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Seawell Newcome Coat of Arms​

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Lurking under the foliage, tucked away to one side of our walled garden and only known by our Horti department and those that work in there, has been sitting a rather valuable artefact and possibly the oldest item we have of our site’s history.

This stone plaque bearing a coat of arms was spotted by one of our Communications Team, who hoped it was that of one of the site’s former owners, The Seawell Family.  It was brought to the attention of our volunteer archivist, Nigel Price, who submitted it to the College of Arms for verification.

We are delighted to say that in April 2021 we had the response below, from the Chester Herald, Hon. Christopher John Fletcher-Vane from the Royal College of Arms confirming our suspicions.

At all times significant numbers of people have just assumed “arms” irregularly and without lawful authority. This may be a matter of regret to the heralds but it is a fact of life. The heralds have always had difficulty controlling the irregular use of arms. Such irregular use of arms is often of considerable historical interest. In practice where “arms” are just assumed it is not uncommon for a family to assume “arms” which are similar or even identical to the arms of another family with the same or a similar surname.

I have not checked whether the people concerned were actually entitled to the coats of arms in question. In my opinion what you have are the arms of Thomas Seawell of Bookham, Surrey, and his wife, Mary (Newcome). They were married on 14th December 1786 at St John’s Church, Hackney.

The arms on the left as in your photograph look to be Seawell quartering Chitty. Thomas Seawell’s parents were Samuel Seawell and his wife, Sarah (Chitty). Sarah Chitty’s father was Sir Thomas Chitty, Lord Mayor of London. The arms on the right look to be Newcome ( a lion’s head erased between three crescents).

Hon. Christopher John Fletcher-Vane
Chester Herald

Marriage banns of Thomas Seawell to Mary Newcome 14th December 1786

Portrait of Mrs Mary Seawell of Great Bookham in 1792 – painted by portraitist John Downman (1750 – 1824)

Click on photos to enlarge.


What's Next?

This is a wonderful addition to our heritage and we will be seeking to relocate and preserve it for our future visitors.  It is also rather timely as local author and history Vivien White is currently writing a book about our site which will include the Seawell family, but here is what we know so far, courtesy of the Leatherhead and District Local Historical Society and visitors to The Grange. The History of The Grange Site

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