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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Or, a bear sejant sa.

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

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Berneck Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Berneck blazon is the bear. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and or.

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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. 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 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. 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 5A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.

The bear is more common in the arms of continental Europe than in British arms (possibly due to the lack of bears native to that country!), although the county of Warwickshire famously includes a bear in its arms. 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bear Wade tells us that the bear is the “emblem of ferocity and the protection of kindred”. 8The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63

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References   [ + ]

1. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
2. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
3. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
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:Bear
8. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63