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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(co. Kent). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three peacocks’ heads erased az.

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

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Pitis Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Pitis blazon are the peacock and chevron. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, gules 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 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.

The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.3. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 4. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 5, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

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) 6. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7.

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 8. 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. 9 Wade reckons it the “most beautiful and proudest of birds”. 10

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 11, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.12. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 13, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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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 The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Peacock
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 12 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45