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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Leicestershire, Her. Visit., 1619). Az. six martlets or, three, two, and one. Crest—An apple or, stalked and leaved vert.
2) (Larington, co. York). Ar. a ship in full sail sa. on waves ppr.
3) (John Appleby, temp. Rich. II.) Az. six martlets or.

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

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Appleby Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Appleby blazon are the martlet, ship and apple. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, or and sable .

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.3. 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 4. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.5.

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 6. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 7. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 8.

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 9. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 10. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

We do not need to look far to find the symbolism in the presence of a ship in a coat of arms, they appear regularly in the arms of port towns and merchant companies and families. They usually appear as a three masted wooden vessel known as a lymphad 11 but are often described in some detail as to the disposition of their sails, presence and colours of flags and standards and so on. 12

The apple, in conjunction with other fruit is said to signify “liberality, felicity and peace”. 13 The apple appears frequently in arms, sometimes stalked and leaved and usually gules (red). 14

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References

  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 4 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Shiop
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P294
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132
  • 14 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Apple