Bickford Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Bickford Family Coat of Arms

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Bickford Coat of Arms Meaning

Bickford Name Origin & History

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Bickford Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Bickford blazon are the martlet and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and sable.

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.

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 3A 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 4Boutell’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 5The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

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. 6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. 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” 7The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. 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.

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 8A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various), or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.9The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Bickford Name

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Notes: (Dunsland, co. Devon; the heiress Mary, dau. of George Bickford, Esq. of Dunsland, m. the Rev. William Holland Cobam, of Cobam and Upcott Avenel). Blazon: Argent a chevron engrailed between three martlets sable.

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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. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
4. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
5. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
6. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
7. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79
8. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
9. The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
10. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45