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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Blackhall, Scotland). Motto—Ut reficiar. Ar. on a bend az. betw. two mullets of the second a crescent of the first. Crest—A decrescent ar.
2) (Cadet of Blackhall). Motto—Ditat servata fides. Ar. on a bend betw. two stars az. as many crescents of the first within a bordure engr. of the second. Crest—A branch of palm tree slipped ppr.
3) (as granted to Sir Thomas Dickson Archibald, Knt., one of the Judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench, son of the late Hon. Samuel George Archibald, Master of the Bolls, Nova Scotia, and younger brother of Charles Dixon Archibald, Esq. of Rusland Hall, co. Lancaster, originally from Scotland, but settled for several generations at Coleraine, co. Londonderry, Ireland). Motto—Palma non sine pulvere. Ar. on a bend az. betw. two estoiles of the last three crescents of the first all within a bordure invected sa. charged with three mullets, or. Crest—A palm branch slipped in bend ppr., in front thereof a mount vert thereon an estoile or.

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

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Archibald Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Archibald blazon are the mullet, crescent and bend. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and or.

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) 1. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 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.

The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 6. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 7. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 8.

For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 9xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter 10. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” 11.

The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 12. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). 13. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 14.

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References

  • 1 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 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 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 7 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106
  • 12 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40
  • 13 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P22
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P49