As is natural, Ricardians are always interested in heraldry depicting boars. And one might expect a family named Bacon to sport a member of the family Suidae on its escutcheon. However, it seems the connection between Bacon and boars is not at the root of it:-
“….You may think that the boar is a pun on the family name of Bacon, but it isn’t. The boar crest was actually that of the Quaplode family and in the grant to Sir Nicholas’s father in 1568 replaced the original Bacon crest which was a griffin. The family motto at the bottom translates as ‘Mediocrity is Stable’….” (from here)
But who, pray are the Quaplodes?
I don’t profess to know what was on the site of Shrubland Hall way back then, but it’s quite some pile now! Before its present incarnation, it was known as Shrubland Old Hall and was the property of the Bacon family.
It seems the Quaplodes were also known as Quapladde, Quaplod, Quapplod and Quaplade, as well as Whaplode, of course, and there are 14th-century records that unite the Quaplodes with the Bacons. Although whether or not the former had their boar crest then, I don’t know. The Quaplodes appear to have originated at Whaplode, a village in Lincolnshire, which was known in 1481-1482 for the Whaplode Riots. The abbot of Crowland had refused to repair the 12th-century church of St Mary in the village of Whaplode, and demanded money. The people took matters into their own hands and cut down churchyard trees to facilitate the church repairs. See Spalding today
Where did the Quaplodes get their boar? Well, in the absence of any productive sleuthing on my part, I shall make a (truly!) wild guess that they were successful in raising pigs. Then they devised a novel new way of curing the meat, opened a market emporium that soon had customers clamouring. There was even espionage from rivals trying to discover the magic recipe! It wasn’t long before the Quaplodes had a chain of spanking new emporiums at every market over the east of England and… No, no, forgive me, I’m letting my wayward imagination run away with me! 😄 Suffice it they were of sufficient importance to marry into the Bacons.
So it’s pure coincidence about boars and the name Bacon. And why did the Bacons abandon their griffin in favour of the Quaplode boar? I have absolutely no idea! Nor any wild haunches (sorry!) you’ll be glad to know. Well, except that someone in the Bacon family thought it would be a neat wheeze to play on their name? Who knows? But the fact is that the boar came from the Quaplodes.
If you go to this page you’ll find a wealth of illustrations of Bacon and Quaplode coats-of arms, mostly topped by the rather posh ermine boar.