The Mysteries of a Historic Home

My summer is now spent juggling the kids summer activities and a small army of contractors rather than sitting by the pool reading.  A good friend of ours has a heating business and he came by to measure for some venting in the roof.  Apparently what we have is inadequate.  He has been by before but there is a lot to see here.  This time he noticed the crest on the side of the house and asked  if I knew what it said.  It is hard to read way up there.


Be Just and Fear Not

I knew that the crest would have been chosen by Mr. Tillinghast since he was the one who had the house built but I had no idea what the significance was of the crest.  Steve was curious and later texted me that he had found the quote he thinks it references.  It is from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII:

Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not:
Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,
Thy God’s, and truth’s; then if thou fall’st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall’st a blessed martyr!

Steve is sure that Mr. Tillinghast chose that because he built this giant, ostentatious house on a prominent corner lot in the neighborhood. (In fact, he went bankrupt building the house and a third of the home was never completed!) Perhaps the words were a reminder to not worry about the envious tongues?

Whatever the reason I am grateful to Steve for figuring out the reference and I like the stanza as a whole.  There is a lot of history in this house, much of it we will never figure out.  We still don’t know why this line was important enough to Mr. Tillinghast (or maybe to his family?) that it was placed on the crest but it is fun to try to solve the little mysteries in our historic home.

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