.......Classical Heraldry .......

Arms of the 13th and 14th Centuries (11)
Sir James de Douglas ~ Argent on a chief Azure 3 mullets of the First. (The heart was added to the Douglas arms after his death.)

One of the heroes in the War of Independence, Sir James the Good won a string of battle honours that climaxed with the command of the left wing schiltrom at Bannockburn, but the feat for which he earned immortal fame was battle against the Moors in Spain when, obeying his promise to Robert the Bruce, he flung the casket containing the Bruce’s heart at the foe, and followed to his death.

Sir Thomas de Richmond ~ Gules two gemelles and a chief Or

In the years following Bannockburn King Edward II continued his attempts to harry Scotland and Sir James de Douglas in many places led the defence. At Lintalee in 1317 he forced the English to retreat and in the battle a Yorkshire knight, owner of Burton-Constable, Sir Thomas de Richmond was killed. (Some historians mistakenly identify him as of the Brittany family.)

Sir Andrew de Harcla. Earl of Carlisle ~ Argent a cross Gules, in the 1st quarter a martlet Sable.

The Battle of Boroughbridge (1322), at which the English barons opposing King Edward II were defeated, was won for him by the leadership of Sir Andrew de Harcla whom he then made Earl of Carlisle. Within the year the new Earl was found to be intriguing with the Scots in attempts to arrange a truce without the approval of the King, and he was hanged, drawn and quartered.

Sir Richard de Horseley ~ Azure three horses’ heads erased Argent bridled Gules.

The Horsley family differenced their arms with the tincture of the bridles, one Gules, another Sable, another Or. They fought in the Scottish wars but left little mark on history, leaving the question of why Graham Johnston included their arms in this series. One of the family, Roger, Constable of Berwick when it was taken by Sir James de Douglas in 1318, lost an eye to an arrow.

Hugh le Despencer, Earl of Winchester ~ Quarterly Argent and Gules, in the 2nd and 3rd a fret Or, overall a bend Sable.

The Despencer family were the cause of much grief in the latter part of the reign of Edward II, the younger Despencer being said to have taken the place of the executed Piers de Gaveston in the King’s bed, and both father and son having far too much influence on him. Certainly, their influence was not good for the realm and the interests of England, and both were eventually executed.

Sir William Marmion ~ Vairy Argent and Azure a fess Gules.

After Berwick was taken, the Scots were in the ascendant in the north and flaunted their military power on every occasion. Only at Norham, garrisoned by Sir Thomas de Gray, father of the Sir Thomas Gray who wrote the Scalacronica, was there any action, and during the last eleven years of Edward’s misrule the fighting outside its walls was almost continuous. As to the part of Sir William Marmion we shall let Sir Thomas Gray tell the story.

At which time, at a great feast of lords and ladies in the county of Lincoln, a young page brought a war helmet, with a gilt crest on the same, to William Marmion, knight, with a letter from his lady-love commanding him to go to the most dangerous place in the country. Thereupon it was decided by the knights present that he should go to Norham, as the most dangerous and adventurous place in the country.
The said William betook himself to Norham, where, within four days of his arrival, Sir Alexander de Mowbray, brother of Sir Philip de Mowbray, at that time Governor of Berwick, came before the castle of Norham with the most spirited chivalry of the Marches of Scotland, and drew up before the castle at the hour of noon with more than eight score men-at-arms. The alarm was given in the castle as they were sitting down to dinner.
Thomas de Gray, the Constable, went with his garrison to his barriers, saw the enemy near drawn up in order of batle, looked behind him , and beheld the said knight, William Marmion, approaching on foot, all glittering with gold and silver, marvellous finely attired, with the helmet on his head. The said Thomas, having been well informed of the reason for his coming to Norham, cried aloud to him ~
“Sir knight, you have come as knight errant to make that helmet famous, and it is more meet that deeds of chivalry be done on horseback than afoot, when that can be managed conveniently. Mount your horse: there are your enemies: set spurs and charge into their midst. May I deny my God if I do not rescue your person, alive or dead, or perish in the attempt!”
The knight mounted a beautiful charger, spurred forward, and charged into the midst of the enemy, who struck him down, wounded him in the face, and dragged him out of the saddle to the ground.

At this moment, up came the said Thomas with all his garrison, with levelled lances, which they drove into the bowels of the horses so that they threw their riders. They repulsed the mounted enemy, raised the fallen knight, remounting him upon his own horse, put the enemy to flight, of whom some were left dead in the fitst encounter, and captured fifty valuable horses. the women of the castle then brought out horses to their men, who mounted and gave chase, slaying those whom they could overtake.

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The Shape of the Shield ~ Part Four
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