The James Stuart Garden_As I wandered_....
Posted to: The Google+ Heraldry Community
Posted by: Karl Wilcox
Created on: October 17 2013 at 23:3
As I wandered the back streets of Norwich the other day (don't ask why) I came across this rather splendid gateway to a small public garden just south of the Cathedral. You can see it on Google Street View here: http://goo.gl/maps/28JyU
At first glance you might assume that these are the Stuart arms, but as the as the local registry of sculpture notes ( http://www.racns.co.uk/sculptures.asp?action=getsurvey&id=573 ), it is only "based on" the Stuart Arms. The pelican in her piety on the crest is correct, as is the motto Virescit vulnere virtus but the rest is rather fanciful as far as I can tell.
The James Stuart in question was a proponent of wider education, and of women's suffrage, but does not appear to have borne arms, and neither did his father, a Scottish Mill Owner. Interestingly, his father-in-law David Booth was also Scottish and was noted for being a slightly wacky lexicographer and publisher for the marvellously named Society for the Diffussion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK).
James Stuart's wife was a member of the Norwich Colman family (famous for their mustard), and although the gateway was her bequest she does not seem to be source of the arms either.
The carving is a little worn, but the blazon would be appear to be something like: (field), a fess, in chief a woman's(?) head between two roses, in base a roundel charge with a saltire (I think, if you look really closely!)
Anyway, I can't explain the origin properly but it is a nice find...
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