by Daniel Cogné
Associate Member of the Académie internationale d'héraldique

The Seal of Bishop Jacob Mountain of Quebec

The Seal of Jacob Mountain
First Anglican Bishop of Quebec
Among the most interesting ecclesiastical seals in Canadian collections is the seal of Jacob Mountain, first Anglican Bishop of Quebec. This rare impression is affixed to a document issued at Quebec on 18 October 1812, certifying that John Gunter has been admitted into Holy Orders (National Archives of Canada, MG 24, J 3, p.1. Photo C132124).

The shape of the seal, pointed at the top and bottom, goes back to the Middle Ages, and has always been favoured by the English clergy. On the dexter side is a shield ensigned by a mitre are found the arms of the Anglican See of Quebec: Per fess wavy Azure and Gules in chief a book open proper clasped and ornamented Gold upon the book a crozier in bend Or in base a lion passant guardant also Gold holding in the dexter paw a key erect Argent on a canton also Argent a cross Gules between four crosses patty fitchy Sable.

The Records of the College of Arms observe that the "Lion of England in the base supporting a key indicates the sacred confidence reposed by the Sovereign as Supreme Head of the Church, in the Bishop, and the undulated line is a symbol of the transatlantic situation of the See". The black crosses patty fitchy remind us that Bishop Mountain was a Sufragan of the Canterbury See. These arms were granted by Letters Patent of George III on 8 August 1793. The lower section of the Diocesan arms was borne without authority by Quebec City from 1833 to 1949.

On the sinister side of the shield are displayed the arms of Jacob Mountain which were granted by the English Kings of Arms on 3 August 1793. He bore 'Ermine on a chevron Azure between three lions rampant guardant Sable each supporting between the fore-paws an escallop erect Gules a mitre on each side a cross crosslet fitchy Argent'. On a riband placed on the edge of the seal is inscribed the legend THE SEAL OF JACOB MOUNTAIN D.D. BISHOP OF QUEBEC 1793. George Jehoshaphat Mountain, son of Jacob Mountain and third Anglican Bishop of Quebec, had a superb seal engraved by the Wyons, which was very close to that of his father.

(Reference : Heraldry in Canada/L'héraldique au Canada - Speakers Journal, Vol. XXIII, NO. 5, December 1989).

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