Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Rebus Definition

History and Architecture

Rebus

A rebus is a visual pun, a pictogram, or play on words, usually in the form of a painting or carving  that illustrates a family name. Rebuses are often found on medieval tombs where they depict in a visual manner the family name of the deceased. They are also often found as decorative elements (such as a roof boss) remembering an important church patron. Rebus principles are frequently used in heraldry, where the pictogram practise is called canting. A commonly used symbol in rebuses was a barrel, which in the medieval period was known as a tun. Thus a barrel symbol could be used to represent the last part of a name like Bolton (Bolt + tun).

Related: Boss  




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In 1678-81 this clergyman claimed to have knowledge of a 'Popish Plot' to kill Charles II



28 May, 1265

Prince Edward escapes from Simon de Montfort's custody

Edward, later Edward I, joins the Earl of Gloucester and Roger Mortimer in opposition to de Montfort

This monarch was second in line to the throne until the untimely death of his brother, the Duke of Clarence



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