The three main devices (symbols) in the Bagworth blazon are the boar, chevron and border engrailed. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermines, sable and gules .
Ermine and its variants is a very ancient pattern. It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 1. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.2. Ermines is a variant in which the field is sable (black) and the ermine tails argent (white), the inverse of the normal pattern.
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 3. 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 4. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 5.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”6. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 7. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.8.
In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. 9 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! 10 We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. 11
The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 12, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.13. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 14, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it 15. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). A common form of this patterning, engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.