Monday, December 14, 2015

Royal arms in churches

click photo to enlarge
When Henry VIII, as crown, replaced the Pope as the head of the church in England one of the steps that he had enacted, to remind people of the transfer of power, was to insist on the royal coat of arms being displayed in all churches.These were usually made of painted wood or in the form of a fabric hanging that was fixed to a wall or sometimes hung under an arch. Many royal coats of arms can still be seen today in churches up and down the country. The particular design of the arms, which has changed down the centuries, tell of the reign in which they were made. Few exist from the time of Henry and Elizabeth 1, and in the period of the Commonwealth during the C17 many were destroyed by zealous Puritans. After the Restoration the element of compulsion regarding display was removed but many churches continued to erect royal arms. Eighteenth and nineteenth century examples are common.

Today's photograph is a detail of the very large, wooden coat of arms that hangs below an arch at the west end of the parish church in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. It dates from the seventeenth century, and is much bigger and more showy than many examples.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm (34mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.5
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On