The three main devices (symbols) in the Lyle blazon are the holly leaf, fretty and cross pattee fitchee. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and gules.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1Boutell’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 2A 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.3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.4The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 5Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 6Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. 7A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Although sometimes described simply as a tree most often the specific species was named, and the holly leaf is a typical example. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock 8A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309 Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor 9The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112
Fretty is a very pleasing patterning of the field whereby it is split into diamond shapes by overlapping and interwoven diagonal bands, where the background and the band colours may be any of the heraldic tinctures. 10A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fret. The family CAVE, from Kent are blessed with the simple arms of Azure, fretty or. Ancient writers, such as Guillim believed that the pattern represented a net and hence symbolised those skilled in the art of “persuasion”! 11A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P234
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 12Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. 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 13Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 14A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross pattee fitchee is typical of these, pattee indicating that the upper arms spread out at the ends, fitchee showing that the lower arm ends in a point as if is to planted in the ground.