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.