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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Oxfordshire and Suffolk). Or, a fess embattled sa. Crest—A hawk with wings expanded, resting its dexter claw upon a mount, ppr.

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

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Aberbury Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Aberbury blazon are the fesse embattled and hawk. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.

The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.1. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 5. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6.

The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield 7, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! An edge which is decorated like the top of a castle wall is said to be embattled, or sometimes crenelle, from the original French. (In castle building terminology the parts of the wall that stick up are known as merlons, and the resulting gaps as crenels). A whole sub-section of heraldic terminology has sprung up to describe whether these crennellations appear on which edges, whether they line up or alternate, have additional steps or rounded tops. The interested reader is directed to the reference for the full set! 8 For obvious reasons, use of this decoration is to be associated with castles and fortified towns, an early authority, Guillim suggest also some association with fire, but with out clear reason 9. In all, this is one of the more common, and most effective and appropriate of the decorative edges.

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 10. The falcon is a bird long associated with hunting and we need look no further than a liking for this pursuit for its presence on many early coats of arms. 11 We also find many of the accessories used in falconry depicted on arms, and a surprising number of terms from the art of falconry have found use in modern English idioms and the interested reader is recommended to search out the origins of the phrases hoodwinked and “cadging” a lift.

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References

  • 1 The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 5 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Embattled
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P41
  • 10 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Falcon