This superb armorial George III silver tray is made in London in 1789 by John Crouch and measures 21 inches in length by 13.25 inches wide and has a large gadrooned border with the handles having acanthus leaf detailing. It has a large coat of arms to the centre below a lion rampant crest and is fully and very clearly hallmarked to the back. A fine quality tray in excellent condition weighing 62.65 ounces or 1949 grams.
The Marital Arms of Dickenson (with Wood in pretence) and Bradley
The armorial bearings as engraved upon this George III English Sterling Silver TwoHandled Tray by John Crouch hallmarked London 1789 are those of the family of Dickenson (with Wood in pretence) impaling Bradley. These armorial bearings have the odd marshalling of a marital coat shown on the dexter (the heraldic right on the left as you view the piece) the arms of the husband (with escutcheon of pretence for his first wife)1 and on the sinister (the heraldic left on the right as you view it) the arms of his second wife. They may be blazoned as follows:
(on the dexter) Azure a fess between two lions passant erminois (for Dickenson) over all an escutcheon of pretence Azure an oak growing out of a mount in base or between two ships under sail argent (for Wood)
This would undoubtedly denote the first wife was an heraldic heiress. An heraldic heiress or coheiress is a daughter who has no brothers or whose brothers have died without surviving issue, and whose father is dead. If she marries, her husband (as above) bears her paternal arms on an escutcheon of pretence on his own. On the death of an heraldic heiress, her arms are transmitted as a quartering to her issue if any.
(on the sinister) Quarterly 1st and 4th Sable a fess engrailed in chief a mullet between two crosses paty argent2 (for Bradley) 2nd and 3rd Sable a fess engrailed in chief a mullet between two crosses paty argent2 (for Bradley)
Crest: A demi-lion rampant per pale ermine and sable (for Dickenson)
These armorial bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of an as yet identified gentleman of the Dickenson family who appears from the evidence of the escutcheon of pretence on his arms to have married firstly an heraldic heiress of the Scottish family of Wood. Unusually he had kept the escutcheon of pretence on his subsequent marriage to his unnamed second wife who may made been a member of the Bradley family of the City of London and of Bethom in the County of Lancashire. Here it should be noted that one of the second wife’s immediate forebears must have married a cousin who was an heraldic heiress in view her paternal arms of Bradley quartering Bradley.