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Coats of Arms with Local Interest
The Town Banners
The Tudor rose was adopted by Henry VII, the first Tudor king, to symbolise the union of the House of Lancaster (red rose) with his wife, Elizabeth of the House of York, whose emblem was a white rose. Tudor monarchs frequently visited Sudeley Castle, and Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, is buried there.
This is the coat of arms adopted by Winchcombe town. It is the same as that used by Queen Elizabeth I, claiming that she was Queen of England and France.
Apparently, this coat of arms belongs to John Brydges, created first Baron Chandos by Queen Mary. However, it is not the one claimed by his son, Edmund, which can be seen on the Chandos alms-houses.
Ralph Boteler was a military commander and Member of the King’s Household under Henry V and Henry VI. He was made a Knight of the Garter and created Baron Sudeley by Henry VI in 1440.
He enhanced Sudeley Castle with money he had earned fighting in the 100 Years War with France. He is also responsible for St Mary’s Chapel and the tithe barn. He also enabled Winchcombe to restore their parish Church of St Peter, and one of the grotesques is thought to represent him.
Edward IV secretly married Ralph’s widowed daughter-in-law, Eleanor, who was living at Sudeley, before he became king, but later married someone else, ignoring his first marriage. When Edward’s brother, Richard, learned of this earlier marriage, he stopped supporting his illegitimate nephew’s claim to the throne and declared himself king.
Ralph Boteler was a loyal supporter of the House of Lancaster, so he lost Sudeley when Edward IV, a Yorkist, came to the throne.
When Edmund Brydges, Lord Chandos, died at Sudeley in 1572, his widow, Lady Dorothy Chandos provided for the building of the alms houses between Queens Square and Mill Lane. The photograph on the left shows the coat of arms as it is today and the drawing on the right as it was in the 19th century.
There is a second coat of arms on the Chandos Almshouses that is more worn and looks more like the arms of the Duke of Chandos
Other versions of the Winchcombe Town Arms can be seen in the town:
The Town Hall
The old Cottage Hospital on North Street
Dent’s Terrace Almshouses
School Cottages on Gloucester Street
Almsbury Gatehouse to Sudeley Castle. Below the shield is the Dent family motto: Concordia et Industria.
The left side shows the Dent family crest.
On the right, Emma Dent added a rampant lion, two chevrons, sheaves of corn for industry and agriculture and badgers for Brocklehurst.
There is a second coat of alms on the gatehouse that does not have the motto.
These were often used to display the coat of arms for local and national persons of importance. These may be benefactors and would mean the monks would pray for their souls. You can see a good collection of tiles in St Peter’s Church – some were on the floor of the church and some have been excavated from Winchcombe Abbey.
Floor Tiles: Earl of Gloucester
Arms of the founder of Hailes Abbey: Richard, Earl of Cornwall, as King of the Romans. The tile on the left is from Hailes, the one on the right showing the wing of an eagle is from Winchcombe Abbey
Floor Tiles: The Berkeley Family
Armorial of the Berkeley family from about 1200 A.D.
In 1327, Edward II was deposed by his wife, Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, and placed in the joint custody of Thomas de Berkeley and his brother-in-law. Edward was imprisoned in Berkeley Castle and murdered.
Floor Tiles: Hugh Despenser
Armorial of Hugh, the younger Despenser, the favourite of Edward II. He married Eleanor de Clare, a co-heiress of the Earldom of Gloucester. He was hated by the barons and came to a very sticky end!
Hugh Despenser – His Sticky End!
His genitals were sliced off and burned; his entrails were slowly pulled out; his heart was cut out and thrown into fire; his corpse was beheaded; his body was cut into four pieces, and his head was mounted on the gates of London.