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Stephen de Knelle
An eagle regard pruning his wings
Legend: Sigill STEPHNI DE CHNELE
(Charter Robertsbridge c. 1185-90)
A fleur de lys (c.1200)
Legend: Sigill STEPHI de CNELLEI
Geoffrey de Cnelle, son of Stephen
A fleur de lys seeded *
Legend: Sigill GALFRIDI DE KNELLE
(Charter Robertsbridge c. 1220)
Edmund de Knelle, kt.
Armorial seal - a lion rampant
cross crosslets fitchées semées
Legend: Sir Edmund de Knelle (Egerton charter nº 402).
This is the coat of arms of the Knill-Knell family of Knill Court in Herefordshire. One can clearly see that it is the same as the one of Edmund de Knelle in his seal without the Prince's feathers:
A shield of arms: Semé of crosses crosslet fitchées, a lion rampant, suspended by a strap from a quatrefoil-headed stud between two small slipped quatrefoils, within a carved and painted quatrefoil panel. Red wax, 13/16 inch pending from Egerton charter nº 402 issued in 1346, in the British Library (Birch nº 11.096). - Legend: Edmund de Knelle.
The British Herald V. 2 gives for Knill or Knyll, Hereford, the above coat of arms, as well as gules crusily fitchée or, a lion rampant of the last. - For Knell, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, gules crusily, a lion rampant or. Crest, a demi lion or, holding in the dexter paw a cross crosslet fitchée azur. - Knell, gules semée of cross crosslets fitchée, a lion rampant or, crowned and langed azure. Edmund de Knelle's seal, shows cross crosslets fitchées semées a lion rampant, though we do not know the tincture.
The eagle was adopted by Charlemagne, when he became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and was then used by all the German kings and emperors. This symbol is still to be seen in the German Parliament, whereas the Habsburg and Austria are using the double headed eagle. In the treasure of the Cathedral Aquisgran (Aachen in Germany) exists a bust, which is thought to contain Charlemagne's brain. It is covered in gold, the upper part is covered with eagles described in Stephen's seal and the lower part with fleurs de Lys .
From the charters of the abbey of Robertsbridge results the following information: That King Richard lost his seal during the cruzade and sealed differently in 1198. Ranulph de Hethinden, a neighbour of Stephen de Knelle, sells to the abbey land as he is going on cruzade in 1190. Seal: knight on horse with a shield lozengy. in c. 1200 he seals with a fleur de lys. Stephen de Knelle seals in about 1190 with an eagle and in c. 1200 with a fleur de lys. From that I conclude that he had been to Acre with King Richard, Ranulf de Hethinden and others of Hastings Rape.
This might give a clou of the ancestry of the Knelle family.
* From Nash’s Worcestershire:
De Bois family: The legend of Attwood the crusader
“On the coat of arms of this Crusader is the Fleur de Lys, a proof of his descent from the Capets, Kings of France”.
Matthew Paris gives
Philip I. 1060-1108, azure, semi-de- lis or (4,3,3,2,1)
Louise VI, d. 1180 (4,3,2,1)
Philip Augustus, d. 1223 (3,3,2,1)