Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Heraldry at Ballyfin

Ballyfin House, once home of the Coote family has been wonderfully restored.

Photographs are taken from

                                                      Ballyfin house now a hotel

The quartered arms on the left are Coote, Calthrop, Felton and Cuffe for Charles Henry Coote, 9th baronet while the arms on the right are for his wife Caroline Whaley.


(Where it is not stated, it is assumed the generations are successive)

Sir John Coote, the first of the family, married a daughter and heiress of Lord Pois or Boys

Sir John Coote of Devonshire, who m. a dau. of Sir John Fortescue

Sir William Coote married a daughter of Thomas Mansell

Sir William Coote married a daughter and heiress of Wortesley or Worsley

Sir John Coote married a member of the Sacheverel family

Robert Coote married a member of the Grantham family

Thomas Coote married a member of the Darnell family

Sir John Coote married a member of the Tyrwhit family

John Coote married a member of the Fotherby family

Richard Coote of Blewnorton, Co Norfolk, married Margaret daughter and heiress of Sir William Calthrop

Christopher Coote of Blewnorton married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of John Wichingham

Richard Coote married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of a gentleman named Felton

Sir Nicholas Coote married Amy, daughter of Thomas Cooper of Thurgarton

Sir Charles Coote settled in Ireland, and was created a Baronet in 1621. He married before 1617 Dorothy, daughter and coheiress of Hugh Cuffe of Cuffe’s Wood, Co Cork, they had among their children:

1.      Charles Coote, 1st Earl of Mountrath c. 1610 married first Mary Ruish, sister and coheiress of Thomas Ruish and second daughter of Rt Hon Sir Francis Ruish, of Castle Jordan, co. Meath, and Ruish Hall, Queen's County, by his wife Mary Duke, only surviving child and heiress of Sir Henry Duke, of Castle Jordan, co. Meath. He married secondly before May 1645 Jane Hannay

2.      Richard Coote, 1st Baron Coote in 1660, born 1620 married Mary St George (d. 5 Nov 1701), sister of Sir Oliver St George, 1st Bt., and daughter of Sir George St George, of Carrickdrumrusk, Co Leitrim, Deputy Admiral of Connaught, by his wife Katherine Gifford, daughter of Richard Gifford, of Ballymagarett, Co Roscommon. Parents of Richard Coote, Governor of Massachusetts, advanced in 1689 to the Earldom of Bellomont.

3.      Chidley Coote was born c. 1608. He married first a daughter of Sir Francis Willoughby and secondly Alice Philips, daughter of Sir Thomas Philips. He died on 19 November 1668 leaving:

Lt.-Col. Chidley Coote was born c.1644. He married Catherine Sandys, daughter of Colonel Robert Sandys, on 26 June 1675 and he died in 1702.

Reverend Chidley Coote was born in 1678. He married Jane Evans, daughter of Rt. Hon. George Evans and Mary Eyre, on 31 January 1701/2.1 He died on 1 August 1730

Robert Coote married Anne Purdon, daughter of Bartholomew Purdon, in February 1730. He died in December 1745.

Chidley Coote was born in 1735. He married, firstly, Elizabeth Coote, daughter of Charles Coote and Prudence Geering, on 26 October 1756. He married, secondly, Elizabeth Anne Carr, daughter of Reverend Ralph Carr, on 31 August 1790. He died on 6 June 1799.

Sir Charles Henry Coote, 9th Baronet was born on 2 January 1792. He married Caroline Whaley, daughter of John Whaley, in 1814. He died on 8 October 1864 at age 72.
He was the son of Chidley Coote and Elizabeth Anne Carr. He succeeded to the title of 9th Baronet Coote, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's Co. [I., 1621] on 2 March 1802.


The arms over the front door at Ballyfin are impaled for Coote and Whaley, the husband’s arms are usually on the left hand side (dexter [right] in heraldic terminology as the shield is carried) while those of the wife are on the right hand side (sinister [left]). Sir Charles’s wife was Caroline Whaley and that accounts for her arms.

The Whaley arms are ‘argent, three whales’ heads erased’. The background is silver (argent) and the whales’ are ‘torn’ or ‘erased’.

Now in this case the arms for the husband are not just for Coote, they are quartered representing other important families in his ancestry. These families usually involved heiresses who brought some new wealth into the family. The first quarter carries the Coote arms namely: ‘argent, a chevron sable between three coots proper’. This means the background is silver (argent) and the upside ‘V-shape/chevron’ is black (sable) while the coots carry their own natural colour (proper).

Sir Charles Coote who was created the first baronet in the family in 1621 was also the first family member to arrive in Ireland. The title of baronet went to another branch of the family and Sir Charles Coote of Ballyfin inherited the title from a then distant cousin so there is no doubt he wished to establish his credentials and what better way to do than through his arms over the front door of his stately home. The title is represented by the ‘red hand’ in the centre of the shield. All baronets would carry the ‘red hand’.

Diagonally opposite the Coote arms we have the arms of Cuffe in the fourth quarter. This not surprising as Sir Charles Coote of Ballyfin descends from the first baronet who married a Cuffe heiress. The Cuffe arms are ‘argent, on a bend dancettée sable three fleurs-de-lis of the field between two cotises azure each charged with three bezants’. Again the background is silver and the bend/diagonal ‘bar’ on the shield is indented (dancettée) and is black (sable) in colour. On the bend there are three silver (of the field – same colour) fleur-de-lis. On either side of the bend we have two narrower strips (cotises) each charged with three circular shapes (bezants).

The final quarterings are more obscure one can only wonder how some 300 years later the names of Calthrop and Felton emerged. One can only surmise at this remove but one of the well known sources was Lodge’s Peerage (first edition 1754) and these names occur there. Both Margaret Calthrop and the daughter of the gentleman Felton (not named in Lodge) were heiresses. We know that Christopher Coote son of Richard Coote and Margaret Calthrop married Anne Shelton who lived from 1505 to 1563. The Calthrop arms in the second quarter are ‘chequy, or and azure, a fess ermine’. The shield is chequy and looks like a ‘chessboard’ consisting of gold (or) and blue (azure) squares. The ‘bar’ across the centre is a fess and it contains ‘ermine’ an animal fur symbolised by the pointed features. The arms in the third quarter for Felton are given as ‘gules, two lions passant ermine’. The background is red and we have two lions (passant, all feet on the ground!) carrying ermine, the animal fur.

Coote motto ‘vincit veritas’ (truth conquers) is present beneath the coat of arms.

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