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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Frise – D’azur à une épée d’argent garnie d’or surmontée de trois roses mal-ordonnées d’argent Cimier un faucon essorant d’argent la tête contournée (V Houwerda de )Azure a sword argent hilt and pommell or surmounted by three roses [disordered] 1,2 Crest: a falcon soaring argent the head reversed.

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

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Meckema Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Meckema blazon are the rose, sword and falcon. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and argent.

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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure. 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” 2The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36.

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) 3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 5A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. 6The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133

Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 8A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 9A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The falcon is a bird long associated with hunting and we need look no further than a liking for this pursuit for its presence on many early coats of arms. 10A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Falcon We also find many of the accessories used in falconry depicted on arms, and a surprising number of terms from the art of falconry have found use in modern English idioms and the interested reader is recommended to search out the origins of the phrases hoodwinked and “cadging” a lift.

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References   [ + ]

1. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
2. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
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, 1847, P11
5. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262
6. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133
7. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89
8. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302
9. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
10. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Falcon