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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Gloucestershire; temp. Edward II. The place is now called Abenhall). Or, a fesse gu.

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

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Abbehall Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Abbehall blazon is the fesse. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and gules.

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” 1. 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 2. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5. 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).6

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 7. 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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References

  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 3 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse
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