Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Hardwick, co. Durham, and Lartington, co. York; derived from John Maire, of the city of Durham, who descended from the Maires of Meire, co. Chester). Ar. on waves ppr. a three-masted galley sa.
2) Ar. a spaniel dog pass. ppr. on a chief embattled az. a key paleways, the wards upwards, betw. two crosses crosslet or.

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

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Maire Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Maire blazon are the ship, waves, spaniel and key. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, azure and argent .

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 bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 4. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 5.

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) 6. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7.

We do not need to look far to find the symbolism in the presence of a ship in a coat of arms, they appear regularly in the arms of port towns and merchant companies and families. They usually appear as a three masted wooden vessel known as a lymphad 8 but are often described in some detail as to the disposition of their sails, presence and colours of flags and standards and so on. 9

The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea 10. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well 11.

Dogs of all breeds are common in heraldry and are largely depicted in a realistic fashion for that species. The obviously have a role as “man’s best friend” and can demonstrate a passion for the pursuit of hunting, but may also occur as a play on words with the family name. 12 Wade suggests that all dogs, of whatever breed should be taken as tokens of their “courage, vigilancy, and loyal fidelity”. 13

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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:Azure
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Shiop
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P294
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:dog (and others)
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69