Staveley Heraldic Glossary


Barry - a number of horizontal bars (ie ‘Barry of six’ is a shield divided into 6 equal horizontal bars)

Blazon - the colour scheme of a coat of arms

Caboshed - is where the head of a beast is cut off behind the ears by a section parallel to the face; or by a perpendicular section, in contradiction to couped; besides that, it is farther from the ears than cabossing. The head, in this case, is placed full-faced, or affrontée; so that no part of the neck can be visible.

Cabossed - see Caboshed

Canton - A division of the field placed in the upper dexter (right) corner.  It is a diminutive of the Quarter, being two-thirds the area of that ordinary. However, in the roll of Henry III the quarter appears in several coats which in later rolls are blazoned as cantons. The canton, like the quarter, is an early bearing, and is always shown with straight lines

Chevron - an inverted ‘V’ on a shield, symbolizes protection.  Protection granted as a reward to one who has achieved some notable service.  Said to represent the rooftree of a house, and has sometimes been given to those who hae built churches or fortresses or who have accomplished work of faithful service.

Couped - is where the head of a beast is cut off by a horizontal line, compare erased and caboshed

Crescent - when used as a ‘difference’ it indicates a second son.

Engrailed - with a wavy edge to the design, symbolizing earth or land.

Erased - a term applied to the head of an animal or other bearing having the appearance of being forcibly torn off, leaving jagged or uneven ends.  Erased is the opposite of couped, the latter meaning cut off even, straight.

Ermine - One of the furs used in blazoning, representing the skin of the little animal of that name. A field of ermine is white with black spots of a particular shape.  The animal ermine is scarcely known in heraldry, although its fur is widely borne

Escallop Shell - one who has made long journeys or voyages to far countries, often a pilgrimage or who had borne considerable naval command or who had gained great victories.

Fess - a single horizontal bar across the centre of a shield.

Fleur-de-lys - literally, flower of the lily. When used as a ‘difference’ of arms, the fleur-de-lis represents the sixth son.

Lozenge - Honesty and constancy.

Pale -  a Vertical central bar up the centre of a shield

Paly - a number of vertical bars dividing up a shield

Quarter - One of the ordinaries (also called franc-quartier), occupying one-fourth of the shield, and usually placed in dexter chief. If placed in sinister chief, this must be specified. The diminutive of the quarter is the canton, of two-thirds its area

Stag, Hart, Buck and Deer - One who will not fight unless provoked.  Peace and Harmony, also Purity and Fleetness.


Lozenge - 

1. A diamond-shaped bearing, usually with its upper and lower angles slightly acute.

2. The form of the escutcheon upon which women place their arms. Specifically, for spinsters and widows.

As the shield was used in war, it was peculiar to men, and the female had no part therein; hence an unmarried woman from earliest times placed her arms on a lozenge, perhaps in allusion to the fusil, or distaff; when married, she shares the shield of her husband.

Meaning of a Chevron - Protection

Fusil - An elongated lozenge. The word comes from the French fuscan = a spindle, and the bearing is supposed to represent a distaff charged with a yarn.

Impaled - Where two sets of arms appear on one shield divided down the middle


Heraldic Colors

Gules    = red - Military fortitude and magnanimity.

Azure   = blue - Loyalty and truth.

Argent  = white or silver - Peace and sincerity.

Sable    = black - Constancy.

Or       = gold or yellow - Generosity and elevation of the mind.


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