Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The John de la Pole tomb in Wingfield church has his feet resting on a lion with a forked tail. Does the forked tail symbolize anything please?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

It's worth noting that the lion with a forked tail (queue forchée) is on John de la Pole's heraldry, which you can see below. That shows the heraldry from his wife's family, quartered with the De la Pole heraldry he inherited. The lion originates on the Burghersh family heraldry -- De la Pole's wife, Alice, was the daughter of Thomas Chaucer who had married a Burghersh heiress.

(Yes, those Chaucers. Alice was Geoffrey's granddaughter.)

Now, regarding the meaning of the forked tail -- John Bossewell's Workes of Armorie (1572) had this to say:

"Here the Lyon his tayle is forked. For by the taile his boldenesse, and harte is knowne, as the horse is knowen by the eares. For when the Lyon is wrothe, first he beateth the earthe with hys tayle, and afterwarde as the wrathe increaseth, he smiteth, and beateth his own backe."

(Source, and see the screen shot below.)

John de la Pole's coat of arms enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
thanks very much for this –  pat palmer May 1 at 11:44
add comment

The lion rampant with forked tail is a traditional emblem of Bohemia, now the Czech Republic, first evidenced on the seal of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia granted by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in the mid to late 13th century.

The forked nature of the tail is not meant to represent a mythical or unusual creature; rather it is to represent a moving tail, or a wagging tail if you will.

share|improve this answer
    
thank you,its all good information –  pat palmer May 1 at 11:45
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.