The three main devices (symbols) in the Darlington blazon are the leopard’s head, cross crosslet and winged pillar. The three main tinctures (colors) are guttee deau, or and gules .
The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. 1 Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee d’eau being argent (or white) for its obvious resemblence to drops of water.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.2. 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 3. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.4.
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.5. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 6. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 7, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 8. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 9
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 10. 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. The cross crosslet is one of these, being symetrical both vertically and horizontally and having an additional cross bar on each arm. 11 Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. 12
The Pillar, according to Wade symbolises “fortitude and constancy”. 13 Typically the pillar is a plain column with simple cushion capitals but architecture fans will be pleased to know that other orders (doric, ionic etc.) can be specified! 14The winged pillar is also sometimes found but can be assumed to have similar significance