Last week I received a request from Roy Aldington about helping identifying a signet ring that was found on land in Bruen Stapleford, Cheshire. Dating the ring is also a challenge, Roy thinks it has a 16th or 17th century feel but a master engraver has suggested 13 century. Whatever the date it is a beautiful artifact.
To get a better idea of the actual Arms, I have “flipped” the image so that it can be viewed properly. I have also tweaked the contrast a bit to improve the view of the details. (Incidentally, the little purple blob in the dexter chief is thought to be sealing wax.)
My best guess at a blazon is;
Arms: [?] a saltire engrailed [?] in chief a cinquefoil* [?]
* Depending on how you squint it might also be a thistle or a rose
Crest: A hand grasping a saltire engrailed [?]
I have had no joy in finding any real clues to the owner’s identity. However, I do not feel too bad about that because the Lyon Court, the Heraldry Society and the College of Arms seem to be in the same boat.
If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to join the search.
Earlier this year I was contacted by Richard Crook, of the landscape architects Portus & Whitton, to see if I could identify some heraldic stonework unearthed in land that was once part of the kitchen garden of Edgeworth Manor, Gloustershire.
A trawl through Burke’s General Armory looking at Arms associated with the surnames of various owners of Edgeworth Manor was not conclusive. The closest match was for Hopkinson of Lofthouse, Yorkshire “Vert three pillows ermine“. That hinted towards Edmund Hopkinson who bought the manor in 1832 and died in 1869.
Richard then advised that Edmund’s father was George Caesar Hopkinson of Wootton Court who had served in the King’s Light Dragoons. The Harleian Society’s Grantees of Arms made mention of a Grant of Arms to a Lt Col Hopkinson of Wootton Court in 1823. Unfortunately, I could not find any mention of the blazon in any of my reference books or on the Internet. After numerous searches I did manage to find a rather poor quality image of Edmund Hopkinson’s bookplate. That at least was sufficient evidence to confirm the identity of the stonework.
I am extremely grateful to Timothy Duke, Chester Herald, who kindly supplied the full blazon;
The arms are blazoned Vert a Horse’s head couped Argent bridled Sable between three Cushions Ermine tasselled Or and the crest on a wreath of the colours (ie Argent and Vert) A dexter Arm embowed habited Azure cuff Gules (being the Uniform of His Majesty’s aforesaid 15th Regiment of Dragoons) the hand grasping a Sabre the Arm entwined with a Laurel branch all proper and in an Escocheon the word EMSDORF. Below the arms is inscribed the motto ONCE AND ALWAYS (Coll Arm ms Grants 34, 10).
Using that blazon I had a go at producing my rendition of the Arms;
I had not realised that the Battle of Emsdorf, in which the 15th Light Dragoons played a major role, was the first instance of a battle honour being awarded to a British Regiment. I am a bit puzzled by the blazon for the crest because the various pictures of the 15th have them with red sleeves and blue cuffs.