Shield of Isabel, 3rd Countess of Rutland (nee Holcroft, of Vale Royal)
This diamond-shaped shield represents the 3rd Countess, Isabel.
Isabel Holcroft married Edward Manners, the 3rd Earl of Rutland, in 1587. The Holcroft arms includes two unusual emblems. One shows a squirrel (or is it a fox?) eating what may be a nut. The other, seen here, shows a black bird (a sea-eagle) and an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. We are as yet unsure about their meanings or origins—can you help? The sea-eagle may be associated with her father’s post as Vice-Admiral for the Coast of Lancashire and Cheshire.
Isabel was the daughter of Thomas Holcroft (1505-1558), a commoner who rose to great wealth during his career as diplomat, MP and as a ruthless commissioner for the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He built a mansion at Vale Royal on the site of the Cistertian abbey founded by Edward I.