The three main devices (symbols) in the Fifield blazon are the acorn, cinquefoil and falcon. The three main tinctures (colors) are vert, or and ermine .
The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 1. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 2. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 3. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!
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.
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 7 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 8. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.9. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves or fruit. 10. The acorn, often represented in its early state as vert (green) 11 can be associated of course with the mighty oak, signifying, according to Wade, “antiquity and strength”, for obvious reasons.
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 12. The cinquefoil is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is shown as five-petalled flower, each petal quite rounded but with a distinct tip. It is sometimes pierced with a hole in the centre and usually appears on its own, without any leaves. 13 It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 14. The falcon is a bird long associated with hunting and we need look no further than a liking for this pursuit for its presence on many early coats of arms. 15 We also find many of the accessories used in falconry depicted on arms, and a surprising number of terms from the art of falconry have found use in modern English idioms and the interested reader is recommended to search out the origins of the phrases hoodwinked and “cadging” a lift.