Heraldic Stained Glass of Exeter Cathedral

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 174-175.


Wilfred Drake

Prepared by Michael Steer

Exeter Cathedral is not rich in pre-Reformation glass and few complete or nearly complete medieval windows survive anywhere in Devon. The Great East Window at Exeter Cathedral, however, contained the largest assemblage of medieval glass still surviving in any church in the county. The Note’s author supplements an illustrated article in volume V of this journal. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 125. HERALDIC STAINED GLASS OF EXETER CATHEDRAL (V., p. 282). - In an excellent article on the Heraldic Stained Glass of Exeter Cathedral the late Mr. Roscoe Gibbs left one shield unidentified, viz., the impaled coat numbered 39 and illustrated on page 283.

A recent examination of this shield shows that the sinister impalement was never coloured, and - with the exception of the bezants on the bordure, which are stained yellow - the whole of the bearings are outlined in black on one pane of white glass. This may have been painted, to replace a breakage, by a painter who was doubtful of the heraldic tinctures, and it is undoubtedly of a more recent date than the dexter impalement. The latter, which belongs to the late Perpendicular period, contains the arms of Berry of Berrynarbour; Barry of 6 gules and or; quartered with Penrise of Cornwall: per pale indented gules and argent. The marriage of 'William Bery of Berynarbour' and 'Isabel dau., and co-heir of William Penrise' would account for these quarterings. The sinister half of the shield is not so easy to identify. It bears, - quarterly, 1st and 4th . . . a fess . . . between 2 bars  gémelles wavy . . . 2nd and 3rd . . . a chev. . . . between 3 towers triple towered sable, the whole within a bordure compony . . . and . . . charged with 9 bezants. Evidently it represents the arms of the Elliott family of Cornwall (who bore argent a fess gules between 2 bars gemelles wavy azure) quartered with Trevilla of Cornwall (argent a chev. between 3 towers triple towered sa.) Joseph Holland in his MSS. gives the arms of Elliott of Devon as "Barry wavy of 8 ar. and az. over a chev. bet. 3 towers triple towered sa." Possibly "over a" is an error in transcription for quar’d by.

Is there any evidence extant of a marriage between a member of the Berry family with a daughter of the Elliotts?

                             WILFRED DRAKE.