Saturday, 19 June 2010

Education - Clothworker's Arms, Crest and Supporters

I'm never very sure about describing coats of arms so have borrowed this description from the Clothworker's Company website. The site also describes the difference between the coat of arms and the crest and supporters, so we now know that the arms alone are on the arch above the entry to the court in yesterday's photographs.

The Clothworkers' arms were granted in 1530 by Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms, two years after the foundation of the Company. They may be described as follows: sable a chevron ermine in chief two havettes argent and in base a teasel cob or (a black shield with an ermine fur chevron between two silver habicks above and a golden teasel head beneath). The silver habicks and the golden teasel represent essential tools for the clothworkers' craft, the finishing of woven woollen cloth. The habicks were the hooks used to attach the fabric to the forms on which it was stretched for teaselling. The teasels were used to raise the nap of the fabric prior to shearing.
The crest and supporters were granted in 1587 by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms. They may be described as follows: crest - on a wreath argent and sable a mount vert, thereon a ram stantant or; mantling - sable doubled argent; supporters - on either side a griffin or pellety (the shield is surmounted by a helmet topped with a golden ram standing on a green hillock with a base of black and silver and draped with black mantling lined with silver. It is supported on either side by golden griffins with spots). The golden ram echoes the ideas of sheep supplying wool and so the ultimate source of the Company's wealth, the Golden Fleece of Greek mythology and perhaps a mild pun on the word 'ram' and the French word 'rame', meaning a clothworker's tenter frame. The mantling is in the Company's heraldic colours, black and white (or silver). The griffins, half eagle and half lion, are associated with the guardianship of treasure and the enactment of good deeds.

The Company's motto, 'My Trust is in God Alone' was adopted at an uncertain, though early, date. It is apparently not taken from the Bible, but expresses a common sentiment at the time of adoption (for example the anthem 'O Lord, in Thee is all my trust', ascribed to Thomas Tallis, popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries).

While the Tapestry was being made, Kate organised a series of professional embroiderers to run workshops and talks for the volunteers. Jane Dew came to speak about the Leek Embroideries, ran several workshops and agreed to work this coat of arms in goldwork. At the moment she seems to be helping other volunteers with work at Staircase House, Stockport.

The arms with crest and supporters on the wall of the Clothworker's Court, an awkward angle but there were skips and workmen in the way.

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