Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Gu. a bend engr. or, over all a label ar. Crest—A mullet or, betw. two palm branches vert.

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

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Marchall Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Marchall blazon are the label, cross engrailed, palm branch and mullet. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and or.

Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 1. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 2.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.3. 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 4. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.5.

The label holds a special place in heraldry, originlly being a temporary mark, used by the oldest son while his father was still alive. In appearance it is a horizontal bar near the top of the shield from which descend 3 or 5 “points” or small rectangles descending from the bar. 6 In more recent use it has come to used as charge in its own right 7 and may have additional charges on each point, which can create a pleasing visual effect.

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 8. 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 9. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

In addition to its religious significance the palm and the palm branch are regarded as emblems of “ victory, justice and royal honour”. 10 They are much more common in French heraldry than in English, and are also known as cocoa-nut trees. 11

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References

  • 1 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 4 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Label
  • 7 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P154
  • 8 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
  • 9 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P129
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:palm