The three main devices (symbols) in the Grandvell blazon are the greyhound, pellet and cross. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and sable.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. 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 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.
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 4. 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 5. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 6.
Unlike many of the creatures to be found in heraldry, the Greyhound is shown in a very natural aspect and lifelike poses. 7 It is probably the most common member of the dog family to be found in arms 8, and Wade suggests that we see in its appearance the suggestion of“courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity”. 9
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 10 One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. 11 So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and pellet is a roundle sable, or black. It is also known as an ogress or gunstone. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 12. 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. In its basic form, the cross is created from two broad bands of colour at right angles covering the whole extent of the shield. It has been subject to all manner of embellishment, and the interested reader is referred to the references, especially Parker’s Heraldic dictionary for many examples of these. 13 14 15 Suffice it to say that any armiger would be proud to have such an important device as part of their arms.