Saturday, 30 May 2020

The Heraldry of the Gunpowder Plotters - now on You tube

I have now added my talk on the Heraldry of the Gunpowder Plotters to You Tube.



In this talk, we explore the heraldry, or coats of arms, used by the Gunpowder Plotters and link that heraldry to their lives and their part in the Plot. We explore their lives, their motives and their deaths. It is quite possible that my generation could be one of the last to have had the experience, as a child, of stuffing some old clothes with rags, adding a head and some old boots and placing this scarecrow like creature, in a wheelbarrow borrowed from a father’s shed so that we could go forth onto the streets and pester any adult we should encounter with the cry “Penny for the Guy”. The purpose of this good-natured harassment was to allow us to purchase the very necessary fireworks with which, no doubt, we became even greater little pests. I really can’t recall when my interest in the Gunpowder Plotters transferred itself from the simple act of celebrating an annual event in ignorance of its real origins, where we simply built a bonfire, burned a Guy and set off fireworks in order to brighten the darkening days of winter, to a desire to learn more but I have a feeling that it was linked to my father, in the mid to late 1960s, successfully persuading my mother that the purchase of a brand new complete set of the several volumes of The Encyclopaedia Britannica would be a good investment in the future education of their children. I was fascinated when they arrived; it was the nearest we got to being able to simply Google the answer we required. In the intervening years I have, on and off, revisited the topic of the Plotters and my un-attributable scribbled noted are plentiful. This talk is a result of both my fascination with the Plot and my addiction for heraldry; the narrative is taken not only from my un-attributable notes, possibly taken from the Britannica, but accounts more recent cross checked against other sources. I give grateful thanks and acknowledgement to The Gun Powder Plot Society, Father John Gerard’s contemporary narrative on The Conditions of Catholics under James I, and Various library MSS & Government Archives. In a presentation such as this it would be impossible to credit every source of information individually, as would be done with footnotes in a book. If I have inadvertently plagiarised one or more of these sources, or inadvertently not credited a particular source at all, I sincerely apologise and beg forgiveness.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Armorial Bearings of the Gentry of Leek


I have added a video of one of my heraldic talks onto You Tube. The talk, which is an illustrated one is of the heraldry of the gentry of Leek.

The basis of this talk is research from Miller’s “Olde Leek” and Sleigh’s “A History of the Ancient Parish of Leek”. Entries have been cross referenced with entries in Burke’s General Armory and Fox-Davies’ Armorial Families, and The British Herald; or, Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility with the specific location of Leek mentioned.

Quotes from “Loxdale” refer to the MS of the Reverend Thomas Loxdale dated May 24th 1735 which forms much of the basis for the Sleigh's A History of the Ancient Parish of Leek; but we must bear in mind that Loxdale is not an entirely reliable source!

References to Plot refer to Dr. Plot’s "History of Staffordshire" 1686.

Sleigh’s History of Leek contains many references to the armorial bearings of Leeks gentlemen, but they are all in the form of a blazon. As a long-suffering addict, I can visualise, in my mind’s eye, each and every coat of arms described within the covers of these history books but I thought it might be fun for me - and hopefully instructional for you - to turn the written description of these arms into images (in heraldic language, to emblazon them). Most of these images have been created by me and although I don’t claim to be any kind of heraldic artist, their creation has given me many hours of pleasure.

So, if you have ever read any of these history books and wondered what that funny secret code in the footnotes actually looks like as an image, if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll begin.








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