This large oval armorial bright cut engraved George III silver two handled tray was made in London in 1795 by John Crouch and Thomas Hannam and measures 26.50 long by 17 inches wide and and stands over 2 inches tall, it stands on 4 cast feet and has a reeded border with scrolled acanthus leaf detailing to the handles and has a large leaf scroll and flower head border to the face of the salver with fluting to the sides, there are 2 further bands of engraving and to the centre there is a large coat of arms bearing the motto JE PENNE – it is well hallmarked to the back and is in very good condition and hefty weighing 111.30 ounces or 3462 grams.
The Marital Arms of Charteris of Amisfield, soi-disant Lord Elcho and Tracy
(otherwise Tracy-Keck or Keck)
The armorial bearings as engraved upon this Large George III English Sterling Silver
Two-Handled Footed Tray by John Crouch and Thomas Hannam hallmarked London
1795 are those of Charteris1
of Amisfield, soi-disant Lord Elcho impaling Tracy.
These armorial bearings denote the marshalling of a marital coat showing on the
dexter (the heraldic right on the left as you view the piece) the arms of the husband
and on the sinister (the heraldic left on the right as you view it) the arms of the wife.
They may be blazoned as follows:
(on the dexter) Quarterly 1st and 4th Argent a fess azure within a double
tressure flory counter-flory gules (for Charteris) 2nd and 3rd
Or a lion rampant gules (for Wemyss)
(on the sinister) Quarterly 1st and 4th Or an escallop in the chief point sable
between two bendlets gules2
(for Tracy) 2nd and 3rd Azure
a cross crosslet fitchy or3
1 The surname Charteris is pronounced as ‘Charters’.
2 The bendlets as depicted on the arms of Tracy on Susan’s funeral hatchment are incorrectly tinctured
as ‘sable’ (black) when they should be ‘gules’ (red).
The arms are ensigned with a Lord of Parliament’s coronet.4
Motto: Je pense [I think]
Supporters: Two lions rampant guardant gules
These armorial bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of Francis Charteris
of Amisfield in the County of Dumfries-shire, soi-disant Lord Elcho (born 31st
January 1749 died 20th January 1808) and Susan Keck [née Tracy] (born after 1736
and before 1753 died 25th February 1835). Francis was the only son of The
Honourable Francis Wemyss (later Charteris of Amisfield), soi-disant the 7th Earl of
Wemyss and Lady Catherine Gordon,
5 whilst Susan was the second daughter and coheiress of Anthony Tracy (later Tracy-Keck or Keck),6
of Stanway House, Stanway in
the County of Gloucestershire and his wife, Lady Susan Hamilton.7
It is interesting to note that although the Earldom of Wemyss, together with its
inferior peerages were under attainder from 1746 until they were restored by the
reversal of the attainder of 1746 by an Act of Parliament on the 26 May 1826, Francis
as is evidenced by the his marital arms both engraved upon this tray and depicted on
Susan’s funeral hatchment found at Stanway House adopted the incidents of peerage
with the use of the coronet of rank of a Lord of Parliament and supporters. This was
doubly incorrect as his father was not legally the 7th Earl of Wemyss as it was under
attainder and therefore Francis could not adopt the courtesy style of Lord Elcho as if
he were heir apparent to the Earldom of Wemyss and could certainly not use the
coronet of a Lord of Parliament and supporters whilst his father’s heir apparent. Even
if he were legally such, he still could not use the incidents of peerage during his
father’s lifetime for he would only rank as an esquire to be styled ‘Frances Charteris
of Amisfield, commonly called Lord Elcho’. Another anomaly between two
representations of the marital arms shown here is that given Susan was an heraldic coheiress of her father, the arms as engraved upon the tray are incorrectly impaled
whereas they are correctly depicted upon her hatchment at Stanway House, the arms
of Tracy quartering Ethelred being placed upon an escutcheon of pretence over those
of her husband.
Francis and Susan’s eldest son, Francis
Charteris of Amisfield (later CharterisWemyss-Douglas), became the 6th Earl of
Wemyss upon the reversal of the attainder in
1826. Prior to this he had been created Baron
Wemyss, of Wemyss in the County of Fife
within the Peerage of the United Kingdom on
the 17th July 1821.