Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (co. Suffolk). Az. a bend ar. billettée sa.
2) (Thomas Morieux, Sheriff of Norfolk, 1354). Gu. on a bend ar. seven billets sa.

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

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Morieux Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Morieux blazon are the billet and bend. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, argent and sable .

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 1. 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” 2.

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) 3. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4.

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 5. 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 6. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 7.

For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 8xz`, and the billet is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. In form it is a simple rectangle though sometimes has a slightly rounded or ragged appearance to reflect one possible origin as a block of wood cut by an axe. 9. Wade groups the billet with the other square charges as symbols of “honesty and constancy”. 10

The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 11. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). 12. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 13.

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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 Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Billet
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P95
  • 11 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P22
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P49