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.