporating Beauchamp of Hache even though there was no genealogical descent.

taf
Peter Howarth
2018-06-14 17:05:21 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Peter Howarth
The arms were: per pale, dexter: Gules, a lion rampant argent, a border vert
semy of escallops or (Oxenbridge);
1. Or, a castle triple towered azure (Sanchez)
2. Argent, two wolves sable, a border or semy of saltires gules (Ayala)
3. Vair (Beauchamp of Hache)
4. blank (supposedly Barry nebuly or and sable for Blount)
[snip]
Post by Peter Howarth
Regarding the vair quartering of Blount, he said it remains unexplained,
but asked whether it might be another Spanish coat brought in by Sancha
de Ayala.
I find this suggestion unsatisfying.
Each country's heraldic preferences differed, and just as you rarely see wolves and a saltaired border in medieval English heraldry, vair was not all that common in Iberia. I think it more likely these were English arms. However, something other than standard heraldry is at play. This quarterly display is far from typical, as it gives priority to the exotic Spanish heraldry of a non-heiress wife over that of the ancestral male line (the towered castle probably represent the arms Diego Gomez de Toledo, and hence "Sancha's", not "Sanchez").
I have done some work on a Devon family that would use elaborate arms, incorporating shields for marriages that bore no fruit (or in some cases were just outright nonsense and confusion) but were remembered in a garbled manner in family lore. Given that the Blount arms are already at odds with standard English heraldic practice, I would suggest that the Blounts somehow ended up incorporating Beauchamp of Hache even though there was no genealogical descent.
taf
In my previous post I was acting as reporter of what was written. But I agree with you that the vair quarter is most unlikely to be Spanish. Indeed, the whole shield is unsatisfactory, with a blank fourth (and therefore the least important) quarter meant to represent the principal family arms - without any evidence to show why. Humphery-Smith is often very dismissive of things that don't fit his ideas. He can be very helpful in his work on early rolls of arms, but he doesn't stand back and take a wider view when guessing at items like this.

In any case, I'm rarely very happy about heraldic stained glass - dates are too vague, it can too easily be re-arranged during 'restoration', and painted mediaeval glass can fade or discolour.* I'm equally suspicious of those Tudor coats of arms with multiple quarterings that are found in the Visitations. Just as I don't trust the family's genealogical memory, so I don't trust their heraldic memory.

Peter Howarth

*I'm prepared to make one or two exceptions. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks to see the stained glass provided around 1300 by Sir John FitzHerbert for the chancel of Norbury parish church near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, which is exquisitely patterned in grisaille as a setting for twenty-eight coloured shields representing king, queen, earls, barons and a few lowly knights of his own level.
taf
2018-06-14 19:03:18 UTC
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Post by Peter Howarth
In my previous post I was acting as reporter of what was written.
Yes, I understood that.
Post by Peter Howarth
But I agree with you that the vair quarter is most unlikely to be
Spanish. Indeed, the whole shield is unsatisfactory, with a blank
fourth (and therefore the least important) quarter meant to represent
the principal family arms - without any evidence to show why.
This is probably a deduction from other exemplars, and is probably legit.

Wikimedia has this from the Garter stall-plate of the 1st Baron Mountjoy - the same four quarters but with the first two, Ayala and the 3-towered castle one, reversed:

Loading Image...

The associated text derives this from Hope, W. H. St. John (1901), The Stall Plates of the Knights of the Order of the Garter 1348 – 1485, which assigns the towered castle to Mountjoy and the vair to Gresley. I find reference to Gresley being vairy, gules and ermine, which does not match. I see several different coats assigned to Mountjoy, one being the nebuly coat elsewhere given as Blount and one apparently being the castle elsewhere described as 'Sanchez', but I can't be sure this isn't back-extrapolated from its assignment in the Blount arms.

If this is authentic, then we seem to have Blount, Mountjoy, Beauchamp, and Ayala, matching the two marriages of Walter's father, and the marriage of Walter himself (Sancha used her maternal Ayala surname - her paternal line didn't even have a surname yet, so using Ayala arms alone to represent her in an English coat would seem natural).


I also find this 19th century Blount coat that has the same four quarters in yet another order:

https://royaldescent.blogspot.com/2015/06/edward-iv-descents-for-agnes-mary-nee.html

(about half way down page)
Post by Peter Howarth
In any case, I'm rarely very happy about heraldic stained glass - dates
are too vague, it can too easily be re-arranged during 'restoration',
and painted mediaeval glass can fade or discolour.*
While rearrangement may account for the difference in the top row between the glass and the stall-plaque, we still have at least two different orderings.

taf
Peter Howarth
2018-06-14 20:10:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by taf
Post by Peter Howarth
In my previous post I was acting as reporter of what was written.
Yes, I understood that.
Post by Peter Howarth
But I agree with you that the vair quarter is most unlikely to be
Spanish. Indeed, the whole shield is unsatisfactory, with a blank
fourth (and therefore the least important) quarter meant to represent
the principal family arms - without any evidence to show why.
This is probably a deduction from other exemplars, and is probably legit.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WalterBlount_1stBaronMountjoy_GarterPlate.png
The associated text derives this from Hope, W. H. St. John (1901), The Stall Plates of the Knights of the Order of the Garter 1348 – 1485, which assigns the towered castle to Mountjoy and the vair to Gresley. I find reference to Gresley being vairy, gules and ermine, which does not match. I see several different coats assigned to Mountjoy, one being the nebuly coat elsewhere given as Blount and one apparently being the castle elsewhere described as 'Sanchez', but I can't be sure this isn't back-extrapolated from its assignment in the Blount arms.
If this is authentic, then we seem to have Blount, Mountjoy, Beauchamp, and Ayala, matching the two marriages of Walter's father, and the marriage of Walter himself (Sancha used her maternal Ayala surname - her paternal line didn't even have a surname yet, so using Ayala arms alone to represent her in an English coat would seem natural).
https://royaldescent.blogspot.com/2015/06/edward-iv-descents-for-agnes-mary-nee.html
(about half way down page)
Post by Peter Howarth
In any case, I'm rarely very happy about heraldic stained glass - dates
are too vague, it can too easily be re-arranged during 'restoration',
and painted mediaeval glass can fade or discolour.*
While rearrangement may account for the difference in the top row between the glass and the stall-plaque, we still have at least two different orderings.
taf
Many thanks for your research. I have put off studying the Blounts properly and you have prompted me to tackle them now. With regard to the vair arms (argent and azure), there doesn't at first sight seem to be any real alternative to Beauchamp of Hatch at this period. Gresham used both vairy argent and gules and vairy ermine and gules. Another possibility is de la Ward who used vairy argent and sable, and I have often found confusion in rolls of arms between azure and sable. I'm away for a day or two, but I will see what I can find out and come back later.

Peter Howarth
TJ Booth_sbc
2018-06-16 12:36:23 UTC
Permalink
[snip] > Many thanks for your research. I have put off studying the Blounts properly and you have prompted me to tackle them now. With regard to the vair arms (argent and azure), there doesn't at first sight seem to be any real alternative to Beauchamp of Hatch at this period. Gresham used both vairy argent and gules and vairy ermine and gules. Another possibility is de la Ward who used vairy argent and sable, and I have often found confusion in rolls of arms between azure and sable. I'm away for a day or two, but I will see what I can find out and come back later.
Post by Peter Howarth
Peter Howarth
Peter, Todd, etal

Thanks for resurrecting this topic, which prompted me to visit the Wikipedia page for Lord Mountjoy. That in turn sent me in search of a better answer to what family the 4th quarter in the Blount family arms represents. The Wikipedia page (author unknown) identifies the 4th quarter color and family as "Vair (Gresley)". See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Blount,_1st_Baron_Mountjoy. For the reasons below, I disagree that the arms are 'Vair' (that misquotes a source stating they are vairy argent and gules), but agree it is the Gresley arms.

My understanding of heraldry is that "Vair" represents a simple repeating 'downside up then upside down' pattern. As a pattern, it would seem to have no tinctures, but "argent and azure" are default tinctures because it is symbolic of the fur of a blue and white animal. The international heraldry webpage shows 3 examples of Vair/vairy shields, one being Beauchamp. The Beauchamp arms are called Vair, but are clearly argent and azure - on the same line is a vairy argent and gules. See internationalheraldry.com/examples.htm

Papworth has several pages of families with Vair arms ('vairy' when tinctures are added). Many have just tinctures with no added differences (Vol 2, pages 1119 & 1120 - see books.google.com/books?id=uL7g4ps1Uj8C&pg=PA1119). He notes that some Beauchamp arms use different tinctures (like argent and gules - silver and red). Some Gresley families also use argent and gules, while the Gresleys of Drakelow use ermine and gules as tinctures.

As I understand it, if the Blount arms used strict heraldry rules, Isolda de Mountjoy had to be an heir of her father (which she was), and Sancha de Ayala also had to be heir of her father. Correct me Todd, but didn't Sancha have a brother Pedro Suarez de Toledo who left descendants? If the Blount arms could
quarter the Ayala arms, then why do the Vair arms have to represent an heiress?

There is zero contemporary evidence for a Beauchamp of Hatch ancestry. Instead, the Vair arms must represent Margaret Gresley, mother of the 1st Lord Mountjoy. Margaret is also Sancha de Ayala's dau-in-law and, like Sancha, not an heiress.

There seems to be a disconnect between the actual Blount arms, and how they are described. Sometimes they are just vair, othertimes they have different tinctures. One would like contemporary evidence of what the tinctures really were. When were the arms first described in print?

To return to the Wikipedia image, please take a look at the Garter stall plate shown for Lord Mountjoy. It constitutes important contemporary evidence of what the arms looked like in his time, since it was created at the time Blount became a Knight of the Garter (about 1472) and may have been commissioned by him. Some fading may be present, but it has held up well - as have the numerous other stall plates in the chapel. But look closely - the tinctures you see are not argent and azure (the Beauchamp colors), but argent and gules. Add a black foot in the middle of the white vairs (which may be there), you have ermine and gules. Argent and ermine can be mistaken, they both being light and bright.

Arthur Charles Fox-Davies provides an extensive discussion of some garter plates in Windsor Castle's St. Georges Chapel. See his Complete Guide to Heraldry (London; TC Jack; 1909). His interpretation of the Blount plate is @ en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Complete_Guide_to_Heraldry/Chapter_24#388 . "Sir Walter
Blount, Lord Mountjoye, K.G., [about] 1472-74. Arms : quarterly, 1. argent, two wolves passant in pale sable, on a bordure also argent eight saltires couped gules (for Ayala); 2. or, a tower (?gules) (for Mountjoy); 3. barry nebula or and sable (for Blount); 4. vaire argent and gules (for Gresley)." Too bad the Wikipedia page truncates this description, suggesting the 4th quarter was only a standard vair.

The Gresley arms date back to at least Edward II, when the arms of "Sire Peres de Gresle" (who was of Drakelow) are shown as "Vairee gules and ermine". See Nicholas, Nicholas Harris (Esq.), A Roll of Arms of the reign of Edward the second (Dates to about 1312) (London; William Pickering; 1829; page 147. Online @ http://books.google.com/books?id=HHcUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA147

Hopefully I've helped put to rest the myth that the Blount family's arms point to a Beauchamp of Hache in their ancestry. Their arms, first created about the time the first Lord Mountjoy became a K.G., do not reflect strict heraldry. Instead, important non-heiresses they wanted to honor are also included. Isn't it nice to see Sancha de Ayala's arms there, even if they shouldn't be?

Terry J Booth
Chicago IL
taf
2018-06-16 18:30:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Thanks for resurrecting this topic, which prompted me to visit the Wikipedia
page for Lord Mountjoy. That in turn sent me in search of a better answer to
what family the 4th quarter in the Blount family arms represents. The
Wikipedia page (author unknown) identifies the 4th quarter color and family
as "Vair (Gresley)". See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Blount,_1st_Baron_Mountjoy.
For the reasons below, I disagree that the arms are 'Vair' (that misquotes
a source stating they are vairy argent and gules), but agree it is the
Gresley arms.
While the arms may be in error, it is not a misquote as you describe. The description on the Wikipedia page is derived from the description of the accompanying image on Wikimedia, which in turn is taken from the cited source, Hope (1901), The Stall Plates of the Knights of the Order of the Garter (Plate LXXVIII): "The arms are quarterly: 1, silver two wolves passant sable and on a bordure silver eight saltires gules (for Ayala); 2, gold, a tower azure (for Mountjoy); 3, barry undy gold and sable (for Blount); 4, vair (for Gresley)."

[note that his blazon is flawed in several respects. A silver bordure on a silver background is not viable, even though that is what the tinctures in the accompanying plate are. The same illustration clearly shows 7 saltires, not 8, but the editor is apparently extrapolating one covered by the helm and its adornments - semy de saltire (filled with unspecified arrangement of Xs) seems more likely. The arms described as barry undy are clearly nebuly.]
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
My understanding of heraldry is that "Vair" represents a simple repeating
'downside up then upside down' pattern. As a pattern, it would seem to
have no tinctures, but "argent and azure" are default tinctures because it
is symbolic of the fur of a blue and white animal.
By convention, vair is silver and blue and need not be specified further. The same pattern in any other tinctures is vairy and tinctures must be indicated.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
As I understand it, if the Blount arms used strict heraldry rules, Isolda
de Mountjoy had to be an heir of her father (which she was), and Sancha de
Ayala also had to be heir of her father. Correct me Todd, but didn't Sancha
have a brother Pedro Suarez de Toledo who left descendants? If the Blount
arms could quarter the Ayala arms, then why do the Vair arms have to
represent an heiress?
Not only did Sancha have a brother with descendants, these are the arms of her mother's family (sort of) and she had a very famous maternal uncle with descendants. Sancha was not an heiress, and by the standard 'rules' of heraldry should not have been represented, but these 'rules' are an attempt to retrospectively apply a formula to fluid and evolving practice. The conclusion follows, though, that if the Blounts quartered arms for one woman who was not an heiress, there is no reason to think other quarters shown must represent heiresses.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
To return to the Wikipedia image, please take a look at the Garter stall
plate shown for Lord Mountjoy. It constitutes important contemporary
evidence of what the arms looked like in his time, since it was created
at the time Blount became a Knight of the Garter (about 1472) and may
have been commissioned by him. Some fading may be present, but it has
held up well - as have the numerous other stall plates in the chapel. But
look closely - the tinctures you see are not argent and azure (the
Beauchamp colors), but argent and gules.
Here I cannot agree with you at all. Hues of medieval pigments change over time with oxidation and fading, and it can be difficult to determine what the original color was. However, it would be less usual for this to differentially affect the same color. Here we have a vermillion background that looks decidedly different than the tincture of the vair(y) quarter. One could argue that this is due to how it was made. This quarter appears to have been painted by first filling it all in with the silver pigment, then overlaying the tincture of the fur, and this could affect both how it appeared at the time it was made and the way the pigments age. To me, the tincture in vair(y) quadrant are most like that of the tower (painted over gold, and distinct from the tower door, the wolves or the nebuly of the adjacent quadrant). Notably, the Ayala arms appear also to have red painted atop silver for the saltires, and to my eye these look decidedly more vermillion than in the vair(y) coat, even though the eye/brain tends 'blend' narrow colors with their background, so I just don't think it can be taken for granted that the vair(y) coat was intended to be red.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Add a black foot in the middle of the white vairs (which may be there),
you have ermine and gules. Argent and ermine can be mistaken, they both
being light and bright.
And if my aunt had . . . . oh, nevermind. There is no ermine pattern there, and it is a very slippery slope when you start saying 'if we would only change the evidence to more closely match our expectations, it would then match our expectations'.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Arthur Charles Fox-Davies provides an extensive discussion of some garter
plates in Windsor Castle's St. Georges Chapel. See his Complete Guide to
Heraldry (London; TC Jack; 1909). His interpretation of the Blount plate
"Sir Walter Blount, Lord Mountjoye, K.G., [about] 1472-74. Arms : quarterly,
1. argent, two wolves passant in pale sable, on a bordure also argent
eight saltires couped gules (for Ayala); 2. or, a tower (?gules)
(for Mountjoy); 3. barry nebula or and sable (for Blount); 4. vaire
argent and gules (for Gresley)." Too bad the Wikipedia page truncates
this description, suggesting the 4th quarter was only a standard vair.
Again, don't blame this on Wikipedia. I wouldn't even 'blame' it on Hope, because this is not a question of a description being truncated, but instead one of differing interpretation. Fox-Davies sees both the second and fourth quarters as containing gules, Hope sees them both as containing azure.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Hopefully I've helped put to rest the myth that the Blount family's arms
point to a Beauchamp of Hache in their ancestry. Their arms, first created
about the time the first Lord Mountjoy became a K.G., do not reflect strict
heraldry.
I think we had already agreed that this was the case based on the inclusion of Ayala and the precedence given it (although again, 'strict heraldry' implies rules that have only been applied retrospectively).
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Instead, important non-heiresses they wanted to honor are also included.
Isn't it nice to see Sancha de Ayala's arms there, even if they shouldn't
be?
But are these Sancha's arms? As I said above, a silver bordure on a silver background is decidedly odd, and it does not match the Ayala arms as they later appear (which if I recall correctly has black saltires on a red border). Did the Blounts take liberties? Did the stall-plate artist? If that is the case with the Ayala arms, could it also the case with the other quarters?

And while we are at it, Nat Taylor has some blog posts with heraldic illustrations from the convent of Santa Isabel de los Reyes, Toledo, the one-time palace of Sancha's father. These include (carved, so no tinctures): a three-towered castle, and a coat of arms containing two wolves within a semy de saltire border. The castle is not a coat-of-arms proper, but a heraldic emblem of the family. The effigy of Sancha's brother Pedro Suarez de Toledo (which became part of a private collection) includes the same emblem flanking a coat of arms that has a bend decorated by three such castles (perhaps within an ornate border, or this could just be the artistic 'edge' of the shield). I don't think it can be taken for granted that the three-towered castle of the Blount arms represents Mountjoy. It raises the possibility that this particular coat was newly-created to display the heraldic emblem (not arms) of Sancha's paternal lineage. And if the Blounts were making it up on the fly, all bets are off.

http://www.nltaylor.net/medievalia/sancha/

taf
taf
2018-06-16 19:16:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by taf
But are these Sancha's arms? As I said above, a silver bordure on a silver
background is decidedly odd, and it does not match the Ayala arms as they
later appear (which if I recall correctly has black saltires on a red border).
Not quite. Ayala has gold saltires on a red border. This came to be specified as eight saltires, but in the arms from Sancha's home there were many more.

taf
TJ Booth_sbc
2018-06-18 12:37:53 UTC
Permalink
Todd,

Your comments are much appreciated - you are the Sancha expert. Below for review are more reasons Q4 of Sir Walter Blount's arms is for Gresely, albeit wrongly tinctured.

Heraldry is complex, even some experts get it wrong. I'd thought Arthur Charles Fox-Davies and Hope were expert heralds doing their own interpretations. It now seems likely they largely mirrored the interpretations of others. Quarter 2 is not Mountjoy (which Croke shows as 'gules 3 escutcheons or'), but as you surely must have earlier realized, the arms of Sancha's brother Pedro Suarez de Ayala (and also of her father). See Nat Taylor's "Thoughts on the Robessart Tomb"; FMG; pages 242-3 @ fmg.ac/phocadownload/userupload/foundations1/issue4/241Robesart.pdf), there described as ''or a tower triple towered azure"). Fox-Davies and Hope's views clearly merit rethinking.

Robessart tomb arms predate Sir Walter Blount's shield by over 50 years, being for his uncle Sir John (son of Sancha), dsp 1418. Sir John was also a KG and has his own stall plate. Ashmole (Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; London; 1672) provides further insight, noting that early arms protocol incorporated personal taste in the use of wives arms. He also noted 2 versions of Sir John's arms : "upon the same account in Sir John Blount's plate is Sanchet set before Blount, and in another, Ayela first, Sanchet in the second, and Blount in the third quarter." (page 718 @
books.google.com/books?id=woFlAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA718). As you know but others may
not, 'Ayela' arms are the 2 wolves passant, 'Sanchet' arms are the tower.

Ashmole has a B&W rendering of Sir John's arms - #119 on page 708, 'Sanchet' in Q1 and Q4, Blount in Q2 and Q3. The rendering for #288 Lord Mountjoy (page 713) is for some reason a full Blount shield. Ashmole gives a verbal description of both Blount Arms in his 1715 revision. Sir John #120 is "Quarterly Sanchet of Spain, his mother's arms, viz Argent a castle azure, and Blont, viz, barry nebulae of six or and sable.". Lord Montjoy #206 is "Quarterly; first, Argent two wolves passant in pale sable, a border gules of saltires angent, for Ayela; second, Azure a castle or, sanchet de ayela, his Grandmother's arms, a Spanish lady; third, barry nebulee of six or and sable, his own paternal arms; and fourth, Vair and Beauchamp of Hatch, a maternal ancestor".

Notwithstanding Ashmole's interpretation of Q4, it is reasonable to think that Sir Walter's arms were created using very simple logic - take my uncle's arms (which brought in both his grandmother's arms, but with no vair or tincture thereof present) and then add my own mother's arms. That view is reinforced by the Vair arms being in Q4, reserved for the most recent ancestor. That the stall plate Vair arms uses the wrong tincture may instead be the artisan.

Which brings up the topic of artisan ignorance or licence. While one likes to think that all appearances of a family coat of arms have been correctly rendered, there are many reasons they can be either incomplete or in error. Most obvious, the pedigree may be wrong. Even if correct, the artisan who paints or etches or carves the arms may get them wrong. Also consider that the smaller the image of the shield becomes, the less detail that can be shown without creating a difficult to interpret clutter. Stall plates are about 4" X 6" - the black
ermine centers may have been difficult to include, or simply overlooked. Nor can we overlook that there is zero contemporary evidence for a Beauchamp in the Blount's past, a fact which also suggests artisan error or licence.

The quartering of arms started after 1350, the Herald's College was not created until 1480, and visitations were first authorized by Henry VIII in 1530. Many of the rules that must be followed today to create a coat of arms, had not yet been agreed upon in the 15th century.

Thanks in advance for your insights.

Terry Booth
Chicago IL
taf
2018-06-19 00:52:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Your comments are much appreciated - you are the Sancha expert. Below for
review are more reasons Q4 of Sir Walter Blount's arms is for Gresely,
albeit wrongly tinctured.
Ashmole (Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the
Garter; London; 1672) provides further insight, noting that early arms
protocol incorporated personal taste in the use of wives arms.
Notwithstanding Ashmole's interpretation of Q4, it is reasonable to think
that Sir Walter's arms were created using very simple logic - take my
uncle's arms (which brought in both his grandmother's arms, but with no
vair or tincture thereof present) and then add my own mother's arms. That
view is reinforced by the Vair arms being in Q4, reserved for the most
recent ancestor.
You have started with the conclusion that there was freedom in the early use of quartered arms, that they were not subject to strict rules. I don't think anyone is disputing this. However, you then present a speculative scenario whereby your desired conclusion would be the result, and suggest that this is reason why your interpretation is correct. It is just as easy, given the absence of rules, to come up with a scenario whereby a Beauchamp of Hatch may have ended up in that quarter, in which case your interpretation would be incorrect. In general, such scenario-spinning is an exercise in self-confirmation.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
That the stall plate Vair arms uses the wrong tincture may instead be
the artisan.
Again, it is problematic to simply dismiss the glaring contradiction of your theory as simply a case of the artisan using the wrong tincture. It smacks of making the evidence fit the theory, rather than making the theory fit the evidence.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Which brings up the topic of artisan ignorance or licence. While one
likes to think that all appearances of a family coat of arms have been
correctly rendered, there are many reasons they can be either incomplete
or in error. Most obvious, the pedigree may be wrong. Even if correct,
the artisan who paints or etches or carves the arms may get them wrong.
Also consider that the smaller the image of the shield becomes, the less
detail that can be shown without creating a difficult to interpret clutter.
Stall plates are about 4" X 6" - the black ermine centers may have been
difficult to include, or simply overlooked. Nor can we overlook that there
is zero contemporary evidence for a Beauchamp in the Blount's past, a fact
which also suggests artisan error or licence.
Convenient, that. All the ways that this piece of evidence is at variance with the desired conclusion are dismissed as artistic licence or error. How is this a reason to favor that interpretation over one that requires one only to take the arms at face value?

Further, this is not the only instance we have of these arms being vair proper rather than vairy red and ermine, although it is the earliest. The 1623 Visitation of Shropshire (as published) also shows Blount using vair. The 1623 Visitation of Gloucester shows the same. The 1569 Worcester, ditto. So, did a single error/artistic licence on the Garter plate give rise to all of these? Yes, there are several ways this could have happened, that these seeming independent instances are not really independent, but can we really dismiss the possibility that these different instances agree in the colors because these were the authentic colors?

It is personally reasonable to conclude that the Blounts could have quartered Gresley had they so chosen, but that is not the same as concluding that they did.

taf
Peter Howarth
2018-06-20 05:00:57 UTC
Permalink
This is no longer a matter of genealogy, which is now settled, but simply a question of heraldry. But that does not mean we may just guess and no longer look for evidence. I am very grateful for an article by a certain Todd Farmerie and Nathaniel Taylor, 'Notes on the ancestry of Sancha de Ayala', NEHGR 103 (1998), 36-48, available at http://www.nltaylor.net/pdfs/a_SanchaNotes.pdf, which saved me a great deal of time in my research.

Firstly, we need to look carefully at what was actually happening with quartered arms at the time. Eleanor of Castile had used her father's quartered arms, so the idea was not new, but in 1340 Edward III was the first Englishman to use quartered arms, to represent his claim to France and England. Laurence de Hastings quartered Hastings and Valence in 1345 after he inherited the Valence lands and the earldom of Pembroke. Richard 'Copped Hat' of Arundel quartered FitzAlan and Warenne in 1353 for his two earldoms of Arundel and Surrey. Clearly, quartering originated as a method of showing that one man held two titles and two lots of land.

In 1386 Richard II made Robert de Vere KG Duke of Ireland for life, and allowed him to quarter 'azure, three crowns or, a border argent' for as long as he was lord of Ireland. Later John Talbot KG adopted a new quarter ('azure, a lion rampant and border or') to represent his earldom of Shrewsbury to go with quarters for lands he held at Eccleswall and Castle Goodrich (Talbot, father), Blackmere (Strange, mother), and Hallamshire (Furnival, first wife's mother). William le Scrope KG, Earl of Wiltshire, quartered the arms of Man after he bought that lordship in 1392. Then John de Beaumont KG of Folkingham (d.1396) quartered Beaumont and Comyn of Badenoch, the latter representing his great-grandfather's earldom of Buchan, even though the family had lost the lands that went with the earldom.

Later on, Richard Neville KG, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury, the 'King Maker', used a seal in 1465 with grand quarters to show how he held lands from the Beauchamp, Clare, Warwick, Despenser, Montague, Monthermer, and Neville of Salisbury families. However, his Garter stall plate chooses just Montague and Monthermer quartering Neville of Salisbury. When the head of the Order, Edward IV, married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464 he wanted to make her look less gentry and more nobility. He therefore gave her five extra quarters derived from the ancestors of her mother, Jacquetta of Luxemburg, and relegated the Woodville quarter to last place. None of the quarters represented any land and were simply an unsuccessful attempt to boost her social standing amongst the aristocracy at court. Heraldry had now lost its original purpose of personal identification and become just an empty status symbol.

We now need to look at the arms that were being used by the Blount family. Sir William le Blount of Sodington (d.1337), who as husband of Margery de Verdon was summoned to Parliament, bore 'barry nebuly or and sable'.[1] His heir and brother, John (d.1358), bore the same arms.[2] John's son Walter (d.1403) is the one who married Sancha de Ayala. I am unable to find any direct evidence of arms for him or for Sancha herself.

Sancha's eldest son, Sir John Blount KG (d.1418), appears to have been the first in the family to bear quartered arms: 1 and 4, or, a tower azure (Toledo), 2 and 3, barry nebuly or and sable (Blount).[3] His brother and heir, Thomas, bore the same arms.[4] And Thomas's son and heir, Sir Walter Blount KG, Lord Mountjoy, also appears to have borne the same arms. There is a group of mainly French rolls of arms from around the middle of the fifteenth century that Steen Clemmensen has shown copied, either from each other or from a common source, a very similar section of English arms.[5] This Golden Fleece Group of Armorials includes painted shields for 'le sire de Blont'. One problem is that although the rolls were compiled during Walter Blount's lifetime, they may have been copying information from John Blount's lifetime. Clemmensen chose to allocate the shields to Walter Blount.[6] The next problem is that all the shields are painted 'quarterly: 1 and 4, or, a tower azure, 2 and 3, vairy or and sable'.[7] However, although modern vair is drawn with angular-shaped skins, at this period it was drawn with very rounded shapes, almost the same as nebuly. It only required the original source to mistake 'barry nebuly or and sable' for 'vairy or and sable', and all the other rolls would have copied it.

We then come to the Garter stall plate. The original statutes of the Order have been lost, but they were revised in 1421 under Henry V and at that time included a provision that, on the death of a knight, a plate of his arms and helm were to be placed as a memorial in his stall; those of later knights were not to be larger than those of the founder knights.[8] It was only under Henry VIII that the statutes were amended to require knights to put up their own stall plates within a year of election.[9] Despite this, St John Hope consistently estimates the dates of all stall plates from after 1421 [10] to be around the date of the knights' election, rather than their death. It is of course very possible that a knight might prepare the memorial in his stall at Windsor during his lifetime, in the same way as he might prepare his tomb. But there remains the distinct possibility that the stall plate was in fact arranged by someone else.

Sir Walter Blount's stall plate must date from between 1472, when he was elected, and shortly after 1474, when he died. It is rectangular with vertical stripes of silver, red and translucent green. This is reminiscent of a banner. Indeed, St John Hope points out that most of the plates from 1421 to 1466 are engraved round the edge with a fringed or similar border, like a banner-at-arms; and three of them actually have a staff on one side.[11] He also considers the plate probably to be of foreign workmanship, and notes that what had originally been blue enamel was now a pale brown colour. This suggests it was also of poor quality, since older plates such as those of Guy de Bryen or Walter Paveley (both c.1421) have kept their deep blue colour without any problem.

Across the bottom of the plate is a scroll inscribed in black letter 'Walter Blount s'or de montjoye'. Most of the names and titles on other plates are in French, the language of chivalry, although a few are English. Latin wasn't used until Tudor times. Since the plate is probably foreign, I leave it to others to decide whether Walter's title of 's'or de montjoye' could be mediaeval Castilian or not.

The arms on the plate are quarterly: 1, Ayala (for Sancha's mother), 2, Toledo (for her father), 3, Blount, 4, the notorious 'Vair'. Apart from Blount, none of the quarters represented land. Peter le Neve's Book of c.1399-1500, at PLN 159, has a different version of the Ayala quarter. The stall plate has it as a silver field (and two black wolves) with a silver border (sprinkled with red x-crosses), an unusual combination, whilst PLN 159 has the field silver and the border gold, a much more likely arrangement. Both the stall plate and PLN agree that the 'Vair' quarter is in the normal combination of silver and blue.

We now come to the crunch: what is the significance of the vair quarter? The real answer is that we don't know because we don't have enough evidence. Based on what evidence we have, there are a couple of possibilities: the Blounts decided they wanted to show descent from Beauchamp of Hatch (whether true or not), or Sir Walter wanted to add a symbol for his new lordship of Mountjoy. Whichever one, I don't want to take sides because I don't see the value of just guessing.

Peter Howarth

[1] Cooke's Ordinary (c.1340) CKO 512, Cotgrave's Ordinary (c.1340) CG 430.
[2] seal: 1343, Birch 7507.
[3] Armorial Anglais (c.1400) ARS 92; Armorial de la Ruelle (c.1400) 233 r6; Bruges's Garter Book (c.1430) BB 111 (stall P4) (DBA i. 96, ii. 246).
[4] seal: 1427, G Demay, 'Inventaire des sceaux de la Collection Clairambault' 1102; Peter le Neve's Book (c.1399-1500) PLN 1904
[5] S Clemmensen, 'The English in the Golden Fleece Group of Armorials', The Coat of Arms, 3rd ser., vol II part 1 (Spring 2006) pp 11-44.
[6] ibid., p 36.
[7] Armorial équestre de la Toison d'or 798, Bergshammar Armorial 1990, Armorial Clémery 429, Lycenich Armorial 654, Nicholas de Lutzelbourg Armorial 162, Armorial of the Peace of Arras 292.
[8] W H St John Hope, 'The Stall Plates of the Knights of the Order of the Garter 1348-1485' (1901) pp 7-9.
[9] ibid., p 9.
[10] He produces very good arguments to show that all the stall plates now extant for those knights elected before 1421 were produced at the same time, namely shortly after that date.
[11] ibid., p 16.
TJ Booth_sbc
2018-06-21 17:35:49 UTC
Permalink
Todd and Peter,

Your posts are a great help in trying to understand the complexities of early heraldry.

Todd, you are correct that my earlier post seemed a search for ways to justify a pre-conceived conclusion. But the conclusion in search of justification wasn't mine - it came from messrs W.H. St. John Hope, and Arthur Charles Fox-Davies ('Hope/Fox-Davies'). Hope interpreted Q4 as 'Vair', Fox-Davies as 'Vair(sic) argent and gules', neither interpretation matching Gressley Vairy ermine and gules. Yet each author states it represents Gressley, and neither includes a '?' to suggest uncertainty. Begging the question - what evidence and reasoning would lead each author to reject the earlier Beauchamp of Hache, and replace it with Gressley? No prior article was cited, nor has one been cited here. Thus my search for evidence and a line of reasoning Hope/Fox-Davies might have used.

Peter, many thanks for organizing the issues in historical context. An important value of SGM is that scholars like Todd and you share your knowledge in a way non-scholars like me can understand and appreciate.

Several items remain puzzling and worthy of comment.

1. The Hope/Fox-Davies statements seem an enigma. Each interprets the Q4 colors differently, and yet each arrives at an unqualified identification that does not match their own heraldric interpretation. Perhaps Fox-Davies simply adopted Hope's identification. But from where did Hope's identification come? From an earlier as yet unfound article, or by a line of logic such as my post?

2. Should any weight be given to the absence of vair in Sir John Blount's 1418 stall plate? Absence is not proof of absence, but the presence of vair would have eliminated any Gressley identification.

3. Can we give any weight to shield order, or was it not important at this time? Later interpretations would see the Q4 arms acquired subsequent to Ayala and Toledo, thus eliminating Beauchamp. Perhaps Hope/Fox-Davies relied on this.

Dependent on the answers to the above, a re-examination of the Hope/Fox-Davies Q4 identification may be appropriate. That is, there is reasonable evidence that an early Blount ancestor married a Beauchamp :
"The first Lord Mountjoy descended, through younger sons in several generations, from William le Blund (Blundus-fair-haired), who married Isabel, widow of Henry Lovet, of Elmley Lovet and Hampton Lovet, co. Worcester which Henry died under age about 1256. . . Tradition says that the above said Isabel was a Beauchamp (d) . . The abovesaid William and Isabel, in addition to their Worcestershire property, held the manor of Belton in Rutland, . . William le Blund appears to have died in the Spring of 1280. His widow was living in February 1322/3.
(d) Query a daughter of William Beauchamp of Elmley Castle, overlord of Elmley Lovet and Hampton Lovet, by Isabel Mauduit, sister and ultimately heir of William Mauduit, Earl of Warwick. Her Blount descendants frequently used two variants of the Beauchamp arms--viz. (a) gules, a fess between 6 martlets or; (b) gules, a fess between 6 crosses crosslet or. Croke engraves the seal of her son Piers le Blount, which contains 4 shields of arms; at the top, (a) above; beneath (1) a fess between 6 wolves' heads erased (Lovet); (2) barry nebuly of 6, or and sable (Blount); (3), (b) above. [1]

Sir Alexander Croke [2] has a lengthier discussion of the marriage and ancestry, albeit (following Dugdale) erroneously adding an intervening generation (William de Beauchamp m. Maud Fitz-John). Isabella Beauchamp, not an heiress, m.(1) Henry Lovett (d. about 1256). As daughter of Isabel Mauduit, she was sister of William de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick (the earldom inherited of their mother). As Croke notes, "The second William de Beauchamp, the father [correction:brother] of Isabella, on the death of his uncle William Mauduit in 1267, succeeded in right of his mother Isabella, to the Earldom of Warwick. [He] was the common ancestor of the Beauchamps, Lords of Bergavenny . . . of the Lords Beauchamp of Kidderminster &tc: of the Beauchamps of Bletso, Hache and Essex. He wore his arms, vairy, argent and azure [by convention, vair], which was common to most of the subsequent branches: and likewise he bore, gules, a fess or. But to this latter coat he added cross-crosslets, which were not born by his father.

Accepting this ancestry, would the then existing rules of heraldry have allowed Sir Walter Blount to use the Beauchamp vair arms in Q4 of his stallplate?

Terry Booth
Chicago IL

[1] CP ix:329-30 [sub Mountjoy].
[2] Sir Alexander Croke; Genealogical History of the Croke Family . . ; Oxford; John Murray; 1823 @ archive.org/details/genealogicalhist02crok . : Vol II 'Le Blount' pages 121-28 address the William le Blount m. to Isabella (widow of Henry Lovet) as well as Isabella's Beauchamp ancestry. Croke includes contemporary evidence Blount's wife was Lovett's widow, and of son Peter including Beauchamp arms in his seal.
taf
2018-06-21 19:49:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
1. The Hope/Fox-Davies statements seem an enigma. Each interprets
the Q4 colors differently, and yet each arrives at an unqualified
identification that does not match their own heraldric interpretation.
Perhaps Fox-Davies simply adopted Hope's identification. But from
where did Hope's identification come? From an earlier as yet unfound
article, or by a line of logic such as my post?
Hard to say. It could have just been as simple as, he speculated that the mother was a Gresley, they had a vairy coat so perhaps this is what was 'meant' (ignoring the differences and jumping to the conclusion).
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
2. Should any weight be given to the absence of vair in Sir John
Blount's 1418 stall plate? Absence is not proof of absence, but the
presence of vair would have eliminated any Gressley identification.
I would say no. There was a lot of variation here, and I don't think we should draw any conclusions based on the individual choices of the two.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
3. Can we give any weight to shield order, or was it not important
at this time? Later interpretations would see the Q4 arms acquired
subsequent to Ayala and Toledo, thus eliminating Beauchamp. Perhaps
Hope/Fox-Davies relied on this.
I think the fact that Ayala is given precedence over Toledo and Blount itself pretty much sees off any attempt to make sense of order.

<snip>
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Accepting this ancestry, would the then existing rules of heraldry
have allowed Sir Walter Blount to use the Beauchamp vair arms in Q4
of his stallplate?
I guess theoretically possible, but I am unaware of any analogous situations.
I really doubt they would look that far back for an ancestress this obscure. I think we needn't look beyond the two candidates we have been discussing - it is either Gresley and the tinctures have inexplicably been befuddled somehow such that it came to be represented as vair, or it is Beauchamp of Hache and the family inexplicably added them in the absence of a genealogical descent.

I will repeat that I know of a Devon family that quartered a number of shields for families as a reflection of their possession of lands formerly held by those families but only acquired by fine, not by genealogical descent (though in some cases involving childless marriages). While this usage violates 'the rules' we can't exclude that the Blounts did something similar with the Beauchamps of Hache.

I just don't see a way, with the evidence at hand, to resolve this question.

taf
Peter Howarth
2018-06-21 20:35:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by taf
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
1. The Hope/Fox-Davies statements seem an enigma. Each interprets
the Q4 colors differently, and yet each arrives at an unqualified
identification that does not match their own heraldric interpretation.
Perhaps Fox-Davies simply adopted Hope's identification. But from
where did Hope's identification come? From an earlier as yet unfound
article, or by a line of logic such as my post?
Hard to say. It could have just been as simple as, he speculated that the mother was a Gresley, they had a vairy coat so perhaps this is what was 'meant' (ignoring the differences and jumping to the conclusion).
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
2. Should any weight be given to the absence of vair in Sir John
Blount's 1418 stall plate? Absence is not proof of absence, but the
presence of vair would have eliminated any Gressley identification.
I would say no. There was a lot of variation here, and I don't think we should draw any conclusions based on the individual choices of the two.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
3. Can we give any weight to shield order, or was it not important
at this time? Later interpretations would see the Q4 arms acquired
subsequent to Ayala and Toledo, thus eliminating Beauchamp. Perhaps
Hope/Fox-Davies relied on this.
I think the fact that Ayala is given precedence over Toledo and Blount itself pretty much sees off any attempt to make sense of order.
<snip>
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Accepting this ancestry, would the then existing rules of heraldry
have allowed Sir Walter Blount to use the Beauchamp vair arms in Q4
of his stallplate?
I guess theoretically possible, but I am unaware of any analogous situations.
I really doubt they would look that far back for an ancestress this obscure. I think we needn't look beyond the two candidates we have been discussing - it is either Gresley and the tinctures have inexplicably been befuddled somehow such that it came to be represented as vair, or it is Beauchamp of Hache and the family inexplicably added them in the absence of a genealogical descent.
I will repeat that I know of a Devon family that quartered a number of shields for families as a reflection of their possession of lands formerly held by those families but only acquired by fine, not by genealogical descent (though in some cases involving childless marriages). While this usage violates 'the rules' we can't exclude that the Blounts did something similar with the Beauchamps of Hache.
I just don't see a way, with the evidence at hand, to resolve this question.
taf
I go along with everything that Todd has said.

One of the big problems with heraldry as a subject is that it was for a long time the domain of antiquarians, short-sighted collectors of snippets of information, who rarely sat back and looked at what actually happened, trying to find patterns in the way of an historian. Instead they copied what mediaeval and later theorists had written (which was usually about how they thought things ought to have happened). They then got used to copying without thinking, and they made up rules on how they thought people ought to do heraldry. Joseph Foster was the first to go back to mediaeval rolls of arms (1902) and by disagreeing with others made himself very unpopular. Then Sir Anthony Wagner spent decades writing his 'Catalogue of English Mediaeval [note the spelling!] Rolls of Arms' (1950, supplement 1967), and 'Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages' (1939, 2nd edn 1956) the first book on heraldry with a proper historical perspective. Hence why he is my hero. Fortunately, nowadays more and more historians are following the example of Maurice Keen, author of 'Chivalry' (1984, 2nd edn 2005) and are looking to see what heraldry can tell us about knightly society in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

I therefore use old heraldry books only for their illustrations. I just wish that all the text in those Victorian books on heraldry available for free on the internet would suddenly disappear so that they can no longer mislead non-specialists. Please don't trust any heraldry book written before 1950, and even then be suspicious. There are still antiquarians about!

Peter Howarth
Peter Howarth
2018-06-21 20:47:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Howarth
Post by taf
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
1. The Hope/Fox-Davies statements seem an enigma. Each interprets
the Q4 colors differently, and yet each arrives at an unqualified
identification that does not match their own heraldric interpretation.
Perhaps Fox-Davies simply adopted Hope's identification. But from
where did Hope's identification come? From an earlier as yet unfound
article, or by a line of logic such as my post?
Hard to say. It could have just been as simple as, he speculated that the mother was a Gresley, they had a vairy coat so perhaps this is what was 'meant' (ignoring the differences and jumping to the conclusion).
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
2. Should any weight be given to the absence of vair in Sir John
Blount's 1418 stall plate? Absence is not proof of absence, but the
presence of vair would have eliminated any Gressley identification.
I would say no. There was a lot of variation here, and I don't think we should draw any conclusions based on the individual choices of the two.
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
3. Can we give any weight to shield order, or was it not important
at this time? Later interpretations would see the Q4 arms acquired
subsequent to Ayala and Toledo, thus eliminating Beauchamp. Perhaps
Hope/Fox-Davies relied on this.
I think the fact that Ayala is given precedence over Toledo and Blount itself pretty much sees off any attempt to make sense of order.
<snip>
Post by TJ Booth_sbc
Accepting this ancestry, would the then existing rules of heraldry
have allowed Sir Walter Blount to use the Beauchamp vair arms in Q4
of his stallplate?
I guess theoretically possible, but I am unaware of any analogous situations.
I really doubt they would look that far back for an ancestress this obscure. I think we needn't look beyond the two candidates we have been discussing - it is either Gresley and the tinctures have inexplicably been befuddled somehow such that it came to be represented as vair, or it is Beauchamp of Hache and the family inexplicably added them in the absence of a genealogical descent.
I will repeat that I know of a Devon family that quartered a number of shields for families as a reflection of their possession of lands formerly held by those families but only acquired by fine, not by genealogical descent (though in some cases involving childless marriages). While this usage violates 'the rules' we can't exclude that the Blounts did something similar with the Beauchamps of Hache.
I just don't see a way, with the evidence at hand, to resolve this question.
taf
I go along with everything that Todd has said.
One of the big problems with heraldry as a subject is that it was for a long time the domain of antiquarians, short-sighted collectors of snippets of information, who rarely sat back and looked at what actually happened, trying to find patterns in the way of an historian. Instead they copied what mediaeval and later theorists had written (which was usually about how they thought things ought to have happened). They then got used to copying without thinking, and they made up rules on how they thought people ought to do heraldry. Joseph Foster was the first to go back to mediaeval rolls of arms (1902) and by disagreeing with others made himself very unpopular. Then Sir Anthony Wagner spent decades writing his 'Catalogue of English Mediaeval [note the spelling!] Rolls of Arms' (1950, supplement 1967), and 'Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages' (1939, 2nd edn 1956) the first book on heraldry with a proper historical perspective. Hence why he is my hero. Fortunately, nowadays more and more historians are following the example of Maurice Keen, author of 'Chivalry' (1984, 2nd edn 2005) and are looking to see what heraldry can tell us about knightly society in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
I therefore use old heraldry books only for their illustrations. I just wish that all the text in those Victorian books on heraldry available for free on the internet would suddenly disappear so that they can no longer mislead non-specialists. Please don't trust any heraldry book written before 1950, and even then be suspicious. There are still antiquarians about!
Peter Howarth
P.S. I have found an exception. I was given for my ninth birthday a copy of Anthony Wagner's 'Heraldry in England', first published in 1946, reprinted in 1949. It is what started me on both heraldry and how to be an historian.

PH

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