The four main devices (symbols) in the Kingford blazon are the bar wavy, raven, ducal coronet and eagle. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, ermine and sable .
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 1. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 2.
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 3 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 4. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.5. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
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 6. 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 7. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 8.
The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, is a typical example of this. For obvious reasons it is associated with both water and the sea 9. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well 10. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 11. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance 12. The raven is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.
Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry 13, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms 14. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear 15. The ducal coronet is an example of this, being gold with a brim of strawberry leaves and a cap of crimson velvet. 16 It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King 17.