Looking up heraldry, sources? Information?

wingsandsword

Villager
Hello everyone,

I figured I'd ask here on the chance that someone might have some information.

At the Church I attend, there's a small coat of arms in the corner of a huge stained glass window.

Somehow, someway, nobody had noticed it before me. Well, nobody there. The two priests at that parish never realized it was there (and one had even just given a sermon on how he sees that window at every sermon he gives, and the symbolism of that window). The historian of the parish somehow never noticed it, and became befuddled when I pointed it out. . .he was sure they had documentation on what that meant. . .only it wasn't there.

I've tried to look it up. It's not any kind of ecclesiastic heraldry that I can find, I've searched Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutheran sources for it. . .it's not the arms of any diocese, bishop or other religious body that I can tell.

The fact that it's an impalement with 3 lions rampant Or on a field gules in the dexter side indicates that it's probably something to do with some person or group in a union with the British royal family. . .that's as far as I can easily get.

The charge on the sinister side of the arms isn't very obvious, but I think it's a Cross Potent.

I've included a photo of the relevant portion of the window as an attachment.

The Church has stood since the 1920's, so the window can't be older than that.

If anyone has any clue as to the meaning of the arms, or a better source for researching it, it would be appreciated.
 

Attachments

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I am not myself a source for such things but... I know who I'd turn to first.

How about you try the Society for Creative Anachronism, who have people interested in heraldry. If you are lin Lexington, KY, that puts you in the Midrealm. Their Heralds have a web page with contact information.

http://midrealm.org/herald/
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
When it comes to coat-of-arms, I have seen some churches that it is based on the patron saint it is named of, the coat-of-arms belongs to that individual.

Otherwise, I know of sites that creates custom coat-of-arms, or if you have a name, they can show you what coat-of-arms is associated with the name:
https://assumearms.com/search/

But taking a pre-existing one and determining whom it originally belonged to, that I don't know.
 

Ryujin

Adventurer
The name and denomination of the church might help, as there could be historic records with relevant information.
 

wingsandsword

Villager
The name and denomination of the church might help, as there could be historic records with relevant information.
Name: Church of the Good Shepherd
Denomination: Episcopal
Location: Lexington, KY

The Parish historian seemed befuddled and didn't know what it was (he was SURE there was documentation of it in his paperwork on the window, but he couldn't find it). The parish priests don't know (one is a new arrival who has only been there a few months, the other never even noticed it until I pointed it out, despite having served there for over 3 years). It's rather amazing that nobody seems to have noticed this coat of arms in the stained glass window until now, or at least nobody on staff none of the current clergy or staff there.

It's not the arms of the Diocese of Lexington, those arms are in the lower LEFT hand corner of the window (and contrast a lot more with the window, drawing eyes to them more easily), these arms are in the lower RIGHT. As the Church itself doesn't have a patron saint it's not the arms of any particular known patron.

The historian said that the libraries at the University of Kentucky have a lot of records on the Church, but he doesn't have access to that library system (by his own admission he stumbled into the role of historian almost by accident, and has no real training or interest in the field, I've got an M.A. in history). I've got a library card for those libraries as a member of the Alumni Association, so going there to do research was on my to-do list, but I was wondering if those arms were immediately recognizable or if anyone with more knowledge of heraldry than me could point me in the right direction, rather than going through university archives for many hours or even days.
 

Ryujin

Adventurer
The Diocese coat of arms was the first thing I checked and ruled out.

*EDIT* Doesn't appear to be the Settle or Rump coats of arms either (founders of the rebuilt church, post destruction by fire, both from England).

According to the church's history Lever Settle was responsible for the creation of the stained glass windows, so that seems to be the best historic route to follow in order to determine what the coat of arms might be. It could be a personal CoA, or related to whomever created the windows.
 
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Eltab

Villager
Pull up your local public library's website and search for a book titled "Heraldry" or something similar. That book will not tell you directly, but the Sources in the back may be of more help.

I am no expert but I think that is a (very simplified) King of England coat of arms, styled from pre-Napoleonic times when the kings of England also claimed to be Kings of France. (It looks a bit like the outfit Kenneth Branaugh wore while playing the title character in Shakespeare's Henry V.)

OTOH, it might be associated with the Gospel-writer Mark. Is the rest of the verse printed off to the left of the photo?
 

wingsandsword

Villager
I'm still searching. Haven't been able to make it to the library yet.

I did some fiddling with a heraldry creator program, to make a more legible version of the coat of arms rather than the photo (taking a picture of something small, at distance, in suboptimal lighting).

Unknown Coat of Arms at Good Shepherd.png
 

wingsandsword

Villager
OTOH, it might be associated with the Gospel-writer Mark. Is the rest of the verse printed off to the left of the photo?
Yes. The bottom left hand of the window is the arms of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. Then there's the text of Mark 16:15 across the entire lower part of the window, and then the unknown coat of arms.

Apparently from looking around, in heraldry a lion is sometimes associated with St. Mark, so that's possible that there's some tie, but given that the whole 3 gold lions on a red field is also associated with the British Royal Family (and it's part of a Church that's in the Anglican Communion) I do suspect the lions are more likely indicative that the bearer of the arms had some tie to them, but the correlation can't be discounted.

I searched the arms of every King of England, however, it doesn't match for the Royal Arms of any King of England, Scotland, or the United Kingdom.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
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jasper

Rotten DM
I'm still searching. Haven't been able to make it to the library yet.

I did some fiddling with a heraldry creator program, to make a more legible version of the coat of arms rather than the photo (taking a picture of something small, at distance, in suboptimal lighting).

View attachment 105246
Ok It is a combine arms and SCA does not do that and my skills are rusty.
Right hand side. Gules (red) a chevron or (gold) 3 lions rampant or (gold) and I forget what the configuration is.
Left hand side
Don't remember what you call the bendy cover. But
azure (blue) and sable (black) an Cross proper argent (silver)
 

wingsandsword

Villager
It may be an art piece. The buyer told the glass maker what he want and the glass maker did his best.
I really don't think it's simply an artistic embellishment. Virtually everything else known in that window has some significance.

Every other item has some specific symbolism or meaning, from the arms of the Diocese in one place, to the 4 authors of the Gospels, to various panes referencing specific Bible verses, to the use of maple leaves for decoration because the artist was Canadian.

The artist included a rather extensive description of the window that lists the symbolism and meaning of everything there. . .with the apparent exception of that coat of arms buried in the lower right hand window.

I wondered if it's something of an artists signature, like the arms might be affiliated with the artist. . .but the arms themselves are an impalement of what seems to be something tied to the British royal family (the dexter/right side) and something religious (the sinister/left side), so it would be odd heraldic symbolism for a company or any artist in North America.

The window was made by the G.C. Riordon Company, now BeauVerre Riordan, and in looking at other similar stained glass windows made by that company and haven't found that set of arms hidden anywhere in other windows they did.
 

wingsandsword

Villager
Well, I finally got an answer.

The parish historian finally found documentation that explains what that coat of arms is.

It's the arms of Henry Prior Almon Abbott, the Second Episcopal Bishop of Lexington.

I don't know HOW he got those arms, he was apparently born, raised, and originally ordained in Canada, before coming to the United States later in his career, so presumably they were granted there. I hadn't found any sources on him that actually showed that coat of arms, but the company that made the stained glass window (and made it only 2 years after his death, the window is apparently dedicated as a memorial to him) was certain it was his.
 

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