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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(co. Stafford). Gu. on a cross engr. or, a rose of the field.

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

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Cumberford Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Cumberford blazon are the rose and cross engrailed. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).3

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 4. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 5. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6.

Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 7. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. 8

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 9. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 10. The pattern 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.

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References

  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 7 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
  • 10 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
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