Thomas Biddlecombe's coat of arms

Coat of arms

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."


This copy of the arms

The image above was produced by an artist in New York. We believe he a (monochrome) photo to work from. This picture is certainly very close to the arms currently visible in the church.


Given that we now know that these arms are based on those of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, it's possible that the services provided by Thomas Biddlecombe were for this Company, or that he had some other connection with it.

Location of the Memorial

As I remember it, the church has only one chapel with a west wall, which is now used as a vestry/office. I don't recall seeing anything on the west wall in October 1998.

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Editor: Peter Biddlecombe
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