Mr. Wimberley Lecture: Doncaster: 1841

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Mr. Wimberley Lecture: Doncaster: 1841  (1841) 

An unidentified newspaper clipping: dated by hand: December 11, 1841.

Mr. Wimberley Lecture: Doncaster: 1841:[edit]

  • HERALDRY:– Lord Howden’s Shield – The philosophy of “Heraldry” is so well exemplified in the following extract from a lecture delivered by Mr. Wimberley at Doncaster, [1841] that we make no apology for laying it before our readers:–
  • “Before I pass on to modern heraldry, (said Mr. Wimberley,) I will point out to you a shield that I think will interest you. I know the nobleman who bears it only by his high intellectual character, and by the peerage list, but it is in all respects of the highest order; and his name, Romanized as it was in the days of Emperor Claudius, will remind you of one of the most beautiful passages of ancient history, and which is found on the pages of Tacitus – Lord Howden, Caradoc, Caractacus. Its charges betoken command, nobility, and beneficence. The Dragon is one of the most ancient of signs. It is carved, says the learned antiquary, Dr. Stukeley, on the corners of the temple of Persepolis. Nothing is of so high account among the Chinese as the representations of Dragons and serpents. Dragons were the Parthians’ ensigns, from whom the Romans in later times took them, and our Saxon ancestors from the Romans. It was also the device of the ancient British kings, as the white horse was of the Saxons, the raven of the Danes, and the lion of the Norman Dukes. The chariot of the Ceridiven, the Ceres of the Druids, was, as Hughes informs us in his Horae Britannica, drawn by dragons or winged serpents, creatures esteemed very sacred by that ancient and extraordinary priesthood. Hence the beautiful lines of Gray, when celebrating the triumph of Owen, descended from Cadwallader, a name signifying supreme ruler of battle:-

Dauntless on his native sands
The dragon-son of Mona stands:
In glittering arms and glory drest,
High he rears his ruby crest.

  • The figure in the middle denotes building, strength, and protection: the wheat-sheaves, abundance and hospitality. The boars’ head is an emblem of those convivial rejoicings and festivities which came round in olden times as certain as the seasons:- it is found on many shields of the fine old families of Anglia, Cambria, and Caledonia, among whom it was the standing dish at the banquet and the feast – the ancient roast beef of old England. In Scotland, says Pinkerton, it was sometimes surrounded by little banners, displaying the colours and achievements of the baron on whose board it was served. The supporters are storks, which bird has in all ages and religions been an object of special regard. Its name in Hebrew, Chuddah, signifies piety and mercy, because of the tenderness it shows to its dam, which it never leaves nor forsakes, but defends even unto death. With the ancients it was emblematic of many social and moral virtues. Among the old Thessalonians it was death to kill them, and among the Mahometans to this day they are held in high veneration. All these tokens, therefore are of the highest order. But the crest and motto are the noblest of them all. Caractacus himself delivers up his sword – ‘Traditus non victus:’ betrayed not conquered. What Englishman is not familiar with his name and history? Struggling for liberty against the proud and strong invader – though harrassed yet invincible – betrayed at length by his traitress neighbour Queen – carried with his wife and daughters to the tyrant city – chained – dragged through the streets “to make a Roman holiday” – and at length conquering even the stern Claudius by his noble and beautiful address to him. We see the ruler of the world gazing on the majestic islander from afar: his ear is caught, his wonder is exited, his features relax, and we note at length his conviction that a barbarian Prince may be great of heart and high of soul: he bids his guards unbind the chains – he declares him free – and the lofty, illustrious captive, fearless in peril, invincible under oppression, is at length overcome, and bends his brow towards the earth in acknowledgement and gratitude. Such are my notions of heraldic illustrations. I told you of the statue of Arminius. What could more nobly crown the highest Cambrian hill than the statue of Caractacus. “

This work was published in 1841 and is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 181 years or less since publication.

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