Thursday, April 26, 2018

WASHINGTON ARMS | Selby and Trinity, Oxford~

April 26, 2018–George Washington, our first President, was against George III and monarchy in general. He wanted the United States to be a democratic republic.

But he was also extremely proud of his ancestral coat of arms, which appeared on many pieces of his silver, bookplates, and stationery.

Out of this contradiction came our national flag, the Stars and Stripes.

Washington's Coat of Arms, Blazon and Origin 

Washington inherited his arms from his great-grandfather. They are blazoned: "Argent two bars gules in chief three mullets of the second."

Two stained-glass windows are candidates for the oldest original versions of the Washington arms. They both use pierced five-pointed mullets in chief.
  • One is in Trinity College, Oxford. I first wrote about it on Huffington Post in 2012.
  • The other is in Selby Abbey, south of York. It was the first monetary to be founded in the north of England after the Norman Conquest. I have just come back from a visit there.
The connection between the Selby Abbey and Trinity College, Oxford stained-glass windows is the Prince Bishop of Durham. Selby Abbey and Durham College, Oxford (predecessor to Trinity College) were both foundations of Durham where young Benedictine monks were sent to study or praise God or both.

The original ancestor was named de Hertburn and he was close to the Bishop. He made a deal to trade a property he owned that the Bishop wanted for some property that was once named Wessyngton. When he acquired the property, de Hertburn changed his name to that of the property he owned, which evolved into Washington.

Which of these stained-glass windows is older? Oxford or Selby?

Trinity College Old Library

Benedictine monks from Durham were sent to Oxford as early as 1278. Hugh de Derlington, prior of Durham, (1287-90), sent monks of Durham to study at Oxford. His successor Richard de Hoton, in 1291 purchased five acres of land on the site of the later Trinity College and St. John's, and by erecting buildings, became the founder of Durham College. In the 1380s, Bishop Hatfield expanded Durham Hall into a full college.

 Durham World Heritage Site,
"Houses of Benedictine Monks: Durham College, Oxford", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1907), 68-70.
No new buildings were erected in 1555, for Thomas Pope had purchased the site an Durham College, which from 1286 until 1545 had provided a place of study in Oxford for a small number of monks from the Benedictine Cathedral Church at Durham.

The Old Library, or Fellows' Library, was erected between 1417 and 1421 as the library room of Durham College (the Oxford house of the Benedictine monks of Durham Cathedral Priory).

Another source.
~ After the title means the article is linked to at Heraldry Links (Alphabetical).

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