Cardinall family heraldry

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The Cardinall families were visited by the heralds in Suffolk and in Essex. The Suffolk Visitations don’t describe their arms, however, they are described in the Essex Visitation of 1612 as:

Sable, a fess engrailed between three cardinal knots argent

The crest was:

A dromedary sable, collared dancetté or

Then the arms bring in the arms of other families connected with the Cardinalls – in 1612, the arms consisted of two shields – the first Cardinall impaling Wentworth, to represent William (1536-1598) marrying Mary Wentworth. The second, Heigham impaling Cardinall to represent William and Mary’s daughter Ann marrying Sir Clement Heigham of Barrow, Suffolk.

In the 1558 visitation, the arms are more complicated – there is one shield, divided into six. Although the Cardinall visitation describes the other arms without saying what families they represent, the Knightley Visitation does so. This is because the 1558 arms represent Cardinall, plus the arms of William Cardinall’s second wife, Lettice. I cannot find arms for William’s first wife, or for the Cardinalls going back any further.

Quarterly of six – 1 and 6 CARDINALL, as in Vis of 1612. 2 Quarterly ermine and paly of six or and gules a bordure azure [KNIGHTLEY], 3. Azure, a stag’s head cabossed or. [GOLOVERS], 4. Argent, on a saltire sable five ducks of the argent. [BURGH] 4. Argent, a lion rampant sable, a bordure engrailed argent.

It’s difficult picturing what these all look like. The “quarterly of six” version – Cardinall incorporating Lettice Knightley’s arms, were recorded on a memorial in the church at East Bergholt in the early 1900s. However, I couldn’t find them on my visit to the church in August 2022, and I can’t find any photos online.[1]The East Anglian, vol XII. H W Birch, who recorded them, said the arms were visible on a memorial slab, but the inscription has been covered and therefore the name is lost. He suggested they were the … Continue reading Fortunately examples exist on memorials in churches in Norfolk and Nottinghamshire.

Cardinall, Stringer, Wentworth

Firstly, the Cardinall arms appear on William Cardinall’s (1536-1598) memorial at Egmonton in Nottinghamshire. You can see a photo and the transcription at Southwell & Nottingham Church History Project. It consists of the William’s arms at the top, then on either side his arms impaled with the arms of his wives.

Interestingly, the Cardinall arms that should be black (“sable”) are blue. Whether this is the colour they’ve always been, or the black colour faded over the past 400 years, I don’t know. The colour of the fess (the line across the middle) isn’t given in the Visitation, but appears here as gold (“or”). And the Visitation says the fess is “engrailed” – that means the fess’ line is wavy, not straight as it appears here. The white things that look like turkeys are the “cardinal knots” – a knot with four ends that point to the four cardinal points.

On the left you can see Cardinall on one side, with the other side showing the arms of Stringer of Crewe – for William’s second wife, Julian Stringer. You can see a close-up at Cheshire Heraldry.

On the right you can see Cardinall on the left, then on the right Wentworth with Howard. In the 1612 Visitation for Wentworth, they are described as:

Sable, a chevron between three leopards’ faces or, a crescent for difference [Wentworth]. Gules, on a bend between six cross crosslets fitché argent an ermine spot [Howard]

As mentioned, “Sable” has turned blue on this memorial so the blue with the chevron and animals’ faces in gold is Wentworth and the partly red one beside it is Howard. There are numerous examples of Wentworth and Howard arms online. So here we see Wentworth:

And this is Howard:

As William’s wife was related to same Howard family as Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, you can in fact see the arms that appear in William Cardinall’s memorial in the arms of Catherine when she was queen:

Cardinall and Knightley

I cannot find an image of the Cardinall arms described in the 1558 Visitation, however, the Knightly parts of it can be seen in the church at Tittleshall in Norfolk. This is because William’s sister-in-law Winifred is buried there, along with her son, Sir Edward Coke, and their arms appear on their memorials. The Knightley arms can also be seen on the ceiling of Stow Bardolph church, where coloured shields commemorate the Hare family, and the arms of those they married – Winifred’s mother was Agnes Hare, wife of William Knightley.[2]Lettice was Winifred’s half-sister, the daughter of William Knightley’s first wife, Margaret Pawe.

This is Winifred’s memorial from Findagrave:

At the bottom, you can see the Knightley arms: divided into four, with ermine, and gold and red stripes. The blue border around it apparently signifies that they are from the cadet branch of the family.

At the top, you can see the combined arms of Winifred, and her husband. On the right are the four arms which are incorporated into the 1558 Cardinall arms – top left, the Knightley arms, top right, the blue background and gold stag’s head of the Golovers, bottom left the black saltire with ducks of the Burgh family, and finally at bottom right, the black lion rampant on a silver background, with an engrailed black border – this is from the Cowley family.

Given that the left hand side is exactly same on Sir Edward Coke’s memorial, then it must be the Coke arms, rather than those of Winifred’s second husband, Robert Bozsonne. The arms are quartered with Coke (three eagles argent), Crispin (argent with chevron azure), Folcard (sable with three closed cups or), and Pawe (red with a gold griffin and crosses). The Topographical History of Norfolk vol 9 contains the Coke pedigree (which is just as well, because I couldn’t find it in the Visitations!). Robert Coke’s mother was a Folcard, apparently Alice, sister of Thomas Folcard, and daughter of William Folcard of Sparham Hall. We have to go back to Robert’s great-grandparents to find the Crispin connection – this is the marriage of Robert Coke and Agnes, daughter of Roger Crispin.

Now here’s the strange thing – what are the arms of Pawe doing in the Coke coat of arms? Winifred’s mother was Margaret Pawe, but shouldn’t the Pawe arms appear on the part of the coat of arms brought by Winifred? Seeing as they’re on the Coke side, then it must be the case that Robert and Winifred were related via the Pawes. No Pawes are mentioned in the Coke pedigree, but then, no wives are named for Robert’s grandfather John or great-great-grandfather John of Crostwick and East Ruston. Curiously, the wills of the Attmeres in Norwick mention Cokes as one of them married a widow of a Thomas Coke. And Henry Attmere appears in William Pawe’s will as his cousin. It’s not completely unreasonable to suppose that the families were all connected and had been over several generations.

I made my own versions of the Golover (Gulliver?) arms using the generator at Worldspinner.

Golovers: Azure, a stag’s head cabossed or

And these are the Burgh arms, created at Drawshield:

Argent, on a saltire sable five ducks argent

And the Cowley arms, again, created at Drawshield:

What’s interesting is that the additional families represented in the Knightley’s and Cardinall’s combined arms are very old parts of the Knightley’s ancestry. According to the tree in the 1558 Essex Visitation for Knightley, Lettice’s great-great-granfather was Richard Knightley of Fawsley, Northamptonshire, son of Richard Knightley senior of Gnoshall, Staffordshire, and his wife Joan Gifford. According to the History of Parliament, Richard senior’s parents were John Knightley of Gnosall, Staffordshire, and Elizabeth, daughter of Adam Burgh, and granddaughter of William Burgh of Burgh Hall in Staffordshire. So we have to go back to Lettice’s 4 x great-grandparents to find the Burghs. And even further back to find the Cowleys – Elizabeth Burgh’s paternal grandmother, wife of William Burgh, was Eleanor Cowley.

As Burgh and Cowley are the third and fourth arms, Golovers must be from a closer generation. The civic arms for West Bromwich, historically part of Staffordshire, has a stag’s head cabossed on a blue background, but in silver, with extra figures around it. It’s possible that Joan Gifford had Golovers or Gullivers in her ancestry – her mother’s family, perhaps. However, it’s the same arms as the Mackenzies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Lettice had Scottish ancestry, as Scottish and English arms are looked after by different issuing bodies. At the moment, the Golovers’ connection to the Knightleys is a mystery. I had wondered if they were the arms of Hare or Pawe, but as the “Golovers” arms are the same in children descended from both of William Knightley’s wives, it can’t be from either of his wives.

  • Updated 5th May 2023: the Cardinall/Knightley arms are no longer visible in East Bergholt’s church.
  • Updated 30th May 2023: deciphering the Coke side of Winifred Knightley/Coke/Bozun’s arms to show the four families represented in it: Coke, Crispin, Folcard and Pawe.


1 The East Anglian, vol XII. H W Birch, who recorded them, said the arms were visible on a memorial slab, but the inscription has been covered and therefore the name is lost. He suggested they were the arms of William Cardinall of East Bergholt, whose wife was Mary Derehaugh. Their daughter Anne, who married Henry Parker, is buried nearby. But the arms Birch saw appear to be those of the Great Bromley Cardinalls, because the heraldry so the grave is presumably one of theirs, because as far as I’m aware, there are no Knightleys on the East Bergholt side of the family. It seems likely that the grave is that of Charles Cardinall, son of William Cardinall of Great Bromley and his wife Lettice – Charles’ wife Bridget Starling was born in Dedham but had lived in East Bergholt during her first marriage to Sir Thomas Bowes. So it wouldn’t be surprising if both Charles and Bridget were buried in East Bergholt. Although Charles lived in Little Bromley, the burials covering the period in which he died have not survived. That said, while Anne’s father was an East Bergholt Cardinall, her great-grandmother was a Great Bromley Cardinall – Charles’ sister, Julian.
2 Lettice was Winifred’s half-sister, the daughter of William Knightley’s first wife, Margaret Pawe.