I am delighted to hear from you and to know about the Denham quarterings. I apologise for not responding earlier; I am travelling at the moment and away from my notes … and you have given me a great deal to think about.
I spent last winter comparing the various interpretations of the Lewkenor of West Dean quarterings, with my own understanding and the devices on the carpet.
I compared the Lewknor of West Dean family quarterings, as identified by Montague Knight (whose notes are in West Sussex Record Office, Chichester) with the interpretations of Durrant Cooper, Comber, the 1562 Visitation, the armorial carpet and now, thanks to your fascinating message, J.J.Howard’s interpretation of the Denham quarterings. Apart from the Noell and Halsham arms, which are presumably particular to the Denham family, I see that Howard’s interpretation of Broose differs from Bruse as identified by Knight: azure, a lion rampant within cross-crosslets & fitchee or. These arms are exactly as portrayed in the Victorian period “baronial hall” at Arundel Castle. Sir Richard Lewkenor had been high steward to Henry, the last Arundel Earl of Arundel and I am picking up several connections showing this branch of the Lewkenors being in the service of the Earls of Arundel. Anna Lupperz’s web page has a great deal about the Braose family and shows the lion rampant device as belonging to the descendants of “Tadody” Braose, which is the branch from whom Margaret Braose/Camoys of Trotton was descended, whoever’s wife she had been. Durrant Cooper, Comber and the Visitation give no identification of Braose arms, while they do not appear in the carpet – however, Sir Richard Lewkenor’s family chose to include the lion rampant of Braose. Curious.
The carpet, itself, is intriguing. Who was Elizabeth Mephant? Why are her arms not known? Why do they incorporate aspects of De la Pole – or is this my imagination? Was she not entitled to arms? Did she compile her own? Could it have been Elizabeth who commissioned the carpet? Apparently so, according to the Trotton church leaflet. Again, I am away from my notes, but Constance Lewkenor/Fo(r)ster/Glenham’s arms, as depicted in one of the Worcestershire Visitations shows Lewkenor but not this “Mephant” (but that is not evidence that there never was a Mephant coat of arms).
I popped into Trotton Church recently. The church is always open whenever I pass (Thank you, Trotton!) and with its amazing medieval wall paintings and gorgeous brasses, it is well worth a visit. The leaflet in the church reads: “The male line of the Camoys family died out … but one of his grand-daughters (of Lord Camoys, d 1419) married Sir Roger Lewknor. She was buried at Arundel, but Sir Roger and his second wife (N.B. UNIDENTIFIED) are buried in the tomb on the left-hand side of the altar. Half way down the nave is the tomb of his grandson. This Sir Roger had three wives, two of whom between them gave him 4 daughters, but no son. His youngest daughter, Constance, lived to be 93, and died in 1634. His wife, Dame ELIZABETH LEWKNOR COMMISSIONED A TABLE CARPET TO BE EMBROIDERED IN SIR ROGER’S MEMORY. The date of 1564 is included in the lavish design of coats of arms of the families CONNECTED with the Lewknors, including, of course, the Camoys, the Braose and the Despensers. The carpet is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, but, sadly, not on show.” Again, I am away from my notes. I expect that you know Elizabeth Mephant/Lewkenor/Lewkenor’s will. She makes a curious bequest for money to be used for the return of prisoners in the hands of the Turks. Her son-in-law, Edward Glenham (Constance’s second husband) had had to abandon some of his men to the Turks (a gleaning from the internet). Were the family suffering flack over this? Could this be the motive for the commissioning of the carpet? Elizabeth, by her second husband, was the ancestor of the Denham family, but it is her first husband by whom (again, from memory) she describes herself. a proud lady.
(The use of upper case above shows my wish to draw attention to points of importance; my understanding is now completely with that of the author of the leaflet, i.e. the second wife of Sir Roger, father of Constance of the carpet, is not identified in any of the records that I have found, and the table carpet shows the families CONNECTED with the Lewkenors. )
The carpet shows Delawarre. Several sources point to a connection between these Lewkenors and the Delawarres, but, correctly (as pointed out to me by someone with serious knowledge of heraldry), the composite coat of arms would only show Delawarre if there had been a Lewkenor marriage to an HERALDIC HEIRESS. The carpet shows impalements: marriages; it does not show quarterings: descent (except with those coats of arms where quarterings are acceptable).
The Trotton leaflet states that the table carpet is EMBROIDERED. I always imagined it to have been woven. I find that very interesting. I would very much like to know more about the method of manufacture of this magnificent table carpet. (Thank you Metriopolitan Museum, for showing the carpet, in colour, on your website.)
Good to hear from you, Steven. I hope we stay in touch.
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