The four main devices (symbols) in the Butterworth blazon are the lion rampant, ducal coronet, plumb and eagle. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.1. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4. 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 5. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6.
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised 7 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms 8. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.
Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry 9, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms 10. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear 11. The ducal coronet is an example of this, being gold with a brim of strawberry leaves and a cap of crimson velvet. 12 It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King 13.
It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools 14 being a common and important example of these, of which the plumb is typical. Some of these tools are rather obscure to modern eyes, who of us nowadays would recognise a hemp-break 15, let alone know what to use it for! The plumb is a lead weight used by builders to determine a vertical drop and its use may refer to that profession.