I thought that, in order to tie up all the loose ends in our recent discussion on Livery,Coats of Arms and Crests, we ought to look at another crest associated with the Austen family- the Knight family crest, as this was specifically mentioned by Jane Austen when her brother, Edward Knight was purchasing some bespoke china from Wedgwood at his London showrooms in St James Square in 1813.
In her letter to her sister Cassandra Austen, dated 16th September 1813, Jane Austen wrote:
We then went to Wedgwoods where my Brother and Fanny chose a Dinner Set. I believe(sic) the pattern is a small Lozenge in purple, between Lines of narrow Gold, and it is to have the Crest.
Here is a photograph of some of these pieces which still exist and are on display in the Jane Austen’s House Museum:
You can see that these pieces of china are, indeed, decorated as Jane Austen described them:
And the Knight family crest is added to each piece, which can be seen at the top centre of each border of purple lozenges.
The crest of the Knight family is a friar. Here is its technical description:
Crests: a friar, habited ppr., holding in the dexter hand a cinquefoil,arg., and in the sinister , a cross suspended from the wrist, the breast charged with a rose, gu, for Knight.
(See: A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain (1852) by Sir Bernard Burke).
So , therefore, you can see that the Knight crest is a friar wearing a purple habit, holding in his right hand a five petalled flower, and having a cross suspended from his left wrist. The purple of the heraldic crest is reflected in the purple of the design on the china.
Burke’s book explains that, Edward Knight…
… whose patronymic was AUSTEN assumed the surname and arms of KNIGHT upon inheriting the estates of that family.
Do note that you can enlarge all these image to see every detail. And so, I think we have finally come to the end of this series ;) But there is a little post script to the entry in Burke’s for Knight of Godmersham, and I thought you might like to read it:
The Rev.Geroge Austen who m. Miss Cassandra Leigh and had issue…..Jane b 16 Dec. 1775 and d. 18 July 1817. This lady acquired high reputation as a novelist and has left behind her some of the best modern productions in that walk of literature. we need only name “Sense and Sensibility” ” Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma”. Miss Austen’s style was her own- domestic, interesting and original.
Jane’s fame, indeed.