Leech Coat of Arms

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (cos. Lincoln, Kent, and Surrey). Erm. on a chief dancettée gu. three ducal coronets or.
2) (city of Chester, 1613). Same Arms, a mullet charged with a crescent for diff.
3) (confirmed to Rev. John Leech, M.A., Chaplain of Kingston College, Mitchelstown, co. Cork, grandson of John Leech, of Rathroan, co. Mayo, and of Dublin, Deputy Governor of Sligo, and to the descendants of his said grandfather). Motto—Virtute et valore. Erm. a trefoil vert, on a chief indented gu. three ducal coronets or. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, charged with a trefoil vert, an arm erect ppr. grasping a snake environed about the arm also vert.
4) (Nestaling, Scotland). Ar. a fesse fusily sa.
5) (Scotland). Ar. a fesse wavy sa.

Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Leech Name

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Leech Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Leech blazon are the ducal coronet, chief dancette, mullet and crescent. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, gules 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 1A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. 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 8A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.9Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.

Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry 10Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138. 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 12A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350. The ducal coronet is an example of this, being gold with a brim of strawberry leaves and a cap of crimson velvet. 13A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Crown 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 14Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187.

The chief is a separate area across the top of the field 15Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40. It is normally marked by a straight line of partition, but for artistic effect, and for clarity of difference between coats of arms, heralds have developed a series of decorative patterns to be used along the edge. Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful. Wade, quoting Guillim suggests that dancettee be attributed to mean water, in the same fashion as undy or wavy, and one can understand this allusion.

The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 16Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 17A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 18The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105.

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References   [ + ]

1. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
2. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
3. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
4. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
5. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
6. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
7. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
8. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
9. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
10. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P184
11. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P138
12. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P350
13. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Crown
14. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 187
15. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40
16. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
17. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
18. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105