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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Gu. on a fesse engr. betw. three leopards’ heads erased or, as many crosses crosslet fitchee sa. Crest— A griffin’s head erased ppr.
2) Per pale gu. and or, a fleur-de-lis counterchanged.

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

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Acheley Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Acheley blazon are the leopard’s face, fleur-de-lis and cross crosslet. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3.

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 leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 7. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 8

The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. 9. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”10 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms 11

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 12. 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. The cross crosslet is one of these, being symetrical both vertically and horizontally and having an additional cross bar on each arm. 13 Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. 14

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References

  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 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, P77
  • 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 Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489
  • 12 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103