Blazons & Genealogy Notes

P. de Liège D'argent au chevron d'azur acc en chef de deux fleurs-de-lis de gueules et en pointe de quelques chaînons du collier de la Toison d'Or avec la toison en fasce reliant les branches du chevron. English: Argent a chevron Azure in chief two fleurs-de-lis Gules and in base some links of the collar of the Golden Fleece with the fleece in fess hanging from the branches of the chevron.

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

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Werteau Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Werteau blazon are the golden fleece, fleur-de-lis and chevron. 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 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.

There are occaisional examples of mythical beings or objects illustrated in a coat of arms, either as an image upon the shield, or as a supporter, and the Golden Fleece is an example of this. Any meaning must really be ascribed from the charateristics of that object, nothing additional is added through their heraldic use. 5

The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. 6. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”7 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms 8

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 9, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.10. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 11, 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 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 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P124
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489
  • 9 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 10 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45