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HERALDRY OUTSIDE

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O give expression to the internal organism on the outside architecture of the Church House, a different style has been adopted; and to gain further emphasis a few Coats of Arms are displayed. On the west side in Great Smith Street the left side of the windows of the Hoare Memorial Hall are the Arms of Canterbury and York; on the right are inset the Royal Arms from the old Church House; it is near its old position. On the wall by the side of the Convocation Hall and seen looking up Great College Street are the Arms of Canterbury, York and London. On the cove under the oriel window of the Convocation Hall are the charges on the Arms of the See of Portsmouth in honour of the Bishop who contributed so much to the foundation of the new Church House; and a carving of the Assembly Hall, the focus of the building, over which a Fighting Partridge and the Bird of Wisdom brood.

In the Gateway are the Tudor emblems taken from the Victorian Gateway which stood there, and the Arms of St. Edward; on a boss of the stone vaulting Birds of his Arms, shown as Larks singing. The birds of St. Edward's shield are called Martlets by the Heralds; but the early Heralds of the Crusading age who assigned Arms to Saints took the motif from Edward's coins. On these they are more like doves, which may have symbolised the peace beloved of the gentle King. But the idea more likely would have been taken from a common Byzantine decoration, in which two and sometimes four birds, doves, or peacocks or phoenixes, often confused in the symbolism of the Resurrection, are represented about a Cross.

The stone statues of Christ blessing and two attendant figures, which were on the west front of the old Church House, are set up on the parapet of the Assembly Hall; they will be best seen from the Club Rooms.

From the Book "The Church House - Its Art and Symbolism"
Published for the Corporation of the Church House June 1940.
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