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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Erm. a cross pattee throughout gu. Crest—A hand erect vested az. holding in the hand ppr. a chaplet gu.

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

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Leycroft Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Leycroft blazon are the cross pattee and chaplet. The two main tinctures (colors) are ermine and gules.

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 1 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3. 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”4. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5. 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).6

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 7. 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 8, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 9. 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. 10

Laurel appears in several forms in heraldry, beginning with the whole bush. through branches, sprigs and leaves. Wade, the noted heraldic author, reckons that the leaves represent “tokens of peace and quietness”, whilst branches, especially in pairs are in memory of some great triumph. 11 The other major appearance of the laurel is in the form of the laurel wreath, also known as a chaplet. 12. This was worn as a token of victory by Roman emporers, and Wade futher suggests that a similar purpose is adopted in heraldic art.

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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 47
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Pattée
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P125.
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Laurel