Castle Blog

Buy Tickets Share

Coats of Arms 

 In the early part of the nineteen century, there was a great deal of repair and renovation undertaken within Lincoln Castle. This included the construction of two ‘Lodges’ on the inside of the East Gate entrance. These Lodges being connected by an arch.

  The Northern Lodge (the one on the left of the above picture), originally held female debtors, whereas the one on the Southside (right on the picture) was the ‘Turnkey Lodge’ where the gatekeeper lived. Both are now offices of the Castles’ administration.

Connecting the two Lodges is an ‘Arch’. Infront of the ‘Springer Stones’ of the Arch are a pair of heads. One is thought to represent King John and the other Nicolla de la Haye, however erosion and wear over time is now making it difficult to be certain.  Either side and above the Arch are two shields, and it is these that this article will focus upon.
I have always been intrigued as to whom these Coats of Arms represented so started to investigate.

Looking at the shield on the northern side first is the easier of the two to identify. It depicts three lions walking and facing the spectator with a bar across to top. Or in Heraldry terms: “Three Lions Passant Guardant with a three pointed label”. The label represents the strap across a horses’ chest from which pendants are hung.

The three lions are the ”Royal Arms of England” but with the bar, this shield represents the coat of arms of
the Duchy of Lancaster (the private estate of the British Sovereign). 

The Duchy owned Lincoln Castle until 1832 when it was sold through an Act of Parliament to
the Lincolnshire County Committee. So, the shield was most likely erected a few years
prior to the sale.The shield on the southern side proved more troublesome to identify. It depicts a lion standing upright on its’ rear legs or in Heraldry a “Lion Rampant”.

It has always been suggested to me that it represents William… but which William? Initial thoughts would obviously turn to William I of England (William the Conqueror), the founder of Lincoln Castle. Checking the Internet this idea was soon proved wrong, as William the Conquerors’ shield depicts “Two Lions Passant Guardant”
(walking with face to observer) taken from the Arms of the Duchy of Normandy.
 

The Lion Rampant has been used as a heraldic symbol by heirs of Malcolm III of Scotland (1053-1093) starting with David I.
The motif was also used as a badge by those Irish clans with lineage in common with Malcolm III. It also forms the centrepiece of ‘The Banner of Scotland’.

Whilst the timeframe for Malcolm III is comparable to the origins of Lincoln Castle, it is very doubtful there is any connection to the shield under review. Surely?
A more plausible candidate for the owner of the emblem could be the 1st Earl of Pembroke – William Marshal (c. 1147 – 14th May 1219). William is reputed to be Englands’ bravest Knight. Following the death of King John in 1216, William was appointed protector to King Henry III (he was only 9 years old) and Regent of the Kingdom: despite being about 70 years old. In this capacity he led the war against the invading Prince Louis of France and rebel Barons and gained victory for the young Kings’ army at the decisive ‘2nd Battle of Lincoln’ on 20th May 1217.

The similarity of his shield to the one in Lincoln Castle is very close and William Marshal does have a strong link to the Castle. Is this who the shield represents?

More information could be further researched on this at Lincolnshire Archives to research the County Committee Records for the period, so cannot currently offer a definitive answer.

If anyone has any suggestions as to the origins of the shield we would be pleased to hear. Your thoughts can be left through the ‘Contact Us’ page Friends of Lincoln Castle Website – www.folc.co.uk.

Written and researched by Paul Scott, Guiding Officer and member of the Friends at Lincoln Castle.
Blog submitted: Thursday 29th April 2021