The four main devices (symbols) in the Kingsbury blazon are the chevron, dove, serpent and wyvern. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and azure.
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” 1. 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 2. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3.
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” 4. 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 5.
The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 6, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.7. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 8, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 9. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The dove is an example of this, closely related birds such as pigeon and stock dove are frequently mentioned in arms but visually almost identical. 10 The dove itself is said to represent “loving constancy and peace” 11, the other birds possibly some play on words with the family name (PIDGEON for example).
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? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures 12 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The serpent Is a typical example of a mythical creature, as real to a person of the middle ages as dogs, cats and elephants are to us today.