A Complete Guide to Heraldry/Chapter 9

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CHAPTER IX

THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES AND SUB-ORDINARIES

Arms, and the charges upon arms, have been divided into many fantastical divisions. There is a type of the precise mind much evident in the scientific writing of the last and the preceding centuries which is for ever unhappy unless it can be dividing the object of its consideration into classes and divisions, into sub-classes and sub-divisions. Heraldry has suffered in this way; for, oblivious of the fact that the rules enunciated are impossible as rigid guides for general observance, and that they never have been complied with, and that they never will be, a "tabular" system has been evolved for heraldry as for most other sciences. The "precise" mind has applied a system obviously derived from natural history classification to the principles of armory. It has selected a certain number of charges, and has been pleased to term them ordinaries. It has selected others which it has been pleased to term sub-ordinaries. The selection has been purely arbitrary, at the pleasure of the writer, and few writers have agreed in their classifications. One of the foremost rules which former heraldic writers have laid down is that an ordinary must contain the third part of the field. Now it is doubtful whether an ordinary has ever been drawn containing the third part of the field by rigid measurement, except in the solitary instance of the pale, when it is drawn "per fess counterchanged," for the obvious purpose of dividing the shield into six equal portions, a practice which has been lately pursued very extensively owing to the ease with which, by its adoption, a new coat of arms can be designed bearing a distinct resemblance to one formerly in use without infringing the rights of the latter. Certainly, if the ordinary is the solitary charge upon the shield, it will be drawn about that specified proportion. But when an attempt is made to draw the Walpole coat (which cannot be said to be a modern one) so that it shall exhibit three ordinaries, to wit, one fess and two chevrons (which being interpreted as three-thirds of the shield, would fill it entirely), and yet leave a goodly proportion of the field still visible, the absurdity is apparent. And a very large proportion of the classification and rules which occupy such a large proportion of the space in the majority of heraldic text-books are equally unnecessary, confusing, and incorrect, and what is very much more important, such rules have never been recognised by the powers that have had the control of armory from the beginning of that control down to the present day. I shall not be surprised to find that many of my critics, bearing in mind how strenuously I have pleaded elsewhere for a right and proper observance of the laws of armory, may think that the foregoing has largely the nature of a recantation. It is nothing of the kind, and I advocate as strenuously as I have ever done, the compliance with and the observance of every rule which can be shown to exist. But this is no argument whatever for the idle invention of rules which never have existed; or for the recognition of rules which have no other origin than the imagination of heraldic writers. Nor is it an argument for the deduction of unnecessary regulations from cases which can be shown to have been exceptions. Too little recognition is paid to the fact that in armory there are almost as many rules of exception as original rules. There are vastly more plain exceptions to the rules which should govern them.

On the subject of ordinaries, I cannot see wherein lies the difference between a bend and a lion rampant, save their difference in form, yet the one is said to be an ordinary, the other is merely a charge. Each has its special rules to be observed, and whilst a bend can be engrailed or invected, a lion can be guardant or regardant; and whilst the one can be placed between two objects, which objects will occupy a specified position, so can the other. Each can be charged, and each furnishes an excellent example of the futility of some of the ancient rules which have been coined concerning them. The ancient rules allow of but one lion and one bend upon a shield, requiring that two bends shall become bendlets, and two lions lioncels, whereas the instance we have already quoted—the coat of Walpole—has never been drawn in such form that either of the chevrons could have been considered chevronels, and it is rather late in the day to degrade the lions of England into unblooded whelps. To my mind the ordinaries and sub-ordinaries are no more than first charges, and though the bend, the fess, the pale, the pile, the chevron, the cross, and the saltire will always be found described as honourable ordinaries, whilst the chief seems also to be pretty universally considered as one of the honourable ordinaries, such hopeless confusion remains as to the others (scarcely any two writers giving similar classifications), that the utter absurdity of the necessity for any classification at all is amply demonstrated. Classification is only necessary or desirable when a certain set of rules can be applied identically to all the set of figures in that particular class. Even this will not hold with the ordinaries which have been quote.

A pale embattled is embattled upon both its edges; a fess embattled is embattled only upon the upper edge; a chief is embattled necessarily only upon the lower; and the grave difficulty of distinguishing "per pale engrailed" from "per pale invected" shows that no rigid rules can be laid down. When we come to sub-ordinaries, the confusion is still more apparent, for as far as I can see the only reason for the classification is the tabulating of rules concerning the lines of partition. The bordure and the orle can be, and often are, engrailed or embattled; the fret, the lozenge, the fusil, the mascle, the rustre, the flanche, the roundel, the billet, the label, the pairle, it would be practically impossible to meddle with; and all these figures have at some time or another, and by some writer or other, been included amongst either the ordinaries or the sub-ordinaries. In fact there is no one quality which these charges possess in common which is not equally possessed by scores of other well-known charges, and there is no particular reason why a certain set should be selected and dignified by the name of ordinaries; nor are there any rules relating to ordinaries which require the selection of a certain number of figures, or of any figures to be controlled by those rules, with one exception. The exception is to be found not in the rules governing the ordinaries, but in the rules of blazon. After the field has been specified, the principal charge must be mentioned first, and no charge can take precedence of a bend, fess, pale, pile, chevron, cross, or saltire, except one of themselves. If there be any reason for a subdivision those charges must stand by themselves, and might be termed the honourable ordinaries, but I can see no reason for treating the chief, the quarter, the canton, gyron, flanche, label, orle, tressure, fret, inescutcheon, chaplet, bordure, lozenge, fusil, mascle, rustre, roundel, billet, label, shakefork, and pairle, as other than ordinary charges. They certainly are purely heraldic, and each has its own special rules, but so in heraldry have the lion, griffin, and deer. Here is the complete list of the so-called ordinaries and sub-ordinaries: The bend; fess; bar; chief; pale; chevron; cross; saltire; pile; pairle, shakefork or pall; quarter; canton; gyron; bordure; orle; tressure; flanche; label, fret; inescutcheon; chaplet; lozenge; fusil; mascle; rustre; roundel; billet, together with the diminutives of such of these as are in use.

With reference to the origin of these ordinaries, by the use of which term is meant for the moment the rectilinear figures peculiar to armory, it may be worth the passing mention that the said origin is a matter of some mystery. Guillim and the old writers almost universally take them to be derived from the actual military scarf or a representation of it placed across the shield in various forms. Other writers, taking the surcoat and its decoration as the real origin of coats of arms, derive the ordinaries from the belt, scarf, and other articles of raiment. Planché, on the other hand, scouted such a derivation, putting forward upon very good and plausible grounds the simple argument that the origin of the ordinaries is to be found in the cross-pieces of wood placed across a shield for strengthening purposes. He instances cases in which shields, apparently charged with ordinaries but really strengthened with cross-pieces, can be taken back to a period long anterior to the existence of regularised armory. But then, on the other hand, shields can be found decorated with animals at an equally early or even an earlier period, and I am inclined myself to push Planché's own argument even farther than he himself took it, and assert unequivocally that the ordinaries had in themselves no particular symbolism and no definable origin whatever beyond that easy method of making some pattern upon a shield which was to be gained by using straight lines. That they ever had any military meaning, I cannot see the slightest foundation to believe; their suggested and asserted symbolism I totally deny. But when we can find, as Planché did, that shields were strengthened with cross-pieces in various directions, it is quite natural to suppose that these cross-pieces afforded a ready means of decoration in colour, and this would lead a good deal of other decoration to follow similar forms, even in the absence of cross-pieces upon the definite shield itself. The one curious point which rather seems to tell against Planché's theory is that in the earliest "rolls" of arms but a comparatively small proportion of the arms are found to consist of these rectilinear figures, and if the ordinaries really originated in strengthening cross-pieces one would have expected a larger number of such coats of arms to be found; but at the same time such arms would, in many cases, in themselves be so palpably mere meaningless decoration of cross-pieces upon plain shields, that the resulting design would not carry with it such a compulsory remembrance as would a design, for example, derived from lines which had plainly had no connection with the construction of the shield. Nor could it have any such basis of continuity. Whilst a son would naturally paint a lion upon his shield if his father had done the same, there certainly would not be a similar inducement for a son to follow his father's example where the design upon a shield were no more than different-coloured strengthening pieces, because if these were gilt, for example, the son would naturally be no more inclined to perpetuate a particular form of strengthening for his shield, which might not need it, than any particular artistic division with which it was involved, so that the absence of arms composed of ordinaries from the early rolls of arms may not amount to so very much. Still further, it may well be concluded that the compilers of early rolls of arms, or the collectors of the details from which early rolls were made at a later date, may have been tempted to ignore, and may have been justified in discarding from their lists of arms, those patterns and designs which palpably were then no more than a meaningless colouring of the strengthening pieces, but which patterns and designs by subsequent continuous usage and perpetuation became accepted later by certain families as the "arms" their ancestors had worn. It is easy to see that such meaningless patterns would have less chance of survival by continuity of usage, and at the same time would require a longer continuity of usage, before attaining to fixity as a definite design.

The undoubted symbolism of the cross in so many early coats of arms has been urged strongly by those who argue either for a symbolism for all these rectilinear figures or for an origin in articles of dress. But the figure of the cross preceded Christianity and organised armory, and it had an obvious decorative value which existed before, and which exists now outside any attribute it may have of a symbolical nature. That it is an utterly fallacious argument must be admitted when it is remembered that two lines at right angles make a cross—probably the earliest of all forms of decoration—and that the cross existed before its symbolism. Herein it differs from other forms of decoration (e.g. the Masonic emblems) which cannot be traced beyond their symbolical existence. The cross, like the other heraldic rectilinear figures, came into existence, meaningless as a decoration for a shield, before armory as such existed, and probably before Christianity began. Then being in existence the Crusading instinct doubtless caused its frequent selection with an added symbolical meaning. But the argument can truthfully be pushed no farther.

THE BEND

The bend is a broad band going from the dexter chief corner to the sinister base (Fig. 65). According to the old theorists this should contain the third part of the field. As a matter of fact it hardly ever does, and seldom did even in the oldest examples. Great latitude is allowed to the artist on this point, in accordance with whether the bend be plain or charged, and more particularly according to the charges which accompany it in the shield and their disposition thereupon.

"Azure, a bend or," is the well-known coat concerning which the historic controversy was waged between Scrope and Grosvenor. As every one knows, it was finally adjudged to belong to the former, and a right to it has also been proved by the Cornish family of Carminow.

A bend is, of course, subject to the usual variations of the lines of partition (Figs. 66-75).

A bend compony (Fig. 76), will be found in the arms of Beaumont, and the difference between this (in which the panes run with the bend) and a bend barry (in which the panes are horizontal, Fig. 77), as in the arms of King,[1] should be noticed.

Fig. 65.—Bend.

Fig. 65.—Bend.

Fig. 66.—Bend engrailed.

Fig. 66.—Bend engrailed.

Fig. 67.—Bend invecked.

Fig. 67.—Bend invecked.

Fig. 68.—Bend embattled.

Fig. 68.—Bend embattled.

Fig. 69.—Bend embattled counter-embattled.

Fig. 69.—Bend embattled counter-embattled.

Fig. 70.—Bend raguly.

Fig. 70.—Bend raguly.

Fig. 71.—Bend dovetailed.

Fig. 71.—Bend dovetailed.

Fig. 72.—Bend indented.

Fig. 72.—Bend indented.

Fig. 73.—Bend dancetté.

Fig. 73.—Bend dancetté.

A bend wavy is not very usual, but will be found in the arms of Wallop, De Burton, and Conder. A bend raguly appears in the arms of Strangman.

When a bend and a bordure appear upon the same arms, the bend is not continued over the bordure, and similarly it does not surmount a tressure (Fig. 78), but stops within it.

A bend upon a bend is by no means unusual. An example of this will be found in a coat of Waller. Cases where this happens need to be carefully scrutinised to avoid error in blazoning.

Fig. 74.—Bend wavy.

Fig. 74.—Bend wavy.

Fig. 75.—Bend nebuly.

Fig. 75.—Bend nebuly.

Fig. 76.—Bend compony.

Fig. 76.—Bend compony.

Fig. 77.—Bend barry.

Fig. 77.—Bend barry.

Fig. 78.—Bend within tressure.

Fig. 78.—Bend within tressure.

Fig. 79.—Bend lozengy.

Fig. 79.—Bend lozengy.

A bend lozengy, or of lozenges (Fig. 79), will be found in the arms of Bolding.

A bend flory and counterflory will be found in the arms of Fellows, a quartering of Tweedy.

A bend chequy will be found in the arms of Menteith, and it should be noticed that the checks run the way of the bend.

Ermine spots upon a bend are represented the way of the bend.

Occasionally two bends will be found, as in the arms of Lever: Argent, two bends sable, the upper one engrailed (vide Lyon Register—escutcheon of pretence on the arms of Goldie-Scot of Craigmore, 1868); or as in the arms of James Ford, of Montrose, 1804: Gules, two bends vairé argent and sable, on a chief or, a greyhound courant sable between two towers gules. A different form appears in the arms of Zorke or Yorke (see Papworth), which are blazoned: Azure, a bend argent, impaling argent, a bend azure. A solitary instance of three bends (which, however, effectually proves that a bend cannot occupy the third part of the field) occurs in the arms of Penrose, matriculated in Lyon Register in 1795 as a quartering of Cumming-Gordon of Altyre. These arms of Penrose are: Argent, three bends sable, each charged with as many roses of the field.

A charge half the width of a bend is a bendlet (Fig. 80), and one half the width of a bendlet is a cottise (Fig. 81), but a cottise cannot exist alone, inasmuch as it has of itself neither direction nor position, but is only found accompanying one of the ordinaries. The arms of Harley are an example of a bend cottised.

Bendlets will very seldom be found either in addition to a bend, or charged, but the arms of Vaile show both these peculiarities.

Fig. 80.—Bendlets.

Fig. 80.—Bendlets.

A bend will usually be found between two charges. Occasionally it will be found between four, but more frequently between six. In none of these cases is it necessary to specify the position of the subsidiary charges. It is presumed that the bend separates them into even numbers, but their exact position (beyond this) upon the shield is left to the judgment of the artist, and their disposition is governed by the space left available by the shape of the shield. A further presumption is permitted in the case of a bend between three objects, which are presumed to be two in chief and one in base. But even in the case of three the position will be usually found to be specifically stated, as would be the case with any other uneven number.

Fig. 81.—Bend cottised.

Fig. 81.—Bend cottised.

Charges on a bend are placed in the direction of the bend. In such cases it is not necessary to specify that the charges are bendwise. When a charge or charges occupy the position which a bend would, they are said to be placed "in bend." This is not the same thing as a charge placed "bendwise" (or bendways). In this case the charge itself is slanted into the angle at which the bend crosses the shield, but the position of the charge upon the shield is not governed thereby.

When a bend and chief occur together in the same arms, the chief will usually surmount the bend, the latter issuing from the angle between the base of the chief and the side of the shield. An instance to the contrary, however, will be found in the arms of Fitz-Herbert of Swynnerton, in which the bend is continued over the chief. This instance, however (as doubtless all others of the kind), is due to the use of the bend in early times as a mark of difference. The coat of arms, therefore, had an earlier and separate existence without the bend, which has been superimposed as a difference upon a previously existing coat. The use of the bend as a difference will be again referred to when considering more fully the marks and methods of indicating cadency.

Fig. 82.—Bend sinister.

Fig. 82.—Bend sinister.

A curious instance of the use of the sun's rays in bend will be found in the arms of Warde-Aldam.[2]

The bend sinister (Fig. 82), is very frequently stated to be the mark of illegitimacy. It certainly has been so used upon some occasions, but these occasions are very few and far between, the charge more frequently made use of being the bendlet or its derivative the baton (Fig. 83). These will be treated more fully in the chapter on the marks of illegitimacy. The bend sinister, which is a band running from the sinister chief corner through the centre of the escutcheon to the dexter base, need not necessarily indicate bastardy. Naturally the popular idea which has originated and become stereotyped concerning it renders its appearance extremely rare, but in at least two cases it occurs without, as far as I am aware, carrying any such meaning. At any rate, in neither case are the coats "bastardised" versions of older arms. These cases are the arms of Shiffner: "Azure, a bend sinister, in chief two estoiles, in like bend or; in base the end and stock of an anchor gold, issuing from waves of the sea proper;" and Burne-Jones: "Azure, on a bend sinister argent, between seven mullets, four in chief and three in base or, three pairs of wings addorsed purpure."

Fig. 83.—Baton sinister.

Fig. 83.—Baton sinister.

No coat with the chief charge a single bendlet occurs in Papworth. A single case, however, is to be found in the Lyon Register in the duly matriculated arms of Porterfield of that Ilk: "Or, a bendlet between a stag's head erased in chief and a hunting-horn in base sable, garnished gules." Single bendlets, however, both dexter and sinister, occur as ancient difference marks, and are then sometimes known as ribands. So described, it occurs in blazon of the arms of Abernethy: "Or, a lion rampant gules, debruised of a ribbon sable," quartered by Lindsay, Earl of Crawford and Balcarres; but here again the bendlet is a mark of cadency. In the Gelre Armorial, in this particular coat the ribbon is made "engrailed," which is most unusual, and which does not appear to be the accepted form. In many of the Scottish matriculations of this Abernethy coat in which this riband occurs it is termed a "cost," doubtless another form of the word cottise.

When a bend or bendlets (or, in fact, any other charge) are raised above their natural position in the shield they are termed "enhanced" (Fig. 84). An instance of this occurs in the well-known coat of Byron, viz.: "Argent, three bendlets enhanced gules," and in the arms of Manchester, which were based upon this coat.

Fig. 84.—Bendlets enhanced.

Fig. 84.—Bendlets enhanced.

Fig. 85.—Pale.

Fig. 85.—Pale.

Fig. 86.—Pale engrailed.

Fig. 86.—Pale engrailed.

When the field is composed of an even number of equal pieces divided by lines following the angle of a bend the field is blazoned "bendy" of so many (Fig. 58). In most cases it will be composed of six or eight pieces, but as there is no diminutive of "bendy," the number must always be stated.

THE PALE

The pale is a broad perpendicular band passing from the top of the escutcheon to the bottom (Fig. 85). Like all the other ordinaries, it is stated to contain the third part of the area of the field, and it is the only one which is at all frequently drawn in that proportion. But even with the pale, the most frequent occasion upon which this proportion is definitely given, this exaggerated width will be presently explained. The artistic latitude, however, permits the pale to be drawn of this proportion if this be convenient to the charges upon it.

Like the other ordinaries, the pale will be found varied by the different lines of partition (Figs. 86-94).

The single circumstance in which the pale is regularly drawn to contain a full third of the field by measurement is when the coat is "per fess and a pale counterchanged." This, it will be noticed, divides the shield into six equal portions (Fig. 95). The ease with which, by the employment of these conditions, a new coat can be based upon an old one which shall leave three original charges in the same position, and upon a field of the original tincture, and yet shall produce an entirely different and distinct coat of arms, has led to this particular form being constantly repeated in modern grants.

Fig. 87.—Pale invecked.

Fig. 87.—Pale invecked.

Fig. 88.—Pale embattled.

Fig. 88.—Pale embattled.

Fig. 89.—Pale raguly.

Fig. 89.—Pale raguly.

Fig. 90.—Pale dovetailed.

Fig. 90.—Pale dovetailed.

Fig. 91.—Pale indented.

Fig. 91.—Pale indented.

Fig. 92.—Pale wavy.

Fig. 92.—Pale wavy.

Fig. 93.—Pale nebuly.

Fig. 93.—Pale nebuly.

Fig. 94.—Pale rayonné.

Fig. 94.—Pale rayonné.

Fig. 95.—Pale per fesse counter changed.

Fig. 95.—Pale per fesse counter changed.

The diminutive of the pale is the pallet (Fig. 96), and the pale cottised is sometimes termed "endorsed."

Except when it is used as a mark of difference or distinction (then usually wavy), the pallet is not found singly; but two pallets, or three, are not exceptional. Charged upon other ordinaries, particularly on the chief and the chevron, pallets are of constant occurrence.

When the field is striped vertically it is said to be "paly" of so many (Fig. 57).

Fig. 96.—Pallets.

Fig. 96.—Pallets.

Fig. 97.—The arms of Amaury de Montfort, Earl of Gloucester; died before 1214. (From his seal.)

Fig. 97.—The arms of Amaury de Montfort, Earl of Gloucester; died before 1214. (From his seal.)

Fig. 98.—Arms of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester; died 1265. (From MS. Cott., Nero, D. 1.)

Fig. 98.—Arms of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester; died 1265. (From MS. Cott., Nero, D. 1.)

Fig. 99.—Fess.

Fig. 99.—Fess.

Fig. 100.—Fess engrailed.

Fig. 100.—Fess engrailed.

Fig. 101.—Fess invecked.

Fig. 101.—Fess invecked.

The arms shown in Fig. 97 are interesting inasmuch as they are doubtless an early form of the coat per pale indented argent and gules, which is generally described as a banner borne for the honour of Hinckley, by the Simons de Montfort, Earls of Leicester, father and son. In a Roll temp. Henry III., to Simon the younger is ascribed "Le Banner party endentee dargent & de goules," although the arms of both father and son are known to have been as Fig. 98: "Gules, a lion rampant queue-fourchée argent." More probably the indented coat gives the original Montfort arms.

THE FESS

The fess is a broad horizontal band crossing the escutcheon in the centre (Fig. 99). It is seldom drawn to contain a full third of the area of the shield. It is subject to the lines of partition (Figs. 100-109).

A curious variety of the fess dancetté is borne by the Shropshire family Plowden of Plowden. They bear: Azure, a fess dancetté, the upper points terminating in fleurs-de-lis (Fig. 110). A fess couped (Fig. 111) is found in the arms of Lee.

Fig. 102.—Fess embattled.

Fig. 102.—Fess embattled.

Fig. 103.—Fess embattled counter-embattled.

Fig. 103.—Fess embattled counter-embattled.

Fig. 104.—Fess raguly.

Fig. 104.—Fess raguly.

Fig. 105.—Fess dovetailed.

Fig. 105.—Fess dovetailed.

Fig. 106.—Fess indented.

Fig. 106.—Fess indented.

Fig. 107.—Fess dancetté.

Fig. 107.—Fess dancetté.

Fig. 108.—Fess wavy.

Fig. 108.—Fess wavy.

Fig. 109.—Fess nebuly.

Fig. 109.—Fess nebuly.

Fig. 110.—The arms of Plowden.

Fig. 110.—The arms of Plowden.

The "fess embattled" is only crenellated upon the upper edge; but when both edges are embattled it is a fess embattled and counter-embattled. The term bretessé (which is said to indicate that the battlements on the upper edge are opposite the battlements on the lower edge, and the indentations likewise corresponding) is a term and a distinction neither of which are regarded in British armory.

A fess wreathed (Fig. 112) is a bearing which seems to be almost peculiar to the Carmichael family, but the arms of Waye of Devon are an additional example, being: Sable, two bars wreathed argent and gules. I know of no other ordinary borne in a wreathed form, but there seems no reason why this peculiarity should be confined to the fess.

Fig. 111.—Fess couped.

Fig. 111.—Fess couped.

Fig. 112.—Fess wreathed.

Fig. 112.—Fess wreathed.

Fig. 113.—Two Bars.

Fig. 113.—Two Bars.

Fig. 114.—Bars embattled.

Fig. 114.—Bars embattled.

Fig. 115.—Bars engrailed.

Fig. 115.—Bars engrailed.

Fig. 116.—Bars invecked.

Fig. 116.—Bars invecked.

It is a fixed rule of British armory that there can be only one fess upon a shield. If two figures of this character are found they are termed bars (Fig. 113). But it is hardly correct to speak of the bar as a diminutive of the fess, because if two bars only appear on the shield there would be little, if any, diminution made from the width of the fess when depicting the bars. As is the case with other ordinaries, there is much latitude allowed to the artist in deciding the dimensions, it being usually permitted for these to be governed by the charges upon the fess or bars, and the charges between which these are placed.

Bars, like the fess, are of course equally subject to all the varying lines of partition (Figs. 114-118).

The diminutive of the bar is the barrulet, which is half its width and double the width of the cottise. But the barrulet will almost invariably be found borne in pairs, when such a pair is usually known as a "bar gemel" and not as two barrulets. Thus a coat with four barrulets would have these placed at equal distances from each other; but a coat with two bars gemel would be depicted with two of its barrulets placed closely together in chief and two placed closely together in base, the disposition being governed by the fact that the two barrulets comprising the "bar gemel" are only one charge. Fig. 119 shows three bars gemel. There is theoretically no limit to the number of bars or bars gemel which can be placed upon the shield. In practical use, however, four will be found the maximum.

Fig. 117.—Bars raguly.

Fig. 117.—Bars raguly.

Fig. 118.—Bars dovetailed.

Fig. 118.—Bars dovetailed.

Fig. 119.—Bars gemel.

Fig. 119.—Bars gemel.

A field composed of four, six, eight, or ten horizontal pieces of equal width is "barry of such and such a number of pieces," the number being always specified (Figs. 55 and 56). A field composed of an equal number of horizontally shaped pieces, when these exceed ten in number, is termed "barruly" of such and such a number. The term barruly is also sometimes used for ten pieces. If the number is omitted "barry" will usually be of six pieces, though sometimes of eight. On the other hand a field composed of five, seven, or nine pieces is not barry, but (e.g.) two bars, three bars, and four bars respectively. This distinction in modern coats needs to be carefully noted, but in ancient coats it is not of equal importance. Anciently also a shield "barry" was drawn of a greater number of pieces (see Figs. 120, 121 and 122) than would nowadays be employed. In modern armory a field so depicted would more correctly be termed "barruly."

Whilst a field can be and often is barry of two colours or two metals, an uneven number of pieces must of necessity be of metal and colour or fur. Consequently in a shield e.g. divided into seven equal horizontal divisions, alternately gules and sable, there must be a mistake somewhere.

Although these distinctions require to be carefully noted as regards modern arms, it should be remembered that they are distinctions evolved by the intricacies and requirements of modern armory, and ancient arms were not so trammelled.

A field divided horizontally into three equal divisions of e.g. gules, sable, and argent is theoretically blazoned by British rules "party per fess gules and argent, a fess sable." This, however, gives an exaggerated width to the fess which it does not really possess with us, and the German rules, which would blazon it "tierced per fess gules, sable, and argent," would seem preferable.

Fig. 120.—Arms of William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1296); Barruly azure and argent, a label of five points gules, the files depending from the chief line of the shield, and each file charged with three lions passant guardant or. (From MS. Reg. 14, C. vii.)

Fig. 120.—Arms of William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1296); Barruly azure and argent, a label of five points gules, the files depending from the chief line of the shield, and each file charged with three lions passant guardant or. (From MS. Reg. 14, C. vii.)

Fig. 121.—Arms of Laurence de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1348); Quarterly, 1 and 4, or, a maunch gules (for Hastings); 2 and 3, barruly argent and azure, an orle of martlets (for Valence). (From his seal.)

Fig. 121.—Arms of Laurence de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1348); Quarterly, 1 and 4, or, a maunch gules (for Hastings); 2 and 3, barruly argent and azure, an orle of martlets (for Valence). (From his seal.)

Fig. 122.—Arms of Edmund Grey, Earl of Kent (d. 1489): Quarterly, 1 and 4, barry of six, argent and azure, in chief three torteaux (for Grey); 2 and 3, Hastings and Valence sub-quarterly. (From his seal, 1442.)

Fig. 122.—Arms of Edmund Grey, Earl of Kent (d. 1489): Quarterly, 1 and 4, barry of six, argent and azure, in chief three torteaux (for Grey); 2 and 3, Hastings and Valence sub-quarterly. (From his seal, 1442.)

Fig. 123.—Barry, per chevron counter-changed.

Fig. 123.—Barry, per chevron counter-changed.

Fig. 124.—Barry-bendy.

Fig. 124.—Barry-bendy.

Fig. 125.—Paly-bendy.

Fig. 125.—Paly-bendy.

A field which is barry may also be counterchanged, as in the arms of Ballingall, where it is counterchanged per pale; but it can also be counterchanged per chevron (Fig. 123), or per bend dexter or sinister. Such counterchanging should be carefully distinguished from fields which are "barry-bendy" (Fig. 124), or "paly-bendy" (Fig. 125). In these latter cases the field is divided first by lines horizontal (for barry) or perpendicular (for paly), and subsequently by lines bendy (dexter or sinister).

The result produced is very similar to "lozengy" (Fig. 126), and care should be taken to distinguish the two.

Barry-bendy is sometimes blazoned "fusilly in bend," whilst paly-bendy is sometimes blazoned "fusilly in bend sinister," but the other terms are the more accurate and acceptable.

Fig. 126.—Lozengy.

Fig. 126.—Lozengy.

Fig. 127.—Chevron.

Fig. 127.—Chevron.

Fig. 128.—Chevron engrailed.

Fig. 128.—Chevron engrailed.

Fig. 129.—Chevron invecked.

Fig. 129.—Chevron invecked.

Fig. 130.—Chevron embattled.

Fig. 130.—Chevron embattled.

Fig. 131.—Chevron embattled and counter-embattled.

Fig. 131.—Chevron embattled and counter-embattled.

"Lozengy" is made by use of lines in bend crossed by lines in bend sinister (Fig. 126), and "fusilly" the same, only drawn at a more acute angle.

THE CHEVRON

Probably the ordinary of most frequent occurrence in British, as also in French armory, is the chevron (Fig. 127). It is comparatively rare in German heraldry. The term is derived from the French word chevron, meaning a rafter, and the heraldic chevron is the same shape as a gable rafter. In early examples of heraldic art the chevron will be found depicted reaching very nearly to the top of the shield, the angle contained within the chevron being necessarily more acute. The chevron then attained very much more nearly to its full area of one-third of the field than is now given to it. As the chevron became accompanied by charges, it was naturally drawn so that it would allow of these charges being more easily represented, and its height became less whilst the angle it enclosed was increased. But now, as then, it is perfectly at the pleasure of the artist to design his chevron at the height and angle which will best allow the proper representation of the charges which accompany it.

Fig. 132.—Chevron indented.

Fig. 132.—Chevron indented.

Fig. 133.—Chevron wavy.

Fig. 133.—Chevron wavy.

Fig. 134.—Chevron nebuly.

Fig. 134.—Chevron nebuly.

Fig. 135.—Chevron raguly.

Fig. 135.—Chevron raguly.

Fig. 136.—Chevron dovetailed.

Fig. 136.—Chevron dovetailed.

Fig. 137.—Chevron doubly cottised.

Fig. 137.—Chevron doubly cottised.

The chevron, of course, is subject to the usual lines of partition (Figs. 128-136), and can be cottised and doubly cottised (Fig. 137).

It is usually found between three charges, but the necessity of modern differentiation has recently introduced the disposition of four charges, three in chief and one in base, which is by no means a happy invention. An even worse disposition occurs in the arms of a certain family of Mitchell, where the four escallops which are the principal charges are arranged two in chief and two in base.

Fig. 138.—Chevron quarterly.

Fig. 138.—Chevron quarterly.

Ermine spots upon a chevron do not follow the direction of it, but in the cases of chevrons vair, and chevrons chequy, authoritative examples can be found in which the chequers and rows of vair both do, and do not, conform to the direction of the chevron. My own preference is to make the rows horizontal.

A chevron quarterly is divided by a line chevronwise, apparently dividing the chevron into two chevronels, and then by a vertical line in the centre (Fig. 138).

A chevron in point embowed will be found in the arms of Trapaud quartered by Adlercron (Fig. 139).

A field per chevron (Fig. 52) is often met with, and the division line in this case (like the enclosing lines of a real chevron) is subject to the usual partition lines, but how one is to determine the differentiation between per chevron engrailed and per chevron invecked I am uncertain, but think the points should be upwards for engrailed.

The field when entirely composed of an even number of chevrons is termed "chevronny" (Fig. 59).

The diminutive of the chevron is the chevronel (Fig. 140).

Chevronels "interlaced" or "braced" (Fig. 141), will be found in the arms of Sirr. The chevronel is very seldom met with singly, but a case of this will be found in the arms of Spry.

A chevron "rompu" or broken is depicted as in Fig. 142.

Complete Guide to Heraldry Fig139.png
Fig. 139.—Armorial bearings of Rodolph Ladeveze Adlercron, Esq.: Quarterly, 1 and 4, argent, an eagle displayed, wings inverted sable, langued gules, membered and ducally crowned or (for Adlercron): 2 and 3, argent, a chevron in point embowed between in chief two mullets and in base a lion rampant all gules (for Trapaud). Mantling sable and argent. Crest: on a wreath of the colours, a demi-eagle displayed sable, langued gules, ducally crowned or, the dexter wing per fess argent and azure, the sinister per fess of the last and or. Motto: "Quo fata vocant."

THE PILE

The pile (Fig. 143) is a triangular wedge usually (and unless otherwise specified) issuing from the chief. The pile is subject to the usual lines of partition (Figs. 144-151).

The early representation of the pile (when coats of arms had no secondary charges and were nice and simple) made the point nearly reach to the base of the escutcheon, and as a consequence it naturally was not so wide. It is now usually drawn so that its upper edge occupies very nearly the whole of the top line of the escutcheon; but the angles and proportions of the pile are very much at the discretion of the artist, and governed by the charges which need to be introduced in the field of the escutcheon or upon the pile.

Fig. 140.—Chevronels.

Fig. 140.—Chevronels.

Fig. 141.—Chevronels braced.

Fig. 141.—Chevronels braced.

Fig. 142.—Chevron rompu.

Fig. 142.—Chevron rompu.

Fig. 143.—Pile.

Fig. 143.—Pile.

Fig. 144.—Pile engrailed.

Fig. 144.—Pile engrailed.

Fig. 145.—Pile invecked.

Fig. 145.—Pile invecked.

Fig. 146.—Pile embattled.

Fig. 146.—Pile embattled.

Fig. 147.—Pile indented.

Fig. 147.—Pile indented.

Fig. 148.—Pile wavy.

Fig. 148.—Pile wavy.

A single pile may issue from any point of the escutcheon except the base; the arms of Darbishire showing a pile issuing from the dexter chief point.

A single pile cannot issue in base if it be unaccompanied by other piles, as the field would then be blazoned per chevron.

Two piles issuing in chief will be found in the arms of Holles, Earl of Clare.

When three piles, instead of pointing directly at right angles to the line of the chief, all point to the same point, touching or nearly touching at the tips, as in the arms of the Earl of Huntingdon and Chester or in the arms of Isham,[3] they are described as three piles in point. This term and its differentiation probably are modern refinements, as with the early long-pointed shield any other position was impossible. The arms of Henderson show three piles issuing from the sinister side of the escutcheon.

A disposition of three piles which will very frequently be found in modern British heraldry is two issuing in chief and one in base (Fig. 152).

Piles terminating in fleurs-de-lis or crosses patée are to be met with, and reference may be made to the arms of Poynter and Dickson-Poynder. Each of these coats has the field pily counter-pily, the points ending in crosses formée.

Fig. 149.—Pile nebuly.

Fig. 149.—Pile nebuly.

Fig. 150.—Pile raguly.

Fig. 150.—Pile raguly.

Fig. 151.—Pile dovetailed.

Fig. 151.—Pile dovetailed.

An unusual instance of a pile in which it issues from a chevron will be found in the arms of Wright, which are: "Sable, on a chevron argent, three spear-heads gules, in chief two unicorns' heads erased argent, armed and maned or, in base on a pile of the last, issuant from the chevron, a unicorn's head erased of the field."

THE SHAKEFORK

The pall, pairle, or shakefork (Fig. 153), is almost unknown in English heraldry, but in Scotland its constant occurrence in the arms of the Cunninghame and allied families has given it a recognised position among the ordinaries.

As usually borne by the Cunninghame family the ends are couped and pointed, but in some cases it is borne throughout.

The pall in its proper ecclesiastical form appears in the arms of the Archiepiscopal Sees of Canterbury, Armagh, and Dublin. Though in these cases the pall or pallium (Fig. 154), is now considered to have no other heraldic status than that of an appropriately ecclesiastical charge upon an official coat of arms, there can be very little doubt that originally the pall of itself was the heraldic symbol in this country of an archbishop, and borne for that reason by all archbishops, including the Archbishop of York, although his official archiepiscopal coat is now changed to: "Gules, two keys in saltire argent, in chief a royal crown or."

Fig. 152.—Three piles, two in chief and one in base.

Fig. 152.—Three piles, two in chief and one in base.

Fig. 153.—Shakefork.

Fig. 153.—Shakefork.

Fig. 154.—Ecclesiastical pallium.

Fig. 154.—Ecclesiastical pallium.

Fig. 155.—Cross.

Fig. 155.—Cross.

Fig. 156.—Cross engrailed.

Fig. 156.—Cross engrailed.

Fig. 157.—Cross invecked.

Fig. 157.—Cross invecked.

The necessity of displaying this device of rank—the pallium—upon a field of some tincture has led to its corruption into a usual and stereotyped "charge."

THE CROSS

The heraldic cross (Fig. 155), the huge preponderance of which in armory we of course owe to the Crusades, like all other armorial charges, has strangely developed. There are nearly four hundred varieties known to armory, or rather to heraldic text-books, and doubtless authenticated examples could be found of most if not of them all. But some dozen or twenty forms are about as many as will be found regularly or constantly occurring. Some but not all of the varieties of the cross are subject to the lines of partition (Figs. 156-161).

When the heraldic cross was first assumed with any reason beyond geometrical convenience, there can be no doubt that it was intended to represent the Sacred Cross itself. The symbolism of the cross is older than our present system of armory, but the cross itself is more ancient than its symbolism. A cross depicted upon the long, pointed shields of those who fought for the Cross would be of that shape, with the elongated arm in base.

Fig. 158.—Cross embattled.

Fig. 158.—Cross embattled.

Fig. 159.—Cross indented.

Fig. 159.—Cross indented.

Fig. 160.—Cross raguly.

Fig. 160.—Cross raguly.

Fig. 161.—Cross dovetailed.

Fig. 161.—Cross dovetailed.

Fig. 162.—Passion Cross.

Fig. 162.—Passion Cross.

Fig. 163.—Cross Calvary.

Fig. 163.—Cross Calvary.

But the contemporary shortening of the shield, together with the introduction of charges in its angles, led naturally to the arms of the cross being so disposed that the parts of the field left visible were as nearly as possible equal. The Sacred Cross, therefore, in heraldry is now known as a "Passion Cross" (Fig. 162) (or sometimes as a "long cross"), or, if upon steps or "grieces," the number of which needs to be specified, as a "Cross Calvary" (Fig. 163). The crucifix (Fig. 164), under that description is sometimes met with as a charge.

The ordinary heraldic cross (Fig. 155) is always continued throughout the shield unless stated to be couped (Fig. 165).

Of the crosses more regularly in use may be mentioned the cross botonny (Fig. 166), the cross flory (Fig. 167), which must be distinguished from the cross fleuretté (Fig. 168); the cross moline,

PLATE III.

Arms of the Duke of Argyll & Arms of Sir William Gordon Cumming, Bt.

(Fig. 169), the cross potent (Fig. 170), the cross patée or formée (Fig. 171), the cross patonce (Fig. 172), and the cross crosslet (Fig. 173).

Fig. 164.—Crucifix.

Fig. 164.—Crucifix.

Fig. 165.—Cross couped.

Fig. 165.—Cross couped.

Fig. 166.—Cross botonny.

Fig. 166.—Cross botonny.

Fig. 167.—Cross flory.

Fig. 167.—Cross flory.

Fig. 168.—Cross fleuretté.

Fig. 168.—Cross fleuretté.

Fig. 169.—Cross moline.

Fig. 169.—Cross moline.

Fig. 170.—Cross potent.

Fig. 170.—Cross potent.

Fig. 171.—Cross patée (or formée).

Fig. 171.—Cross patée (or formée).

Fig. 172.—Cross patonce.

Fig. 172.—Cross patonce.

Of other but much more uncommon varieties examples will be found of the cross parted and fretty (Fig. 174), of the cross patée quadrate (Fig. 175), of a cross pointed and voided in the arms of Dukinfield (quartered by Darbishire), and of a cross cleché voided and pometté as in the arms of Cawston. A cross quarter-pierced (Fig. 176) has the field visible at the centre. A cross tau or St. Anthony's Cross is shown in Fig. 177, the real Maltese Cross in Fig. 178, and the Patriarchal Cross in Fig. 179.

Whenever a cross or cross crosslet has the bottom arm elongated and pointed it is said to be "fitched" (Figs. 180 and 181), but when a point is added at the foot e.g. of a cross patée, it is then termed "fitchée at the foot" (Fig. 182).

Fig. 173.—Cross crosslet.

Fig. 173.—Cross crosslet.

Fig. 174.—Cross parted and fretty.

Fig. 174.—Cross parted and fretty.

Fig. 175.—Cross patée quadrate.

Fig. 175.—Cross patée quadrate.

Fig. 176.—Cross quarter-pierced.

Fig. 176.—Cross quarter-pierced.

Fig. 177.—Cross Tau.

Fig. 177.—Cross Tau.

Fig. 178.—Maltese Cross.

Fig. 178.—Maltese Cross.

Fig. 179.—Patriarchal Cross.

Fig. 179.—Patriarchal Cross.

Fig. 180.—Cross crosslet fitched.

Fig. 180.—Cross crosslet fitched.

Fig. 181.—Cross patée fitched.

Fig. 181.—Cross patée fitched.

Of the hundreds of other varieties it may confidently be said that a large proportion originated in misunderstandings of the crude drawings of early armorists, added to the varying and alternating descriptions applied at a more pliable and fluent period of heraldic blazon. A striking illustration of this will be found in the cross botonny, which is now, and has been for a long time past, regularised with us as a distinct variety of constant occurrence. From early illustrations there is now no doubt that this was the original form, or one of the earliest forms, of the cross crosslet. It is foolish to ignore these varieties, reducing all crosses to a few original forms, for they are now mostly stereotyped and accepted; but at the same time it is useless to attempt to learn them, for in a lifetime they will mostly be met with but once each or thereabouts. A field semé of cross crosslets (Fig. 183) is termed crusilly.

Fig. 182.—Cross patée fitched at foot.

Fig. 182.—Cross patée fitched at foot.

Fig. 183.—Crusilly.

Fig. 183.—Crusilly.

Fig. 184.—Saltire.

Fig. 184.—Saltire.

Fig. 185.—Saltire engrailed.

Fig. 185.—Saltire engrailed.

Fig. 186.—Saltire invecked.

Fig. 186.—Saltire invecked.

Fig. 187.—Saltire embattled.

Fig. 187.—Saltire embattled.

THE SALTIRE

The saltire or saltier (Fig. 184) is more frequently to be met with in Scottish than in English heraldry. This is not surprising, inasmuch as the saltire is known as the Cross of St. Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland. Its form is too well known to need description. It is of course subject to the usual partition lines (Figs. 185-192).

When a saltire is charged the charges are usually placed conformably therewith.

The field of a coat of arms is often per saltire.

When one saltire couped is the principal charge it will usually be found that it is couped conformably to the outline of the shield; but if the couped saltire be one of a number or a subsidiary charge it will be found couped by horizontal lines, or by lines at right angles. The saltire has not developed into so many varieties of form as the cross, and (e.g.) a saltire botonny is assumed to be a cross botonny placed saltireways, but a saltire parted and fretty is to be met with (Fig. 193).

THE CHIEF

The chief (Fig. 194), which is a broad band across the top of the shield containing (theoretically, but not in fact) the uppermost third of the area of the field, is a very favourite ordinary. It is of course subject to the variations of the usual partition lines (Figs. 195-203). It is usually drawn to contain about one-fifth of the area of the field, though in cases where it is used for a landscape augmentation it will usually be found of a rather greater area.

Fig. 188.—Saltire indented.

Fig. 188.—Saltire indented.

Fig. 189.—Saltire wavy.

Fig. 189.—Saltire wavy.

Fig. 190.—Saltire nebuly.

Fig. 190.—Saltire nebuly.

Fig. 191.—Saltire raguly.

Fig. 191.—Saltire raguly.

Fig. 192.—Saltire dovetailed.

Fig. 192.—Saltire dovetailed.

Fig. 193.—Saltire parted and fretty.

Fig. 193.—Saltire parted and fretty.

The chief especially lent itself to the purposes of honourable augmentation, and is constantly found so employed. As such it will be referred to in the chapter upon augmentations, but a chief of this character may perhaps be here referred to with advantage, as this will indicate the greater area often given to it under these conditions, as in the arms of Ross-of-Bladensburg (Plate II.).

Knights of the old Order of St. John of Jerusalem and also of the modern Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England display above their personal arms a chief of the order, but this will be dealt with more fully in the chapter relating to the insignia of knighthood.

Fig. 194.—Chief.

Fig. 194.—Chief.

Fig. 195.—Chief engrailed.

Fig. 195.—Chief engrailed.

Fig. 196.—Chief invecked.

Fig. 196.—Chief invecked.

Fig. 197.—Chief embattled.

Fig. 197.—Chief embattled.

Fig. 198.—Chief indented.

Fig. 198.—Chief indented.

Fig. 199.—Chief dancetté.

Fig. 199.—Chief dancetté.

Fig. 200.—Chief wavy.

Fig. 200.—Chief wavy.

Fig. 201.—Chief nebuly.

Fig. 201.—Chief nebuly.

Fig. 202.—Chief raguly.

Fig. 202.—Chief raguly.

Save in exceptional circumstances, the chief is never debruised or surmounted by any ordinary.

The chief is ordinarily superimposed over the tressure and over the bordure, partly defacing them by the elimination of the upper part thereof. This happens with the bordure when it is a part of the original coat of arms. If, however, the chief were in existence at an earlier period and the bordure is added later as a mark of difference, the bordure surrounds the chief. On the other hand, if a bordure exists, even as a mark of difference, and a chief of augmentation is subsequently added, or a canton for distinction, the chief or the canton in these cases would surmount the bordure.

Similarly a bend when added later as a mark of difference surmounts the chief. Such a case is very unusual, as the use of the bend for differencing has long been obsolete.

Fig. 203.—Chief dovetailed.

Fig. 203.—Chief dovetailed.

Fig. 204.—Arms of Peter de Dreux, Earl of Richmond (c. 1230): Chequy or and azure, a quarter ermine. (From his seal.)

Fig. 204.—Arms of Peter de Dreux, Earl of Richmond (c. 1230): Chequy or and azure, a quarter ermine. (From his seal.)

Fig. 205.—Arms of De Vere, Earls of Oxford: Quarterly gules and or, in the first quarter a mullet argent.

Fig. 205.—Arms of De Vere, Earls of Oxford: Quarterly gules and or, in the first quarter a mullet argent.

A chief is never couped or cottised, and it has no diminutive in British armory.

THE QUARTER

The quarter is not often met with in English armory, the best-known instance being the well-known coat of Shirley, Earl Ferrers, viz: Paly of six or and azure, a quarter ermine. The arms of the Earls of Richmond (Fig. 204) supply another instance. Of course as a division of the field under the blazon of "quarterly" (e.g. or and azure) it is constantly to be met with, but a single quarter is rare.

Originally a single quarter was drawn to contain the full fourth part of the shield, but with the more modern tendency to reduce the size of all charges, its area has been somewhat diminished. Whilst a quarter will only be found within a plain partition line, a field divided quarterly (occasionally, but I think hardly so correctly, termed "per cross") is not so limited. Examples of quarterly fields will be found in the historic shield of De Vere (Fig. 205) and De Mandeville. An irregular partition line is often introduced in a new grant to conjoin quarterings borne without authority into one single coat. The diminutive of the quarter is the canton (Fig. 206), and the diminutive of that the chequer of a chequy field (Fig. 207).

THE CANTON

Fig. 206.—Canton.

Fig. 206.—Canton.

The canton is supposed to occupy one-third of the chief, and that being supposed to occupy one-third of the field, a simple arithmetical sum gives us one-ninth of the field as the theoretical area of the canton. Curiously enough, the canton to a certain extent gives us a confirmation of these ancient proportions, inasmuch as all ancient drawings containing both a fess and a canton depict these conjoined. This will be seen in the Garter plate of Earl Rivers. In modern days, however, it is very seldom that the canton will be depicted of such a size, though in cases where, as in the arms of Boothby, it forms the only charge, it is even nowadays drawn to closely approximate to its theoretical area of one-ninth of the field. It may be remarked here perhaps that, owing to the fact that there are but few instances in which the quarter or the canton have been used as the sole or principal charge, a coat of arms in which these are employed would be granted with fewer of the modern bedevilments than would a coat with a chevron for example. I know of no instance in modern times in which a quarter, when figuring as a charge, or a canton have been subject to the usual lines of partition.

The canton (with the single exception of the bordure, when used as a mark of cadency or distinction) is superimposed over every other charge or ordinary, no matter what this may be. Theoretically the canton is supposed to be always a later addition to the coat, and even though a charge may be altogether hidden or "absconded" by the canton, the charge is always presumed to be there, and is mentioned in the blazon.

Fig. 207.—Chequy.

Fig. 207.—Chequy.

Both a cross and a saltire are sometimes described as "cantonned" by such-and-such charges, when they are placed in the blank spaces left by these ordinaries. In addition, the spaces left by a cross (but not by a saltire) are frequently spoken of e.g. as the dexter chief canton or the sinister base canton.

The canton is frequently used to carry an augmentation, and these cantons of augmentation will be referred to under that heading, though it may be here stated that a "canton of England" is a canton gules, charged with three lions passant guardant or, as in the arms of Lane (Plate II.).

The canton, unless it is an original charge, need not conform to the rule forbidding colour on colour, or metal on metal; otherwise the canton of Ulster would often be an impossibility.

The canton, with rare exceptions, is always placed in the dexter chief corner. The canton of augmentation in the arms of Clerke, Bart.—"Argent, on a bend gules, between three pellets as many swans of the field; on a sinister canton azure, a demi-ram salient of the first, and in chief two fleurs-de-lis or, debruised by a baton"—is, however, a sinister one, as is the canton upon the arms of Charlton. In this latter case the sinister canton is used to signify illegitimacy. This will be more fully dealt with in the chapter upon marks of illegitimacy.

A curious use of the canton for the purposes of marshalling occurs in the case of a woman who, being an heiress herself, has a daughter or daughters only, whilst her husband has sons and heirs by another marriage. In such an event, the daughter being heir (or in the case of daughters these being coheirs) of the mother, but not heir of the father, cannot transmit as quarterings the arms of the father whom she does not represent, whilst she ought to transmit the arms of the mother whom she does represent. The husband of the daughter, therefore, places upon an escutcheon of pretence the arms of her mother, with those of her father on a canton thereupon. The children of the marriage quarter this combined coat, the arms of the father always remaining upon a canton. This will be more fully dealt with under the subject of marshalling.

The canton has yet another use as a "mark of distinction." When, under a Royal Licence, the name and arms of a family are assumed where there is no blood descent from the family, the arms have some mark of distinction added. This is usually a plain canton. This point will be treated more fully under "Marks of Cadency."

Woodward mentions three instances in which the lower edge of the canton is "indented," one taken from the Calais Roll, viz. the arms of Sir William de la Zouche—"Gules, bezantée, a canton indented at the bottom"—and adds that the canton has been sometimes thought to indicate the square banner of a knight-baronet, and he suggests that the lower edge being indented may give some weight to the idea. As the canton does not appear to have either previously or subsequently formed any part of the arms of Zouche, it is possible that in this instance some such meaning may have been intended, but it can have no such application generally.

The "Canton of Ulster"—i.e. "Argent, a sinister hand couped at the wrist gules"—is the badge of a baronet of England, Ireland, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom. This badge may be borne upon a canton, dexter or sinister, or upon an inescutcheon, at the pleasure of the wearer. There is some little authority and more precedent for similarly treating the badge of a Nova Scotian Baronet, but as such Baronets wear their badges it is more usually depicted below the shield, depending by the orange tawny ribbon of their order.

THE GYRON

Fig. 208.—Gyronny.

Fig. 208.—Gyronny.

As a charge, the gyron (sometimes termed an esquire) is very seldom found, but as a subdivision of the field, a coat "gyronny" (Fig. 208) is constantly met with, all arms for the name of Campbell being gyronny. Save in rare cases, a field gyronny is divided quarterly and then per saltire, making eight divisions, but it may be gyronny of six, ten, twelve, or more pieces, though such cases are seldom met with and always need to be specified. The arms of Campbell of Succoth are gyronny of eight engrailed, a most unusual circumstance. I know of no other instance of the use of lines of partition in a gyronny field. The arms of Lanyon afford an example of the gyron as a charge, as does also the well-known shield of Mortimer (Fig. 209).

Fig. 209.—The arms of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March and Ulster (d. 1398): Quarterly, 1 and 4, azure, three bars or (sometimes but not so correctly quoted barry of six), on a chief of the first two pallets between two base esquires of the second, over all an inescutcheon argent (for Mortimer); 2 and 3, or, a cross gules (for Ulster). (From his seal.)

Fig. 209.—The arms of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March and Ulster (d. 1398): Quarterly, 1 and 4, azure, three bars or (sometimes but not so correctly quoted barry of six), on a chief of the first two pallets between two base esquires of the second, over all an inescutcheon argent (for Mortimer); 2 and 3, or, a cross gules (for Ulster). (From his seal.)

THE INESCUTCHEON

The inescutcheon is a shield appearing as a charge upon the coat of arms. Certain writers state that it is termed an inescutcheon if only one appears as the charge, but that when more than one is present they are merely termed escutcheons. This is an unnecessary refinement not officially recognised or adhered to, though unconsciously one often is led to make this distinction, which seems to spring naturally to one's mind.

When one inescutcheon appears, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether to blazon the arms as charged with a bordure or an inescutcheon. Some coats of arms, for example the arms of Molesworth, will always remain more or less a matter of uncertainty.

But as a matter of fact a bordure should not be wide enough to fill up the field left by an inescutcheon, nor an inescutcheon large enough to occupy the field left by a bordure.

The inescutcheon in German armory (or, as they term it, the heart escutcheon), when superimposed upon other quarterings, is usually the paternal or most important coat of arms. The same method of marshalling has sometimes been adopted in Scotland, and the arms of Hay are an instance. It usually in British heraldry is used to carry the arms of an heiress wife, but both these points will be dealt with later under the subject of marshalling. The inescutcheon, no matter what its position, should never be termed an escutcheon of pretence if it forms a charge upon the original arms. A curious instance of the use of an inescutcheon will be found in the arms of Gordon-Cumming (Plate III.).

When an inescutcheon appears on a shield it should conform in its outline to the shape of the shield upon which it is placed.

THE BORDURE

The bordure (Fig. 210) occurs both as a charge and as a mark of difference. As may be presumed from its likeness to our word border, the bordure is simply a border round the shield. Except in modern grants in which the bordure forms a part of the original design of the arms, there can be very little doubt that the bordure has always been a mark of difference to indicate either cadency or bastardy, but its stereotyped continuance without further alteration in so many coats of arms in which it originally was introduced as a difference, and also its appearance in new grants, leave one no alternative but to treat of it in the ordinary way as a charge, leaving the consideration of it as a mark of difference to a future chapter.

There is no stereotyped or official size for the bordure, the width of which has at all times varied, though it will almost invariably be found that a Scottish bordure is depicted rather wider than is an English one; and naturally a bordure which is charged is a little wider than an entirely plain one. The bordure of course is subject to all the lines of partition (Figs. 211-218). Bordures may also be per fesse, per pale (Fig. 219), quarterly (Fig. 220), gyronny (Fig. 221), or tierced in pairle (Fig. 222), &c.

Fig. 210.—Bordure.

Fig. 210.—Bordure.

Fig. 211.—Bordure engrailed.

Fig. 211.—Bordure engrailed.

Fig. 212.—Bordure invecked.

Fig. 212.—Bordure invecked.

Fig. 213.—Bordure embattled.

Fig. 213.—Bordure embattled.

Fig. 214.—Bordure indented.

Fig. 214.—Bordure indented.

Fig. 215.—Bordure wavy.

Fig. 215.—Bordure wavy.

Fig. 216.—Bordure nebuly.

Fig. 216.—Bordure nebuly.

Fig. 217.—Bordure dovetailed.

Fig. 217.—Bordure dovetailed.

Fig. 218.—Bordure potenté.

Fig. 218.—Bordure potenté.

Fig. 219.—Bordure per pale.

Fig. 219.—Bordure per pale.

The bordure has long since ceased to be a mark of cadency in England, but as a mark of distinction the bordure wavy (Fig. 215) is still used to indicate bastardy. A bordure of England was granted by Royal warrant as an augmentation to H.M. Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, on the occasion of her marriage. The use of the bordure is, however, the recognised method of differencing in Scotland, but it is curious that with the Scots the bordure wavy is in no way a mark of illegitimacy. The Scottish bordure for indicating this fact is the bordure compony (Fig. 223), which has been used occasionally for the same purpose in England, but the bordures added to indicate cadency and the various marks to indicate illegitimacy will be discussed in later chapters. The difference should here be observed between the bordure compony (Fig. 223), which means illegitimacy; the bordure counter compony (Fig. 224), which may or may not have that meaning; and the bordure chequy (Fig. 225), which certainly has no relation to bastardy. In the two former the panes run with the shield, in the latter the chequers do not. Whilst the bordure as a mark of cadency or illegitimacy surrounds the whole shield, being superimposed upon even the chief and canton, a bordure when merely a charge gives way to both.

Fig. 220.—Bordure quarterly.

Fig. 220.—Bordure quarterly.

Fig. 221.—Bordure gyronny.

Fig. 221.—Bordure gyronny.

Fig. 222.—Bordure tierced in pairle.

Fig. 222.—Bordure tierced in pairle.

Fig. 223.—Bordure compony.

Fig. 223.—Bordure compony.

Fig. 224.—Bordure counter compony.

Fig. 224.—Bordure counter compony.

Fig. 225.—Bordure chequy.

Fig. 225.—Bordure chequy.

A certain rule regarding the bordure is the sole remaining instance in modern heraldry of the formerly recognised practice of conjoining two coats of arms (which it might be necessary to marshal together) by "dimidiation" instead of using our present-day method of impalement. To dimidiate two coats of arms, the dexter half of one shield was conjoined to the sinister half of the other. The objections to such a practice, however, soon made themselves apparent (e.g. a dimidiated chevron was scarcely distinguishable from a bend), and the "dimidiation" of arms was quickly abandoned in favour of "impalement," in which the entire designs of both coats of arms are depicted. But in impaling a coat of arms which is surrounded by a bordure, the bordure is not continued down the centre between the two coats, but stops short top and bottom at the palar line. The same rule, by the way, applies to the tressure, but not to the orle. The curious fact, however, remains that this rule as to the dimidiation of the bordure in cases of impalement is often found to have been ignored in ancient seals and other examples. The charges upon the bordure are often three, but more usually eight in number, in the latter case being arranged three along the top of the shield, one at the base point, and two on either side. The number should, however, always be specified, unless (as in a bordure bezantée, &c.) it is immaterial; in which case the number eight must be exceeded in emblazoning the shield. The rule as to colour upon colour does not hold and seems often to be ignored in the cases of bordures, noticeably when these occur as marks of Scottish cadency.

THE ORLE

The orle (Fig. 226), or, as it was originally termed in ancient British rolls of arms, "un faux ecusson," is a narrow bordure following the exact outline of the shield, but within it, showing the field (for at least the width usually occupied by a bordure) between the outer edge of the orle and the edge of the escutcheon. An orle is about half the width of a bordure, rather less than more, but the proportion is never very exactly maintained. The difference may be noted between this figure and the next (Fig. 227), which shows an inescutcheon within a bordure.

Fig. 226.—Orle.

Fig. 226.—Orle.

Fig. 227.—An inescutcheon within a bordure.

Fig. 227.—An inescutcheon within a bordure.

Though both forms are very seldom so met with, an orle may be subject to the usual lines of partition, and may also be charged. Examples of both these variations are met with in the arms of Yeatman-Biggs, and the arms of Gladstone afford an instance of an orle "flory." The arms of Knox, Earl of Ranfurly, are: Gules, a falcon volant or, within an orle wavy on the outer and engrailed on the inner edge argent.

When a series of charges are placed round the edges of the escutcheon (theoretically in the position occupied by the orle, but as a matter of actual fact usually more in the position occupied by the bordure), they are said to be "in orle," which is the correct term, but they will often be found blazoned "an orle of (e.g.) martlets or mounds."

THE TRESSURE

The tressure is really an orle gemel, i.e. an orle divided into two narrow ones set closely together, the one inside the other. It is, however, usually depicted a trifle nearer the edge of the escutcheon than the orle is generally placed.

The tressure cannot be borne singly, as it would then be an orle, but plain tressures under the name of "concentric orles" will be found mentioned in Papworth. In that Ordinary eight instances are given of arms containing more than a single orle, though the eight instances are plainly varieties of only four coats. Two concentric orles would certainly be a tressure, save that perhaps they would be drawn of rather too great a width for the term "tressure" to be properly applied to them.

Fig. 228.—Tressure flory and counter-flory.

Fig. 228.—Tressure flory and counter-flory.

If these instances be disregarded, and I am inclined to doubt them as genuine coats, there certainly is no example of a plain tressure in British heraldry, and one's attention must be directed to the tressure flory and counterflory (Fig. 228), so general in Scottish heraldry.

Originating entirely in the Royal escutcheon, one cannot do better than reproduce the remarks of Lyon King of Arms upon the subject from his work "Heraldry in relation to Scottish History and Art":—

"William the Lion has popularly got the credit of being the first to introduce heraldic bearings into Scotland, and to have assumed the lion as his personal cognisance. The latter statement may or may not be true, but we have no trace of hereditary arms in Scotland so early as his reign (1165-1214). Certainly the lion does not appear on his seal, but it does on that of his son and successor Alexander II., with apparent remains of the double tressure flory counterflory, a device which is clearly seen on the seals of Alexander III. (1249-1285). We are unable to say what the reason was for the adoption of such a distinctive coat; of course, if you turn to the older writers you will find all sorts of fables on the subject. Even the sober and sensible Nisbet states that 'the lion has been carried on the armorial ensign of Scotland since the first founding of the monarchy by King Fergus I.'—a very mythical personage, who is said to have flourished about 300 B.C., though he is careful to say that he does not believe arms are as old as that period. He says, however, that it is 'without doubt' that Charlemagne entered into an alliance with Achaius, King of Scotland, and for the services of the Scots the French king added to the Scottish lion the double tressure fleur-de-lisée to show that the former had defended the French lilies, and that therefore the latter would surround the lion and be a defence to him."

All this is very pretty, but it is not history. Chalmers remarks in his "Caledonia" that the lion may possibly have been derived from the arms of the old Earls of Northumberland and Huntingdon, from whom some of the Scottish kings were descended; and he mentions an old roll of arms preserved by Leland,[4] which is certainly not later than 1272, in which the arms of Scotland are blazoned as: Or, a lion gules within a bordure or fleuretté gules, which we may reasonably interpret as an early indication of what may be considered as a foreign rendering of the double tressure. Sylvanus Morgan, one of the very maddest of the seventeenth-century heraldic writers, says that the tressure was added to the shield of Scotland, in testimony of a league between Scotland and France, by Charles V.; but that king did not ascend the throne of France till 1364, at which time we have clear proof that the tressure was a firmly established part of the Scottish arms. One of the earliest instances of anything approaching the tressure in the Scottish arms which I have met with is in an armorial of Matthew Paris, which is now in the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum, and at one time belonged to St. Alban's Monastery. Here the arms of the King of Scotland are given as: "Or, a lion rampant flory gules in a bordure of the same." The drawing represents a lion within a bordure, the latter being pierced by ten fleurs-de-lis, their heads all looking inwards, the other end not being free, but attached to the inner margin of the shield. This, you will observe, is very like the arms I mentioned as described by Chalmers, and it may possibly be the same volume which may have been acquired by Sir Robert Cotton. In 1471 there was a curious attempt of the Scottish Parliament to displace the tressure. An Act was passed in that year, for some hitherto unexplained reason, by which it was ordained "that in tyme to cum thar suld be na double tresor about his (the king's) armys, but that he suld ber hale armys of the lyoun without ony mair." Seeing that at the time of this enactment the Scottish kings had borne the tressure for upwards of 220 years, it is difficult to understand the cause of this procedure. Like many other Acts, however, it never seems to have been carried into effect; at least I am not aware of even a solitary instance of the Scottish arms without the tressure either at or after this period.


There are other two representations of the Scottish arms in foreign armorials, to which I may briefly allude. One is in the Armorial de Gelre, a beautiful MS. in the Royal Library at Brussels, the Scottish shields in which have been figured by Mr. Stodart in his book on Scottish arms, and, more accurately, by Sir Archibald Dunbar in a paper read to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1890. The armorial is believed to be the work of Claes Heynen, Gelre Herald to the Duke of Gueldres between 1334 and 1372, with later additions by another hand. The coat assigned in it to the King of Scotland is the lion and double tressure; the lion is uncrowned, and is armed and langued azure; above the shield is a helmet argent adorned behind with a short capelin or plain mantling, on which is emblazoned the saltire and chief of the Bruces, from which we may gather that the arms of David II. are here represented; the lining is blue, which is unusual, as mantlings are usually lined or doubled with a metal, if not with ermine. The helmet is surmounted by an Imperial crown, with a dark green bonnet spotted with red.[5] On the crown there is the crest of a lion sejant guardant gules, imperially crowned or, holding in his paw a sword upright; the tail is coué or placed between the hind-legs of the lion, but it then rises up and flourishes high above his back in a sufficiently defiant fashion. This shows that the Scottish arms were well known on the Continent of Europe nearly a hundred years before the date of the Grunenberg MS., while Virgil de Solis (c. 1555) gives a sufficiently accurate representation of the Royal shield, though the fleur-de-lis all project outwards as in the case of Grunenberg; he gives the crest as a lion rampant holding a sword in bend over his shoulder. Another ancient representation of the Scottish arms occurs in a MS. treatise on heraldry of the sixteenth century, containing the coats of some foreign sovereigns and other personages, bound up with a Scottish armorial, probably by David Lindsay, Lyon in 1568.

The tressure, like the bordure, in the case of an impalement stops at the line of impalement, as will be seen by a reference to the arms of Queen Anne after the union of the crowns of England and Scotland.

It is now held, both in England and Scotland, that the tressure flory and counterflory is, as a part of the Royal Arms, protected, and cannot be granted to any person without the express licence of the Sovereign. This, however, does not interfere with the matriculation or exemplification of it in the case of existing arms in which it occurs.

Many Scottish families bear or claim to bear the Royal tressure by reason of female descent from the Royal House, but it would seem much more probable that in most if not in all cases where it is so borne by right its origin is due rather to a gift by way of augmentation than to any supposed right of inheritance. The apparently conflicting statements of origin are not really antagonistic, inasmuch as it will be seen from many analogous English instances (e.g. Mowbray, Manners, and Seymour) that near relationship is often the only reason to account for the grant of a Royal augmentation. As an ordinary augmentation of honour it has been frequently granted.

The towns of Aberdeen and Perth obtained early the right of honouring their arms with the addition of the Royal tressure. It appears on the still existing matrix of the burgh seal of Aberdeen, which was engraved in 1430.

James V. in 1542 granted a warrant to Lyon to surround the arms of John Scot, of Thirlestane, with the Royal tressure, in respect of his ready services at Soutra Edge with three score and ten lances on horseback, when other nobles refused to follow their Sovereign. The grant was put on record by the grantee's descendant, Patrick, Lord Napier, and is the tressured coat borne in the second and third quarters of the Napier arms.

When the Royal tressure is granted to the bearer of a quartered coat it is usually placed upon a bordure surrounding the quartered shield, as in the case of the arms of the Marquess of Queensberry, to whom, in 1682, the Royal tressure was granted upon a bordure or. A like arrangement is borne by the Earls of Eglinton, occurring as far back as a seal of Earl Hugh, appended to a charter of 1598.

The Royal tressure had at least twice been granted as an augmentation to the arms of foreigners. James V. granted it to Nicolas Canivet of Dieppe, secretary to John, Duke of Albany (Reg. Mag. Sig., xxiv. 263, Oct. 24, 1529). James VI. gave it to Sir Jacob Van Eiden, a Dutchman on whom he conferred the honour of knighthood.

On 12th March 1762, a Royal Warrant was granted directing Lyon to add a "double tressure counterflowered as in the Royal arms of Scotland" to the arms of Archibald, Viscount Primrose. Here the tressure was gules, as in the Royal arms, although the field on which it was placed was vert. In a later record of the arms of Archibald, Earl of Rosebery, in 1823, this heraldic anomaly was brought to an end, and the blazon of the arms of Primrose is now: "Vert, three primroses within a double tressure flory counterflory or." (See Stodart, "Scottish Arms," vol. i. pp. 262, 263, where mention is also made of an older use of the Royal tressure or, by "Archbald Primrose of Dalmenie, Knight and baronet, be his majesty Charles ii. create, Vert, three primroses within a double tressure flowered counter-flowered or.") Another well-known Scottish instance in which the tressure occurs will be found in the arms of the Marquess of Ailsa (Fig. 229).

Two instances are known in which the decoration of the tressure has differed from the usual conventional fleurs-de-lis. The tressure granted to Charles, Earl of Aboyne, has crescents without and demi-fleurs-de-lis within, and the tressure round the Gordon arms in the case of the Earls of Aberdeen is of thistles, roses, and fleurs-de-lis alternately.

The tressure gives way to the chief and canton, but all other ordinaries are enclosed by the tressure, as will be seen from the arms of Lord Ailsa.

THE LOZENGE, THE FUSIL, THE MASCLE, AND THE RUSTRE

Why these, which are simply varying forms of one charge, should ever have been included amongst the list of ordinaries is difficult to understand, as they do not seem to be "ordinaries" any more than say the mullet or the crescent. My own opinion is that they are no more than distinctively heraldic charges. The lozenge (Fig. 230), which is the original form, is the same shape as the "diamond" in a pack of cards, and will constantly be found as a charge. In addition to this, the arms of a lady as maid, or as widow, are always displayed upon a lozenge. Upon this point reference should be made to the chapters upon marshalling. The arms of Kyrke show a single lozenge as the charge, but a single lozenge is very rarely met with. The arms of Guise show seven lozenges conjoined. The arms of Barnes show four lozenges conjoined in cross, and the arms of Bartlett show five lozenges conjoined in fess. Although the lozenge is very seldom found in English armory as a single charge, nevertheless as a lozenge throughout (that is, with its four points touching the borders of the escutcheon) it will be found in some number of instances in Continental heraldry, for instance in the family of Eubing of Bavaria. An indefinite number of lozenges conjoined as a bend or a pale are known as a bend lozengy, or a pale lozengy, but care should be taken in using this term, as it is possible for these ordinaries to be plain
Fig. 229.—Armorial bearings of Sir Archibald Kennedy, Marquess of Ailsa: Argent, a chevron gules between three cross crosslets fitchée sable, all within a double tressure flory and counter-flory of the second. Mantling gules, doubled ermine. Crest: upon a wreath of his liveries, a dolphin naiant proper. Supporters: two swans proper, beaked and membered gules. Motto: "Avise la fin." (From the painting by Mr. Graham Johnston in the Lyon Register.)

Fig. 229.—Armorial bearings of Sir Archibald Kennedy, Marquess of Ailsa: Argent, a chevron gules between three cross crosslets fitchée sable, all within a double tressure flory and counter-flory of the second. Mantling gules, doubled ermine. Crest: upon a wreath of his liveries, a dolphin naiant proper. Supporters: two swans proper, beaked and membered gules. Motto: "Avise la fin." (From the painting by Mr. Graham Johnston in the Lyon Register.)

ordinaries tinctured "lozengy of two colours." The arms of Bolding are an example of a bend lozengy.

The fusil is supposed to be, and is generally depicted, of a greater height and less width than a lozenge, being an altogether narrower figure (Fig. 231). Though this distinction is generally observed, it is not always easy to decide which figure any emblazonment is intended to represent, unless the blazon of the arms in question is known. In many cases the variations of different coats of arms, to suit or to fit the varying shapes of shields, have resulted in the use of lozenges and fusils indifferently. Fusils occur in the historic arms of Daubeney, from which family Daubeney of Cote, near Bristol, is descended, being one of the few families who have an undoubted male descent from a companion of William the Conqueror. In the ordinary way five or more lozenges in fess would be fusils, as in the arms of Percy, Duke of Northumberland, who bears in the first quarter: Azure, five fusils conjoined in fess or. The charges in the arms of Montagu, though only three in number, are always termed fusils. But obviously in early times there could have been no distinction between the lozenge and the fusil.

Fig. 230.—Lozenge.

Fig. 230.—Lozenge.

Fig. 231.—Fusil.

Fig. 231.—Fusil.

Fig. 232.—Mascle.

Fig. 232.—Mascle.

Fig. 233.—Rustre.

Fig. 233.—Rustre.

The mascle is a lozenge voided, i.e. only the outer framework is left, the inner portion being removed (Fig. 232). Mascles have no particular or special meaning, but are frequently to be met with.

The blazon of the arms of De Quincy in Charles's Roll is: "De goules poudré a fause losengez dor," and in another Roll (MS. Brit. Mus. 29,796) the arms are described: "De gules a set fauses lozenges de or" (Fig. 234). The great Seiher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, father of Roger, bore quite different arms (Fig. 235). In 1472 Louis de Bruges, Lord of Gruthuyse, was created Earl of Winchester, having no relation to the De Quincy line. The arms of De Bruges, or rather of Gruthuyse, were very different, yet nevertheless, we find upon the Patent Roll (12 Edward IV. pt. 1, m. 11) a grant of the following arms: "Azure, dix mascles d'Or, enormé d'une canton de nostre propre Armes de Angleterre; cest a savoir de Gules a une Lipard passant d'Or, armée d'Azure," to Louis, Earl of Winchester (Fig. 236). The recurrence of the mascles in the arms of the successive Earls of Winchester, whilst each had other family arms, and in the arms of Ferrers, whilst not being the original Ferrers coat, suggests the thought that there may be hidden some reference to a common saintly patronage which all enjoyed, or some territorial honour common to the three of which the knowledge no longer remains with us.

There are some number of coats which are said to have had a field masculy. Of course this is quite possible, and the difference between a field masculy and a field fretty is that in the latter the separate pieces of which it is composed interlace each other; but when the field is masculy it is all one fretwork surface, the field being visible through the voided apertures. Nevertheless it seems by no means certain that in every case in which the field masculy occurs it may not be found in other, and possibly earlier, examples as fretty. At any rate, very few such coats of arms are even supposed to exist. The arms of De Burgh (Fig. 237) are blazoned in the Grimaldi Roll: "Masclee de vêre and de goules," but whether the inference is that this blazon is wrong or that lozenge and mascle were identical terms I am not aware.

Fig. 234.—Arms of Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester (d. 1264): Gules, seven mascles conjoined, three, three and one or. (From his seal.)

Fig. 234.—Arms of Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester (d. 1264): Gules, seven mascles conjoined, three, three and one or. (From his seal.)

Fig. 235.—Arms of Seiher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester (d. 1219): Or, a fess gules, a label of seven points azure. (From his seal.)

Fig. 235.—Arms of Seiher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester (d. 1219): Or, a fess gules, a label of seven points azure. (From his seal.)

Fig. 236.—Arms of Louis de Bruges, Earl of Winchester (d. 1492.)

Fig. 236.—Arms of Louis de Bruges, Earl of Winchester (d. 1492.)

The rustre is comparatively rare (Fig. 233). It is a lozenge pierced in the centre with a circular hole. It occurs in the arms of J. D. G. Dalrymple, Esq., F.S.A. Some few coats of arms are mentioned in Papworth in which the rustre appears; for example the arms of Pery, which are: "Or, three rustres sable;" and Goodchief, which are: "Per fess or and sable, three rustres counterchanged;" but so seldom is the figure met with that it may be almost dropped out of consideration. How it ever reached the position of being considered one of the ordinaries has always been to me a profound mystery.


THE FRET

The fret (Fig. 238), which is very frequently found occurring in British armory, is no doubt derived from earlier coats of arms, the whole field of which was covered by an interlacing of alternate bendlets and bendlets sinister, because many of the families who now bear a simple fret are found in earlier representations and in the early rolls of arms bearing coats which were fretty (Fig. 239). Instances of this kind will be found in the arms of Maltravers, Verdon, Tollemache, and other families.

Fig. 237.—Arms of Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent (d. 1243). (From his seal.)

Fig. 237.—Arms of Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent (d. 1243). (From his seal.)

Fig. 238.—The Fret.

Fig. 238.—The Fret.

Fig. 239.—Fretty.

Fig. 239.—Fretty.

Fig. 240.—Arms of John Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel (d. 1435): Quarterly, 1 and 4, gules, a lion rampant or (for Fitz Alan); 2 and 3, sable, fretty or (for Maltravers). (From his seal, c. 1432.)

Fig. 240.—Arms of John Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel (d. 1435): Quarterly, 1 and 4, gules, a lion rampant or (for Fitz Alan); 2 and 3, sable, fretty or (for Maltravers). (From his seal, c. 1432.)

"Sable fretty or" was the original form of the arms of the ancient and historic family of Maltravers. At a later date the arms of Maltravers are found simply "sable, a fret or," but, like the arms of so many other families which we now find blazoned simply as charged with a fret, their original form was undoubtedly "fretty." They appear fretty as late as in the year 1421, which is the date at which the Garter plate of Sir William Arundel, K.G. (1395-1400), was set up in St. George's Chapel at Windsor. His arms as there displayed are in the first and fourth quarters, "gules, a lion rampant or," and in the second and third, "purpure fretty or" for Maltravers. Probably the seal of John Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel (d. 1435), roughly marks the period, and shows the source of the confusion (Fig. 240). But it should be noted that Sir Richard Arundel, Lord Maltravers, bore at the siege of Rouen, in the year 1418, gules a lion rampant or, quarterly with "sable a fret or" (for Maltravers). This would seem to indicate that those who treat the fret and fretty as interchangeable have good grounds for so doing. A Sir John Maltravers bore "sable fretty or" at the siege of Calais, and another Sir John Maltravers, a knight banneret, bore at the first Dunstable tournament "sable fretty or, a label of three points argent." As he is there described as Le Fitz, the label was probably a purely temporary mark of difference. In a roll of arms which is believed to belong to the latter part of the reign of Henry III., a Sir William Maltravers is credited with "sable fretty or, on a quarter argent, three lions passant in pale gules." The palpable origin of the fret or fretty in the case of the arms of Maltravers is simply the canting similarity between a traverse and the name Maltravers. Another case, which starting fretty has ended in a fret, occurs in the arms of the family of Harington. Sir John de Haverington, or Sir John de Harington, is found at the first Dunstable tournament in 1308 bearing "sable fretty argent," and this coat of arms variously differenced appears in some number of the other early rolls of arms. The Harington family, as may be seen from the current baronetages, now bear "sable a fret argent," but there can be little doubt that in this case the origin of the fretty is to be found in a representation of a herring-net.

The fret is usually depicted throughout when borne singly, and is then composed of a bendlet dexter and a bendlet sinister, interlaced in the centre by a mascle. Occasionally it will be found couped, but it is then, as a rule, only occupying the position of a subsidiary charge. A coat which is fretty is entirely covered by the interlacing bendlets and bendlets sinister, no mascles being introduced.

THE FLAUNCH

Fig. 241.—Flaunches.

Fig. 241.—Flaunches.

The flaunch, which is never borne singly, and for which the additional names of "flasks" and "voiders" are sometimes found, is the segment of a circle of large diameter projecting into the field from either side of the escutcheon, of a different colour from the field. It is by no means an unusual charge to be met with, and, like the majority of other ordinaries, is subject to the usual lines of partition, but so subject is, however, of rather rare occurrence.

Planché, in his "Pursuivant of Arms," mentions the old idea, which is repeated by Woodward, "that the base son of a noble woman, if he doe gev armes, must give upon the same a surcoat, but unless you do well mark such coat you may take it for a coat flanchette." The surcoat is much the same figure that would remain after flaunches had been taken from the field of a shield, with this exception, that the flaunches would be wider and the intervening space necessarily much narrower. In spite of the fact that this is supposed to be one of the recognised rules of armory, one instance only appears to be known of its employment, which, however, considering the circumstances, is not very much to be wondered at. One exceptional case surely cannot make a rule. I know of no modern case of a mother's coat bastardised—but I assume it would fall under the ordinary practice of the bordure wavy.

THE ROUNDLE

The roundle is a generic name which comprises all charges which are plain circular figures of colour or metal. Foreign heraldry merely terms them roundles of such and such a colour, but in England we have special terms for each tincture.

Fig. 242.—Fountain.

Fig. 242.—Fountain.

Fig. 243.—The Arms of Stourton.

Fig. 243.—The Arms of Stourton.

When the roundle is gold it is termed a "bezant," when silver a "plate," when gules a "torteau," when azure a "hurt," when sable an "ogress," "pellet," or "gunstone," when vert a "pomeis," when purpure a "golpe," when tenné an "orange," when sanguine a "guze." The golpes, oranges, and guzes are seldom, if ever, met with, but the others are of constant occurrence, and roundles of fur are by no means unknown. A roundle of more than one colour is described as a roundle "per pale," for example of gules and azure, or whatever it may be. The plates and bezants are naturally flat, and must be so represented. They should never be shaded up into a globular form. The torteau is sometimes found shaded, but is more correctly flat, but probably the pellet or ogress and the pomeis are intended to be globular. Roundles of fur are always flat. One curious roundle is a very common charge in British armory, that is, the "fountain," which is a roundle barry wavy argent and azure (Fig. 242). This is the conventional heraldic representation of water, of course. A fountain will be found termed a "syke" when occurring in the arms of any family of the name of Sykes. It typifies naturally anything in the nature of a well, in which meaning it occurs on the arms of Stourton (Fig. 243).

The arms of Stourton are one of the few really ancient coats concerning which a genuine explanation exists. The blazon of them is: Sable a bend or, between six fountains proper. Concerning this coat of arms Aubrey says: "I believe anciently 'twas only Sable a bend or." With all deference to Aubrey, I personally neither think he was right, nor do I pay much attention to his opinions, particularly in this case, inasmuch as every known record of the Stourton arms introduces the six fountains. The name Stourton, originally "de Stourton," is emphatically a territorial name, and there is little opportunity for this being gainsaid, inasmuch as the lordship and manor of Stourton, in the counties of Wilts and Somerset, remained in the possession of the Lords Stourton until the year 1714. The present Lord Mowbray and Stourton still owns land within the parish. Consequently there is no doubt whatever that the Lords Stourton derived their surname from this manor of Stourton. Equally is it certain that the manor of Stourton obtained its name from the river Stour, which rises within the manor. The sources of the river Stour are six wells, which exist in a tiny valley in Stourton Park, which to this day is known by the name of "The Six Wells Bottom." In the present year of grace only one of the six wells remains visible. When Sir Richard Colt Hoare wrote, there were four visible. Of these four, three were outside and one inside the park wall. The other two within the park had been then closed up. When Leland wrote in 1540 to 1542, the six wells were in existence and visible; for he wrote: "The ryver of Stoure risith ther of six fountaynes or springes, whereof 3 be on the northe side of the Parke, harde withyn the Pale, the other 3 be north also, but withoute the Parke. The Lorde Stourton giveth these 6 fountaynes yn his Armes." Guillim says the same thing: "These six Fountains are borne in signification of six Springs, whereof the River of Sture in Wiltshire hath his beginning, and passeth along to Sturton, the seat of that Barony." Here, then, is the origin of the six fountains upon the coat of arms; but Aubrey remarks that three of the six springs in the park are in the county of Wilts, whereas Mr. Camden has put them all in Somersetshire. However, the fact is that three of the springs were inside the park and three outside, and that three were in Wiltshire and three in Somersetshire. Here, then, is to be found the division upon the coat of arms of the six fountains in the two sets of three each, and it is by no means an improbable suggestion that the bend which separates the three from the three is typical of, or was suggested by, either the park wall or pale, or by the line of division between the two counties, and the more probable of the two seems to be the park wall. The coat of arms is just a map of the property. Now, with regard to the arms, as far as is known there has not been at any time the slightest deviation by the family of the Lords Stourton from the coat quoted and illustrated. But before leaving the subject it may be well to point out that in the few cases in which an ancient coat of arms carries with it an explanation, such explanation is usually to be found either in some such manner as that in which these arms of Stourton have been explained, or else in some palpable pun, and not in the mythical accounts and legends of supernatural occurrences which have been handed down, and seldom indeed in any explanation of personal nobility which the tinctures or charges are sometimes said to represent.

What is now considered quite a different charge from the fountain is the whirlpool or gurges, which is likewise intended to represent water, and is borne by a family of the name of Gorges, the design occupying the whole of the field. This is represented by a spiral line of azure commencing in the centre of an argent field, continuing round and round until the edges of the shield are reached; but there can be very little doubt that this was an early form of representing the watery roundle which happens to have been perpetuated in the instance of that one coat. The fountains upon the seal of the first Lord Stourton are represented in this manner.

Examples of a field semé of roundles are very usual, these being termed bezanté or platé if semé of bezants or plates; but in the cases of roundles of other colours the words "semé of" need to be used.

THE ANNULET

Fig. 244.—Annulet.

Fig. 244.—Annulet.

Closely akin to the roundel is the annulet (Fig. 244) and though, as far as I am aware, no text-book has as yet included this in its list of ordinaries and sub-ordinaries, one can see no reason, as the annulet is a regularly used heraldic figure, why the lozenge should have been included and the annulet excluded, when the annulet is of quite as frequent occurrence. It is, as its name implies, simply a plain ring of metal or colour, as will be found in the arms of Lowther, Hutton, and many other families. Annulets appear anciently to have been termed false roundles.

Annulets will frequently be found interlaced. Care should be taken to distinguish them from gem-rings, which are always drawn in a very natural manner with stones, which, however, in real life would approach an impossible size.

THE LABEL

Fig. 245.—The Label.

Fig. 245.—The Label.

The label (Fig. 245) as a charge must be distinguished from the label as a mark of difference for the eldest son, though there is no doubt that in those cases in which it now exists as a charge, the origin must be traced to its earlier use as a difference. Concerning its use as a mark of difference it will be treated of further in the chapter upon marks of difference and cadency, but as a charge it will seldom be found in any position except in chief, and not often of other than three points, and it will always be found drawn throughout, that is, with the upper line extended to the size of the field. It consists of a narrow band straight across the shield, from which depend at right angles three short bands. These shorter arms have each of late years been drawn more in the shape of a dovetail, but this was not the case until a comparatively recent period, and now-a-days we are quite as inclined to revert to the old forms as to perpetuate this modern variety. Other names for the label are the "lambel" and the "file." The label is the only mark of difference now borne by the Royal Family. Every member of the Royal Family has the Royal arms assigned to him for use presumably during life, and in these warrants, which are separate and personal for each individual, both the coronet and the difference marks which are to be borne upon the label are quoted and assigned. This use of the label, however, will be subsequently fully dealt with. As a charge, the label occurs in the arms of Barrington: "Argent, three chevronels gules, a label azure;" and Babington: "Argent, ten torteaux, four, three, two, and one, in chief a label of three points azure;" also in the earlier form of the arms of De Quincy (Fig. 235) and Courtenay (Fig. 246). Various curious coats of arms in which the label appears are given in Papworth as follows:—

"... a label of four points in bend sinister ... Wm. de Curli, 20th Hen. III. (Cotton, Julius F., vii. 175.)
"Argent, a label of five points azure. Henlington, co. Gloucester. (Harl. MS. 1404, fo. 109.)
"Or, a file gules, with three bells pendent azure, clappers sable. (Belfile.) [ 155 ]
"Sable, three crescents, in chief a label of two drops and in fess another of one drop argent. Fitz-Simons. (Harl. MS. 1441 and 5866.)
"Or, three files borne barways gules, the first having five points, the second four, and the last three. Liskirke, Holland. (Gwillim.)"

A curious label will have been noticed in the arms of De Valence (Fig. 120).

THE BILLET

The billet (Fig. 247), though not often met with as a charge, does sometimes occur, as for example, in the arms of Alington.

Fig. 246.—Arms of Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon (d. 1422): Or, three torteaux, a label azure. (From his seal.)

Fig. 246.—Arms of Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon (d. 1422): Or, three torteaux, a label azure. (From his seal.)

Fig. 247.—The Billet.

Fig. 247.—The Billet.

Fig. 248.—Billetté.

Fig. 248.—Billetté.

Its more frequent appearance is as an object with which a field or superior charge is semé, in which case these are termed billetté (Fig. 248). The best known instance of this is probably the coat borne on an inescutcheon over the arms of England during the joint reign of William and Mary. The arms of Gasceline afford another example of a field billetté. These are "or, billetté azure, and a label gules." Though not many instances are given under each subdivision, Papworth affords examples of coats with every number of billets from 1 to 20, but many of them, particularly some of those from 10 to 20 in number, are merely mistaken renderings of fields which should have been termed billetté. The billet, slightly widened, is sometimes known as a block, and as such will be found in the arms of Paynter. Other instances are to be found where the billets are termed delves or gads. The billet will sometimes be found pointed at the bottom, in which case it is termed "urdy at the foot." But neither as a form of semé, nor as a charge, is the billet of sufficiently frequent use to warrant its inclusion as one of the ordinaries or sub-ordinaries.

Fig. 249.—Armorial bearings of R. E. Yerburgh, Esq.: Per pale argent and azure, on a chevron between three chaplets all counterchanged, an annulet for difference. Mantling azure and argent. Crest: on a wreath of the colours, a falcon close or, belled of the last, preying upon a mallard proper.

Fig. 249.—Armorial bearings of R. E. Yerburgh, Esq.: Per pale argent and azure, on a chevron between three chaplets all counterchanged, an annulet for difference. Mantling azure and argent. Crest: on a wreath of the colours, a falcon close or, belled of the last, preying upon a mallard proper.

Fig. 250.—Armorial bearings of Robert Berry, Esq.: Quarterly, 1 and 4, vert, a cross crosslet argent (for Berry); 2 and 3, parted per pale argent and sable, on a chaplet four mullets counterchanged (for Nairne), in the centre of the quarters a crescent or, for difference. Mantling vert, doubled argent. Crest: upon a wreath of his liveries, a demi-lion rampant gules, armed and langued, holding in his dexter paw a cross crosslet fitchée azure; and in an escroll over the same this motto, "In hoc signo vinces," and in another under the shield, "L'espérance me comforte."

Fig. 250.—Armorial bearings of Robert Berry, Esq.: Quarterly, 1 and 4, vert, a cross crosslet argent (for Berry); 2 and 3, parted per pale argent and sable, on a chaplet four mullets counterchanged (for Nairne), in the centre of the quarters a crescent or, for difference. Mantling vert, doubled argent. Crest: upon a wreath of his liveries, a demi-lion rampant gules, armed and langued, holding in his dexter paw a cross crosslet fitchée azure; and in an escroll over the same this motto, "In hoc signo vinces," and in another under the shield, "L'espérance me comforte."

THE CHAPLET

Why the chaplet was ever included amongst the ordinaries and sub-ordinaries passes my comprehension. It is not of frequent occurrence, and I have yet to ascertain in which form it has acquired this status. The chaplet which is usually meant when the term is employed is the garland of oak, laurel, or other leaves or flowers (Fig. 249), which is found more frequently as part of a crest. There is also the chaplet, which it is difficult to describe, save as a large broad annulet such as the one which figures in the arms of Nairne (Fig. 250), and which is charged at four regular intervals with roses, mullets, or some other objects.

The chaplet of oak and acorns is sometimes known as a civic crown, but the term chaplet will more frequently be found giving place to the use of the word wreath, and a chaplet of laurel or roses, unless completely conjoined and figuring as a charge upon the shield, will be far more likely to be termed a wreath or garland of laurel or roses than a chaplet.

There are many other charges which have no great distinction from some of these which have been enumerated, but as nobody hitherto has classed them as ordinaries I suppose there could be no excuse for so introducing them, but the division of any heraldic charges into ordinaries and sub-ordinaries, and their separation from other figures, seems to a certain extent incomprehensible and very unnecessary.


  1. Armorial bearings of Sir Henry Seymour King, K.C.I.E.: Quarterly, argent and azure, in the second and third quarters a quatrefoil of the first, over all a bend barry of six of the second, charged with a quatrefoil also of the first, and gules.
  2. Armorial bearings of William Warde-Aldam, Esq.: Quarterly, 1 and 4, party per fesse azure and ermine, in the sinister chief and dexter base an eagle displayed or, in the dexter canton issuant towards the sinister base seven rays, the centre one gold, the others argent (for Aldam); 2 and 3 (for Warde).
  3. Armorial bearings of Isham: Gules, a fesse wavy, and in chief three piles in point also wavy, the points meeting in fesse argent.
  4. Collectanea, ed. 1774, ii. 611.
  5. In M. Victor Bouton's edition of the Armorial de Gelre (Paris 1881) the bonnet is described as a mount.