Firebacks

Herefordshire armorial series

  1. 857

    croft_castle 01.jpg
    790 x 670 mm

    Description: Rectangular with detached pediment linked by S-curves, protruding from each of which is a small scroll; cavetto-moulded edging (top and sides); quartered shield with helm, crest and mantling; initials in top corners.

    Notes: The arms are of Sir Julius Caesar (1558-1636), judge and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1606-13. Blazon: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Gules, three roses argent, on a chief of the second three roses of the first (Caesar); 2nd, argent, two bars sable, on a chief of the second three swans of the first (?Martin); 3rd, gules, three crescents argent (Peryent/Perin). Crest: a dolphin embowed in the sea vert. This example has the additional initials, TC. The style of the carving is the same as on two other firebacks in the same county.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: T C

    Arms: Caesar

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century possibly in the Herefordshire area of England.

    Current location: Croft Castle, Yarpole, Herefordshire, England.

    Museum number: CRO.M.002.1 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  2. 941

    fawley_court  01.jpg
    914 x 762 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; scalloping within wide fillet edging; shield, knight's helm, crest and mantling; date split either side of armorial.

    Notes: The arms are of Kyrle (vert, a chevron between three fleurs de lys or; crest: on a mount vert a hedgehog or) of Much Marcle, Herefordshire, quartered with Abrahall (azure three hedgehogs or; the fess appears to be erroneous) and Warnecombe (sable, on a fess dancetty argent between three bezants each charged with an escallop of the field as many lions rampant argent armed and langued gules). The second part of the date appears to have been altered by hand for the present casting as the style of lettering for the final two numerals is crude compared with the first two. Sir John Kyrle may have operated the iron furnace at Whitchurch, between Monmouth and Ross on Wye; the style of the carving is the same as on two other firebacks in the same county. It is apparent, from another example, that this fireback has either been broken and repaired, or deliberately reduced in height. Originally the mantling of the helm extended further down, ending in tassels on each side, making the height of the fireback approximately equal to its width. An early photograph of the Fawley fireback, taken by Alfred Watkins, the Herefordshire antiquarian, shows the division of the two parts more clearly (Herefordshire Record Office, AW339b). A copy of the original, un-reduced fireback has been noted with the date 1685 in the distinctive numerals seen on firebacks from Flaxley Furnace, Gloucestershire.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 20

    Arms: Kyrle quartering Abrahall and Warnecombe

    Manufactured: in 1620 possibly at Whitchurch Furnace in the Herefordshire area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Fawley, Herefordshire, England.

    Citation: Anon., 1918, 'Second Field Meeting 25th June 1918', Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, p. xvi.

  3. 915

    honiton,_marwood house 02b.jpg
    540 x 578 mm

    Description: Rectangular with superimposed arch; embattled, cavetto-moulded edging, with the top edge of the rectangle interrupted; quartered shield, helm, crest and mantling.

    Notes: The arms appear to be those of the family of Armeston of Burbage, Leicestershire, possibly Thomas Armeston (c1606-85), 2nd son of Thomas Armeston (d.1640), sometime MP for Leicestershire: 1st and 4th (Armeston) sable a chevron between three spear heads argent with a crescent for difference, 2nd (unknown) three chevronels with a rose in a canton, 3rd (unknown) a fess between two chevronels, a crescent for difference over all. The Armeston crest is a dragon's head erased vert scaled or and charged with a crescent of the same for difference; the crescent is the mark of cadency for the second son; in this instance the arms appear to be of a second son descended from a second son in an earlier generation. The embattled edging and superimposed arch are features of a series of firebacks dated 1619. However, the style of the mantling is typical of a small group of firebacks noted in Herefordshire.

    Arms: Armeston, of Burbage, Leicestershire

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 17th century in England.

    Current location: in private hands, Honiton, Devon, England.

  4. 954

    much_marcle, hellens manor.jpg
    595 x 770 mm

    Description: Arched shape; patterned astragal edging; central shield with helm, crest and mantling above, and motto scroll below; initials either side of crest; date split by shield.

    Notes: The arms are those of Chamberlayne: gules, an inescutcheon within an orle of mullets argent; the crest: out of a ducal coronet the head of an ass (the tinctures vary according to the branch of the family); the initials are reputed to be those of Thomas Chamberlayne; the date appears to have been hand inscribed. The style of the carving is the same as on two other firebacks in the same county.

    Inscription: T C / 16 18 / [motto unreadable]

    Arms: Chamberlayne

    Manufactured: in 1618 possibly in the Herefordshire area of England.

    Current location: Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, Herefordshire, England.

    Citation: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, 1932, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 2: East (London, HMSO).