Tag Archives: draycott family

Council’s new (old) arms logo

Our Draycott village council recently decided it needed a logo for its official letterheads – so it chose to have the ancient arms of the Draycott Family.
But did they get the arms’ details right?

Call to arms
The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that, as of last year, the village council has started using a version of the old arms on its official documents. This design now appears on the council’s official minutes.

Why exactly the councillors felt they needed a logo after one hundred years of existence isn’t recorded, nor do the minutes record why they went for the ancient Draycott Family arms as its logo instead of designing a more modern image.
(The Draycott Family were the ‘lords of the manor’ here for more than 600 years, from Norman times until dying out in 1698.)

Nevertheless, the council did it, and, last autumn, even went one step further.
The council had decided to buy and install a new public waste-bin (for £250) outside the churchyard – and decided (for a little extra cash), to have their ‘new’ logo permanently etched on to it (see pic below) … A little more historical research was done, and finally all the councillors were sure that the logo was designed to their satisfaction.

Bin outside churchyard

But are the arms strictly accurate?

It’s very easy to get confused in heraldry matters. Everything in it is defined down to the very tiniest twist of a tail. As we wrote about in a previous article, even the sign on the Draycott Arms pub is wrong in a tiny one of its details.
The council learnt from the pub’s mistake; the colours are now all correct. The shape of the cross has also been slightly changed from the council’s earlier version – in the summer 2020 version, it was a more of a ‘cross urdee’ (in heraldic terms), which is not the Draycott Family arms’ type of cross.

But is the cross on the new logo right, even after this correction?
According to heraldry, the Draycotts’ cross is a ‘cross patonce’, in which the ends of the cross splay out in three extended prongs (looking somewhat ‘like an animal’s paw’). But the current council version has more ‘nippled’ or ‘budded’ ends, which you might find on a ‘cross bottonnée’.
If you’re interested, the Heralds Net website has a guide to all the many different types of cross.

The best place to look for evidence of what the cross really looks like is probably St Margaret’s Church, of which the Draycotts were patrons for 500 years. You’ll see patonces all over it, from the patonce cross over the porch to the patonces on gravestones (see photos below). The patonce is even more popular in Cresswell at St Mary’s churchyard, where many of the older gravestones show it.

  • Patonce cross surmounting St Mary Church
  • Patonce cross on gravestone at St Mary's

But the most authentic Draycott patonces are to be found on the tombs of the medieval Draycotts, in a side-chapel at St Margaret’s, the so-called ‘Draycott Chapel’. After all, here the history of the Draycott Family is preciously guarded; generations of Draycotts are buried here, from the 1200s right up to the late 1600s.
In fact though, the medieval sculptors could be a bit sloppy, so the shapes of the crosses can vary a little – but the fact is that, generally, the Draycott tombs favour the fully splayed ends of the cross.

So – what’s the verdict? Well, in the long run, the verdict is that the council has deviated, but only slightly, from what we might call the ‘true’ patonce cross: the arms of the council’s cross are fatter than those on the tombs, and the council has also underplayed the splayed effect at the ends.
(Curiously enough, the Draycott Arms Pub sign is more accurate in this particular regard).

Does it matter?
The truth is though – even after all this deep investigation – that it doesn’t really matter (except to a few nerds like us…) what the logo looks like.
The basic fact is that the council, just like the pub, can have any version it likes, with any colours and shapes it likes. Until the council actually needs to ‘adopt arms’ formally, an exact version is not a statutory or legal matter.
In our opinion, the logo is nice & bright, fairly recognisable to most local people, and has a deep connection with the village… and is accurate to the Draycott Family arms to, er, 99%!

So … what does everyone think of the new logo?
Do they like it?
Or would they have preferred a more modern or original design to represent the council?

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Which is the real Draycott coat of arms?

Sharp-eyed history-lovers in Draycott have been puzzling over the pub-sign at the Draycott Arms. No, it’s nothing to do with the beer there (though the pub’s ale is extremely appealing!); it’s all to do with the colours on the coat of arms depicted there…
The question is: is the colouring on the sign correct?

From blue to red

Over the last three years, the sign outside the pub seems to have had four different and separate colourings.  They can’t all be right…
And, what’s more, the colouring on the coat of arms is slightly different again when you check out the instances in St Margaret’s Church, and in Checkley Church.
Have a look at our slideshow, and you’ll see what we mean… (The gallery is an ‘automatic’ slideshow, so give it a sec, and you will see the photos appear one by one).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


So what does the ‘Encyclopaedia Heraldica‘ say?  This definitive tome doesn’t make it easy, as it records around half-a-dozen different families called Draycott.

Draycott Family arms (standard)In fact, if you are searching on the internet, the usual link is to a Draycott family completely different to our one, which is why you will usually see on the internet a coat-of-arms with arrow-heads (see pic right).  This is not our Draycott Family’s arms.

In the Encyclopaedia, it describes the coat of arms of our (Paynsley) Draycotts like this (in Latin): “Draycott (co. Stafford). Or, fretty gu. on a canton ar. a cross patonce az.” This translates as: “…on a gold shield, a fretty coloured red, with an silver canton (i.e. left upper square), on which is a azure cross in patonce design”.    (A cross patonce is one whose ends are made into three leaf-like shapes).
If you look at the slideshow above, you’ll see that none of the signs appears to be correct, though the version of the Draycott Arms pub-sign that comes nearest to being correct is the current one.
So, well done to the new owners at the Arms, Zara and Brayn, who commissioned the current sign.  They were so close!

Draycott Arms sign 2015

Draycott Arms sign 2015. Aha!! almost right

Sadly, whoever painted their sign mixed up the colours on the canton and the cross.  The canton should be silver – and the cross should be azure (blue).

So now we know.

Thanks to all those who contributed notes to the making of this article – especially Lev Wood of the local history society.  Thank you!
(And sorry for getting the first draft of this post wrong)

Anthony Draycot – religious zealot

Over the last month, many of us have been watching the BBC period-drama ‘Wolf Hall’, which came to its end a few days ago.  Its theme has been the religious struggles during the time of Henry VIII, when Protestants and Catholics were at each other’s throats.

One story-line caused great controversy, that of the great Catholic martyr Sir (and Saint) Thomas More.  In the TV series, he was depicted as a ruthless and cruel persecutor of Protestants – before he fell foul of a change in the king’s religion, and he himself became one of the persecuted.

But, did you know that a similar ‘hunter of Protestants’ was based right here in Draycott-in-the-Moors?

Anthony Draycot

The local historian Bill Cawley calls Anthony Draycot a “villain” who was determined to root out Protestantism in Staffordshire, and who hunted down those he saw as  ‘heretics’, sometimes ensuring they were then burned at the stake.

Young Anthony, who was born some time in the early sixteenth century, was a son of the staunchly Catholic local aristocratic family, the Draycotts; and quickly became a great scholar at Oxford.  He was appointed Rector of Draycott in 1535 (not to mention of a few other places at the same time, including nearby Checkley) – but had to accept the fact that his king, Henry VIII, was turning away from Catholicism…

Checkley AD bench end

A medieval bench-end in Checkley Church, on which are carved Anthony Draycott’s initials, AD, presumably because he paid for or sponsored the gift of the benches

However, in 1553 came a new English monarch, Queen Mary, who was a Catholic – and Mary wanted to restore her religion as the state religion. So Anthony became Chancellor to the Bishop of Lichfield, and set about serving his queen zealously, by attacking Protestants… too zealously, we might say.

His reputation was tarnished, perhaps forever, by his depiction in the famous ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs’, where he is described as cruel and cold.


But no-one was ever safe for long in those times. As soon as Mary died, it was the turn of Protestantism again (under Queen Elizabeth); and soon his beliefs caught up with Anthony.  In 1560, he was condemned to prison as “an irreconcilable Papist”.

He probably would have stayed there much longer than he did but he was released due to his ill-health, and ended his years back home here in Draycott, at Paynsley Hall, on the family estate, dying in 1571.

Does he deserve his reputation as cruel persecutor?  Probably… but, in those unpleasant and heartless days, both sides were at it, in what they all perceived then as a struggle that was even more important than mere life or death.


Curiously, despite his reputation, the Protestant church of St Margaret’s here in Draycott lovingly preserves his memorial.

Anthony Draycott memorial

Anthony Draycot memorial in St Margaret’s Church

If you go into the church, you will find a brass plate attached to the front pew.  It has been polished and polished for so many years that the lettering has almost faded away – but this is his memorial.

However you won’t find his grave marked anywhere.   Maybe that was one step too far for St Margaret’s, which, by the time of his death, was a fully established Church Of England & Protestant church.

See also: A History of Catholicism in Cresswell and Anthony Draycott on DNB

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