Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Sa. three lions pass. in pale or.
2) Sa. a fesse erm. betw. three ducks ar.

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

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Malford Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Malford blazon are the lion, duck and fesse. The four main tinctures (colors) are or, sable, ermine and argent.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. 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 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.

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 4. 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 5. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 6.

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 7 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 8. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.9. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

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) 10. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 11.

The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions 12 13 14. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield 15 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 16, a sentiment echoed equally today.

We can consider the goose and duck together here as the former is quite rare, the latter appear in several forms, but both share the same meaning. Guillim, the 17th century author points out that such birds can swim, fly and run and thus their use may symbolise those who “have many ways of eluding their enemies”. 17 Other names for the ducks especially mayh have been used because of some assocation with the family name, the smew may fall into this category. 18

The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour 19. It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.

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References

  • 1 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 2 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 5 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 7 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 10 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
  • 13 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
  • 14 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
  • 15 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
  • 16 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60
  • 17 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P158
  • 18 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Goose and Duck
  • 19 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse