The Nebuly Coat, by John Meade Falkner 1.0
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The Nebuly Coat
by John Meade Falkner
The Nebuly Coat (1903), by J. Meade Falkner, is a novel which tells of the experiences of a young architect, Edward Westray, who is sent to the remote Dorset town of Cullerne to supervise restoration work on Cullerne Minster. He finds himself caught up in Cullerne life, and hears rumours about a mystery surrounding the claim to the title of Lord Blandamer, whose coat of arms in the Minsters great transept window is the nebuly coat of the title. When the new Lord Blandamer arrives, promising to pay all the costs of the restoration, Westray suspects that the new lord is not what he seems.
The Nebuly Coat includes elements that were central interests in Falkners life, church architecture and heraldry. The massive Romanesque arches of Cullerne Minster recall those of Durham Cathedral which Falkner was familiar with through his work as Honorary Librarian to the Dean and Chapter as well as viewing it from his house on Palace Green.
Colerne which has been Cullerne during its history may have been the source of the name of the town and minster.
John Meade Falkner (8 May 1858 - 22 July 1932) was an English novelist and poet, best known for his 1898 novel, Moonfleet. An extremely successful businessman as well, he became chairman of the arms manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth during World War I. He was born in Manningford Bruce, Wiltshire, spent much of his childhood in Dorchester and Weymouth and educated at Marlborough College and Hertford College, Oxford, graduating with a degree in history in 1882. After Oxford, he was a master at Derby School, then went to Newcastle as tutor to the family of Sir Andrew Noble, who ran Armstrongs of Newcastle, one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world. Falkner eventually followed him as chairman in 1916, hard though this is to equate with his interest in poetry, architecture and heraldry. In his business travels round the world, Falkner brought back antiquarian treasures of all kinds. After his retirement as chairman in 1921 he became Honorary Reader in Paleography at Durham University, as well as Honorary Librarian to the Dean and Chapter Library. Falkner fell in love with Durham and, although he spent his later years traveling frequently, he called Durham his home, living in the Divinity House on Palace Green in front of the cathedral from 1902 until his death. There is a commemorative plaque there, while his monument is in the South Cloister of the cathedral. In addition to his three novels and his poetry, he also wrote three topographical guides (Oxfordshire, Bath and Berkshire) and a History of Oxfordshire.
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