Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Erm. on a fesse betw. three mullets gu. a bull pass. or. Crest—An ounce’s head erased ppr. collared ar. charged with two mullets gu. the edges of the collar dovetailed.

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

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Grigby Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Grigby blazon are the mullet, bull and ounce’s head. The two main tinctures (colors) are ermine and gules.

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 1 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”4. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 5. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.6.

The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 7. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 8. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 9.

Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). 10 They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify ”valour and magnanimity”. 11

The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 12. 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” 13

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References

  • 1 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 8 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65