The three main devices (symbols) in the Hosier blazon are the lion, talbot and chapeau. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, ermines and or .
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.
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.
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 7 8 9. 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 10 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 11, a sentiment echoed equally today.
Many breeds of dog appear in coats of arms, reflecting their status as man’s closet companion. The talbot is a hunting dog akin to a terrier, and usually illustrated in a lifelike style and eager pose. 12 In common with the other heraldic dogs, Wade suggests that their presence should suggest “courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity”. 13 Others might say we need look no further than a pleasure in the hunt and the affection for this sturdy breed.