Bob Biddlecome in New York has sent information collected by some American Biddlecombes on honeymoon in England in 1934. One of them wrote to him about a coat of arms in a church in Stourton Caundle, Dorset, and provided this quote [my comments in square brackets] from an old book about Dorset:
"Extract from Hutchin's History of Dorset, England - 1700
"The church of Stourton Caundle - Against the west wall of this chapel on an achievement, the arms of Biddlecombe - sable [black], a chevron between three hammers erect, crest, on a wreath argent [silver] and gules [red], in a basket proper ['proper' = the colour you would expect an object to be], a phoenix or [gold]. Above is an hourglass with a pair of wings emblematic of the flight of time. Motto on scroll 'With hammer and hand all artes (hearts) do stand.'"
Apparently the privilege to this coat of arms was given to Thomas Biddlecombe, whose body lay below the arms and read - 'Here lies the body of Thomas Biddlecombe of this parish - Blacksmith who departed this life the 8 day of March Anno Dom 1638 aged above 80.' Privilege - At some time, having distinguished himself in the service of the state, or in favor of the sovereign, [Thomas B] was granted, by royal letters patent, some sort of armorial device, [and] from that day and hour, every living, or yet to be born [descendant of Thomas Biddlecombe?] can lay his hand, at his good pleasure, upon said coat of arms and adopt it as his family emblem."
Editor: Peter Biddlecombe