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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (co. Gloucester). Ar. a lion sejant gu. holding in the paws a palm branch vert, a bordure engr. sa.
2) Ar. a lion sejant gu. a bordure engr. sa.

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

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Farnwell Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Farnwell blazon are the lion sejant, palm branch and border engrailed. The three main tinctures (colors) are argent, sable and gules .

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 1. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2.

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 3. 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 4. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 5.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”6. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 7. 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).8

The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions 9 10 11. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield 12 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 13, a sentiment echoed equally today.The lion variation sejant indicates that the creature is posed sitting down, with head erect (not sleeping). 14

In addition to its religious significance the palm and the palm branch are regarded as emblems of “ victory, justice and royal honour”. 15 They are much more common in French heraldry than in English, and are also known as cocoa-nut trees. 16

The border, (sometimes bordure) is a band running around the edge of the shield, following the edge contours and being differently coloured, possibly holding a series of small charges placed on top of it 17. To distinguish it from similar arms, heraldic artists developed a series of decorative edges (obviously these are applied only to the inner edge). A common form of this patterning, 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 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
  • 11 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
  • 12 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60
  • 14 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:sejant
  • 15 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P129
  • 16 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:palm
  • 17 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bordure