Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Sa. a fesse betw. three goats pass. ar. attired or. Crest—An arm in armour couped and embowed, resting the elbow on the wreath, holding a sword all ppr.
2) Az. a cross pattée betw. four martlets or.

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

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Ive Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Ive blazon are the goat, martlet and cross pattee. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, azure and or .

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

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 4. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 5.

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 6. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 7. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 8.

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals 9 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The goat Is a typical example of these. Guillim, writing in the 17th century suggested that it may represent a “martial man who wins victory by…policy [rather] than valour”, a diplomat by any other name. 10

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 11. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 12. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

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. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 14, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 15. The cross pattee is typical of these, pattee meaning “spreading”, and so the ends of the arms of the cross curve gently outwards to rather pleasing effect. 16

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References

  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191
  • 10 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P119
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79
  • 13 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
  • 14 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
  • 15 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128
  • 16 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Pattée