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The Armorial Bearings of the City of Carlisle
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her, and the old name of the foundation was the Priory of House of Regular Canons (not monastery) of the B.V.M.; its chief glory was a life-sized image of her, dressed gayly with jewels and in fine clothes; [s]  while its pillars were diapered with huge red roses, and the monogram J. M. (Jesu Maria.) [t]  She was, too, the patroness of the city; she had personally intervened for its protection in one of the Scottish sieges, [u] and a chapel dedicated to her stood on the top of the English Gate. [v]  She thus came to be represented on the City Seal, and her roses (such at least is my idea) found place on the civic shield of arms. [w]

   Surely a coat of arms so interesting, and the sole one appertaining to Carlisle for which there is unquestionable authority, should not be discarded: rather, since the modern one has grown so familiar to us, let us keep both: and let us distinguish them, as heralds do those of France, as “Carlisle Ancient” and “Carlisle Modern.”

   There is, however, a third claimant, for Mr. Bellasis refers me to an entry in an Alphabet of Arms at the College of Arms, tempore Charles II., which is as follows: –

   “Cumbd. Carlisle – Gules, two keys in saltire between four cross crosslets fitchee, Or. (A city.”)


[s]  An indulgence from the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Carlisle on behalf of a richly decorated statue of the B.V.M., which is to be erected in the Cathedral at Carlisle, [Reg. Archieps. Kempe 152 b.] is printed, vol. 44, Surtees Society, Priory of Hexham, p. xcvii, where are also other indulgences in favour of Carlisle.

[t]  Mackenzie Walcott’s Memorials of Carlisle, p.23.

[u]  The Chronicle of Lanercost.

[v]  So I am told, but I want further authority for this. The view of the English Gate in “Carlisle in the Olden Time” seems to show a chapel on top of the gate.

[w]  I am rather inclined to think that here we have the explanation of the name of the residence of the Bishop of Carlisle – Rose Castle. It is called “La Rose,” “Escrit a nostre manoir de la Rose” occurs often in Bishop Welton’s register (Letters from Northern Registers), while earlier still (the first mention of the place), Edward I. issues Parliamentary writs “apud La Rose,” xxvi. die September (1301), Stubb’s Select Charters. To this day Rose Castle is frequently called the Rose by the people of the neighbourhood. (See Lord W. Howard’s Household Books, Surtees Society, vol. 68, p. 130.) Probably Bishop Halton, when he built the Castle, named it with reference to the patroness of his Cathedral. Bishop Barnes sealed with a single rose, beautifully engraved. This seal is pendant to two or three deeds, tempore Elizabeth, in possession of the Corporation of Carlisle. Lord Scrope also executes these deeds and seals with a bird on a mount.


The End.