The Lickfold Coat of Arms
Gordon M Lickfold
I discovered the family arms in 1986 when searching the indexes of the Sussex Archaeological Collections (SAC). The Sussex Archaeological Society commenced its annual publication of "Collections" in 1848. Each one has an index, in which there are occasional references to our surname.
Volume 50, published in 1907, includes an article about "St. Martin’s Church, Chichester" by E.E. Street FSA. At that time, St. Martin’s was being demolished, so Street made a transcript of all the monuments within the church. Fortunately for our family, the monuments in St. Martin’s were removed to St. Olave’s Church in 1905 before St. Martin’s was demolished.
Street noted that St. Martin’s Church "was restored and almost rebuilt in the early years of the nineteenth century by Miss Martha Dear", and that in earlier years "the east window of the church was adorned with the Royal Arms and with a lozenge containing Dear and Lickfold quarterly, as on Miss Dear’s monument". Unfortunately both of these had disappeared long before Street knew the church.
There were five mural monuments, including "on the north wall of the chancel a memorial to Miss Martha Dear". See photo of The Memorial to Martha Dear.
The inscription reads as follows:
of martha, eldest daughter
of john dear Esqre. alderman and town-clerk
of this City;
who died on the 18th Day of July, 1807;
aged 77 Years.
the Character of this venerable Woman,
would be to exhibit
those solid and useful Virtues,
the best of her Sex have been memorable:
She was Just, without Severity;
Charitable, without Ostentation; and
Pious, without Enthusiasm.
By her liberal and almost unassisted Hand,
this sacred ediffice
was rais’d from a State of impending Delapidation
into its present beautiful Form:
as a Testimony of her High Regard
for the spiritual Happiness
of her Fellow-parishioners;
and above all,
as an humble Tribute of Gratitude
to her god.
Her worthy Mother-in-law,
over whose declining Years she watch’d
with tender and ceaseless Affection,
together with her beloved Sister;
are interred with her,
in the same Grave."
The Lickfold Coat of Arms
Street continued: "On a lozenge below the inscription are depicted the arms of Dear and Lickfold quarterly. See photo of Lozenge. The former are: Gules, a Fess dancette, or; in Chief three Crescents of the second. The blazon of arms for Lickfold is: ‘Sable, a Bend engraled cotticed argent’".
In a footnote Street stated that "the cottices of Lickfold are wrongly depicted ‘Or’".
Volume 74 (1933) of SAC lists coats of arms in several Sussex churches, in an article by Fane Lambarde FSA. Under Chichester, St. Olave’s, his descriptions include:
"Chancel – Mural Marble
Martha Dear, d. of Alderman John Dear, 1807
Quarterly of four
1 & 4 ……………… DEAR
2 & 3. Sable a bend engrailed between two bendlets argent. LICKFOLD".
So what does this mean?
Interpretations of the heraldic jargon in this article are as follows:
So the Lickfold coat of arms is a black shield with a diagonal white (or silver) "bend" running through it from top left to bottom right. The heraldry signifies constancy, sincerity, peace and protection; I hope these are characteristic of all family members alive today.
A Chichester Alderman
When E. E. Street catalogued the monuments in St. Martin’s Church, he continued after the Martha Dear monument as follows:
"Nearby is the Dear vault with this inscription:
The second Wife
of John Dear Esq.
Alderman of this City
Who died March 15 1794
Aged 8_ Years.
Daughter of John Dear Esq.
By his first Wife
Who died January 23d 1788
Aged _3 Years.
of John Dear Esq.
Who died July 18 1807
Aged 77 Years."
Because this vault was left in situ when St. Martin’s church was demolished, it probably now rests underneath one of Chichester’s modern buildings.
The memorial inscriptions give us:
JOHN DEAR Alderman of Chichester
1st wife (died)
2nd wife = MARY
SARAH d 1788
MARTHA d 1807 Paid for Restoration of St. Martin’s Church
Where the memorial describes Mary as Martha’s "worthy Mother-in-law", she was actually John Dear’s second wife: thus, Martha’s stepmother.
By now you must be wondering, what is the link with Lickfold? The answer lies in the Marriage Licences for Sussex. In 1739 Mary Lickfold, maiden, married John Dear, gentleman, widower. Thus "Mary Dear The second Wife of John Dear Esq." was born Mary Lickfold.
This Mary was born in 1711 at Petworth, a daughter of Joseph Lickfold, publican. (Note that "born in 1711" fits with her death at age 83 in 1794.) Joseph died at Petworth in 1733, aged 53. His birth in circa 1680 is not recorded at Petworth, Tillington, Lurgashall or Lodsworth.
So, in a nutshell, the origins of the Lickfold family that had the arms are uncertain. And it appears that the Lickfold name died out in this branch as well. So, presumably, the right to arms died with them.
On the other hand, there is some evidence that the Petworth branch of the Lickfold family may have migrated there from Hillgrove in the 1650s. If Joseph Lickfold the publican was a son of John or Peter Lickfold, and if they did come from Hillgrove, then there are Lickfolds alive today in the USA who could possibly have a right to the title of the Lickfold family coat of arms.
The Coat of Arms
Being described in heraldic terms as simply "Sable, a Bend engraled cotticed argent", or as "Sable a bend engrailed between two bendlets argent", the actual shield is admittedly very plain. Unsurprisingly, the Lickfold arms is not listed in any of the books of heraldry of Sussex families. Indeed, I am rather pleased I came across it in the first place, the Sussex Archaeological Collections being a relatively obscure source for family historians.
If you request a professional firm to research the derivation of the name Lickfold and the family arms, they may well tell you our surname is a derivative of Lichfield, and they will sell you a beautiful crest for that family. However, I have proved that Lickfold is a completely different surname to Lichfield, and that the Sussex surnames Lickfield and Lechford are much more likely to be variants of Lichfield than of Lickfold.
The arms of Lichfield are (regrettably) quite exciting, including three leopard’s heads. Interestingly, when describing coats of arms in Sussex churches, SAC Vol. 71 (1930) has the arms of Lichford under Hurstpierpoint, a village north of Brighton. They are described as "Sable a chevron between three leopard’s heads argent".
On the other hand, if you provide the firm with the correct blazon of arms for Lickfold – "Sable, a Bend engraled cotticed argent" – they should produce a crest (Photo) similar to the one I had made in 1981.
St. Olave’s Church
Happily I can conclude with some good news. The Lickfold family arms can still be seen on Martha Dear’s memorial in St. Olave’s Church in Chichester. St. Olave’s is in the city centre, very close to the cathedral. When the church became redundant, it was converted into a bookshop run by the SPCK, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Fewer than a dozen monuments survive today on the walls of the bookshop, but Martha Dear’s is still there and is by far the most impressive survivor. It is at the back right of the shop, furthest from the street. The large marble mural is exactly as described by Street and Lambarde above – the bookshop being the chancel of the original St. Olave’s Church.
In the centre of the plaque, at the bottom, the arms of Dear and Lickfold are depicted quarterly – i.e., each family arms is depicted twice. It has to be admitted that the arms are not very exciting: the carving is crude, tiny, plain and insignificant. However, the crucial thing for us as a family is that it exists.
And it is housed in a beautiful building of great antiquity. Its flint walls stand in marked contrast to the modern shops on either side, and carry a plaque which reads as follows:
The Church of
This saxon church the oldest
building in Chichester was
built around 1050. It contains
evidence of late 11th century
work & was partly rebuilt
in the late 13th & early 14th
century. Being further
restored in the 19th century.
It is one of several churches
dedicated to St Olave or Olaf.
King Olaf Haraldsson.
Patron saint of Norway.
Lived from 995 - 1030 & was
canonised in 1164.
The bookshop is open every Monday to Saturday. It is on the east side of North Street, less than 100 yards from the market cross.
Photo of the author, Gordon Lickfold, his wife Marianna, and Sue Lickfold.
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