The “alliance” coat of arms 1782
Noyon: In red a silver walnut tree on green grass ground.
Terpstra/van Buren: Quartered (half a black Friesian eagle on gold, three green clover leaves on red, a golden bird turned to the left on blue, a black coiled snake turned to the right on silver)
(Chapter 4 from the book by Tjerk Frederik Noyon, “The history of the family Noyon”)
The French Connexion
Once one starts an investigation into the family history, then also a family crest, hitherto regarded as an established item, becomes the object of a critical research: when was it first implemented, what is its meaning?
In 1964, when I was still limited to the search of a connection to the “the Noyons” inFrance, I looked in the Bibliothèque Nationale for heraldic records. The quoted French family coat of arms turned out to be a black eagle on a silver back ground.
Another one, not related to this former family, a Norman nobleman “de Noyon” did have a tree in his coat of arms. I could not do much with this information. The link to these noble families would later appear to be extremely unlikely, and the only likelihood would have been the “speaking” character of the walnut tree.
The oldest entries
We can not go far back in time with the “Dutch” Noyon coat of arms. It is mentioned by Rietstap in his Armorial General (1861), which at least indicates that it led a recognized existence in the 19th century.
In the cited letter from 1873 my grandfather wrote that our family crest was a “speaking coat of arms” and that the information contained therein was a walnut tree (noyer) for Noyon.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, this remains to be the most plausible explanation. While Rietstap only mentions a “tree”, the Netherlands Patriciaat 1982 speaks of a “walnut tree”. This brings us not much further back than the second half of the 19th century.
A further investigation inFrieslandbrought the following additional information:
- The index card collection of Heerema de Voss, now in the National Archives inLeeuwarden. This former National Archivist recorded herein the family crests which he found on seals, tombstones and other objects.
1) Petrus Noyon
Notary in Sneek, 29/12/1811 Calculation Book Sneek
2) Petrus Noyon
Notary Sneek deposited notary deeds, January 1822 account book Sneek
3) J. Noyon,
clock in Sneek,FriesianMuseum,Leeuwarden
4) Lacquer seal of the weapon Noyon next to a standing Mercurius, from the collection Van Wageningen. (When questioned in 1987 however, the current occupant of Dekemastate, Mr G. Wageningen appeared not be aware of the existence of this seal.)
Numbers 1) and 2) and no doubt also 4) points to Petrus Simeon, whose family crest is already sufficiently known to us through the alliance crest. The reference 3) probably refers to his father Joseph (1737-1796) who, because of his position as Governor, architect and mayor certainly will have had a need to apply a seal. I have unfortunately not been able to find the clock. It is possible that under Josephs supervision a new clock was casted for the tower of theMartiniChurchwhich was managed by the city. But this clock has now disappeared, possibly during the German occupation.
We may assume however that Petrus Simeons crest will not have differed much from that of his father. The clock of J. Noyon would therefore be, until now, the oldest reference to the family coat of arms.
The coat of arms from 1782
I had been able to acquire in 1978 the carved wooden panel of the coat of arms inArgentina. I knew about its existence because of a photo in possession of Mr Van der Veen Vonk.
It is a beautifully carved panel 45 by56 cmwith sloping edges, suggesting that it was once a part is of a piece of furniture, such as a church pew. It is a fully polychrome and according to the caption “Nojon-Terpstra” is a so-called alliance crest.
Its origin dates from 1782, the year in which Petrus Simeon Noyon married with Remelia.
Remelia’s weapon is as follows:
half of a Friesian eagle, black on gold,
three clover leaves green on red,
a bird turned to the left (a dove?) gold on blue,
a coiled snake turned to the right, black on silver.
Since Rietstap described the Terpstra coat of arms (Friesland,Holland) with identical figures (Half Friesian eagle and 3 clover leaves pile wise) the bird and the snake would have been from the coat of arms of Van Buren. Remelia was in effect the daughter of Tarquinius Terpstra and Aaltje van Buren. If the bird represents a dove, this could point to the “right to own a dovecote” that was restricted strictly to the inheritors. The origin of the family Van Buren is to be sought outside ofFriesland. Unfortunately, Rietstap does not mention a similar weapon and we remain ignorant of the origins of the Van Buren family, since outside her marriage no further details are known about Aaltje’s mother, Remelia.
On the back of the panel with the alliance coat of arms, there was an inscription written by pen. We could no longer decipher the handwriting, as in the course of time the ink was much faded and had almost disappeared.
I asked the advice of a professor at theUniversityofLouvainla Neuve, who disposed of a scientific laboratory, as an expert in history of art. Nothing was revealed with infrared or ultraviolet light however. With the idea of “all or nothing” and in danger that the inscription would disappear for good, I placed a wet sponge on it, and law and behold, the words emerged almost entirely legible, saying:
“This board has been placed in the church in Tjummarum Vriesland above the seat pertaining to the …. place of the family Noyon ”
This has probably been written by the hand of Petrus Simeon, son in law of Johannes van der Veen, through whom the panel eventually ended up inArgentina. Remelia Terpstra was only child whose parents died young and will have inherited land near Franeker, birthplace of her father, to which belonged a permanent place in thechurchofTjummarum.
According to the director of theFrisianMaritimeMuseum, to whom we showed our acquisition, the maker of the panel is probably Matthijs Ankringa (Lemmer 1754 – Sneek 1814) who made many sculptures and carvings in Sneek and its vicinity.
Finally it should be mentioned, that I have made available photos of some artefacts at the request of the genealogist engineer G.L. Meesters, who had “our” Terpstra’s in his family quarters. Both the portraits of Petrus Simeon and Remelia as the picture of our family crest was used by him as an illustration in an article published in Gens Nostra (NGV, January 1981).
Coat of Arms: In red a silver walnut tree on green grass
Crest: a walnut tree on the helmet
Streamers: silver and red