Origin, Meaning, Family History and Aikenhead Coat of Arms and Family Crest
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Aikenhead Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Aikenhead blazon are the acorn, savage and laurel sprig. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and vert.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 1Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 4A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 5Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!
Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves or fruit. 6A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. The acorn, often represented in its early state as vert (green) 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Acorn can be associated of course with the mighty oak, signifying, according to Wade, “antiquity and strength”, for obvious reasons.
Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms 8Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. As well as the nobility themselves, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savagesand the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban 9A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.
Laurel appears in several forms in heraldry, beginning with the whole bush. through branches, sprigs and leaves. Wade, the noted heraldic author, reckons that the leaves represent “tokens of peace and quietness”, whilst branches, especially in pairs are in memory of some great triumph. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P125. The other major appearance of the laurel is in the form of the laurel wreath, also known as a chaplet. 11A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Laurel. This was worn as a token of victory by Roman emporers, and Wade futher suggests that a similar purpose is adopted in heraldic art.