Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Sa. a chev. betw. three leopards' faces ar.
2) Ermines a chev. betw. three leopards’ faces ar.
3) (Shelwood, co. Surrey; confirmed by William Segar, Garter, 22 Nov. 1604). Sa. a chev. betw. three lions’ faces ar. Crest—A unicorn’s head erased ar. maned, bearded, and horned or, bearing on the horn a serpent twined ppr.

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

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Leechford Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Leechford blazon are the leopard’s face and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are ermines and sable.

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 leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 4. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 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.

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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:Lion
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65
  • 6 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 7 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45