The three main devices (symbols) in the Boak blazon are the fret, beacon and pale. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and gules.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. 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 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”4. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 5. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.6.
The fret is a striking charge, often occupying the whole of the field and being two instersecting diagonal lines interlaced with the outline of a square. 7 It is believed to be derived from the image of a fishing net, which it does indeed resemble, and hence Wade believes that it should signify persuasion, although other writers regard it separately as the “the heraldic true lovers knot” 8
The Beacon is an iron basket raised on a post used for signalling in the event of peril or invasion and can be borne in flames or empty. A similar device, used more prosaically as a street light is the cresset. 9 Either device, for reasons that should be quite clear are to be regarded as emblems of “one who is watchful”. 10
The Pale is one of the major, so called ordinaries, significant objects that extend across the entire field of the shield. The pale being a broad vertical band up the centre of the shield 11. In origin, the word probably has its roots in the same place as palisade, a defensive wall made of closely space upright timbers. Indeed, it is possible that the original “pales” arose where a wooden shield was constructed of vertical planks painted in different hues 12. This is perhaps why Wade, a writer on Heraldic Symbology suggested that denotes “military strength and fortitude” 13.