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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Leicestershire). Erm. a chief gu. fretty or. Crest—On a chapeau ppr. a water-bouget sa.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Abbeford Coat of Arms and Family Crest

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Abbeford Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Abbeford blazon are the fretty and water bouget. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, or and gules .

Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 1 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 4. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 5. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”7. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 8. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).9

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. 10. 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”! 11

A wide variety of inanimate objects 12 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. 13. 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”. 14

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References

  • 1 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fret
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P234
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water Bouget
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P114