Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Arms and the Ordinariate


In February I wrote a post about Heraldry for the Ordinariates which referred to a discussion of possible heraldic arms. Now the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the patronage of Bl.John Henry Newman has received a coat of arms, which can be seen here.

It is a fine design by Fr Marcus Stock, impaling the arms of Cardinal Newman and those of the medieval Priory at Walsingham.

However I wonder why the arms are not marshalled the other way round, giving seniority to those of Walsingham, as in the title of the Ordinariate. Perhaps that might be taken to imply that Newman had been Prior of Walsingham, just as bishop impales his arms with those of his diocese.

I look forward to seeing them on notice boards and letterheads - they become as much an indicator of the Ordinariate's presence as the "Pisky pub sign" is, or was, of the Episcopalian church in Scotland.

8 comments:

  1. I wonder why the arms are not handled in a completely different way that does away with the implication of office-holding inherent in impalement. I would suggest combining the various elements in a completely different and more allusive way, perhaps by putting Newman's hearts in the quarters made by the Walsingham cross or the Walsingham fleurs-de-lys on a bordure or chief.

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  2. Another possibility would have been to quarter the arms, Walsingham 1 and 4, Newman 2 and 3.

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  3. The impalement for Walsingham IS in the senior position. With impaled arms the senior coat goes in the dexter (left-hand side as we view it) impalement.

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  4. In addition, now the Ordinary could adopt personal arms and have quartered arms with the two impalements of the ordinariate taking up quarters 1 &n 4 and his personal arms repeated in quarters 2 & 3. Strictly speaking, however, if he wants personal arms he should apply to the College of Arms. Contrary to what many think the English College of Arms will prepare a "devisal" of arms, different than a grant, for personal use of Catholic prelates in England and Wales.

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  5. Glad to see these comments, as my initial reaction was the same: why should the ordinariate have impaled arms when the ordinary will presumably impale them with his own arms?

    Fr. Selvester's suggestion of quartering arms of office is new to me; I thought they were always impaled. Is this based on the assumption that the ordinary does not have an existing grant of arms? Such that, as he was seeking arms in virtue of the fact that he was the ordinary, it would make sense to include the ordinariate's arms in his own? Even if so, I think quartering is a bit presumptuous for such a case--is there precedent for something like this?

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  6. "The impalement for Walsingham IS in the senior position. With impaled arms the senior coat goes in the dexter (left-hand side as we view it) impalement."
    But that is what it is not - the Newman arms are shown dexter, the Walsingham arms sinister. As shown in the illustration on the website Walsingham is in the inferior position.

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  7. There was a confusion and I think an older version was put up first. Check again.

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  8. I look forward to seeing them on notice boards and letterheads - they become as much an indicator of the Ordinariate's presence as the "Pisky pub sign" is, or was, of the Episcopalian church in Scotland.

    The rules on the previous version of the page were quite restrictive, and it's still doubtful how Ordinariate parishes will be permitted to use the arms (or even IF they will). It does seem likely that they will not be as useful as the Badge of the Holy See or the Church of England's "e" logo. We wait and see...

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