Intern Post: Heraldry at St. Paul’s Chapel, Lower Manhattan

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The Great Seal of the United States in St. Paul’s Chapel

When the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society was founded in the late 19th century, heraldry was more commonly known than it is today.  The earliest issues of The Record contain references to coats of arms used by members of various families. Several articles from 1872 describe the heraldry at St. Paul’s Chapel at 209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey streets in Lower Manhattan. The Chapel is the oldest church building in New York City and has many different examples of heraldry across its walls and on its premises.

The northern wall has a memorial of Colonel Thomas Barclay, along with his arms, which commemorates his 54 years of military and civil work. To the east of this is a monument of Margret Crooke, who was the wife of Charles Inglis, the Bishop of Nova Scotia, with her arms and the arms of Nova Scotia.  The tombstone of Beverly Robinson, on the east side of the church, bears the Robinson family arms, and is the only tombstone in the churchyard that features heraldry.  To the north of the church is the third and last monument in the churchyard, which belongs to Sir John Temple, and is decorated with his family arms. In addition to these arms are three unattributed coats of arms; one is on the south wall, while the other two are easily recognizable; on the northern and southern walls are the Great Seal of the United States and the Seal of New York.

With its many examples of heraldry, St. Paul’s Chapel is quite an interesting place to visit for research into the families who are commemorated there.

-Ian

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