Archive of Transactions

The arms of FitzWalter on leather scabbards from London

Tony Wilmott

In the collections of the Museum of London are six later 13th-century knife scabbards decorated with the heraldic device of a fess between two chevrons. In the absence of paint or other colouring, these arms might be identified with those of a number of different families, but it seems most likely that they belonged to the FitzWalters, whose arms were or, a fess between two chevrons gules.

In 1110-11 the FitzWalters received from the king the lordship of Baynard’s Castle, near Blackfriars, a position which included the hereditary office of standard-bearer to the City militia. The site was demised to the archbishop of Canterbury in 1275, but as late as 1303 Robert FitzWalter maintained his position as standard-bearer. Significantly, two of the six scabbards were found during excavations near Blackfriars (Museum of London sitecode: BC72).

[Transactions 32 (1981), pp 132 – 9; abstract by Francis Grew, 12-Dec-1997]

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