The three main devices (symbols) in the Dangar blazon are the bend, ram’s head and ram’s head. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and ermine.
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 1. 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 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 4 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 5. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.6. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 7. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). 8. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 9.
Both the Ram and the ram’s head appear in heraldry, depicted in a lifelike aspect. 10 Wade assigns it the meaning of “leader” on account of its role within the flock. 11 Wade quotes Nichols in suggesting that it most resembles the primrose, which “brings good luck to the finder”. 12
Both the Ram and the ram’s head appear in heraldry, depicted in a lifelike aspect. 13 Wade assigns it the meaning of “leader” on account of its role within the flock. 14 Wade quotes Nichols in suggesting that it most resembles the primrose, which “brings good luck to the finder”. 15