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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (an Irish Sept; descended from Nial, of the Nine Hostages, Monarch of Ireland, 375; Reg. Ulster's Office). Ar. a lion ramp. gu. armed and langued az. in chief two dexter hands couped at the wrist of the second. Crest—A demi lion ramp. gu.
2) (Williamstown, co. Westmeath; Fun. Ent. Ulster's Office, 1638, Mortogh McAwley or Magawley, gent.). (or Magawley) Same Arms and Crest, a crescent for diff.

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

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MacAwley Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the MacAwley blazon are the lion rampant and hand. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3.

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised 6 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms 7. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.

The hand, unless we are told otherwise is a dexter (right) hand shown palm outwards and fingers upwards.8. It demonstrates faith, sincerity and justice, and in the form of two right hands clasped can mean union or alliance9. There is a special form called the “Hand of Ulster” which is a sinister hand gules on an argent background (a left hand, red upon white). Originally the Badge of Ulster, the Province of Northern Ireland, it has come to be used as an addition to existing arms, in an escutcheon (small shield) or canton (small square) to indicate that the holder is also a Baronet.10

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References

  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 3 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry, J.B. Parker, 1894 P305
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W Cecil Wade 1898 P92
  • 10 Heraldry Historical and Popular, Charles Boutell, 1864 P56