Participation Type

Paper

Presentation #1 Title

From pageantry to piety: heraldic art as a preaching tool in early modern England

Presentation #1 Abstract

An intriguing engraving of a figure of Christ with a sword in his mouth, encapsulated within a shield, graces the title-page of a printed sermon by Thomas Vicars (The Sword-bearer (1627)). A close reading of the text reveals that the arms were those of George Carleton, Bishop of Chichester, and that they served as an important mnemonic for the congregation present at the sermon. Vicars argued that, while it was indeed a ‘great honour’ for a man to ‘carrie Christ in his shield’, it was ‘a farre greater grace to carry Christ in his heart’. By drawing the audience’s attention to the escutcheon and explaining its relevance to his chosen text of Revelation 2:12, it can be demonstrated that Vicars effectively employed heraldic art in order to promote and disseminate Reformed theology.

Catholic preaching and art has been discussed at length by scholars such as Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby in studies of European medieval sermon culture. However, apart from Peter McCullough’s exhaustive reconstruction of Donne’s sermon delivered at the heraldic funerals of Sir William Cokayne in 1626, less extensive treatment has been given to the ways in which early modern Protestant preachers in England used their heraldic surroundings to inculcate civic virtue, contrary to popular assumptions of Protestant ‘iconophobia’. Analyzing examples such as Vicars’ sermon and the Norwich guild day sermons of John Carter (d. 1655), this paper examines the historical contexts for these particular occasions in which heraldry bolstered the faith of the godly in situ and afterwards in print.

At-A-Glance Bios- Presenter #1

Hannah Yip is an AHRC-funded PhD Candidate at the University of Birmingham, UK (supervisors: Dr Hugh Adlington and Dr Tara Hamling). Since January 2018, she has been working as a Research Assistant for ‘GEMMS – Gateway to Early Modern Manuscript Sermons’, University of Regina, SK, Canada (principal investigators: Professor Jeanne Shami and Dr Anne James).

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From pageantry to piety: heraldic art as a preaching tool in early modern England

Montréal, QC

An intriguing engraving of a figure of Christ with a sword in his mouth, encapsulated within a shield, graces the title-page of a printed sermon by Thomas Vicars (The Sword-bearer (1627)). A close reading of the text reveals that the arms were those of George Carleton, Bishop of Chichester, and that they served as an important mnemonic for the congregation present at the sermon. Vicars argued that, while it was indeed a ‘great honour’ for a man to ‘carrie Christ in his shield’, it was ‘a farre greater grace to carry Christ in his heart’. By drawing the audience’s attention to the escutcheon and explaining its relevance to his chosen text of Revelation 2:12, it can be demonstrated that Vicars effectively employed heraldic art in order to promote and disseminate Reformed theology.

Catholic preaching and art has been discussed at length by scholars such as Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby in studies of European medieval sermon culture. However, apart from Peter McCullough’s exhaustive reconstruction of Donne’s sermon delivered at the heraldic funerals of Sir William Cokayne in 1626, less extensive treatment has been given to the ways in which early modern Protestant preachers in England used their heraldic surroundings to inculcate civic virtue, contrary to popular assumptions of Protestant ‘iconophobia’. Analyzing examples such as Vicars’ sermon and the Norwich guild day sermons of John Carter (d. 1655), this paper examines the historical contexts for these particular occasions in which heraldry bolstered the faith of the godly in situ and afterwards in print.