The Badges of King Henry VII

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 103-105.


J. G. Bradford, G.T. Windyer Morris & Arthur L. Radford

Prepared by Michael Steer

These three Notes both query and supplement a description by Wilfred Drake (Note 32, page 52, vol. 7); of early Tudor arms appearing on stained glass in a window at Bovey House Beer. The heraldry shows a combination of some of the badges of King Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York. These comprise the roses of Lancaster and York, a crowned eagle, a Tudor castle, K. Richard's crown in the hawthorn bush at Bosworth Field, and two carnations or "gilly flowers." 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 68. BADGES OF KING HENRY (VII., par. 32, p. 57). - The illustration represents the badge of Jane Seymour, wife of Henry VIII., and is so described both by Parker (in his Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry, 1894 ed. p. 96) and Boutell. The former states that it was blazoned upon a grant of lands made to her in 1536, and gives the blazon as follows: - The walls [of the castle] ar., the ground vert., the tree of the same, fructed gu., the phoenix or, in flames ppr., and the roses alternately white and red.

Lord Howard de Walden, in his Banners and Standards, p. 19, also calls it the badge of Jane Seymour, and states that the grant was made by Henry in 1536. He adds that it was granted by Edward VI. to his maternal relations.

The badge is described in trick, but without any blazon. On the dexter side is a rose gu., and below it is a round-shaped flower noted as a "daisy" arg., divided to the centre and indented on the edge ; on the sinister side a rose or, and below it a flower, also noted as a "daisy" gu., but tricked as in Mr. Drake's illustration, and referred to by him as a gillyflower. It is against this latter "daisy" that the scribe has written : — "Or Columbine ? rather [or] Carnation." The dexter flower is apparently meant for the conventional gillyflower, carnation or pink of heraldry, but what the sinister one is I know not ; it is certainly not a columbine. The dexter supporter (still quoting from Lord Howard -de Walden) of Jane Seymour's arms is a unicorn, gorged with a garland of white and red roses and daisies.

According to Boutell, the columbine was the badge of Henry IV., while Parker gives it to the house of Lancaster. In Harl. 1073, pp. 114, 114b, among "these eight badges [all on wreaths] belongeth to Somerset and Herbert [as Lord Chamberlain] from antiquity," is a pot with four sprigs of the flower as shewn by Mr. Drake, alternating with the roses. In Harl. 1421, p. 89, among "thes are all the amies and badges that belongs to the hous of Sommersets, Earle of Worster," is a similar pot of flowers with the addition of "IHS" within a rayed circle on the face of the pot. Sir Edward Seymour was appointed Lord Great Chamberlain by his brother-in-law, Henry VIII., but whether this flower had anything to do with that office I am unable to say. These Somersets were Herberts, and there does not appear to be any connection with the Seymours as far as Burke's Extinct Peerage is concerned. This so-called badge is evidently a combination of several others.

In Sloane MS. 1086, fo. 147/88 , the phoenix issuing from flames is given as the badge of Seymour, Duke of Somerset.

In Add. MS. 14919, fo. 53, the "ffenix" is given to "L. of Hertford," and the "ffenix fuming" to Rex [apparently Henry VIII.] Sir Edward Seymour, aforesaid, was created Earl of Hertford in 1537. The flowers [of the hawthorn] and crown were used by Henry VII. and his son Henry VIII., as also the Tudor rose.

In Hope's Stall Plates of the Knights of the Garter, at Windsor, plate 64, the mantling of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, is semée of gillyflowers, but whether he used this flower as a badge I know not, though instances occur in the same series in which the badge was so used. Here the gillyflowers are drawn as the daisies before mentioned, but with a spacing between each of the five triangular petals, just as one would trick a cross pattee.

As a matter of fact, the badge in question is not a badge at all, it is merely a conceit, and is typical of the way in which Plantagenets and Tudors alike played fast and loose with the subject. The badge was distinctly a simple object worn on the clothes of the retainers of those who possessed them, figuring also on their standards. I am, of course, referring only to family badges and not to those belonging to certain offices of State.

                                         J. G. Bradford.

Note 69. THE BADGES OF KING HENRY (VII., par. 32, p. 57). - Although your correspondent is correct in describing the badge in the window at Bovey House as a combination of badges, the badge as figured is the well-known one of Jane Seymour, third queen of Henry VIII. All the heraldic authorities refer to her badge of a "phoenix." Boutell adds - rising from a castle between two Tudor roses ; while Parker, in his Glossary of Heraldry, gives the identical drawing as figured by you, and states - blazoned upon a grant of lands made to her in 1536. The tinctures are as follows : — The walls argent, the ground vert., the tree of the same fructed gules, the phoenix or, in flames proper, and the roses alternately white and red.

The "gillyflowers " referred to by Mr. Wilfrid Drake are white roses in "Parker's" engraving, and I cannot find in any of the armories I have consulted that the gillyflower was a Tudor badge.

Was Queen Jane ever a visitor at Bovey House?

                                    G. T. Windyer Morris.

Note 70. THE BADGES OF KING HENRY. (VII., par, 32, p. 57). - The badge in question is that of Queen Jane Seymour. I am informed that the pink or gillyflower was a Seymour badge ; it was later used with roses by Queen Elizabeth. A similar badge in stained glass but of smaller size is at St. Donat's Castle, Glamorgan. This badge figures in Parker's Glossary of Architecture, part III., page 76.

                              Arthur L. Radford, F.S.A.