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.