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The Sparke Family Crest

- as incorporated into the Old Rectory wall above the main entrance.

The Sparke arms are a shield with a diagonal white band from upper left corner to lower right corner with markings that look like arrows, the background of the shield is chequered, the helmet crest is of a crown with a rampant spotted leopard with fire issuing from ears and mouth .

"The first half of the shield has the Sparke of Plymouth markings the other two quarters are of families connected, more than likely his mothers. The family originated in and around Chester it seems. A little history on the family - it is documented that a family member of the reverend, the son of John Sparke of Plymouth, was the first man to discover the potato and tobacco.  He was a close friend of Sir Walter Raleigh and of Sir Frances Drake. He told his friends of his discovery and, on his next voyage, Sir Walter Raleigh brought back the potato and tobacco hence was credited with their discovery. A further story on that is amusing: Sir Walter brought back the samples and planted the potato in his garden, when the crop grew he ate the green leaf. Finding it foul to the taste he abandoned the crop. The next year digging his garden he found the potato tubers thus realising his mistake. John Sparke was a lieutenant on the Jesus of Lubeck, a ship belonging to the Queen, and captained by the son of Sir John Hawkins. John Sparke wrote about their travels and kept journals of all he saw on his voyages, the plants and animals, also the people. He was the man who gave us the saying, 'crying crocodile tears' after he witnessed a crocodile enticing its prey and many more sayings we now use every day. His work was published some years ago."

 Photo from Don Gray, text from John Sparks.