St Michael and All Angels, Linton in Craven
George III Coat of Arms
This picture shows a Royal Coat of Arms for George III.
It's the sort of thing we don't tend to associate with a church, but this is the second one of these I've seen this year - the other was in St Mary's, Silchester.
The story behind this one is quite interesting. My information comes from a picture I took at the time of the information shown within the smaller frame on the right. It's - here -
Luckily while we were at the church somebody was on hand to tell us a little more.
The coat of Arms is painted on oak. It was discovered when a vestments cupboard in the vestry was removed during extension work in 1994/5. What the workers originally saw were some fine oak boards that they thought could be used for various DIY projects of their own, rather than sending the wood off to landfill. When the panel was removed this wonderful work was discovered.
During the Commonwealth Cromwell decreed that his
Coat of Arms should be displayed in all churches, it had to visible to all the congregation when they were looking towards the altar. Perhaps it was a reminder of his power and importance. Whether it was to suggest that he had more power than the Church, I really don't know.
But, as a means of passing on information it was a good one. Everybody went to Church, information - both local and national - was passed onto the population through the clergy. There was no television or radio, and newspapers were not produced until the reign of Queen Anne in 1702 - but the majority of the population was illiterate until the latter part of 19th century so relied on word of mouth.
On the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, a decree from King Charles II stated that these Cromwellian artefacts should be removed and the Royal Coat of Arms displayed instead. Again, I'm sure this was to indicate his authority, and also to let people know who was King and what the Royal Coat of Arms looked like, so they could recognise it if need be.
The tradition continued, in Linton, until at least 1801-1816 when this one was painted. It is believed that it was removed during the reign of Queen Victoria - possibly during renovations in 1862. There is no evidence of there being any later Coat of Arms on display in the church.
The church was fortunate enough to get a grant from Yorkshire Dales National Park to restore this, and it's now proudly displayed - as you can see.
You can see more information - here -
A little more about the church - here -
Linton is - here -.