Answer April 2020
The tiles are in one of the 6 panels that adorn the front of the Grapes at the bottom end of St Mary’s Chare.
The Grapes stands on the site of one of the town’s earliest inns, the Grapes Inn. The arms for war (2 escallops/shells and 2 fracted/broken oak branches) of Thomas, Lord Dacre from the C16 Tudor building are built into the facade, as can be seen in the photograph. He was bailiff and in charge of the government of Hexhamshire under Cardinal Wolsey.
The fine Tudor building has vanished and only a stone built into the modern inn, upon which are carved the arms of Lord Dacre, remind us of the old hostelry. Hexham, A Short History and Guide, Frank Graham, 1973, p.25.
The site has undergone major redevelopments in the last century. Here are some key dates and events in the timeline, assembled from information collected by Colin Dallison:
2 thoughts on “Answer April 2020”
Here are is some additional information with references from Colin Dallison’s archive:
Arms of Dacre. First recorded 1865.
Drawings: Raine II 1865, title page; Hodges 1888, A Plate 53; Hodges 1919, p.123 map
1865. On the title page. The arms, for war, of Thomas lord Dacre, of the North, the
archbishop’s steward of the regality of Hexham. Carved in stone on a house in Hexham.
Raine II 1865, p.cv.
1886. In the front of the Grapes Inn, in the Back Street, is a shield bearing two scollop
shells and two ragged staffs, counterchanged, the badges of the Dacres. Bulmer 1886, p.334.
1888. A. Shield, bearing the arms for war of Thomas, Lord Dacre who was steward of
the regality of Hexham. Hodges 1888, p.57 Plate 53.
1919. In front of the Grapes Inn. Arms of Dacre for war. Hodges 1919, p.123 map.
1995. Thomas, Lord Dacre was bailiff in charge of the government of Hexhamshire
under Lord Wolsey. The arms are two escallops (shells) and two fracted (broken) oak
branches. The C16 Tudor building on the site was demolished in 1898. It was rebuilt in
1899, architect Henry E. G. Wilson. CNDallison
‘Thomas, Lord Dacre from the C16 Tudor building are built into the facade, as can be seen in the photograph. He was bailiff and in charge of the government of Hexhamshire under Cardinal Wolsey. ‘
I am probably being picky but is this correct? Thomas, Lord D (1467-1525) was the son of a Governor of Carlise and Warden of the West march to whose property he succeeded in 1485. He was an experienced soldier and an archetypal Border fixer. Warden of the English West March (1509-1525). He was on friendly, gambling term with James IV of Scotland in the peaceful early 16thC; and, perhaps because of this, was able to identify the king’s stripped body after Flodden where he had been Surrey’s principal lieutenant. Later he was a great sower of strife north of the Border and took a major part in the punitive raid of 1523, wasting the country around Kelso. All of this would have been ‘under Wolsey’ who by the autumn had recorded ‘there is left neither house, fortress, village, tree, cattle, corn or other succour for man.’
But was he ever ‘bailiff and in charge of the government of Hexham’? Bailiff seems rather a lowly rank compared with a Warden but it is possible that he held this position before becoming Warden. My main source G. MacDonald Frazer, The Steel Bonnets ( pp221-222 etc.) does not mention this but it may have been an earlier appointment.
Why Dacre’s hatchment should be set into the facade of successive ‘Grapes’ is another puzzle. It seems possible that this is yet another of the carved stones which escpaed from the Priory Church or buildings after the Dissolution. Hugh Dixon (isolated and maundering – no need for reply!)