Description: Rectangular; rope edging (top and sides); central Tudor royal shield with encircling garter (motto reversed: HONE SOVT QVEY … PEN), separate greyhound and lion supporters, separate crown; a bird, repeated in each top corner, its wings displayed and inverted and its head facing behind and to the left, standing on a scroll; a fleur de lys repeated in the bottom corners; inside the birds is a repeated stamp, half of one similar to a stamp on a fireback in Hastings Museum.
Notes: The particular form of the Tudor arms and supporters is encountered on other firebacks, as are the distinctive style of fleurs de lys and the birds (probably swans, a Lancastrian icon). The plain scroll upon which the bird is perched suggests that there might have been a painted inscription on it originally and that the stamp had not been made specifically for the decoration of firebacks but was, perhaps, redundant from interior domestic decoration.
Arms: Tudor royal (prob. Henry VIII)
Current location: The Clergy House, Alfriston, East Sussex, England.
Museum number: NT/ALF/M/1 (part of the National Trust museum group)
Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging on top and sides; inscription panel with repeated trailing vine decoration from impressed wooden strips — one horizontal line at top, one vertical strip on right side (missing but probably repeated on left), at least ten short vertical strips below inscription.
Notes: Formerly at Fulling Mill Cottages, and possibly formerly at Wakehurst Place, Ardingly; it was moved to Ardingly church sometime after 1915. The inscription panel is identical to that on the memorial plate to Anne Forster in Crowhurst church, Surrey; at least ten other firebacks are known with the same inscription panel. Edward Culpeper (1561-1630), of Wakehurst, was fourth cousin, once removed, of Anne Forster.
Inscription: HER : LIETH : ANE : FORST/ R : DAVGHTER : AND : / HEYR : TO : THOMAS : / GAYNSFORD : ESQVIER / DECEASED : XVIII : OF: / IANVARI : 1591 : LEAVYNG / BEHIND : HER II : SONES : / AND : V : DAVGHTERS
Current location: St Peter's Church, Church Lane, Ardingly, West Sussex, England.
Description: Steeply canted rectangle; no edging; upper centre, square formed of twisted rope lengths inside which are what appear to be two lions passant in pale with a circle and two short sloping lines in inverted V form above; on either side of the square is an O and an R; below the square three lengths of twisted rope extend to the bottom edge, the central one vertically and the the outer two sloping away from the centre; along the bottom is the date, each numeral separated by one of the rope lengths.
Notes: Alleged to be a representation of the arms of the O'Rourke family, who held sway in Cavan and Leitrim, the initials said to be of Owen O'Rourke. Noted in a cottage at Arigna, County Roscommon.
Inscription: O O R / 1 6 8 8
Description: Arched rectangular shape; plain plate. Crowned capital ‘A’ between ‘W’ and ‘R’; divided date at top extremities of plate; single six-pointed star below ‘A’.
Notes: Earl’s coronet denotes the Earl of Ashburnham, furnace owner; ‘WR’ denotes William Rummins, furnace founder; 1813 - the furnace was blown out finally in late February 1813. Similar to, but narrower than the fireback at Church Farm, Penhurst (in private hands), and uses the same cipher and numbers. One of a small series of firebacks cast in the early-19th century for farms on the Ashburnham estate; this example was formerly at Great Sprays Farm, Penhurst.
Inscription: W A R / 18 13
Current location: in private hands, Ashburnham, East Sussex, England.
Description: Composite; rectangular with semi-circular arches in middle (large) and ends (small) of top edge; rope on all edges except bottom; central panel effectively comprises an arched fireback form with Tudor royal arms (temp. Elizabeth I) with date above, and, below, letters G M, made from rope with fleur de lys terminals between two coronets surmounted by lions; below this are fronds with roses. On either side of this panel are placed the Anne Forster inscription panels; above each of these is a rose and crown with lion and dragon supporters, beneath which are three fleurs de lys. Along the base of the inscription panels and the central panel are single rows of ‘pineapple’ shapes, beneath which are repeated trailing vine decoration from impressed wooden strips across the entire width of the fireback; 35 in all.
Notes: Formerly at Baynard's Park, Ewhurst, Surrey; GM probably refers to Sir George More, who built Baynards Park after buying the estate in 1587, and who moved to Loseley in 1604. The central coat of arms has been noted on two other firebacks, dated 1588 and 1595. The rose and crown stamps have been noted on a fireback in Haslemere Museum, and on examples illustrated by Lower (all of which bear the date 1582 and the initials IA). The association of these stamps and the particular form of rope lettering, with the Anne Forster inscription and the ‘pineapple’ shapes, both of which have been linked with other stamps from Pounsley furnace, suggests that they, too, were part of the stock of those works.
Inscription: 15 93 / GM / HER : LIETH : ANE : FORST/ R : DAVGHTER : AND : / HEYR : TO : THOMAS : / GAYNSFORD : ESQVIER / DECEASED : XVIII : OF: / IANVARI : 1591 : LEAVYNG / BEHIND : HER II : SONES : / AND : V : DAVGHTERS [twice]
Arms: Tudor royal
Description: Rectangular; moulded fillet edging on top and sides; TCI, also arranged symmetrically, in a widely spaced triad; below, symmetrical layout of central rose and crown between two concentric roundels, with two fleurs-de-lys outside.
Notes: The style of rose and crown is similar to that used in gun founding in the Tudor period, suggesting that the furnace that was the source of this fireback may have been used for that purpose. Formerly at Baynards Park, Cranleigh, Surrey.
Inscription: 16 T C I [triad] 70
Description: Canted rectangle; moulded fillet edging (top and sides); top line, 'daisy' plant stamp repeated three times, spaced evenly, with 'SOWLY' in a block, a ducal coronet above, between the left two, and '1721' in individual numerals, a ducal coronet above, between the right two; a swirling foliage stamp repeated down each side, a 'daisy' plant below each; initials 'I' and 'B' separately in bottom corners.
Notes: Sowley was the iron furnace in Hampshire owned in 1721 by the 2nd duke of Montagu, whose coronet is seen in the decoration, and operated by John White of Monmouth. The swirled foliage stamp is seen on other firebacks identified by the letters 'IB' between 1703 and 1721, probably indicating the same founder.
Inscription: SOWLY 1721 / I B
Current location: Palace House, Beaulieu, Hampshire, England.
- Attached to series:
- IB series
Description: Rectangular; moulded fillet edging (top and sides); left justified text in upper case, in two lines: Tunc bonus est ignis cum pendet stiria tignis (Then fire is good when icicles hang from the eaves); below left, 'SOWLY' in a block; below right, '1721' in individual numerals; a swirling foliage stamp repeated down each side; initials 'I' and 'B' separately in bottom corners.
Notes: The source of the inscription is 'A Dictionarie in English and Latine for Children' by William Clark (London, Thomas Purfoot, 1602), p. 13. Sowley was the iron furnace in Hampshire owned in 1721 by the 2nd duke of Montagu and operated by John White of Monmouth. The swirled foliage stamp is seen on other firebacks identified by the letters 'IB' between 1703 and 1721, probably indicating the same founder.
Inscription: TUNC BONUS EST IGNIS / CUM PENDET STIRIA TIGNIS / SOWLY 1721/ I B
Current location: Palace House, Beaulieu, Hampshire, England.
- Attached to series:
- IB series
Description: Arched rectangular shape; ovolo moulded edging; date in arch; below arch two parallel, vertical straps, each with a buckle at the top; initials left and right of centre; roughly symmetrical arrangement of four stamps repeated: rectangular stamp with deer three times down centre, one outside each buckle and one beyond each strap end; circular food mould stamp outside centre of each strap, beyond stag stamp outside buckle and at edge beyond strap end; 'rabbit' stamp at edge beyond food mould stamp outside each buckle and outside each strap end; rectangular stamp with 'dog' outside each initial and six times below strap ends.
Notes: The buckles suggest a connection with the Pelham family; the initials may relate to Sir Thomas Pelham, Bt. (1597-1654) who owned and operated ironworks at Waldron in Sussex. From the drawing it is not certain if the stamps are the same as on another example of this fireback in Hastings Museum. The food mould stamp may be one seen repeated on at least one other fireback. Recorded at Huggetts Farm, Waldron, Sussex, by Edward Hughes, of Heathfield, Sussex; J. Starkie Gardner collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2014/8).
Inscription: 1642 / T P
Description: Arched rectangular shape with quadrant extensions on top corners; twisted rope edging (top and sides); vertical rope line parallel to each side, forming two separate side panels; horizontal rope line joined to vertical lines enclosing the following: inside arch, initials IBA in triad; below initials, double fleur-de-lys stamp between split date; below horizontal line, a double fleur stamp in each top corner of central lower panel; in each side panel, a single bead above a vertical sequence of squared cross stamps repeated eight times.
Notes: The distinctive squared cross and fleur stamps are seen on other firebacks; the initials in triad may relate to a husband and wife. A taller variant of the same fireback is at Northgate House, Warwick. Mendip Auctions, Binegar, Somerset, 7 Sep 2019, lot 374.
Inscription: IBA [triad] / 16 93
Current location:, England.