Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Per fess az. and vert a fess ar. in chief an estoile or, in base a salmon ppr. Crest—A lion's head erased gu.
2) Ar. a fess betw. two estoiles in chief and a fish naiant in base or. Crest—A pelican's head couped vulning her breast ppr.

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

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Tweddale Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Tweddale blazon are the estoile and salmon. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, vert and gules .

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 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” 3. 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 4. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 5. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”6. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 7. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.8.

There were of course many widely recognised symbols that existed long before the advent of heraldry and it should be no surprise that some of these were adopted as charge in coats of arms 9. The estoile is a typical example, reflecting the stars in the sky and represented with six wavy points, often with a little shading to give it some depth. 10. The ancient writer Guillim assigns these symbols as the emblems of God’s goodness”. 11

Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms 12, although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised salmon shape 13 that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, 14 this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the salmon has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.

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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 Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
  • 5 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P301
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Estoile
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P77
  • 12 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P150
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P137
  • 14 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 79