Heraldy Symbol Meaning Glossary

We have provided this glossary for our customers’ free of charge so that they can learn more about the meanings behind the colors, charges, etc. of a coat of arms.

  • axe

    The Axe appears in many forms in heraldic art, coming from both the martial and the craft traditions, indeed someone today would have a hard time telling their common hatchet from a turner’s axe, but it is likely that those in the middle ages were more familiar with each. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe Obviously the axe from a craft tradition may symbolise the holder being a practitioner of that craft, but the axes from a martial background are suggested by Wade to indicate the “execution of military duty”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100

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  • attires

    The magnificent antlers of the stag are known in heraldry as attires, which can appear as a charge on their own (usually with part of the scalp attached) A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:attire, or a stag may be attired of a different colour. Like many similar forest creatures, stags and their antlers are probably intended to represent pleasure taken in the hunt. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • anvil

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the anvil is typical and for meaning we need look no further than the craft of the blacksmith, with which the named family is likely to have been associated with. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P98 In representation it is drawn in a realistic fashion, one of the few heraldic items to be shown with a certain amount of perspective. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Anvil

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  • antique crown

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The antique crown is an example of this, being a simple design but honourable. It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • antelopes head

    The ibex or antelope was drawn by heraldic artists in rather more fearsome aspect than its real-life appearance, with large horns, mane and a long tail. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Antelope These days we regard the ibex as being a member of the goat family rather than an antelope, but in the middle ages there were was no real distinction between these animals. They could adopt many of the poses of the lion, such as rampant and statant. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P210

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  • antelope

    The ibex or antelope was drawn by heraldic artists in rather more fearsome aspect than its real-life appearance, with large horns, mane and a long tail. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Antelope These days we regard the ibex as being a member of the goat family rather than an antelope, but in the middle ages there were was no real distinction between these animals. They could adopt many of the poses of the lion, such as rampant and statant. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P210

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  • almond slip

    A slip is a step up from a leaf, being a twig with precisely three leaves upon it A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry, J.B. Parker, 1894 P583, hence an almond slip is a twig brunatre (brown) with three almond leaves vert (green). In truth the Almond leaf does not have the distinctive shape of an oak or maple having a simple, classic, “leaf” shaped outline.

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  • ashen keys

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112Wade points out the the Ash Tree was particularly venerated by the Saxons. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P128The seed pods of the ash tree are known as ashen keys.

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  • ash tree

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112Wade points out the the Ash Tree was particularly venerated by the Saxons. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P128

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  • arrow

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The regular prescence of the arrow, both singly and in groups is evidence of this. In British heraldry a lone arrow normally points downward, but in the French tradition it points upwards. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Arrow. The presence of an arrow in a coat of arms is reckoned to indicate “martial readiness” by Wade. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111

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  • arm in armour

    The Arm appears frequently in the crest of a coat of arms, often armoured and described in some detail as to its appearance and attitude. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:arm It can also appear on the shield itself as a charge. The arm itself is said to signify a “laboorious and industrious person” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P92, whilst the arm in armour may denote “one fitted for performance of high enterprise” A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P184

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  • apple

    The apple, in conjunction with other fruit is said to signify “liberality, felicity and peace”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132 The apple appears frequently in arms, sometimes stalked and leaved and usually gules (red). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Apple

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  • annulet

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the annulet is a good example, being a circular ring of any colour. They also appear interlaced or one within the other, both of which are very pleasing additions. Wade believes that these were one of the symbols of ancient pilgrims. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P19

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  • angel

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The angel Is a typical such usage. Wade assigns it the additional meaning of “dignity, glory and honour”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P104 They are depicted in conventional form, facing the viewer with wings extended. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:ANgel

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  • anchor

    A wide variety of inanimate objects A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the anchor is a typical case. For any meaning, we need look no further than a nautical or sea-faring heritage. Indeed, some arms go into great detail of the colours and arrangement of the stock, stem, cables and flutes of the anchor reflecting a detailed knowledge of the form and use of this device. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:anchor.

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  • alligator

    The alligator is a very rare charge occuring on only a handful of English coats of arms, and is depicted as it is in life, rather then being one of the mythical creatures one might expect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:alligator The similar creature, the crocodile was after all, thought to the inspiration for the dragon! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P26

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  • adder

    The adder or asp is one of the few named snakes to appear in heraldry, normally the generic term serpent is used. They can appear tied in knots but also in a more lifelike pose! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Adder We might suppose that it shares with the serpent the meaning of “wisdom”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P101

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  • acorn

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves or fruit. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. The acorn, often represented in its early state as vert (green) A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Acorn can be associated of course with the mighty oak, signifying, according to Wade, “antiquity and strength”, for obvious reasons.

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  • butterfly

    Wade assigns the butterfly as an emblem representing the soul. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P146 It is a very pleasant symbol to find in a coat of arms, it may be multi-coloured and indeed French heraldry contains several words specifically for describing the colours of various parts of this delightful insect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:butterfly

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  • bustard

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The bustard occurs only rarely but is equally welcome for all that.

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  • burling iron

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the burling iron is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Who now for example, nows that the burling iron is actually a tool used in weaving, and hence probably references that trade within the family in question.

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  • bulls head

    Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify “valour and magnanimity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117

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  • bull

    Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify “valour and magnanimity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117

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  • buglehorn

    The hunting horn, or bugle horn has a distinctive shape, being curved almost into a semi-circle, it can be decorated with bands of a different colour and typically hangs from a string, also coloured. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:hunting horn. Apart from its obvious reference to the pursuit of hunting, it has also been used in allusion to the name of the holderr (HUNTER of Hunterston) and Woowward suggests it is also associated with those who have rights or obligations to the forest. A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P400

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  • buffalo

    Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify “valour and magnanimity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117

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  • bucks head

    The chief is an area across the top of the field Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40. It appears in many different forms and can itself be charged with other charges and ordinaries, A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chief, being treated almost as if it were a completely separate area. In its simplest form it can be clearly identified. Early examples include the award by Henry III of England to the knight Robert de MORTEYN BRETON of Ermine, a chief gules.

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  • buckle

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 The buckle may fall into this category, it is present in a surprising number of different forms and has a long heritage in use, A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Buckle being considered honourable bearings and are said to “signify victorious fidelity in authority”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P115

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  • buck

    We should be surprised to find the stag or buck, noble quarry of many a mediaeval hunt, being illustrated in many a coat of arms. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69. It shares many of the poses to be found with the lion, but also one almost unique to the deer, grazing, as if the animal is still unaware of the hunter’s approach. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer. In common with all symbols related to the hunt we probably need look further for their intended meaning than the pleasure taken by the holder in such pursuits! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • broken spear

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The spear or lance is a typical example, often borne (for obvious reasons) in allusion to the crucifixtion. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111 Sometimes only the head is shown, and on other occasions the tilting or tournament spear is specified, familiar to us from many a jousting scene in the movies. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spear

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  • brick wall

    When used alone the brick wall is effectively a fess masoned of a particular colour. The fesse is a bold horizontal band across the centre of the shield, A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:fesse masoning being a pattern of offset rectangles like the mortar in the class brick wall construction known as stretcher bond. The wall and the masoning can be any colours, although a strong is best.

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  • brick axe

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the brick axe is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! For meaning we need not perhaps look much farther than the noble trade of construction.

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  • bream

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the bream has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • boys head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The boys head is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • bow

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The bow is an important symbol in heraldry, borne with pride on many a coat of arms. In addition to its military associations it may also be a reference to Diana the huntress. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P107

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  • bordure invecked

    The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). Invected is a very pleasing decorative pattern, the exact opposite of the decoration known as engrailed. It consists of a series of small arcs joined side by side, with points inwards, (i.e. a series of outward “bulges”). Wade suggests that these closely related decorative edges can be taken to signify “earth or land” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40.

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  • bordure compony

    The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). Compony, also known as Gobony (and a surprising number of other varying spellings!) A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gobony is quite unusual in the world of heraldic art. Where most colours, patterns and furs can be applied more or less to any item on the shield, compony is specifically a patterning for the major, so called ordinaries – the larger charges such as the fess, pale and bordure. The large charge is split into a single series of large, square sections and colour alternately of two tinctures Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 33. There is another variant, with two lines of squares known as counter compony (or sometimes even compony-counter-compony. Wade, the noted heraldic author groups compony with the other “square” objects as symbols of “Constancy”.

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  • border indented

    The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). An line drawn indented, i.e. in a saw-tooth pattern might be taken for dancettee, but in this case the individual “teeth” are much smaller. An early author, Guilllim seeks to associate this decoration with fire A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P39, and one can see the resemblance to flames. The visual effect is quite striking, an good example being the arms of DUNHAM (Lincolnshire), which are Azure, a chief indented or.

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  • border flory

    The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). Flory, we should not be surprised to find, refers to flowery, specifically the appearance of the stylised representation of the fleur-de-lys (lily flower) at key points A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Flory. We also find the terms floretty, fleury and similar spellings used in the same way. These flower symbols usually occur at corners, or in the case of items with long straight edges, small versions may appear spaced at regular intervals.

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  • border engrailed

    The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). A common form of this patterning, engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • border

    The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure. According to Wade, the bordure itself has no direct meaning, but is perhaps a container for the meaning of its colour or those additional charges placed upon it The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P50

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  • book

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The book is a typical example of this. Books could be open or closed and were usually richly decorated, sometimes described in detail, along with words upon the open pages. Wade tells us that the open book represents “manifestation” while the closed book signifies “counsel”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P146

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  • bone

    The bone brings to heraldry the association with mortality that it holds outside of the subject. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93 The precise part of the body in question is often specified, but no significant difference in meaning can be ascertained. On other occaisions a weak pun seems to be the aim, for bones appear often in the arms of the family BAINES. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bones

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  • bombshell

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! Even so, the grenade is an important symbol in heraldry, borne with pride on many a coat of arms.

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  • boars head

    In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67

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  • boar

    In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67

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  • blood drop

    The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gouttes Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee de sang being gules (or red) for its obvious resemblence to split blood.

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  • blade

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.The term blade is likely used as another word for the typical sword

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  • blackbird

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The blackbird is amongst the bird species to appear in heraldry, though in appearance can look a lot like the cornish chough.

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  • blackamoor

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The blackamoor is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • bittern

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The bittern is yet another variant of the heron group, the different name perhaps used because of a resemblence to the family name.

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  • bit

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – parts of the horse harness Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a good example of these, of which the bit is typical. The symbology is likely simply to be related to traits of good horsemanship, but also might sometimes be a play on words with the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:bit

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  • bison

    Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify “valour and magnanimity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117

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  • bird bolt

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! Even so, the bird bolt is an important symbol in heraldry, it is a special form of arrow head. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bird bolt

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  • bird

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164.

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  • billettee

    The billet is a simple rectangular shape like a brick or ingot, and in fact is sometimes shown with simply shading to imply rounded corners, quite a rare feature in the largely solid and geometric art of heraldry. Billetty then comes to mean “strewn with billets”, i.e. the field is covered with regularly spaced rectangles with large gaps between them A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Billet. This kind of patterning is known as a treatment, and there are no fixed colours, any combination may be used.

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  • billet

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the billet is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. In form it is a simple rectangle though sometimes has a slightly rounded or ragged appearance to reflect one possible origin as a block of wood cut by an axe. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Billet. Wade groups the billet with the other square charges as symbols of “honesty and constancy”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P95

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  • bezant

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the bezant Is a typical example of this, and in British Heraldry always takes the tincture or. It shares the same root as the name Byzantium, being associated with the gold coin of that city and indeed, in some heraldic traditions is represented as a coin-like disk in perspective. Wade suggests that the use of this device refers to ” one who had been found worthy of trust and treasure.” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P122

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  • bendy

    Knowing that the bend is a diagonal stripe of colour, we can easily conclude that bendy is the variant whereby the whole of the shield is covered with diagonal stripes of alternating colours, usually around 4 or 5 of each colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bend We should not assign any particular significance to the choice of this pattern, but rather more to the colours they are composed of.

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  • bendlet

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P22. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P49.The Bendlet is quite simply a narrower version of the bend, and there may be a small number of these present.

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  • bend wavy

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. It can be further distinguished by embellishing the edges. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • bend raguled

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. It can be further distinguished by embellishing the edges. Of the decorative edges raguly can be at first hard to identify, but once we understand that it arises from an old word raggguled meaning “chopped off”. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Raguly we can see that the curious shapes are intended to represent boughs lopped off a tree trunk. (This is also the origin of the term “ragged staff” see so frequently with a bear in Heraldry). Wade suggests that the use of this decoration represents “difficulties that have been encountered” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41, and we can perhaps understand that the “hacked path” resulting shows that these difficulties have been overcome.

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  • bend nebulee

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. It can be further distinguished by embellishing the edges. Nebulee (sometimes nebuly is a very pleasing pattern of interlocking curves, the name refers to “clouds” as it is reminscent of their soft abstract edges.

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  • bend engrailed

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. It can be further distinguished by embellishing the edges. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • bend dancettee

    The bend is such a bold and clear shape, clearly visible on the shield, that its popularity should not be a surprise. One of the Heralds primary roles is ensure that each coat of arms be distinct from all others Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 258 and one way to accomodate the demand for the use of the bend was to draw them with a variety of decorative edges, thus distinguishing, at least from close up, one set of arms from another. One example of this isDancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) , a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of these patterned edges. Wade, quoting Guillim suggests that dancettee be attributed to mean water, in the same fashion as undy or wavy, and one can understand this allusion.

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  • bend crenelle

    The bend is such a bold and clear shape, clearly visible on the shield, that its popularity should not be a surprise. One of the Heralds primary roles is ensure that each coat of arms be distinct from all others Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 258 and one way to accomodate the demand for the use of the bend was to draw them with a variety of decorative edges, thus distinguishing, at least from close up, one set of arms from another. An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • bend cotised

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. To add extra impact it can be cotised, with the addition of narrower bends to either side, which may be other tinctures for even more distinction. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P123. They are not common, but make a worthy and striking addition to any coat of arms.

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  • bend compony

    The bend is such a bold and clear shape, clearly visible on the shield, that its popularity should not be a surprise. One of the Heralds primary roles is ensure that each coat of arms be distinct from all others Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 258 and one way to accomodate the demand for the use of the bend was to draw them with a variety of decorative edges, thus distinguishing, at least from close up, one set of arms from another. Compony, also known as Gobony (and a surprising number of other varying spellings!) A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gobony is quite unusual in the world of heraldic art. Where most colours, patterns and furs can be applied more or less to any item on the shield, compony is specifically a patterning for the major, so called ordinaries – the larger charges such as the fess, pale and bordure. The large charge is split into a single series of large, square sections and colour alternately of two tinctures Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 33. There is another variant, with two lines of squares known as counter compony (or sometimes even compony-counter-compony. Wade, the noted heraldic authorgroups compony with the other “square” objects as symbols of “Constancy”.

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  • bend bretesse

    The bend is such a bold and clear shape, clearly visible on the shield, that its popularity should not be a surprise. One of the Heralds primary roles is ensure that each coat of arms be distinct from all others Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 258 and one way to accomodate the demand for the use of the bend was to draw them with a variety of decorative edges, thus distinguishing, at least from close up, one set of arms from another. The term bretesse refers to an edge drawn as if it were the battlements of a castle. Indeed, it is one of several, very specific terms which describes exactly how the battlements are to be drawn Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 44. Normally, if an ordinary, such as a fesse or bend is drawn embattled then the battlements appear only on the upper edge, however the use her of counter-embattled tells us that the lower edge should be likewise treated. In all cases, the use of this decoration, according to Wade, is clearly to be associated with fortifications such as castles and walled towns. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41

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  • bend

    The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P22. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P49.

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  • bell

    The bell usually represents the church bell, which is shown in a realistic, shaded form and may have a clapper of a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bell In the middle ages Church bells were believed to have the power to disperse evil spirits and to summon guardian angels and we can assume a similar meaning for their depiction in a coat of arms. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P147

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  • beehive

    The beehive appears in heraldry in its natural, rounded form, not the wooden box of the honey farm. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bee-hive In meaning it can treated in the same way as the bee symbolising “well governed industry”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P70

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  • bee

    We might well expect thebee, industrious creator of honey with all its association of both work and sweet reward, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 80, but we also find other members of the insect kingdom, both decorative, such as the butterfly and more of a nuisance, such as the cricket! A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P260.

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  • beaver

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The beaver Is a typical example of these.

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  • bears head

    The bear is more common in the arms of continental Europe than in British arms (possibly due to the lack of bears native to that country!), although the county of Warwickshire famously includes a bear in its arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bear Wade tells us that the bear is the “emblem of ferocity and the protection of kindred”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63

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  • bear

    The bear is more common in the arms of continental Europe than in British arms (possibly due to the lack of bears native to that country!), although the county of Warwickshire famously includes a bear in its arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bear Wade tells us that the bear is the “emblem of ferocity and the protection of kindred”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63

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  • beacon

    The Beacon is an iron basket raised on a post used for signalling in the event of peril or invasion and can be borne in flames or empty. A similar device, used more prosaically as a street light is the cresset. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Beacon Either device, for reasons that should be quite clear are to be regarded as emblems of “one who is watchful”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P116

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  • baton

    The baton is not a short staff, as its usage today suggests, but a geometrical ordinary on the shield, being a bendlet sinister couped, i.e. a narrow diagonal band cut off at each end. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Baton In ancient times it was said to be a mark of illegitimacy that should be retained for three generations. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P51

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  • bat wing

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The bat wing is one of the more unusual examples of the usage of flying creatures in heraldry.

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  • basket

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The humble but useful basket is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • bars wavy

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, is a typical example of this. For obvious reasons it is associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • bars indented

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. An line drawn indented, i.e. in a saw-tooth pattern might be taken for dancettee, but in this case the individual “teeth” are much smaller. An early author, Guilllim seeks to associate this decoration with fire A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P39, and one can see the resemblance to flames.

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  • bars humettee

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Humettee is a word of uncertain origin that means couped or cut. It is applied to so-called ordinaries, the large features that typically extend across the whole of the field, but their description as humettee means that, whilst still occupying the bulk of the space, they are cut short before reaching the edge A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Humetty. Thus the bar humettee is one of small number of horizontal bars ending just short of either edge. Richard II of England granted an example of these in the arms of John de DABRICHECOURT, being Ermine, on 3 bars humetty 9 escallops or 3,3,3.

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  • bars gemel

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. Gemel simply means “doubled” A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gemel, so whatever it is applied to appears twice, slightly reduced in size to occupy a similar amount of space to the original. This is different from having “two” of something, and indeed it is possible to have, for example two bars gemel, in which there are two, clearly separated pairs of bars.

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  • bars dancettee

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful. Wade, quoting Guillim suggests that dancettee be attributed to mean water, in the same fashion as undy or wavy, and one can understand this allusion.

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  • barry wavy

    When the field of the shield is filled with alternately coloured horizontal lines, this is known as barry, obviously because it is like having many separate bars across the field A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Barry. As well as being drawn with straight edges, there some decorative effects that can be used, and, with careful, these can be very pleasing. The decorations are typically much smaller than those used on the major ordinaries, such as the fess so care must be taken to ensure clarity. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • barry nebulee

    When the field of the shield is filled with alternately coloured horizontal lines, this is known as barry, obviously because it is like having many separate bars across the field A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Barry. As well as being drawn with straight edges, there some decorative effects that can be used, and, with careful, these can be very pleasing. The decorations are typically much smaller than those used on the major ordinaries, such as the fess so care must be taken to ensure clarity. Nebulee (sometimes nebuly is a very pleasing pattern of interlocking curves, the name refers to “clouds” as it is reminscent of their soft abstract edges.

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  • barry

    When the field of the shield is filled with alternately coloured horizontal lines, this is known as barry, obviously because it is like having many separate bars across the field A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Barry. Such shields have great clarity from a distance, those awarded by Henry III of England to Richard de Grey were, for example, Barry argent and azure, simple blue and white horizontal stripes. According to Wade, there was no specific meaning to be attached to barry itself, but it affords the opportunity to display at equal importance two colours that may themselves have specific meanings The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P55.

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  • barrulet

    The barrulet is the very narrowest member of the family of horizontal bands across the shield. The largest is the fesse, originally occupying one third of the height of the shield, barrulets are a mere one twentieth of the height and always occur in groups A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Barrulet. Like the other bar-like objects, Wade associates the use of this device with those who “set the bar…against angry passions and evil temptations” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P46.

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  • barley

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The barley is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period and likely a symbol of the land and a farming heritage.

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  • barberry branch

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112Only one example of the barberry branch is known in British Heraldry. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Barberry

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  • bar wavy

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, is a typical example of this. For obvious reasons it is associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • bar nebulee

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. Nebulee (sometimes nebuly is a very pleasing pattern of interlocking curves, the name refers to “clouds” as it is reminscent of their soft abstract edges.

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  • bar gemmel

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. Gemel simply means “doubled” A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gemel, so whatever it is applied to appears twice, slightly reduced in size to occupy a similar amount of space to the original. This is different from having “two” of something, and indeed it is possible to have, for example two bars gemel, in which there are two, clearly separated pairs of bars.

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  • bar engrailed

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • bar embattled

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • bar

    The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bar, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Bars can be a distinctive and easily recognised device, early examples include those awarded by Henry III of England to the family MAUDYT Argent, two bars gules.

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  • baldcoot

    The coot, also known as the baldcoot and moorhen is a water fowl, common both in Europe and in its coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Coot It is drawn in realistic fashion and may be beaked and legged of a different colour.

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  • balance

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The balance or scales is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • badger

    Real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The badger Is a typical example of these, also known as a brock it is shown in realistic aspect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:badger

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  • cutlas

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! The cutlas is a naval weapon, again quite hard to distinguish from the sabre. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sabre

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  • cushion

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The Cushion is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 The cushion is typically decpicted as square, with a tassle at each corner and may also have some other device upon them. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:cushion

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  • cupid

    There are occaisional examples of mythical beings or objects illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and the being Cupid is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that object, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124

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  • cup

    Cups of all kinds have been popular charges on coats of arms since at least the 14th century. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cup In appearance and description they range from simple drinking pots (GERIARE of Lincoln – Argent three drinking pots sable) to covered cups, more like chalices in appearance. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P288. These were borne by the BUTLER family in reference to their name and Wade suggests that their appearance may also refer to holy communinion within the church. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P117

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  • crusily

    The word semee is an old word that is best translated as “strewn” or “scattered with” and refers to the background of the shield, or large shapes upon, being sprinkled with a large number of the following objects. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Seme In this case semee of crosses crosslet means that the field is covered with small crosses, each arm of which is also crossed. The resulting pattern is particularly pleasing and of course signals the piety of the holder – indeed Wade believes that it represents “the fourfold mystery of the cross” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103Crusily may also be used as an alternate name

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  • crown

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The crown is an example of this. It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • crow

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crow, raven, rook and many older names are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. Wade discusses the symbolism of the crow, disputing Sloane-Evans suggestion as an emblem of “long life” and preferring “a settled habitation and a quiet life” instead. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P81

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  • cross voided

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross voided actually takes a slightly different approach, in which only the outline of the cross is shown, the background of the shield showing through. Any shape of cross may be voided, to give yet further variation on this popular charge.

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  • cross tau

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. The Tau Cross, or Cross of St. Anthony is a special form rather like a stylised ‘T’ shape.

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  • cross raguly

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. Of the decorative edges raguly can be at first hard to identify, but once we understand that it arises from an old word raggguled meaning “chopped off”. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Raguly we can see that the curious shapes are intended to represent boughs lopped off a tree trunk. (This is also the origin of the term “ragged staff” see so frequently with a bear in Heraldry). Wade suggests that the use of this decoration represents “difficulties that have been encountered” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41, and we can perhaps understand that the “hacked path” resulting shows that these difficulties have been overcome.

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  • cross potent

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross potent has square cross pieces at the very ends of its four equal length arms.

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  • cross pattee fitchee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross pattee fitchee is typical of these, pattee indicating that the upper arms spread out at the ends, fitchee showing that the lower arm ends in a point as if is to planted in the ground.

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  • cross pattee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross pattee is typical of these, pattee meaning “spreading”, and so the ends of the arms of the cross curve gently outwards to rather pleasing effect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Pattée

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  • cross patonce

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross patonce is typical of these, whereby each arm of the cross expands and ends in a bud-like projection. These cross variations are probably largely for decorative effect, and to differentiate the arms from similar ones and hence their significance is that of the Christian cross itself.

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  • cross moline voided

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross moline is typical of these whereby each arm of the cross expands and curves outwards, reminscent of the fer-de-moline from which it gets its name. These cross variations are probably largely for decorative effect, and to differentiate the arms from similar ones and hence their significance is that of the Christian cross itself.

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  • cross moline

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross moline is typical of these whereby each arm of the cross expands and curves outwards, reminscent of the fer-de-moline from which it gets its name. These cross variations are probably largely for decorative effect, and to differentiate the arms from similar ones and hence their significance is that of the Christian cross itself.

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  • cross masculy

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, the cross masculy is a particularly interesting variant. The mascle is a diamond shaped charge, actually a lozenge voided (with the background showing through). Hence the cross masculy is a cross made up of a number of mascles, touching at the outer points. A striking and effective charge in whatever colour is chosen.

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  • cross lorraine

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. The cross lorraine is a particular variant that is especially decorative.

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  • cross fourchee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross fourchee, as its name suggests is forked at the ends of its four, even length arms.

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  • cross formee fitchee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross formee is typical of these, (also known as a cross pattee) it has arms which broaden out in smooth curves towards the ends.The fitchee term simply indicates that the lower arm is pointed, as if it is to be planted in the ground

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  • cross formee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross formee is typical of these, (also known as a cross pattee) it has arms which broaden out in smooth curves towards the ends.

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  • cross flory fitchee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross flory fitchee is typical of these.

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  • cross flory

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross flory is typical of these, having each arm end in something very similar to the fleur-de-lys.

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  • cross fitchee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The term fitchee can be applied to any cross and simply means that the lower arm is pointed, as if it is to planted in the ground.

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  • cross engrailed

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • cross embattled

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • cross crosslet fitchee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. The cross crosslet is one of these, having an additional cross bar on each arm. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103 The final addition fitchee simply means pointed, and indicates that the lower end is pointed, as if it is to be struck into the ground. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fitché

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  • cross crosslet

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. The cross crosslet is one of these, being symetrical both vertically and horizontally and having an additional cross bar on each arm. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103

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  • cross calvary

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67 The calvary cross is a special form that most closely represents the crucifixion, being mounted on a series of steps or grices. Wade suggests that three of these steps might represent “faith, hope and charity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103

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  • cross bow

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The cross bow is illustrated in its conventional form that we would still recognise today. In common with the simple bow, it can be taken as a symbol of “martial readiness”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111

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  • cross botonnee

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross botonnee has all four, even length arms ending in three bulges.

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  • cross ancred

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross ancred is an example of these, having decorative ends on the arms.

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  • cross

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. In its basic form, the cross is created from two broad bands of colour at right angles covering the whole extent of the shield. It has been subject to all manner of embellishment, and the interested reader is referred to the references, especially Parker’s Heraldic dictionary for many examples of these. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P106 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P160-173 Suffice it to say that any armiger would be proud to have such an important device as part of their arms.

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  • crosier

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The crosier Is a typical such usage, being a staff carried by a Bishop in ceremony. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

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  • crescent

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106.

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  • crane

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. Guillim reckons the stork to the “emblem of filial duty” and also the “symbol of a grateful man”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P78

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  • covered cup

    Cups of all kinds have been popular charges on coats of arms since at least the 14th century. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cup In appearance and description they range from simple drinking pots (GERIARE of Lincoln – Argent three drinking pots sable) to covered cups, more like chalices in appearance. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P288. These were borne by the BUTLER family in reference to their name and Wade suggests that their appearance may also refer to holy communinion within the church. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P117

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  • cotton hank

    When people are depicted in heraldry their clothing and appearance are often described in some detail Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. We also find individual items of clothing used as charges in a coat of arms, and cotton hank is a good example of this. Sometimes these items are drawn in a somewhat stylised fashion, but this helps with recognition, important in distinguishing arms.

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  • coronet

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The coronet is an example of this. It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • cornucopia

    There are occaisional examples of mythical beings or objects illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and the Cornucopia is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that object, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124 It is illustrated in conventional form as the horn of plenty. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cornucopia

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  • cornish chough

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The Cornish Chough is a member of the crow family and is often depicted as black with red or orange beak and legs. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cornish chough Wade gives it the role of “king of crows” and believes that its use denotes a “man of stratagems”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P82

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  • cord

    Cords and knots occur surprisingly often as images on the shield, and in a surprising variety of named forms that would delight many a scout! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cord The interested reader is directed to the reference which illustrates many of them.

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  • coot

    The coot, also known as the baldcoot and moorhen is a water fowl, common both in Europe and in its coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Coot It is drawn in realistic fashion and may be beaked and legged of a different colour.

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  • cony

    The coney, which is an old word for rabbit and also used for hare is intended to perhaps represent “one who enjoys a peaceable and retired life”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67 They can be found in a variety of poses, but most often sejant or seated in a pleasing fashion. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Hare

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  • comb

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the comb is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol.

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  • colt

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The horse Is a typical example of these.

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  • cog wheel

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The cog wheel is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • cocks head

    The cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80

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  • cockatrice

    Nowadays we might conflate many mythical creatures under the heading of dragon but to the heraldic artists there was a whole menagerie of quite distinct beasts, the cockatrice or basilisk being one of them. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cockatrice Whilst both the dragon and cocaktrice are winged and scaled, the cocaktrice stands on two legs rather than four. Given the reputation of the basilisk we should not be surprised to find its meaning ascribed as representing “terror to all beholders”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P86

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  • cock

    The cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80

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  • club

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The club is more often found on the shoulder of a savage or wild-man than on the shield as a separate charge and is represented as we expect, in the form of a heavy, knobbly branch.

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  • clove

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The clove is drawn not quite in the form that we know it today but rather as small “drop” shape seeds. For meaning we perhaps need to look at the spice trade perhaps, as this is an important element within that trade. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:clove

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  • cloud

    It should come as no surprise that items from the natural world are frequently adopted for use in the coat of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P294. Celestial objects and natural phenomena have been given simple, easily identified representations. The cloud Is typical of charges derived from natural objects, Wade suggests that it may represent “arduous difficulties oversome”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P151

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  • civic crown

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The civic crown is an example of this. It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • cinquefoil

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. The cinquefoil is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is shown as five-petalled flower, each petal quite rounded but with a distinct tip. It is sometimes pierced with a hole in the centre and usually appears on its own, without any leaves. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cinquefoil It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.

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  • chief engrailed

    The chief is a separate area across the top of the field Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40. It is normally marked by a straight line of partition, but for artistic effect, and for clarity of difference between coats of arms, heralds have developed a series of decorative patterns to be used along the edge. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • chief dancette

    The chief is a separate area across the top of the field Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40. It is normally marked by a straight line of partition, but for artistic effect, and for clarity of difference between coats of arms, heralds have developed a series of decorative patterns to be used along the edge. Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful. Wade, quoting Guillim suggests that dancettee be attributed to mean water, in the same fashion as undy or wavy, and one can understand this allusion.

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  • chief

    The chief is an area across the top of the field Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40. It appears in many different forms and can itself be charged with other charges and ordinaries, A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chief, being treated almost as if it were a completely separate area. In its simplest form it can be clearly identified. Early examples include the award by Henry III of England to the knight Robert de MORTEYN BRETON of Ermine, a chief gules.

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  • chevronels

    Readers may already be aware of the chevron, the large inverted ‘V’ shape that extends across the whole shield but may be new to its smaller cousin the chevronel. This can equally cover the whole width but is at least half the width of the chevron, if not narrower. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevronel There can be multiple chevronels present, normally these are stacked vertically, but there is a very striking variant whereby the chevronels are said to be interlaced, in which case they are side-by-side, overlapping and intertwined, creating a very striking effect A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P124. In common with its larger relative, Wade associates the chevronel with the idea of “Protection…and a reward to one who has achieved a notable enterprise” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45.

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  • chevronel

    Readers may already be aware of the chevron, the large inverted ‘V’ shape that extends across the whole shield but may be new to its smaller cousin the chevronel. This can equally cover the whole width but is at least half the width of the chevron, if not narrower. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevronel There can be multiple chevronels present, normally these are stacked vertically, but there is a very striking variant whereby the chevronels are said to be interlaced, in which case they are side-by-side, overlapping and intertwined, creating a very striking effect A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P124. In common with its larger relative, Wade associates the chevronel with the idea of “Protection…and a reward to one who has achieved a notable enterprise” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45.

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  • chevron wavy

    The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries, being in the form of an inverted ‘v’ shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevron. It is a popular feature, visually very striking and hence developed to have various decorative edges applied to distinguish otherwise identical coats of arms. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • chevron rompu

    The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries, being in the form of an inverted ‘v’ shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevron. There is a special, and rather striking variant known as the chevron rompu, where rompu appears to mean “broken”. There have been several variants observed over time, but all of them involve the central, upper part of the chevron being broken away to create a very distinctive effect A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P125.

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  • chevron engrailed

    The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries, being in the form of an inverted ‘v’ shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevron. It is a popular feature, visually very striking and hence developed to have various decorative edges applied to distinguish otherwise identical coats of arms. The edge pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • chevron embattled

    The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries, being in the form of an inverted ‘v’ shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevron. It is a popular feature, visually very striking and hence developed to have various decorative edges applied to distinguish otherwise identical coats of arms. An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • chevron dancette

    The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries, being in the form of an inverted ‘v’ shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevron. It is a popular feature, visually very striking and hence developed to have various decorative edges applied to distinguish otherwise identical coats of arms. Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful. Wade, quoting Guillim suggests that dancettee be attributed to mean water, in the same fashion as undy or wavy, and one can understand this allusion.

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  • chevron

    The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various), or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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  • chevalier

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The knight is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • chessrook

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The Chess Rook is a typical example of this and has been used in heraldry almost from the beginning. The word “rook” comes not from the bird but from the Italian word rocca, a “castle” or “tower”. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chess-rook

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  • cherubim

    There are occaisional examples of mythical beings or objects illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and the Cherub is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that object, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124

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  • cherub

    There are occaisional examples of mythical beings or objects illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and the Cherub is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that object, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124

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  • chequy

    Chequy (a word with a surprising number of different spellings!) is what is known as a treatment, a repeating pattern usually used to fill the whole background of the shield with a series of alternately coloured squares A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chequy. These squares are usually quite small (there should be at least 20 in total), giving the appearance of a chess board, but any combination of colours may be used. It can also be used as a patterning on some of the larger ordinaries, such as the pale and fess, in which case there are three rows of squares. Wade, an authority on heraldic meaning groups chequy with all those heraldic features that are composed of squares and believes that they represent “Constancy”, but also quotes another author Morgan, who says that they can also be associated with “wisdom…verity, probity…and equity”, and offers in evidence the existence of the common English saying that an honest man is a “Square Dealer” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100.

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  • chaplet

    Laurel appears in several forms in heraldry, beginning with the whole bush. through branches, sprigs and leaves. Wade, the noted heraldic author, reckons that the leaves represent “tokens of peace and quietness”, whilst branches, especially in pairs are in memory of some great triumph. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P125. The other major appearance of the laurel is in the form of the laurel wreath, also known as a chaplet. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Laurel. This was worn as a token of victory by Roman emporers, and Wade futher suggests that a similar purpose is adopted in heraldic art.

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  • chapeau

    The chapeau or cap of maintenance appears sometimes on the shield itself, but more often in the crest above it. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P139 In appearance it is typically of red velvet with trim of ermine. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:cap

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  • chamber piece

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The cannon is depicted as we might expect, if mounted the carraige may be a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Guns We need look no further than the military connection for any meaning in this device.Chamber piece is simply an alternative name for the barrel of a cannon

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  • chair

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • ceres

    There are occaisional examples of mythical beings illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and Ceres is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that being themselves, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use.

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  • cauldron

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 Conventionally, the cauldron is depicted with feet and a curving handle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cauldron

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  • catharine wheel

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The Catherine wheel is an extraordinary device, being a large, spiked wheel, the instrument of martyrdom of St. Katherine. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wheel

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  • cat passant

    Cats occur often in heraldry, but the wild cat or cat-a-mountain is almost certainly intended rather than the domesticated felines we might at first come to mind! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cat It can appear in a variety of poses, similar to those of its larger relative, the lion, although we should be careful of stretching any meanings associated with the king of the beasts to their smaller brethren. Perhaps only an affinity with hills and the mountain country is intended.

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  • cat

    Cats occur often in heraldry, but the wild cat or cat-a-mountain is almost certainly intended rather than the domesticated felines we might at first come to mind! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cat It can appear in a variety of poses, similar to those of its larger relative, the lion, although we should be careful of stretching any meanings associated with the king of the beasts to their smaller brethren. Perhaps only an affinity with hills and the mountain country is intended.

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  • castle

    Architectural items, from individual components to entire buildings Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 92 feature frequently as charges In a coat of arms. Not surprisingly, considering the times from which many arms date, fortifications are common. The castle is perhaps second only to the tower in this usage, and often described in some detail as to its construction, the disposition of windows and so on. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Castle Continental examples also sometimes include attackers on scaling ladders. Wade tells us that the appearance of a castle indicates “granduer and solidity” and one can understand why. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100

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  • carpenters square

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the carpenters square is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! The carpenter’s square is perhaps still somewhat recognisable to us today. Wade believes that it could represent someone “who would desire to conform … to the laws of right and equity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P98

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  • carp

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the carp has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • cap of maintenance

    The chapeau or cap of maintenance appears sometimes on the shield itself, but more often in the crest above it. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P139 In appearance it is typically of red velvet with trim of ermine. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:cap

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  • cap

    The cap, also known as infula/infuld appears in many forms, as charges on the shield, as part of the costume of various characters and in the crest. To determine the exact pattern of headwear more detail is normally given. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:cap

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  • canton

    “The canton stands very high among honourable bearings”, according to Wade, a noted symbologist The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P48. The canton is a square shape, normally occupying the dexter chief of the shield. An early example is SUTTON, Bishop of Lincoln in the 13th century, who bore “argent a canton sable”. It occupies less space than a quarter and hence is sometimes added to an existing shield to difference branches of the same family, or, when a charge is added to it, to indicate some honour has been recieved A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Canton. Wade remarks, that, in common with all square features can be associated with the virtue of“constancy”.

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  • cannon

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The cannon is depicted as we might expect, if mounted the carraige may be a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Guns We need look no further than the military connection for any meaning in this device.

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  • candlestick

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The Candle stick is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 It is depicted as expected, and may be described as aflame. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Candlestick

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  • canary

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The canary is actually represented as a finch, rather than the bird we think of today.

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  • cameleon

    The cameleon is, somewhat surprisingly, drawn not in fearsome aspect but rather as it appears in nature, and is conventionally shown vert (green). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cameleon It appears to have no specific meaning, other than perhaps its obvious reference to camoflage.

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  • camel

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms. The camel Is an unusual example of these, not frequently found and usually used as a form of pun (CAMELFORD for example). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Camel

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  • calve

    Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify “valour and magnanimity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117

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  • caduceus

    There were of course many widely recognised symbols that existed long before the advent of heraldry and it should be no surprise that some of these were adopted as charge in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P301. The caduceus is a typical example, adopted into the catalogue of heraldry and bringing with it its traditional meaning as the rod of Mercury, it usually is only to be found in the crest and not on the shield. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Caduceus

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  • dungfork

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today, the garb Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 might fall into this category. The dungfork is a typical example of farming implements and represents that farming heritage.

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  • duck

    We can consider the goose and duck together here as the former is quite rare, the latter appear in several forms, but both share the same meaning. Guillim, the 17th century author points out that such birds can swim, fly and run and thus their use may symbolise those who “have many ways of eluding their enemies”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P158 Other names for the ducks especially mayh have been used because of some assocation with the family name, the smew may fall into this category. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Goose and Duck

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  • ducal crown

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The ducal coronet is an example of this, being gold with a brim of strawberry leaves and a cap of crimson velvet. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Crown It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • ducal coronet

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The ducal coronet is an example of this, being gold with a brim of strawberry leaves and a cap of crimson velvet. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Crown It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • dragons head

    Dragons have a long history in Heraldry and indeed have come to symbolise entire countries. Originally they were perhaps based on garbled descriptions of crocodiles given by returning travellers but soon developed a widely accepted representation. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin Wade suggests that their appearance signifies “a most valiant defender of treasure”, a trait of dragons that we are still familiar with today. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P86

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  • dragon

    Dragons have a long history in Heraldry and indeed have come to symbolise entire countries. Originally they were perhaps based on garbled descriptions of crocodiles given by returning travellers but soon developed a widely accepted representation. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin Wade suggests that their appearance signifies “a most valiant defender of treasure”, a trait of dragons that we are still familiar with today. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P86

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  • dove

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The dove is an example of this, closely related birds such as pigeon and stock dove are frequently mentioned in arms but visually almost identical. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dove The dove itself is said to represent “loving constancy and peace” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80, the other birds possibly some play on words with the family name (PIDGEON for example).

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  • double-headed eagle

    Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!The Double-headed eagle is a variant often seen in Germanic heraldry.

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  • donkey

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The horse Is a typical example of these.The Donkey can be taken to have the same significance as the horse.

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  • dolphin

    In the days before television and the internet it was a rare heraldic artist that had ever seen a dolphin for real, so we should not be surprised that the heraldic representation is not instantly recognisable. Despite this, we should not forget that these artists considered the dolphin to be the king of fish, playing the same role as the lion in the animal kingdom. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dolphin For reasons not immediately clear, Wade suggests that the dolphin was regarded as an “affectionate fish, fond of music”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P83

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  • dog

    Dogs of all breeds are common in heraldry and are largely depicted in a realistic fashion for that species. The obviously have a role as “man’s best friend” and can demonstrate a passion for the pursuit of hunting, but may also occur as a play on words with the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:dog (and others) Wade suggests that all dogs, of whatever breed should be taken as tokens of their “courage, vigilancy, and loyal fidelity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69

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  • demi lion

    The demi-lion is a variant of the typical creature shown only from the waist upward. It can take all same poses and attitudes of its fully represented brethren and often appears to be emerging from some other device such as a fess or chief. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion No special significance should be given to the demi appearance and it should be taken to have the same meanings and interpretations as the noble king of beasts itself.

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  • deer horn

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • decrescent

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106.

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  • dagger

    The dagger, a very personal weapon occurs frequently in coats of arms, and its appearance is sometimes described in great detail. It is known by many different names, including dirk, skein and poignard. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dagger

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  • estoile

    There were of course many widely recognised symbols that existed long before the advent of heraldry and it should be no surprise that some of these were adopted as charge in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P301. The estoile is a typical example, reflecting the stars in the sky and represented with six wavy points, often with a little shading to give it some depth. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Estoile. The ancient writer Guillim assigns these symbols as the emblems of God’s goodness”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P77

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  • esquires helmet

    We should not be surprised to find items of armour depicted on shields, and perhaps to the wearer none is more important that the helmet. Wade suggests that its presence denotes “Wisdom and surety in defence”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P139 There are many variations of helmet described, now almost indistinguishable to modern eyes, and not having any particular significance – perhaps because of some play on words with the family name. There are complex heraldic rules and guidelines for the depictions of helmets belonging to various grades of nobility, lack of space prevents us from listing them all here!A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:helmet

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  • escutcheon

    The escutcheon simply represents smaller shield shapes included within the shield, and its close relative, the inescutcheon is just a larger version occupying most of the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Escutcheon There is no particular significance that can accorded to the escutcheon itself, but attention should be paid to the colour and devices that are borne upon it. The escutcheon may also be added to an existing coat of arms either as recognition of some additional honour (an escutcheon of augmentation”) or in the case where arms that are already quartered are to be combined an escutcheon with the new arms may be placed overall (an “escutcheon of pretence”). Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 126 & 141

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  • escarbuncle

    The escarbuncle is a very ancient symbol that actually predates heraldry, although of uncertain origin. In appearance it resembles the “boss” at the centre of a shield and the strengthening rods radiating from it, and this has become its recognised heraldic form. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Escarboucle. Wade refers to its original meaning as a “symbol of supremacy”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P114

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  • escallop

    The escallopoccurs often in arms, represented as the outside of the shell, sometimes “fluted” of a different colour A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Escallop. It has been part of heraldic tradition almost from the beginning of the art, Henry III of England awarded Gules, 3 escallopes argent to Herbert de CHAMBERLEYNE in the 13th century, and it is present in the heraldry of almost all countries A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P299. It is believed that they were adopted as badges of those going to the Holy Land and can be found in the arms of many a crusading family. Hence Wade’s suggested association of the scallop with those that “complete long journeys to far countries” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P91.

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  • ermines

    Ermine and its variants is a very ancient pattern. It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. Ermines is a variant in which the field is sable (black) and the ermine tails argent (white), the inverse of the normal pattern.

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  • elephant

    The Elephant is not common on shields, although it occurs sometimes as a supporter of the shield and its trunk or proboscide is very frequently to be found in crests. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Elephant In meaning, it tends to adopt its more common usage and is said to represent someone who is both “sagacious and courageous”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P64

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  • eel

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the eel, also known as a grigg has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • ear of wheat

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The ear of wheat is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period and still a proud symbol today.

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  • eagles leg

    Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!

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  • eagles head

    Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!

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  • eagle preying on infant

    Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!

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  • eagle

    Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!

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  • fusily

    The fusil is a shape rather like a lozenge but taller and narrower, hence fusily refers to a field of similar shapes arranged in a regulat pattern. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fusil It is though that the shape originally derived from that of a spindle of yarn. Wade believes that the symbol is of very great age and quotes an earlier writer, Morgan who ascribes it the meaning of “Negotiation”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P117 The variant fusily refers to a treatment in which the entire field of the shield is covered in a pattern of fusils in alternating colours.

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  • fusil

    The fusil is a shape rather like a lozenge but taller and narrower, hence fusily refers to a field of similar shapes arranged in a regulat pattern. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fusil It is though that the shape originally derived from that of a spindle of yarn. Wade believes that the symbol is of very great age and quotes an earlier writer, Morgan who ascribes it the meaning of “Negotiation”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P117

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  • furison

    Furison is an ancient word, now fallen out of use, but means fire-iron or fire-steel – the peice of metal struck against a flint to create a spark and ignite a fire. It has been used as play on words for families named STEEL or BLACK. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P292

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  • fretty

    Fretty is a very pleasing patterning of the field whereby it is split into diamond shapes by overlapping and interwoven diagonal bands, where the background and the band colours may be any of the heraldic tinctures. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fret. The family CAVE, from Kent are blessed with the simple arms of Azure, fretty or. Ancient writers, such as Guillim believed that the pattern represented a net and hence symbolised those skilled in the art of “persuasion”! A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P234

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  • fret

    The fret is a striking charge, often occupying the whole of the field and being two instersecting diagonal lines interlaced with the outline of a square. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fret It is believed to be derived from the image of a fishing net, which it does indeed resemble, and hence Wade believes that it should signify persuasion, although other writers regard it separately as the “the heraldic true lovers knot” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P118

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  • fox

    The fox occurs frequently in arms, possibly a reference to the enjoyment of the hunt. It certainly holds no negative connotations but should be seen as a creature of great “wit and facility of device” (“as cunning as a fox”). The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P62 It can appear at first glance quite similar to the wolf but should be smaller, with a bushier tail, kept low to the ground. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fox

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  • fountain

    Fountain is represented in two forms in heraldry. In the British tradition it refers to a roundel with blue and white stripes (a roundel wavy azure and argent), reprenting the water at the bottom of a well. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P123 In French heraldry it represents the decorative fountain to be found in gardens and may have sprays in a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fountain

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  • foot

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • flute

    Music was as popular in the middle ages as it is today and musical instruments are frequently to be found in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P292. Sometimes these are a “play on words” such as the trumpets appearing for Trumpington Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100, but sometimes just for the pleasure and ease of identification that these objects allow. The flute is an example of this.

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  • fleur-de-lis

    The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489

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  • fleshpot

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 Conventionally, the cauldron is depicted with feet and a curving handle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:CauldronThe Flesh Pot is a variant that tends to somewhat taller and narrower.

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  • fleshhooks

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • flaunch

    There are a number of major, simple and easily recognisable shapes and big patterns that are known as ordinaries. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Ordinaries The flaunch (or more properly flaunches as they are always in pairs) is a interesting example of the type, being a shape curving inwards from edge vertical edge, each reaching about one third of the distance across. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Flaunch Wade’s researchs into the symbology of heraldry leads him to conclude that they represent a “reward given for virtue and learning”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P52

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  • flaming sword

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! Sometimes the sword is described as flaming for added visual effect.

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  • flames

    Flames can appear as a device on their own, or as an adjunct to many other devices, not all of which we would immediately expect to be on fire! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fire When described as proper they are gules (red) and or (yellow) and should be drawn to lifelike effect.

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  • fish

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”.

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  • fetterlock

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the shacklebolt, a form of padlock, is typical.Fetterlock seems to be another name for the same device

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  • fesse wavy

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • fesse raguly

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! Of the decorative edges raguly can be at first hard to identify, but once we understand that it arises from an old word raggguled meaning “chopped off”. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Raguly we can see that the curious shapes are intended to represent boughs lopped off a tree trunk. (This is also the origin of the term “ragged staff” see so frequently with a bear in Heraldry). Wade suggests that the use of this decoration represents “difficulties that have been encountered” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41, and we can perhaps understand that the “hacked path” resulting shows that these difficulties have been overcome.

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  • fesse nebulee

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! Nebulee (sometimes nebuly is a very pleasing pattern of interlocking curves, the name refers to “clouds” as it is reminscent of their soft abstract edges.

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  • fesse lozengy

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. A special form, the fesse lozengy is made up of single coloured lozenge (diamond) shapes placed vertically, side by side across the field, where the fesse would normally be. Arguably, this should really be described as so-many lozenges conjoined in fess, to avoid confusion with the patterning lozengy, which is a treatment over the whole field of alternating coloured diamond shapes Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 321. Whatever the terminology this is a striking addition to any coat of arms, and the square-like form has encouraged Wade, the noted heraldic author to associate its use with Constancy…verity and probity” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100.

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  • fesse indented

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! An line drawn indented, i.e. in a saw-tooth pattern might be taken for dancettee, but in this case the individual “teeth” are much smaller. An early author, Guilllim seeks to associate this decoration with fire A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P39, and one can see the resemblance to flames. The visual effect is quite striking, an good example being the arms of DUNHAM (Lincolnshire), which are Azure, a chief indented or.

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  • fesse engrailed

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • fesse embattled

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • fesse dancettee

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful.

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  • fesse dancette

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful.

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  • fesse counter embattled

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! The term counter-embattled refers to an edge drawn as if it were the battlements of a castle. Indeed, it is one of several, very specific terms which describes exactly how the battlements are to be drawn Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 44. Normally, if an ordinary, such as a fesse or bend is drawn embattled then the battlements appear only on the upper edge, however the use her of counter-embattled tells us that the lower edge should be likewise treated. In all cases, the use of this decoration, according to Wade, is clearly to be associated with fortifications such as castles and walled towns. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41

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  • fesse chequy

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! Chequy is a repeating pattern alternately coloured squares A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chequy, any combination of colours may be used. As well as covering the whole field, it can also be used as a patterning on some of the larger ordinaries, as here, in which case there are three rows of squares. Wade, an authority on heraldic meaning groups chequy with all those heraldic features that are composed of squares and believes that they represent “Constancy”, but also quotes another author Morgan, who says that they can also be associated with “wisdom…verity, probity…and equity”, and offers in evidence the existence of the common English saying that an honest man is a “Square Dealer” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100.

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  • fesse botonnee

    The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse. It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.

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  • fesse

    The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse. It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.

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  • fess embattled

    The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • ferret

    Animals commonly to found in the European countryside are frequently found in coats of arms, so we should be surprised to find the Ferret so represented. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 The exact intention of the use of this particular creature has now been lost, but may have been related to the name of the original family.

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  • fern

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The fern is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period and still a proud symbol today.

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  • feather

    The feather, especially that of the ostrich appears with great regularity in the crests of a full achievement of arms, typically in the shape of a plume. Wade associates this device with “willing obedience and serenity of mind”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P74 They are much less common on the shield itself, unless part of an arrow, which may be feathered of a different colour, or a quill pen. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Feathers

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  • falcon

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The falcon is a bird long associated with hunting and we need look no further than a liking for this pursuit for its presence on many early coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Falcon We also find many of the accessories used in falconry depicted on arms, and a surprising number of terms from the art of falconry have found use in modern English idioms and the interested reader is recommended to search out the origins of the phrases hoodwinked and “cadging” a lift.

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  • gyronny

    Gyronny is a very distinctive pattern covering the whole field of the shield, being a series of triangles, drawn from the edges and meeting in the centre of the shield A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gyronny. Each triangle is known as a gyron, and these sometimes appear as charges in their own right Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 55. Wade suggests that the use of gyrons upon a shield should be taken to denote “unity”.

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  • guttee dor

    The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gouttes Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee d’or or gutte aure being or (gold) for who would not delight in a field strewn with drops of gold!

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  • guttee deau

    The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gouttes Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee d’eau being argent (or white) for its obvious resemblence to drops of water.

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  • guttee de sang

    The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gouttes Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee de sang being gules (or red) for its obvious resemblence to split blood.

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  • guttee de poix

    The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gouttes Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee de poix being vert (or green) for its obvious resemblence to peas!

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  • guttee

    Goutes are wavy tear drop shapes and guttee indicates a field strewn with such shapes. They can be any of the main heraldic colours, and it is those colours from which they would take any meaning, if that is what is intended. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Goutes

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  • gurnet

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the gurnet has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • griffins head

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin. It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150

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  • griffin

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin. It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150

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  • griece

    Griece, or grice or degree refers to one of the steps on a calvary cross. Sometimes this type of cross has the precise number of steps carefully enumerated. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Grieces

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  • greyhounds head

    Dogs of all breeds are common in heraldry and are largely depicted in a realistic fashion for that species. The obviously have a role as “man’s best friend” and can demonstrate a passion for the pursuit of hunting, but may also occur as a play on words with the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:dog (and others) Wade suggests that all dogs, of whatever breed should be taken as tokens of their “courage, vigilancy, and loyal fidelity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69

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  • greyhound

    Unlike many of the creatures to be found in heraldry, the Greyhound is shown in a very natural aspect and lifelike poses. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P204 It is probably the most common member of the dog family to be found in arms A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dog, and Wade suggests that we see in its appearance the suggestion of“courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69

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  • grenade

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! Even so, the grenade is an important symbol in heraldry, borne with pride on many a coat of arms.

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  • grave

    Grapes do not often appear on their own, at least in English arms, but are to be found still on the stem as part of the vine. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vine, often of a different colour to the vine plant. Its symbology is likely simply to reflect the profession of the holder, or be a play on words with the family name. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P264

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  • grasshopper

    According to Wade, the Grasshopper was regarded by the Athenians as a “special symbol of nobility” and believes that this meaning be also applied to its use within a coat of arms. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P70 It is not a common device but when shown is drawn in lifelike fashion. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Grasshopper

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  • grappling iron

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The grappling iron resembles a set of large hooks, familiar to use from many a castle siege in the movies! Its meaning needs little explanation beyond its military nature.

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  • grapes

    Grapes do not often appear on their own, at least in English arms, but are to be found still on the stem as part of the vine. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vine, often of a different colour to the vine plant. Its symbology is likely simply to reflect the profession of the holder, or be a play on words with the family name. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P264

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  • goose

    We can consider the goose and duck together here as the former is quite rare, the latter appear in several forms, but both share the same meaning. Guillim, the 17th century author points out that such birds can swim, fly and run and thus their use may symbolise those who “have many ways of eluding their enemies”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P158 Other names for the ducks especially mayh have been used because of some assocation with the family name, the smew may fall into this category. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Goose and Duck

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  • goldfinch

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The goldfinch is amongst the major bird species to appear in heraldry.

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  • golden fleece

    There are occaisional examples of mythical beings or objects illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and the Golden Fleece is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that object, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124

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  • goats head

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The goat Is a typical example of these. Guillim, writing in the 17th century suggested that it may represent a “martial man who wins victory by…policy [rather] than valour”, a diplomat by any other name. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P119

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  • goat

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The goat Is a typical example of these. Guillim, writing in the 17th century suggested that it may represent a “martial man who wins victory by…policy [rather] than valour”, a diplomat by any other name. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P119

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  • glove

    The gauntlet is an armoured glove, part of a knights attire and when used as a device on the shield it should be stated which hand it is for. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gauntlet They are quite a complex device visually, with distinct panels and rivets visible. Wade tells us, probably with good reason that it represents “a man armed for performance of a martial enterprise”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93

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  • globe

    A wide variety of inanimate objects A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the globe is a typical case.

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  • gillyflower

    Although little known today, the gillyflower or July flower occurs quite often in heraldry. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gilly-flower It is a pretty flower with bright crimson petals and looks a little like a carnation. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P271

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  • gem ring

    The most common form of household jewelery in heraldry is the ring or gem ring, shown with a jewel which may have a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:ring Wade, incorrectly terms the annulet a finger ring, but assigns the meaning of “fidelity” to it – more properly this meaning belongs to the gem ring. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P94

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  • gauntlet

    The gauntlet is an armoured glove, part of a knights attire and when used as a device on the shield it should be stated which hand it is for. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gauntlet They are quite a complex device visually, with distinct panels and rivets visible. Wade tells us, probably with good reason that it represents “a man armed for performance of a martial enterprise”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93

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  • garland

    Laurel appears in several forms in heraldry, beginning with the whole bush. through branches, sprigs and leaves. Wade, the noted heraldic author, reckons that the leaves represent “tokens of peace and quietness”, whilst branches, especially in pairs are in memory of some great triumph. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P125. The other major appearance of the laurel is in the form of the laurel wreath, also known as a chaplet. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Laurel. This was worn as a token of victory by Roman emporers, and Wade futher suggests that a similar purpose is adopted in heraldic art.Garland is simply an alternative term for chaplet

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  • garb

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 The garb for example is an ancient word for wheatsheaf, something now more frequently seen in Inn signs than in the field! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Garbe

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  • hurt

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the hurt Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures.

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  • hunting horn

    The hunting horn, or bugle horn has a distinctive shape, being curved almost into a semi-circle, it can be decorated with bands of a different colour and typically hangs from a string, also coloured. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:hunting horn. Apart from its obvious reference to the pursuit of hunting, it has also been used in allusion to the name of the holderr (HUNTER of Hunterston) and Woowward suggests it is also associated with those who have rights or obligations to the forest. A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P400

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  • human eye

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual body parts, such as the human eye. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eye Wade tells us that the use of this symbol should be taken to mean “providence in government”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93

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  • hound

    Dogs of all breeds are common in heraldry and are largely depicted in a realistic fashion for that species. The obviously have a role as “man’s best friend” and can demonstrate a passion for the pursuit of hunting, but may also occur as a play on words with the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:dog (and others) Wade suggests that all dogs, of whatever breed should be taken as tokens of their “courage, vigilancy, and loyal fidelity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69

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  • horseshoe

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The horseshoe is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100. In addition, the horseshoe, which is one the earliest symbols found in heraldry A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Horse-shoe can be seen as a “safeguard against evil spirits” and may still be found nailed above doorways today. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • horses head

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The horse Is a typical example of these.

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  • horsebit

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – parts of the horse harness Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a good example of these, of which the bit is typical. The symbology is likely simply to be related to traits of good horsemanship, but also might sometimes be a play on words with the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:bit

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  • horse

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The horse Is a typical example of these.

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  • holly tree

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112Wade assigns the additional meaning of ‘Truth’ to the use of any aspect of the Holly bush The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P131

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  • holly leaf

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Although sometimes described simply as a tree most often the specific species was named, and the holly leaf is a typical example. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • holly bush

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112Wade assigns the additional meaning of ‘Truth’ to the use of any aspect of the Holly bush The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P131

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  • holly

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112Wade assigns the additional meaning of ‘Truth’ to the use of any aspect of the Holly bush The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P131

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  • hinds head

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • hind

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • hillock

    The mount (also known as a hillock Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 324) is the area at the base of the shield and when so described is almost always green, and somewhere that another charge is placed, to appear more realistic, or give it a specific relationship to other charges around it. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Mount Indeed, unlike like most of the flat, geometric shapes used to divide the field of the shield, the mount may be drawn with tufts of grass and a distinct slope!This is especially likely if the mount is described by its alternative name of hillock

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  • heron

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. Guillim reckons the stork to the “emblem of filial duty” and also the “symbol of a grateful man”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P78

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  • heraldic tiger

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 The tiger is an interesting example here being named after a real animal but depicted in rather and mythical appearance. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Tiger Later arms came to use a more lifelike appearance and the usage of heraldic tiger and natual tiger arose to make the distinction. Wade tells us that the mythical bearing of such a creature signifies “great fierceness and valour when enraged” and suggests that we should be wary as the holder may be “one whosee resentment will be dangerous if aroused”! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63

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  • hempbreaker

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the hempbreaker is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, especially this one. Who nowadays would recognise this tool used for pounding hemp prior to twisting them into ropes? A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:hemp-break

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  • helmet

    We should not be surprised to find items of armour depicted on shields, and perhaps to the wearer none is more important that the helmet. Wade suggests that its presence denotes “Wisdom and surety in defence”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P139 There are many variations of helmet described, now almost indistinguishable to modern eyes, and not having any particular significance – perhaps because of some play on words with the family name. There are complex heraldic rules and guidelines for the depictions of helmets belonging to various grades of nobility, lack of space prevents us from listing them all here!A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:helmet

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  • hedgehog

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The hedgehog Is a typical example of these.

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  • heathcock

    The Moor cock occurs in a number of coats of arms but always seems to be reference to the family name (e.g. MOORE) rather than having any special significance as a type of bird. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moor-cockThe Heath cock is an alternative name for moor cock.

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  • heart

    The heart is represented by the conventional symbol that we see today on playing cards. In later arms it can also appear emflamed and crowned. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Heart Guillim, the 17th century heraldic author, believes that it shows the holder to be a “man of sincerity…who speaks truth from his heart”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P184

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  • hazel sprig

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • hazel branch

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • hawks bell

    The Hawk’s bell is a small bell attached to the collar of a hawk, spherical and clearly different to the church bell. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Hawk bell In addition to showing an affection for the hunt, Wade suggests that it also symbolises someone “not afraid to advertise their presence”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P76

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  • hawk

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The falcon is a bird long associated with hunting and we need look no further than a liking for this pursuit for its presence on many early coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Falcon We also find many of the accessories used in falconry depicted on arms, and a surprising number of terms from the art of falconry have found use in modern English idioms and the interested reader is recommended to search out the origins of the phrases hoodwinked and “cadging” a lift.

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  • hautboy

    Music was as popular in the middle ages as it is today and musical instruments are frequently to be found in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P292. Sometimes these are a “play on words” such as the trumpets appearing for Trumpington Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100, but sometimes just for the pleasure and ease of identification that these objects allow. The trumpet is an example of this, and is also sometimes known as the hautboy. In common with most instruments, Wade believes that the symbology of these devices is “ready for the fray”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P109

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  • harts head

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • hart

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • harp

    Although often associated with the country of Ireland, the harp also appears in the coat of arms of some families. It is usually depicted in a lifelike fashion and can be stringed of a different colour for a more pleasing effect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Harp Guillim suggests that the harp represents one of a “well-composed and tempered judgement”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P243

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  • hare

    The coney, which is an old word for rabbit and also used for hare is intended to perhaps represent “one who enjoys a peaceable and retired life”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67 They can be found in a variety of poses, but most often sejant or seated in a pleasing fashion. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Hare

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  • hands conjoined

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, including hands conjoined. It will come as no surprise that the use of this device is said to denote “union and alliance”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P92

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  • hand

    The hand, unless we are told otherwise is a dexter (right) hand shown palm outwards and fingers upwards.A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry, J.B. Parker, 1894 P305. It demonstrates faith, sincerity and justice, and in the form of two right hands clasped can mean union or allianceThe Symbolisms of Heraldry, W Cecil Wade 1898 P92. There is a special form called the “Hand of Ulster” which is a sinister hand gules on an argent background (a left hand, red upon white). Originally the Badge of Ulster, the Province of Northern Ireland, it has come to be used as an addition to existing arms, in an escutcheon (small shield) or canton (small square) to indicate that the holder is also a Baronet.Heraldry Historical and Popular, Charles Boutell, 1864 P56

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  • hammer

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the hammer is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! The hammer is usually drawn conventionally, with a wooden handle and large metal head. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Hammer

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  • halberd

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! The halberd is special form of axe, also known as a pole-axe, being placed on a long handled pole.

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  • ivy branch

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • ink moline

    The mill-rind, also known by a rather surprising number of names (fer-de-moline, inkmoline, mill-ink amongst others) is a distinctive symbol, but hard to place by modern viewers. It is a square or diamond shape with arms extending above and below and in fact represents the piece of iron that connects a circular timber axle to a mill-stone, used for grinding corn. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fer-de-moline These would obviously have been more familiar to those of the middle ages than they are today.

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  • infant swaddled

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The infant swaddled is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • inescutcheon

    The escutcheon simply represents smaller shield shapes included within the shield, and its close relative, the inescutcheon is just a larger version occupying most of the field. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Escutcheon There is no particular significance that can accorded to the escutcheon itself, but attention should be paid to the colour and devices that are borne upon it. The escutcheon may also be added to an existing coat of arms either as recognition of some additional honour (an escutcheon of augmentation”) or in the case where arms that are already quartered are to be combined an escutcheon with the new arms may be placed overall (an “escutcheon of pretence”). Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 126 & 141

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  • indented quarterly

    Quarterly, as its name suggests is a method of dividing the shield into 4, more or less equal parts, conventionally of two alternating colours. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Quarterly To further provide differentiation between arms the lines of the quartering can be given repeating patterns. An example of this is are lines drawn indented, i.e. in a saw-tooth pattern. An early author, Guilllim seeks to associate this decoration with fire A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P39, and one can see the resemblance to flames. The visual effect is quite striking, an good example being the arms of DUNHAM (Lincolnshire), which are Azure, a chief indented or.

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  • increscent

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106.

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  • ibex

    The ibex or antelope was drawn by heraldic artists in rather more fearsome aspect than its real-life appearance, with large horns, mane and a long tail. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Antelope These days we regard the ibex as being a member of the goat family rather than an antelope, but in the middle ages there were was no real distinction between these animals. They could adopt many of the poses of the lion, such as rampant and statant. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P210

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  • jewel

    A wide variety of inanimate objects A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the jewel is a typical case.

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  • jay

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The jay is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.

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  • knights helmet

    We should not be surprised to find items of armour depicted on shields, and perhaps to the wearer none is more important that the helmet. Wade suggests that its presence denotes “Wisdom and surety in defence”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P139 There are many variations of helmet described, now almost indistinguishable to modern eyes, and not having any particular significance – perhaps because of some play on words with the family name. There are complex heraldic rules and guidelines for the depictions of helmets belonging to various grades of nobility, lack of space prevents us from listing them all here!A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:helmet

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  • knight

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The knight is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • key

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The key is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 In other cases, Wade suggests that their appearance can be taken to indicate “guardianship and dominion”. 1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P47

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  • lynx

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The panther Is a typical example of these, although has the distinction of often being depicted with flames coming from its mouth and ears! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:PantherLynx is simply another name for the same creature (at least in Heraldry!)

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  • lure

    The hawk’s lure is a training aid used with hunting hawks, depicted as a feathered ball on a short line. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P301. Like all images relating to hunting it can largely be taken at face value, as being associated with armigers who enjoy the passions of the hunt.

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  • lucie

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the lucie has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • lozengy

    Anyone who has seen a typical Jester’s or Harlequin’s outfit has seen the treatment known as lozengy – a pattern of interlocking diamonds of two different colours A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lozengy. It normally covers the whole field of the shield, as in the ancient arms of FITZ-WILLIAM, Lozengy, argent and gules, a striking example of the form.

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  • lozenge

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the lozenge Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. It can appear on its own, voided (with the background visible through the middle), and can also be conjoined, whereby adjacent lozenges touch point-to-point. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lozenge Guillim groups the lozenge with all square shapes as being symbolic of “verity, probity, constancy and equity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P262

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  • long cross

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, the latin or long cross is an example of this, being named for the extended lower limb of the cross, which is placed clearly separated from the edges of the shield.

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  • lobster

    Also crevice (crayfish) Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the lobster has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • lizard

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The lizard Is a typical example of these.

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  • lions head

    There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts.Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64 The head of the lion also appears alone on many coats of arms, but its use in this form is largely to enable a clear difference from similar arms that use the complete animal, and its significance should be taken to be the same as the lion entire, being a symbol of “deathless courage”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P59

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  • lions gamb

    The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.The variant lion’s gamb is another word for leg, and its significance remains the same as its parent animal

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  • lions combatant

    The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.The variation of lions combattant refers to two lions rampant, face to face as if in combat. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:lion

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  • lion sejant

    The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.The lion variation sejant indicates that the creature is posed sitting down, with head erect (not sleeping). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:sejant

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  • lion saliant

    There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141. The lion saliant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms.

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  • lion rampant

    There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.

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  • lion passant

    There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141. The lion passant is an example of these modified form, showing the creature on all fours, as if walking proudly. In common with all reprensentations of the lion it can be taken to be an “emblem of deathless courage”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P61

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  • lion couchant

    The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.The phrase couchant indicates a sleeping lion, though no less a fearsome creature for being so! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion

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  • lily

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. Whilst the fleur-de-lys, the French “Flower of the Lily” may have become stylised almost beyond recognition A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P141, it still sometimes appears in a more pictorial form as the “lily of the garden”. The lily is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect.

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  • leopards head

    The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome “hazardous things by force and courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65

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  • leopards faces jessant-de-lis

    The singular device, known as the leopard’s face jessant-de-lys is striking, if perhaps a little gruesome. It is believed that this began as a face decorated with a fleur-de-lys but eventually came to be represented as a face with lower part of the symbol coming from the mouth and the upper part behind the head A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P275. The Wade quotes a story from Newton (“Display of Heraldry”) to suggest that it was a symbol conferred by Edward III to recognised victory in his French campaigns – the English Lion swallowing the French Lily! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65

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  • leopards face

    The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome “hazardous things by force and courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65

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  • leopard

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The leopard Is a typical example of these.

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  • leg

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • leaf

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • laurel wreath

    Laurel appears in several forms in heraldry, beginning with the whole bush. through branches, sprigs and leaves. Wade, the noted heraldic author, reckons that the leaves represent “tokens of peace and quietness”, whilst branches, especially in pairs are in memory of some great triumph. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P125. The other major appearance of the laurel is in the form of the laurel wreath, also known as a chaplet. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Laurel. This was worn as a token of victory by Roman emporers, and Wade futher suggests that a similar purpose is adopted in heraldic art.

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  • laurel sprig

    Laurel appears in several forms in heraldry, beginning with the whole bush. through branches, sprigs and leaves. Wade, the noted heraldic author, reckons that the leaves represent “tokens of peace and quietness”, whilst branches, especially in pairs are in memory of some great triumph. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P125. The other major appearance of the laurel is in the form of the laurel wreath, also known as a chaplet. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Laurel. This was worn as a token of victory by Roman emporers, and Wade futher suggests that a similar purpose is adopted in heraldic art.

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  • lance

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The spear or lance is a typical example, often borne (for obvious reasons) in allusion to the crucifixtion. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111 Sometimes only the head is shown, and on other occasions the tilting or tournament spear is specified, familiar to us from many a jousting scene in the movies. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spear

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  • lamprey

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the lamprey has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • lamp

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The (domestic, not street!) lamp is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • lamb

    The lamb may refer either to the young of the sheep, in which case it is shown entirely in profile, or to the paschal or holy lamb, which turns to face the viewer and has both a halo and a flag on a pole. The flag may be charged with additional items. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lamb Its significance is obviously religious in nature, “befitting one a brave, resolute spirit”, according to Guillim. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68

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  • label

    The label holds a special place in heraldry, originlly being a temporary mark, used by the oldest son while his father was still alive. In appearance it is a horizontal bar near the top of the shield from which descend 3 or 5 “points” or small rectangles descending from the bar. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Label In more recent use it has come to used as charge in its own right A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P154 and may have additional charges on each point, which can create a pleasing visual effect.

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  • mushroom

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The mushroom is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period and still a proud symbol today.

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  • mural crown

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The mural crown exhibits decoration rather like brickwork, and has battlements on top. It is said to have been award by the Roman legions to the first who breached the walls of a besieged town or fortress. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P142

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  • mullet

    The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105.

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  • mountain cat

    Cats occur often in heraldry, but the wild cat or cat-a-mountain is almost certainly intended rather than the domesticated felines we might at first come to mind! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cat It can appear in a variety of poses, similar to those of its larger relative, the lion, although we should be careful of stretching any meanings associated with the king of the beasts to their smaller brethren. Perhaps only an affinity with hills and the mountain country is intended.

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  • mount

    The mount (also known as a hillock Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 324) is the area at the base of the shield and when so described is almost always green, and somewhere that another charge is placed, to appear more realistic, or give it a specific relationship to other charges around it. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Mount Indeed, unlike like most of the flat, geometric shapes used to divide the field of the shield, the mount may be drawn with tufts of grass and a distinct slope!

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  • mortar

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • moose

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The moose Is a typical example of these.

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  • moors head

    The head of a Moor is frequently borne on the arms of those at one time involved with crusades, possibly associated with some “deeds of prowess”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93 The head is shown typically in a realistic fashion but the precise details are left to the imagination and skills of the artist! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Head

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  • moorcock

    The Moor cock occurs in a number of coats of arms but always seems to be reference to the family name (e.g. MOORE) rather than having any special significance as a type of bird. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moor-cock

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  • moor

    The head of a Moor is frequently borne on the arms of those at one time involved with crusades, possibly associated with some “deeds of prowess”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93 The head is shown typically in a realistic fashion but the precise details are left to the imagination and skills of the artist! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Head

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  • moon

    It should come as no surprise that items from the natural world are frequently adopted for use in the coat of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P294. Celestial objects and natural phenomena have been given simple, easily identified representations. The moon Is typical of charges derived from natural objects, and being emblematic of “serene power the mundane” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106. It can be shown in various phases, known as incresent (facing right), decrescent (facing left), or if full then with a human face. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:moon

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  • mole

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The mole Is a typical example of these.

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  • mitre

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The mitre Is a typical such usage. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

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  • millstone

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • millrind

    The mill-rind, also known by a rather surprising number of names (fer-de-moline, inkmoline, mill-ink amongst others) is a distinctive symbol, but hard to place by modern viewers. It is a square or diamond shape with arms extending above and below and in fact represents the piece of iron that connects a circular timber axle to a mill-stone, used for grinding corn. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fer-de-moline These would obviously have been more familiar to those of the middle ages than they are today.

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  • mill pick

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the mill pick is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol.

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  • midas head

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The midas head Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.

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  • mermaid

    The mermaid is depicted exactly as we now picture the mythical creature, and is almost always shown with dishevelled hair and looking into a hand mirror. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Mermaid They tend to more frequent as supporters than being illustrated upon the shield itself. Wade cites Sloane Evans in his belief that the mermaid represents the “Eloquence” of the bearer.

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  • maunch

    When people are depicted in heraldry their clothing and appearance are often described in some detail Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. We also find individual items of clothing used as charges in a coat of arms, and maunch is a good example of this, representing a loose sleeve. Sometimes these items are drawn in a somewhat stylised fashion, not always obvious as to what it represents. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Maunch Wade suggests that its use came from a role in the tournament in which a part of clothing or some other trinked was given as a token to knights in combat by their supporters. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P50

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  • matches

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • mascle

    The mascle is a close relative of the lozenge or diamond shape, but with the centre cut away revealing the background underneath. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Mascle. Guillim, writing in the 17th century reckoned the mascle to represent the mesh of a net, being the biblical symbol for “persuasion, whereby men are induced to virtue and verity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P234

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  • martlet

    The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

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  • martins

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The martins is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.

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  • marlets

    The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

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  • marigold

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. Whilst the fleur-de-lys, the French “Flower of the Lily” may have become stylised almost beyond recognition A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P141, it still sometimes appears in a more pictorial form as the “lily of the garden”. The marigold is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect.

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  • mans head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • man in armour

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The man in armour is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • mallet

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the hammer is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! The hammer is usually drawn conventionally, with a wooden handle and large metal head. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Hammer

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  • maidens head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The maidens head is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • magnetic needle

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The rather singular device magnetic needle is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100. In this case it may also have been due to some feat of navigation.

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  • naval crown

    Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The naval crown is an example of this. It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

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  • nail

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the nail is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol.

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  • nags head

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The horse Is a typical example of these.The Nagbeing an affectionate term for a less-than-pedigree horse!

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  • ox

    Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify “valour and magnanimity”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117

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  • owl

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The owl has long been associated with heraldry and is depicted in a clearly recognised aspect, always with its face to the viewer. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Owl It comes as no surprise that previous generations of heraldic writers ascribed to it the traits of “vigilance and acute wit”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77

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  • ounces head

    The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome “hazardous things by force and courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65

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  • otter

    Otters were more common in the middle ages and were a favourite prey for hunting, so we should not be surprised to find them depicted on coats of arms. They appear in quite realistic form and may be collared and shown eating fish. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Otter

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  • ostrich feather

    The feather, especially that of the ostrich appears with great regularity in the crests of a full achievement of arms, typically in the shape of a plume. Wade associates this device with “willing obedience and serenity of mind”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P74 They are much less common on the shield itself, unless part of an arrow, which may be feathered of a different colour, or a quill pen. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Feathers

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  • ostrich

    The feather, especially that of the ostrich appears with great regularity in the crests of a full achievement of arms, typically in the shape of a plume. Wade associates this device with “willing obedience and serenity of mind”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P74 They are much less common on the shield itself, unless part of an arrow, which may be feathered of a different colour, or a quill pen. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Feathers

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  • orle

    Over time the shape of the heraldic shield has become most frequently represented as the rounded triangle known as a heater shape. So pleasing is this shape that it appears in its own right both as an escutcheon (the filled shape) and the orle, which is a broad outline of the shape. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Orle. A larger number of small charges may also be described as in orle when they are arranged to mimic the shape of the shield outline. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P141

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  • organ-rests

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The organ-rests Is a typical such usage. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

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  • organ pipe

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The organ pipe Is a typical such usage. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

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  • orb

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The orb Is a typical such usage. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

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  • olive branch

    The olive branch should not surprise as in being regarded as the emblem of ” peace and concord”, from its biblical significance in the story of Noah and the Dove returning to the ark. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P129. Indeed we often find the olive branch depicted on a shield being carried by a dove. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Olive-tree

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  • old mans head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The old mans head is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • old fashioned helmet

    We should not be surprised to find items of armour depicted on shields, and perhaps to the wearer none is more important that the helmet. Wade suggests that its presence denotes “Wisdom and surety in defence”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P139 There are many variations of helmet described, now almost indistinguishable to modern eyes, and not having any particular significance – perhaps because of some play on words with the family name. There are complex heraldic rules and guidelines for the depictions of helmets belonging to various grades of nobility, lack of space prevents us from listing them all here!A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:helmet

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  • ogress

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146 One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Roundle So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and pellet is a roundle sable, or black. It is also known as an ogress or gunstone. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.

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  • oaken batton

    The staff raguly or ragged staff frequently occurs in heraldry and is intended to show a rough-hewn branch for use as a walking aid or club, and sometimes appear in flame at the top. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Staff Famously, a ragged staff appears with a bear in the arms associated with the family and county of Warwick in England. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P458Other uses of the staff, such as pilgrim’s staff must be described as such, otherwise the ragged staff will probably be assumed.

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  • oak tree

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Although sometimes described simply as a tree most often the specific species was named, and the oak tree or oak leaf is a typical example that frequently is depicted in arms, sometimes fructed with acorns of a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Oak For good reason, Wade assigns the meaning of “antiquity and strength” to this symbol. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P126

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  • oak leaf

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Although sometimes described simply as a tree most often the specific species was named, and the oak tree or oak leaf is a typical example that frequently is depicted in arms, sometimes fructed with acorns of a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Oak For good reason, Wade assigns the meaning of “antiquity and strength” to this symbol. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P126

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  • oak branch

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Although sometimes described simply as a tree most often the specific species was named, and the oak tree or oak leaf is a typical example that frequently is depicted in arms, sometimes fructed with acorns of a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Oak For good reason, Wade assigns the meaning of “antiquity and strength” to this symbol. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P126

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  • proboscis

    A term probably unfamiliar to many readers, proboscis is a term often found in the heraldry of continental Europe and represents the trunk of an elephant. They are exclusively found in pairs, and only in the crest above the shield in a full achievement of arms. The mouth may be a different colour, and in some cases may hold objects such as ostrich feathers. Little is actually known about their origin or meaning, an interesting mystery for future heraldic scholars to address.

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  • primrose

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. The primrose is also of this type, being drawn realistically and often to very pleasing effect. In meaning it is similar to that of the quatrefoil in bringing good luck. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P135

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  • portcullis

    The portcullis is the strong metal framework used to secure the drawbridge of a castle, and is often drawn alongside the chains used to raise it up. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Portcullis We should therefore not be surprised that Wade assigns to it the meaning of ” an effectual protection in emergency”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P108 The symbol also occurs on small value British coinage.

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  • porcupine

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The hedgehog Is a typical example of these.In appearance, the porcupine is almost indistinguishable

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  • pomeis

    The word Pomeis is a simple short-hand for the charge otherwise known as a roundle vert, and represented as a plain green circle. Its origin is obviously in the French word pomme, meaning “apple”. Indeed, Wade conflates the symbology of the “pomeis” with that of all fruit representations, being suggestive of “liberality, felicity and peace”.

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  • pomegranate

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The pomegranate is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period and still a proud symbol today.

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  • plumb

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the plumb is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! The plumb is a lead weight used by builders to determine a vertical drop and its use may refer to that profession.

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  • plow

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today, the garb Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 might fall into this category. The plow is a typical example of farming features that speak of a long heritage in the countryside.

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  • plate

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146 One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Roundle So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and plate is a roundle argent, or white. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.

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  • pineapple

    The pineapple is not the tropical fruit (virtually unknown in mediaeval Europe) but litterally the “apple” found on a fir tree, otherwise known as a fir cone or pine cone. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P276 Wade suggests that it symbolises “life”, perhaps due to the promise of new birth from the seeds contained with the cone. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P130

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  • pine tree

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • pine leaf

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • pine cone

    The pineapple is not the tropical fruit (virtually unknown in mediaeval Europe) but litterally the “apple” found on a fir tree, otherwise known as a fir cone or pine cone. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P276 Wade suggests that it symbolises “life”, perhaps due to the promise of new birth from the seeds contained with the cone. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P130

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  • pillar

    The Pillar, according to Wade symbolises “fortitude and constancy”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P101 Typically the pillar is a plain column with simple cushion capitals but architecture fans will be pleased to know that other orders (doric, ionic etc.) can be specified! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pillars

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  • pile wavy

    The pile was originally quite a simple shape, being a triangle reaching from the top of the shield down to a point near the lower centre A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pile. It can also be given a decorative egde style, and Wavy works well in this respect. It is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

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  • pile

    The pile was originally quite a simple shape, being a triangle reaching from the top of the shield down to a point near the lower centre A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pile. A clear example being that of CHANDOS awarded in 1337, Or a pile gules. There is some argument as to the origin, Wade suggests some similarity with the meaning of “pile” in construction (a foundation) and hence that the shape could be adopted by those who have demonstrated some ability in the building trade The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P48. An earlier writer, Guillim, perhaps more plausibly suggested that the shape echoes those of a pennant or triangular flag A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P52 The shape is quite distinctive however and became popular, leading to many embellishments to distinguish it from its close fellows, with multiple piles meeting at various points, starting from various edges and with additional decoration, leading to potentially quite complex descriptions!

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  • pike fish

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the pike fish has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • pigeons head

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The pigeons head is an occaisional sight in British coats of arms.

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  • pigeon

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The pigeon is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.

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  • pickaxe

    The pickaxe is not a weapon of war but a tool of the builder and its appearance in a coat of arms is more likely to denote the profession of the holder or be some play on words on the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe it is shown conventionally as a wooden handle with a long, curved metal spike, very similar to its appearance today. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P268

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  • phoenix

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The phoenix Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.

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  • pheon

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The pheon is a specific type of arrow head with barbs and darts and hence quite distinctive in appearance. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pheon Like the other symbols related to arrows, Wade suggests the symbolism is that of “readiness for military service”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111

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  • per saltire

    To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the division of the shield by opposing diagonal lines, similar to the ordinary known as the saltire came to be called per saltire Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Visually rather striking, it became popular and artists added decorative effects to the partition line to distinguish otherwise very similar coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party.

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  • per pale indented

    The background of the shield can be divided into two potrtions in a variety of ways, and each portion treated differently. In the heraldry of continental Europe there is a tendency to use these areas to combine two different designs, but in British and Scottish heraldry the preference is to treat the divided field as a single decorative element with other features placed as normal. Whatever tradition is followed, one of the most common divisions is per pale, a simple separation along a vertical line. An line drawn indented, i.e. in a saw-tooth pattern might be taken for dancettee, but in this case the individual “teeth” are much smaller. An early author, Guilllim seeks to associate this decoration with fire A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P39, and one can see the resemblance to flames. The visual effect is quite striking, an good example being the arms of DUNHAM (Lincolnshire), which are Azure, a chief indented or.

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  • per pale

    The background of the shield can be divided into two potrtions in a variety of ways, and each portion treated differently. In the heraldry of continental Europe there is a tendency to use these areas to combine two different designs, but in British and Scottish heraldry the preference is to treat the divided field as a single decorative element with other features placed as normal. Whatever tradition is followed, one of the most common divisions is per pale, a simple separation along a vertical line. Wade assigns no particular meaning to the use of this division, but suggests that they simply arose from the multi-coloured garments typically worn at the time of the birth of heraldry. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P56

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  • per fesse indented

    The background of the shield can be divided into two potrtions in a variety of ways, and each portion coloured in a different fashion. In European Heraldry there is a tendency to use these areas to combine two different coats of arms, but in British and Scottish heraldry the preference is to treat the divided field as a single decorative element with other features placed as normal. Whatever tradition is followed, one of the most common divisions is per fesse, a simple separation along a horizontal line. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Visually rather striking, it became popular and artists added decorative effects to the partition line to distinguish otherwise very similar coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party A line drawn indented, i.e. in a saw-tooth pattern might be taken for dancettee, but in this case the individual “teeth” are much smaller. An early author, Guilllim seeks to associate this decoration with fire A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P39, and one can see the resemblance to flames. The visual effect is quite striking, an good example being the arms of DUNHAM (Lincolnshire), which are Azure, a chief indented or.

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  • per fesse

    The background of the shield can be divided into two potrtions in a variety of ways, and each portion coloured in a different fashion. In European Heraldry there is a tendency to use these areas to combine two different coats of arms, but in British and Scottish heraldry the preference is to treat the divided field as a single decorative element with other features placed as normal. Whatever tradition is followed, one of the most common divisions is per fesse, a simple separation along a horizontal line. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Not quite as common as the alternative vertical partioning, per pale it still presents a pleasing aspect A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party.

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  • per chevron embattled

    To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the division of the shield by an inverted ‘V’ shape, similar to the ordinary known as the chevron came to be called per chevron Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Visually rather striking, it became popular and artists added decorative effects to the partition line to distinguish otherwise very similar coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party. An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • per chevron

    To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the division of the shield by an inverted ‘V’ shape, similar to the ordinary known as the chevron came to be called per chevron Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Visually rather striking, it can be even more effective if one charge is placed below the point, and two others above and to the sides. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party. Wade considers the use of the per chevron division to indicate “constancy, with peace and Sincerity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150

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  • per bend crenelle

    To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the diagonal division of the shield, similar to the ordinary known as the bend came to be called per bend Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Visually rather striking, it became popular and artists added decorative effects to the partition line to distinguish otherwise very similar coats of arms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party. An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

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  • per bend

    To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the diagonal division of the shield, similar to the ordinary known as the bend came to be called per bend Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. As a means of creating a distinctive shield it is very effective, for example the early arms of HAWLEY are simply per bend or and vert – the “most important” of the colours is given first, in this case the or (gold) colour occupies the upper triangle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party

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  • pennant

    The Pennant is an example of a flag, more often carried by the figure of a knight or flying from a castle than appearing as a charge in its own right. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Flag It can be any colour and may itself carry other charges and any meaning that is intended should be inferred from those rather than the appearance of the pennant itself.

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  • pellettee

    Pellettee is a shorthand way of referring to a field of any colour, strewn with the black roundels known as pellets or gunstones these being simple black circles, or more properly, roundles. It can used either on the field as a whole or to good effect on some of the larger ordinaries, HUNT for example includes a bordure of the last (being or) pellety. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pellet

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  • pellet

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146 One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Roundle So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and pellet is a roundle sable, or black. It is also known as an ogress or gunstone. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.

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  • pelican vulning herself

    The pelican is often associated with parenthood and “devoted and self sacrificing charity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77-78 It is almost always shown with its young in their nest (in its piety) or pricking its breast in readiness to feed its young with its own blood (vulning herself. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pelican

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  • pelican in her piety

    The pelican is often associated with parenthood and “devoted and self sacrificing charity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77-78 It is almost always shown with its young in their nest (in its piety) or pricking its breast in readiness to feed its young with its own blood (vulning herself. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pelican

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  • pelican

    The pelican is often associated with parenthood and “devoted and self sacrificing charity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77-78 It is almost always shown with its young in their nest (in its piety) or pricking its breast in readiness to feed its young with its own blood (vulning herself. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pelican

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  • pegasus

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The pegasus Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.

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  • pear

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The spear or lance is a typical example, often borne (for obvious reasons) in allusion to the crucifixtion. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111 Sometimes only the head is shown, and on other occasions the tilting or tournament spear is specified, familiar to us from many a jousting scene in the movies. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spear

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  • pean

    Special patterns, of a distinctive shape are frequently used in heraldry and are know as furs, representing the cured skins of animals Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. Although they were originally derived from creatures such as the ermine (mink) and the squirrel the actual patterns have become highly stylised into simple geometric shapes Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P46-49. pean is a variant of ermine in which the field is sable (black) and the ermine spots or (gold).

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  • peacock tail

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The peacock tail is more often found in crests than as a device upon the shield but is no less welcom for it.

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  • peacock

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The peacock provides an instantly recognisable species, almost always facing the viewer with the full glory of the tail expanded in a pose known as in his pride. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Peacock Wade reckons it the “most beautiful and proudest of birds”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77

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  • passion cross

    No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67 The calvary cross is a special form that most closely represents the crucifixion, being mounted on a series of steps or grices. Wade suggests that three of these steps might represent “faith, hope and charity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103

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  • paschal lamb

    The lamb may refer either to the young of the sheep, in which case it is shown entirely in profile, or to the paschal or holy lamb, which turns to face the viewer and has both a halo and a flag on a pole. The flag may be charged with additional items. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lamb Its significance is obviously religious in nature, “befitting one a brave, resolute spirit”, according to Guillim. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68

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  • parrot

    The parrot is a fairly recent usage, but the ancient form of popinjay was more common A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Parrot. Commonly coloured vert (green) with beak and legs gules (red) it is usually depicted with a high degree of realism. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P249

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  • parroquet

    The parrot is a fairly recent usage, but the ancient form of popinjay was more common A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Parrot. Commonly coloured vert (green) with beak and legs gules (red) it is usually depicted with a high degree of realism. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P249

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  • panther

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The panther Is a typical example of these, although has the distinction of often being depicted with flames coming from its mouth and ears! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Panther

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  • pansey

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. Whilst the fleur-de-lys, the French “Flower of the Lily” may have become stylised almost beyond recognition A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P141, it still sometimes appears in a more pictorial form as the “lily of the garden”. The pansey is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect.

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  • paly

    Play is what is known as a treatment, a regular patterning, usually over the whole background of the shield. The word comes from the pale, the major vertical stripe that appears on some shields, paly is obvious its little cousin, consisting of, typically, 6 or more vertical stripes, alternately coloured A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Paly. The stripes can be any combination of the heraldic tinctures, an early example is that of GURNEY, being simply paly of six, or and argent. Paly can be combined with other effects, such as decorative edges on each stripe, or overlaid with other treatments such as bendy, and these can be very effective and pleasing to the eye A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P121.

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  • palm branch

    In addition to its religious significance the palm and the palm branch are regarded as emblems of ” victory, justice and royal honour”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P129 They are much more common in French heraldry than in English, and are also known as cocoa-nut trees. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:palm

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  • palet

    The palet is a smaller version of the pale, being and narrow vertical stripe extending the full height of the shield. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pale There can be several of these side-by-side, that they would show their significance with their larger relative sign of ” military strength and fortitude”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P47

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  • pale

    The Pale is one of the major, so called ordinaries, significant objects that extend across the entire field of the shield. The pale being a broad vertical band up the centre of the shield A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pale. In origin, the word probably has its roots in the same place as palisade, a defensive wall made of closely space upright timbers. Indeed, it is possible that the original “pales” arose where a wooden shield was constructed of vertical planks painted in different hues A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, Chapter 1. This is perhaps why Wade, a writer on Heraldic Symbology suggested that denotes “military strength and fortitude” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P47.

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  • padlock

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The ENTRY is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • quatrefoil

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. Like its close heraldic relative the cinquefoil, the quatrefoil is a rather sytlised flower showing four rounded petals, usually pierced by a circle at the centre.

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  • rake

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the rake, a hay maker’s tool is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol.

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  • ram

    Both the Ram and the ram’s head appear in heraldry, depicted in a lifelike aspect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:ram Wade assigns it the meaning of “leader” on account of its role within the flock. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68 Wade quotes Nichols in suggesting that it most resembles the primrose, which “brings good luck to the finder”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P135

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  • rams head

    Both the Ram and the ram’s head appear in heraldry, depicted in a lifelike aspect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:ram Wade assigns it the meaning of “leader” on account of its role within the flock. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68 Wade quotes Nichols in suggesting that it most resembles the primrose, which “brings good luck to the finder”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P135

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  • rat

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The rat Is a typical example of these and certainly no negative connotations should be taken from its appearance, it is a cunning and hardy creature!

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  • raven

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The raven is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.

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  • ribbon

    The ribbon is not the household object that we are familiar with, but a term very occaisionally used to indicate a very narrow bend, being a diagonal line across the whole of the shield. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Riband

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  • ring

    The most common form of household jewelery in heraldry is the ring or gem ring, shown with a jewel which may have a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:ring Wade, incorrectly terms the annulet a finger ring, but assigns the meaning of “fidelity” to it – more properly this meaning belongs to the gem ring. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P94

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  • rock

    The rock, says Guillim in his “Display of Heraldry” signifies “safety, refuge and protection” and we can clearly understand why. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P225 It occurs more often in Scottish arms than in English (that nation having a much rockier landscape) and is almost always drawn in natural colours. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Rock

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  • roebuck

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • roebucks head

    Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • rose

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133

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  • roundle

    The Roundle is a simple circular charge that can occur in great profusion and in a variety of colours A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Roundle. Indeed, so important is this charge that special terms have been developed for each particular colour, for example the pomeis for the green roundle and the plate for the white version. There is also a visually striking version of the roundle known as a fountain, which is a circle coloured with bars wavy alternately argent and azure representing the water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fountain.

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  • saker

    The Saker is known to refer to some species of falcon, but its precise form is no longer known. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Saker In common with other creatures of the hunt it may represent an affection for that pastime.

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  • salamander

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The phoenix Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.Although it is not the usage today, salamander is a heraldic term for the phoenix.

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  • salmon

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised salmon shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the salmon has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • saltire

    The saltire is one the major ordinaries, large charges that occupy the whole of the field A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Saltire. Arguably one of the best uses of this device is that of the St. Andrews Cross, a white saltire on a blue background found on the Scottish flag. The saltire is obviously closely related to the Cross, and Wade in his work on Heraldic Symbology suggests additionally that it alludes to “Resolution”, whilst Guillim, an even more ancient writer, somewhat fancifully argues that it is awarded to those who have succesfully scaled the walls of towns! A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P63

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  • saltire engrailed

    The saltire, whilst frequently associated with Scotland is actually a widely used and popular ordinary found throughout all of British Heraldry, perhaps because of its cross-like form Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 42. In order to allow for clear differences between similar arms, heralds designed a series of decorative edges, not all of them are appropriate for the saltire (because of the interior angles) but those are suitable can be very effective artistically. The pattern engrailed works well here. It is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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  • saltire raguly

    The saltire, whilst frequently associated with Scotland is actually a widely used and popular ordinary found throughout all of British Heraldry, perhaps because of its cross-like form Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 42. In order to allow for clear differences between similar arms, heralds designed a series of decorative edges, not all of them are appropriate for the saltire (because of the interior angles) but those are suitable can be very effective artistically. Of the decorative edges raguly can be at first hard to identify, but once we understand that it arises from an old word raggguled meaning “chopped off”. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Raguly we can see that the curious shapes are intended to represent boughs lopped off a tree trunk. (This is also the origin of the term “ragged staff” see so frequently with a bear in Heraldry). Wade suggests that the use of this decoration represents “difficulties that have been encountered” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41, and we can perhaps understand that the “hacked path” resulting shows that these difficulties have been overcome.

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  • saracens head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. As well as the nobility themselves, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savagesand the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • savage

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. As well as the nobility themselves, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savagesand the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • savages head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. As well as the nobility themselves, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savagesand the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • sceptre

    The Sceptre is to be regarded as the symbol of “Justice”, according to Wade, as it is held in this regard in general usage. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P94 It is not often found alone but is sometimes held by human charges or exists in conjunction with a sword, the two crossed in saltire. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sceptre

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  • scorpion

    The scorpion is shown in lifelike aspect, usually facing upwards. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Scorpion There is no specific meaning associated with this device but perhaps its fierce sting can be taken as an indication of the bearer!

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  • scourge

    The scourge is a whip of three tails. It is extremely rare as a charge but hence an interesting usage. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Scourge The precise meaning is not known.

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  • scroll

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The parchment is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 The parchment may be rolled or have words written upon it.The Scroll may appear similarly.

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  • scymitar

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering. The scimitar, also known as the sabre has a broad, curved blade with curling hilt. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sabre We need look little further than some military connection to explain the use of this device.

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  • scythe

    Both the sickle and the scythe are implements instantly recognisable to a person of the middle ages, and are depicted in their conventional forms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:scythe In addition to their obvious assocation with farming, Wade suggests that they can have a wider meaning of “a fruitful harvest of things hoped for”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P98

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  • sea dragon

    Dragons have a long history in Heraldry and indeed have come to symbolise entire countries. Originally they were perhaps based on garbled descriptions of crocodiles given by returning travellers but soon developed a widely accepted representation. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin Wade suggests that their appearance signifies “a most valiant defender of treasure”, a trait of dragons that we are still familiar with today. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P86The sea dragon is a variant created simply by attaching a fish tail to a normal dragon! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Monsters

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  • sea lion

    The sea lion is not the large aquatic creature that we are familiar with today, but a regular heraldic lion with a fish’s tail. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Monsters (In fact many new mythical creatures were created by heralds by prefixing them with the word “sea” and adding a fishtail!). Its meaning can be taken to be the same as the land-based king of the beasts.

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  • seahorse

    The sea-horse is not the fish that we know today, but a mythical, chimeric creature composed of the upper part of a horse and the tail of a fish. It occurs as a supporter but also in the arms of some sea-faring families and towns, and also, somewhat oddly, in the arms of the (inland) university town of Cambridge! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sea-horse

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  • seals head

    Water creatures in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150 The actual creature used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 The seals head is an example of these, although any meaning to be associated is not known.

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  • semee-de-lis

    The word semee is an old word that is best translated as “strewn” or “scattered with” and refers to the background of the shield, or large shapes upon, being sprinkled with a large number of the following objects. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Seme. Indeed semee-de-lis is itself another shorthand term for a field being scattered with fleur-de-lys. Most famously, a shield azure semee-de-lis or is indelibly linked to the nation of France. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 35

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  • serpent

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The serpent Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.

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  • shacklebolt

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the shacklebolt, a form of padlock, is typical.

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  • shamrock

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. Whilst the fleur-de-lys, the French “Flower of the Lily” may have become stylised almost beyond recognition A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P141, it still sometimes appears in a more pictorial form as the “lily of the garden”. The shamrock is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is of course indelibly associated with the country of Ireland.

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  • shank bones

    The bone brings to heraldry the association with mortality that it holds outside of the subject. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93 The precise part of the body in question is often specified, but no significant difference in meaning can be ascertained. On other occaisions a weak pun seems to be the aim, for bones appear often in the arms of the family BAINES. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bones

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  • shears

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today, the garb Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 might fall into this category. The shears is a typical example of farming or household implements that speak of a long heritage in the countryside.

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  • shepherds crooks

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today, the garb Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 might fall into this category. The shepherds crooks is a typical example of farming features that speak of a long heritage in the countryside. Its appearance may be intended to remind us of the shepherds watchfullness over his flock. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P94

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  • ship

    We do not need to look far to find the symbolism in the presence of a ship in a coat of arms, they appear regularly in the arms of port towns and merchant companies and families. They usually appear as a three masted wooden vessel known as a lymphad A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Shiop but are often described in some detail as to the disposition of their sails, presence and colours of flags and standards and so on. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P294

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  • shoe

    When people are depicted in heraldry their clothing and appearance are often described in some detail Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. We also find individual items of clothing used as charges in a coat of arms, and shoe is a good example of this. Sometimes these items are drawn in a somewhat stylised fashion, but this helps with recognition, important in distinguishing arms. Wade suggests that this may be representing “strength, stability and expedition”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93

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  • sickle

    Both the sickle and the scythe are implements instantly recognisable to a person of the middle ages, and are depicted in their conventional forms. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:scythe In addition to their obvious assocation with farming, Wade suggests that they can have a wider meaning of “a fruitful harvest of things hoped for”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P98

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  • smew

    We can consider the goose and duck together here as the former is quite rare, the latter appear in several forms, but both share the same meaning. Guillim, the 17th century author points out that such birds can swim, fly and run and thus their use may symbolise those who “have many ways of eluding their enemies”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P158 Other names for the ducks especially mayh have been used because of some assocation with the family name, the smew may fall into this category. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Goose and Duck

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  • snail

    The snail or house snail does not occur often in heraldry but is always shown in full, with shell on its back. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Snail In meaning can be read as a symbol of “deliberation and perserverance”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P71

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  • snake

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The serpent Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.

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  • spade

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the spade is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol. For its symbolism we need look little further than its intended use, as a tool of the working man.

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  • spade irons

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the spade is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol. For its symbolism we need look little further than its intended use, as a tool of the working man.

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  • spaniel

    Dogs of all breeds are common in heraldry and are largely depicted in a realistic fashion for that species. The obviously have a role as “man’s best friend” and can demonstrate a passion for the pursuit of hunting, but may also occur as a play on words with the family name. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:dog (and others) Wade suggests that all dogs, of whatever breed should be taken as tokens of their “courage, vigilancy, and loyal fidelity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69

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  • spear

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The spear or lance is a typical example, often borne (for obvious reasons) in allusion to the crucifixtion. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111 Sometimes only the head is shown, and on other occasions the tilting or tournament spear is specified, familiar to us from many a jousting scene in the movies. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spear

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  • spear head

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. The spear or lance is a typical example, often borne (for obvious reasons) in allusion to the crucifixtion. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111 Sometimes only the head is shown, and on other occasions the tilting or tournament spear is specified, familiar to us from many a jousting scene in the movies. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spear

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  • sphinx

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The sphinx Is a typical example of a mythical creature, taking the form that we still recognise today. Wade suggests that it symbolises “omniscience and secrecy”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P87

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  • sprig

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. A sprig is a pleasant item of this type to find, allowing the artist licence to show detilas of leave and seed if so desired.

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  • sprig of ash

    The Sprig of Ash is one of the many items found in the natural world that appear in coats of arms. It is one of several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields that can be seen. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270. In truth, the exact species of tree that brought forth a leaf or branch that is borne on a shield might only be visible on very close inspection – it is likely that the name of tree reflects something of the name of the holder (as ash sprig for ASHE for example), rather than any meaning specific to the plant. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • sprigs of broom

    The Sprig of broom is one of the many items found in the natural world that appear in coats of arms. It is one of several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields that can be seen. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270. In truth, the exact species of tree that brought forth a leaf or branch that is borne on a shield might only be visible on very close inspection – it is likely that the name of tree reflects something of the name of the holder rather than any meaning specific to the plant. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 We should not be suprised to find that for example, a family called BROOMHILL might chose as their arms a sprig of broom placed on a hill!

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  • spur

    The word spur as a noun indicates a spike on the back of horseman’s boot to goad a horse into action, and for the same reason as a verb it signifies “encouraging action”. Because of this, Guillim assigns the meaning “press onward” to the prescence of a spur in a coat of arms. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P256 It can be depicted either as the full item, with connections to the boot, or just as the star-shaped spur rowel which contains the spikes. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spur

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  • spur rowel

    The word spur as a noun indicates a spike on the back of horseman’s boot to goad a horse into action, and for the same reason as a verb it signifies “encouraging action”. Because of this, Guillim assigns the meaning “press onward” to the prescence of a spur in a coat of arms. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P256 It can be depicted either as the full item, with connections to the boot, or just as the star-shaped spur rowel which contains the spikes. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Spur

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  • squirrel

    The squirrel is a quite delightful charge, always shown sitting upright (known as sejant) and eating a nut, A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Squirrel in a most lifelike manner (as this author can attest due to the presence of exactly such a creature outside his window as I write this). It should not surprise us that the significance of such a creature upon a coat of arms is a love of the “sylvan retirement” to be found in the woods and forest. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69

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  • staff

    The staff raguly or ragged staff frequently occurs in heraldry and is intended to show a rough-hewn branch for use as a walking aid or club, and sometimes appear in flame at the top. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Staff Famously, a ragged staff appears with a bear in the arms associated with the family and county of Warwick in England. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P458Other uses of the staff, such as pilgrim’s staff must be described as such, otherwise the ragged staff will probably be assumed.

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  • staff raguly

    The staff raguly or ragged staff frequently occurs in heraldry and is intended to show a rough-hewn branch for use as a walking aid or club, and sometimes appear in flame at the top. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Staff Famously, a ragged staff appears with a bear in the arms associated with the family and county of Warwick in England. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P458

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  • stag

    We should be surprised to find the stag or buck, noble quarry of many a mediaeval hunt, being illustrated in many a coat of arms. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69. It shares many of the poses to be found with the lion, but also one almost unique to the deer, grazing, as if the animal is still unaware of the hunter’s approach. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer. In common with all symbols related to the hunt we probably need look further for their intended meaning than the pleasure taken by the holder in such pursuits! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • stags head

    We should be surprised to find the stag or buck, noble quarry of many a mediaeval hunt, being illustrated in many a coat of arms. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69. It shares many of the poses to be found with the lion, but also one almost unique to the deer, grazing, as if the animal is still unaware of the hunter’s approach. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer. In common with all symbols related to the hunt we probably need look further for their intended meaning than the pleasure taken by the holder in such pursuits! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30

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  • star

    There were of course many widely recognised symbols that existed long before the advent of heraldry and it should be no surprise that some of these were adopted as charge in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P301. The estoile is a typical example, reflecting the stars in the sky and represented with six wavy points, often with a little shading to give it some depth. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Estoile. The ancient writer Guillim assigns these symbols as the emblems of God’s goodness”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P77More modern arms might use the term star explicitly to refer to the celestial object, in which case it is usually known as a blazing star A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Star

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  • stave

    The staff raguly or ragged staff frequently occurs in heraldry and is intended to show a rough-hewn branch for use as a walking aid or club, and sometimes appear in flame at the top. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Staff Famously, a ragged staff appears with a bear in the arms associated with the family and county of Warwick in England. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P458Stave is another form of the staff, meaning a tree branch broken off suitable for use a walking aid, often associated with Pilgrims

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  • stilt

    A wide variety of inanimate objects A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the stilt is a typical case.

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  • stork

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. Guillim reckons the stork to the “emblem of filial duty” and also the “symbol of a grateful man”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P78

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  • strawberry

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The strawberry is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period and still a proud symbol today.

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  • sun

    The sun was long used as a potent symbol before the advent of heraldry and brought some of that existing meaning with it. In conventional heraldry it is normally borne in its splendour, that is with a face and a large number of alternating straight and wavy rays. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sun It can also be seen issuing from behind clouds, and in some cases a demi or half sun coming from the base, reflecting either the dawn, or perhaps as it appears in the arms of WESTWORTH, with the sunset. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P296

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  • swan

    Wade suggests that the appearance of a swan in a coat of arms is perhaps an indication of a musical person, or a ” lover of poetry and harmony”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P78 It is generally shown in a lifelike aspect and colouring, although it may be leaked and legged with other colours. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Swan. It is a popular charge, both on the shield itself and impress, sometimes sitting and sometimes rising as if about to take off in flight. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P245

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  • swans head

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The swans head is typical of these.

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  • sword

    Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.

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  • talbot

    Many breeds of dog appear in coats of arms, reflecting their status as man’s closet companion. The talbot is a hunting dog akin to a terrier, and usually illustrated in a lifelike style and eager pose. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dog In common with the other heraldic dogs, Wade suggests that their presence should suggest “courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68 Others might say we need look no further than a pleasure in the hunt and the affection for this sturdy breed.

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  • teazel

    Many items found in the natural world occur in coats of arms, including many plants that people of the middle ages would be familiar with. Several varities of bush and small plants frequently found in the hedgerows beside fields can be observed A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270, in addition to the famous thistle of Scotland Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P147. The teazel is a an example of such a plant, instantly recognisable to those in the mediaeval period.

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  • tent

    A wide variety of inanimate objects A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the tent is a typical case, the knight’s pavilion is more to be expected than the ridge tent we see more commonly today.

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  • thistle

    The thistle as a symbol is inevitably associated with Scotland, although more often as a badge rather than appearing as an item upon a shield. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P270 Despite its prickly reputation the images of this flowering plant are very striking and they are usually shown with leaves to either side in quite an accurate representation. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:thistle

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  • three legs conjoined

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The three legs conjoined is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • tiger

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 The tiger is an interesting example here being named after a real animal but depicted in rather and mythical appearance. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Tiger Later arms came to use a more lifelike appearance and the usage of heraldic tiger and natual tiger arose to make the distinction. Wade tells us that the mythical bearing of such a creature signifies “great fierceness and valour when enraged” and suggests that we should be wary as the holder may be “one whosee resentment will be dangerous if aroused”! The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63

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  • torteaux

    For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146 One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Roundle So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and torteau is a roundle gules, or red. (We must be careful however not to confuse this with the word in French heraldry, in which torteau means roundle and must have the colour specified.) Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.

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  • tortoise

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The tortoise Is a typical example of these.

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  • tower

    Architectural items, from individual components to entire buildings Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 92 feature frequently as charges In a coat of arms. Not surprisingly, considering the times from which many arms date, fortifications are common. The tower Is a typical example of an object from the world of architecture adopted, albeit in a stylised form, for use in heraldry. It can be placed alone, or frequently with three turrets on the top, known as a tower triple towered, and can have doors and windows of a different colour. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Tower In continental European heraldry they are often accompanied by pictorial effects such as armoured knights scaling them on ladders.

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  • tree

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • tree stump

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • tree trunk

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112

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  • trefoil

    Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. The trefoil may originally been a representation of a specific plant (perhaps shamrock) but it has been used as a symbol almost since the beginning of heraldry and over time has adopted a stylised aspect. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Trefoil. Guillim believes that it signifies “perpetuity…the just man shall never wither”. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P109

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  • tressure

    The tressure is an oridinary that echoes the outer edge of the shield, being a thin single or double line somewhat inset from the outside. It can decorated at key points with fleurs-de-lys in which case it is known as a tressure flory counter-flory. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:tressure Wade considers it to be the emblem of “preservation and protection”, presumably because of its “surrounding” of the other charges. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P51

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  • trowel

    It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the trowel is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P163, let alone know what to use it for! Nevertheless, for mediaeval peasant it was a clearly identifiable symbol.

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  • true lovers knots

    The fret is a striking charge, often occupying the whole of the field and being two instersecting diagonal lines interlaced with the outline of a square. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fret It is believed to be derived from the image of a fishing net, which it does indeed resemble, and hence Wade believes that it should signify persuasion, although other writers regard it separately as the “the heraldic true lovers knot” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P118

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  • trumpet

    Music was as popular in the middle ages as it is today and musical instruments are frequently to be found in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P292. Sometimes these are a “play on words” such as the trumpets appearing for Trumpington Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100, but sometimes just for the pleasure and ease of identification that these objects allow. The trumpet is an example of this, and is also sometimes known as the hautboy. In common with most instruments, Wade believes that the symbology of these devices is “ready for the fray”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P109

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  • tun

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today, the tun is an example of this, a word long fallen out of common use but being a large barrel. Its use is probably in association with brewing or winemaking, we should not be surprised to find! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Tun

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  • turks head

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The turks head is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • turnstile

    Architectural items, from individual components to entire buildings Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 92 feature frequently as charges In a coat of arms. Not surprisingly, considering the times from which many arms date, fortifications are common. The turnstile Is a typical example of an object from the world of architecture adopted, albeit in a stylised form, for use in heraldry.

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  • two lions conjoined

    The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.

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  • unicorn

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The unicorn is an intresting example that is still part of our own mythology today. The unicorn as illustrated on even the most ancient coat of arms is still instantly recognisable to us today, and shares many of the same poses that both lions and horses can be found in. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Unicorn. Wade, the 18th century heraldic writer suggested that were adopted as symbols because of “its virtue, courage and strength”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P85

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  • vair

    Special patterns, of a distinctive shape are frequently used in heraldry and are know as furs, representing the cured skins of animals Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. Although they were originally derived from real creatures the actual patterns have become highly stylised into simple geometric shapes, bell-like in the case of vair. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P46-49. vair is a particularly interesting example that resonates today – the “glass” slippers worn by Cinderella are actually a mis-translation of “vair” (i.e. fur) slippers, the very same vair that appears in heraldry! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vair

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  • violin

    Music was as popular in the middle ages as it is today and musical instruments are frequently to be found in coats of arms A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P292. Sometimes these are a “play on words” such as the trumpets appearing for Trumpington Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100, but sometimes just for the pleasure and ease of identification that these objects allow. The violin is an example of this. In common with most instruments, Wade believes that the symbology of these devices is “ready for the fray”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P109

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  • virign

    The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The XXXX Is a typical such usage. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings. The Virgin Mary is used in this context, appearing in the arms of certain religious adminstrative regions, known as “Sees” in England, and, somewhat more frequently in European arms.

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  • wall

    Architectural items, from individual components to entire buildings Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 92 feature frequently as charges In a coat of arms. Not surprisingly, considering the times from which many arms date, fortifications are common. The wall Is a typical example of an object from the world of architecture adopted, occaisionally on its own but more often as an adjunt of a tower. More rarely, a single Wall stone is illustrated.

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  • wall stone

    Architectural items, from individual components to entire buildings Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 92 feature frequently as charges In a coat of arms. Not surprisingly, considering the times from which many arms date, fortifications are common. The wall Is a typical example of an object from the world of architecture adopted, occaisionally on its own but more often as an adjunt of a tower. More rarely, a single Wall stone is illustrated.

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  • water

    Water in heraldry is usually represented as a set of horizontal bars in wavy lines, alternately blue and white – barry wavy azure and argent.

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  • water bouget

    A wide variety of inanimate objects A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the water bouget is a typical case of the later, such that the casual observer would be hard pressed to discern its function. It represents in fact a yoke with two skins attached to be worn over the shoulder and has been found in coats of arms almost from the beginning of the art. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water Bouget. Somewhat literally, Wade suggests that their appearance on arms may have been due to a holder who had “brought water to an army or beseiged place”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P114

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  • waves

    The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water.

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  • weasel

    In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The weasel Is a typical example of these.

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  • well

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The well is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 The well is typically illustrated as we expect, with a low brick wall and sometimes with a bucket on a rope. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Well

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  • wheel

    Unless further described, the heraldic wheel is assumed to be a wooden wagon wheel, often with the number of spokes given and sometimes broken to one side. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wheel For obvious reasons it is associated with “Fortune”, although the winged wheel represented motion to the ancient Greeks (and was used as the symbol of British Railways for a long period). The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124

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  • wild goose

    Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The wild goose is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.

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  • wild man

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

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  • wilk shell

    Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the wilk shell has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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  • winged pillar

    The Pillar, according to Wade symbolises “fortitude and constancy”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P101 Typically the pillar is a plain column with simple cushion capitals but architecture fans will be pleased to know that other orders (doric, ionic etc.) can be specified! A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:PillarsThe winged pillar is also sometimes found but can be assumed to have similar significance

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  • wings

    Wings are frequently observed in coats of arms. Unless otherwise specified they should be shown as eagle’s wings, with a realistic appearance. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wing They can appear singly or in pairs, in which form they are very often found in the crest, which rests above the shield in a full achievement of arms. Wade, quoting Quillim, suggests that the use of the wing on the shield signifies “celerity and protection or covering”. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P73

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  • wolf

    The wolf was the symbol of Rome long before the advent of heraldry, and before that was sacred to the ancient Egyptians. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P31 In heraldry it is probably more often just as head than the whole animal, but when whole it can be in many different poses. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wolf It is found from the earliest instances of arms, but quite often due to a derivative of its French name, loup sharing the initial sound of many family names like LOWE and LOVATT.

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  • wolfs head

    The wolf was the symbol of Rome long before the advent of heraldry, and before that was sacred to the ancient Egyptians. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P31 In heraldry it is probably more often just as head than the whole animal, but when whole it can be in many different poses. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wolf It is found from the earliest instances of arms, but quite often due to a derivative of its French name, loup sharing the initial sound of many family names like LOWE and LOVATT.

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  • woodman

    Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168. The woodman is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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  • writing pen

    Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The writing pen is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100

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  • wyvern

    Nowadays we might conflate many mythical creatures under the heading of dragon but to the heraldic artists there was a whole menagerie of quite distinct beasts, the wyvern being one of them. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cockatrice Whilst both the dragon and wyvern are winged and scaled, the wyvern stands on two legs rather than four. Wade suggests, somewhat plausibly that both creatures may have arisen through garbled descriptions of the crocodile. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P26

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  • yew tree

    Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309. Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112There is some debate over the meaning of the yew tree, being associated with death (it is a common resident of English graveyards) but also “Hope and an eternal life beyond the tomb” (an Egyptian interpretation). The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P130

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  • yoke

    Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today, the garb Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 might fall into this category. The yoke is a typical example of farming features that speak of a long heritage in the countryside, being the device used to attach oxen or horses to the plough.

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