Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (co. Kent). Sa. a fesse erm. in chief three griffins’ heads erased or. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a talbot's head gu. collared gold, lined sa.
2) Ar. a chev. sa. betw. three peacocks az.

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

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Manningham Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Manningham blazon are the griffin, fesse and peacock. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, ermine and or .

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.

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 4 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 5. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.6. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 7. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 8. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 9.

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures 10 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. 11. It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]12

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 13. 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”.

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 14. The peacock provides an instantly recognisable species, almost always facing the viewer with the full glory of the tail expanded in a pose known as in his pride. 15 Wade reckons it the “most beautiful and proudest of birds”. 16

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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 Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 10 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin
  • 12 Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse
  • 14 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
  • 15 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Peacock
  • 16 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77