Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

George Kendall, Spy and a founder of Jamestown, Virginia

Signet ringIt has been suggested that this is a Kendall crest since the ring was dated to the 1585 expedition and there was a ‘Master Kendall’ on that expedition. I am not sure that a son would receive a signet ring before he came of age. An exception might be if he was going on a hazardous voyage to ‘new territories’. If the dating of the ring is that precise, then this may well have been the case. A second Kendall arrived with Sir Francis Drake in 1586. He was Abraham of Southampton, a successful sea captain, but I cannot trace the crest entitlement to him. A ‘Kendall, Gentleman’ was also involved with organising the Voyage. Was this the same man as ‘Master Kendall’ or his son? (

Given that this is a signet ring, the image needs to be reversed, which means that the lion faces left. The arms of the Earls of Kendal included the Lion passant (guardant) facing left, in a canton. This does not exclude the use by others; however following my tracking of the Kendalls, this is a very interesting find.

The early Barons of Kendal in the time of Henry II carried ‘argent, two bars gules, in a canton gules, a lion passant, or’. This family seems to have lost the use, because the next Earl of Kendal is John, Duke of Bedford, fourth son of Henry IV. After him the next Earl was John Beaufort who was also created in 1443 Duke of Somerset, but he died in 1444. He was the grandson of John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster) and one set of arms that he used was ‘argent, two bars gules, in a canton gules, a lion passant guardant, or’.

The next Earl of Kendal creation was for Jean de Foix in 1446. I have not seen that he used these arms, and those in his Garter Stall are the French arms with a label of five points for a difference. After him there were no creations because of the title use by the French de Foix family, until Bernard d’Epernon died in 1661. Then in 1666 the short lived son of James, Duke of York was made Duke of Kendal. Jean de Foix’s non-use of the arms may have allowed an English resident son to have used them.



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