Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Notes: (Hallam, co. York). Blazon: Ar. a lion ramp. az. guttee d’or.
2) Notes: None. Blazon: Sa. a cross erm. Crest—On a mount vert a bull.

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

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Hallam Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Hallam blazon are the lion, cross and bull. The three main tinctures (colors) are guttee dor, sable and ermine .

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’or or gutte aure being or (gold) for who would not delight in a field strewn with drops of gold!

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

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 5 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 6. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.7. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

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 8 9 10. 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 11 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 12, a sentiment echoed equally today.

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 13. 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. 14 15 16 Suffice it to say that any armiger would be proud to have such an important device as part of their arms.

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). 17 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”. 18

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References

  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gouttes
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 5 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
  • 10 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
  • 11 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60
  • 13 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
  • 14 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross
  • 15 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P106
  • 16 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P160-173
  • 17 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull
  • 18 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117