The three main devices (symbols) in the Steadman blazon are the boar, chevron and snail. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, argent and vert .
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).3
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) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.
The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 6. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 7. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 8. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!
In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. 9 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! 10 We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. 11
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 12, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.13. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 14, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
The snail or house snail does not occur often in heraldry but is always shown in full, with shell on its back. 15 In meaning can be read as a symbol of “deliberation and perserverance”. 16