Sunday, June 5, 2022

Stocklinch, Somerset

The lion and the unicorn, 2

Here’s my second royal arms, this time the version relating to the first three Georges, a form of the arms in use between 1714 and 1801. It is painted on boards and displayed in the church at Stocklinch, Somerset. George I and his two successors included the heraldic symbols of their family, the house of Hanover, in the fourth quarter (i.e. the bottom right part) of the shield. Although this example is not in pristine condition and is anyway the work of a no doubt local artist somewhere in the Ilminster area of Somerset, the painting of the lion and unicorn has a charm that gives at least one viewer pleasure.

This Hanoverian version of the coat of arms is now the most common form to be seen in English churches, although later rulers’ coats of arms are still found too. By the twentieth century, displaying the latest arms in church was less widespread, and there are few from the last hundred years. I know of only a couple of examples of Elizabeth II’s arms in churches – an indication that the practice of their display in an ecclesiastical context had fallen out of fashion, in spite of this monarch’s long-term commitment to the church.

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