A or a in heraldic memoranda and sketches of arms in trick, is employed to signify Argent[and is better than ar., which might be mistaken for az, or for or]. Abacot. See Cap. Abased, (fr. abaissé): this term is used when a chevron, fesse, or other ordinary, is borne lower than its usual situation. Charges, however, when placed low down in the shield are said to be in base. Abatements, sometimes called Rebatements, are marks of disgrace attached to arms on account of some dishonourable act of the bearer. They are shewn by pieces of different shapes being to all appearance cut out of, or off from, the shield; their shapes and positions are represented by the following varieties, which are nine in number, and must be either sanguine or tenné, which the old writers call "staynande colours," otherwise they are no abatements but honourable charges, viz.--
1. Delf. 4. Point dexter. 7. Gore sinister.
2. Inescutcheonreversed. 5. Point pointed. 8. Gusset dexter.
3. Plain Point. 6. Point champaine. 9. Gusset sinister.
As the use of arms is not compulsory, a bearer would of course rather relinquish them than publish his own disgrace by bearing them abated. Abatements such as the above exist only in systems of heraldry, and no instance of their actual use is on record: but under the several headings diagrams will be found explaining the meaning of the terms which are used by heraldic writers. Broken chevrons, and beasts turned towards the sinister, are supposed by some heraldic writers to have been given as abatements.
"And Edward the Third of England ordained two of six stars which a gentleman had in his arms to be effaced, because he had sold a seaport of which he was made governor." [According to Sir George Mackenzie, in allusion to AYMERY OF PAVIA, a Lombard, governor of Calais in 1349, who bore azure, four mullets or.]
The arms of the bishops of Winchester and Oxford(the one, prelate, and the other, chancellor of the order of the garter) should be encircled by the garter, and have their badgespendent. The archbishops of Armagh and Dublin bear the badge of the order of S.Patrick in the same manner. Prelates having temporal jurisdiction, (as the bishops of Durham had,) may bear a crosier and sword saltirewise behind their arms; the hilt of the sword should be uppermost.
B. BACHELORS. All bachelors(official personages already mentioned being excepted), must have their arms complete, that is to say, with all the external ornaments belonging to their condition, upon a black ground, namely, if an esquire, with his wreath, helmet, and crest, and perhaps it may be with a mark of cadency on the arms. The arms being without any impalement, or any escutcheon of pretence, shews that the bearer was an unmarried man.
Achievement in case of a Husband.
Achievement in case of a Knight.
C. HUSBANDS. 1. In general.--All husbands(except those whose wives are peeresses in their own right) should have a shield with the external ornaments proper to their rank, containing their own arms on the dexterside, impaled with their wives' on the sinisterside, or if the latter be heiresses theirs must be upon an escutcheon of pretence. In all cases the ground will be per paleblack and white, the dexter being black to denote the husband's decease.
According to some modern heralds it is not proper for a knight to include the arms of his wife within the collar, ribbon, or other insignia of his order. In compliance with this opinion it is customary for the achievement of a knight(whether a peer or not) to be arranged thus:--Two shields are placed side by side, the first, which is encircled by the garter or other distinction of the order, contains the husband's arms alone, and the second those of the husband and wife. Both these shields are included within the external ornaments pertaining to the husband's rank. The ground is perpendicularly divided at the middle of the second shield, the dextersideblack, the sinisterwhite.
Marriages previous to the last one should not be noticed upon achievements.
2. A husband of any rank, whose lady is a peeress in her own right.--Two escutcheons; the dexter containing the arms of the husband with the lady's upon an escutcheon of pretenceensigned with her coronet: the sinister lozenge-shaped, with the lady's alone. Each must be accompanied by all its proper external ornaments. The ground should be perpendicularly divided at the middle of the dexterescutcheon, and painted black and white.
D. WIDOWERS. Their funeral achievements only differ from those of husbands, under similar circumstances, in the ground being totally black.
Women(sovereign princesses excepted) may not bearhelmets, crests, or mantlings, but a peeress is entitled to her robe of estate.
E. UNMARRIED LADIES OF ANY RANK. The arms of an unmarried lady must be placed in a lozenge, but no external ornaments of an heraldic nature should be used, unless she were a peeress. In that case her supporters, robe of estate and coronet, should be added: the ground entirely black. Shells, cherubims' heads, and knots or bows of ribbon, are often placed above the arms of women, whether spinsters, wives, or widows.
F. WIVES. 1. In general.--Their achievements are arranged precisely as their husbands' would be, except that the helmet, crest, mantle, and motto, are omitted, and the ground painted per pale, white and black, or, to speak more accurately, black under the arms of the wife, and white under those of the husband. 2. The wife of an archbishop or bishop.--It is customary to arrange the achievement of the wife of a prelate thus:--Two shields, the first containing the impaled arms of the see and the bishop, surmounted by a mitre, and the second, the family arms of the bishop with those of his wife, and over them a knot of ribbons or a cherub'shead: the ground all white except that part under the arms of the wife(i.e. about one third per pale on the sinisterside), which must be black.
Achievement in case of a Widow.
G. WIDOWS. The achievements of widows differ from those of wives in two respects; the escutcheon or escutcheons are lozenge-shaped(escutcheons of pretence excepted), and the ground is entirely black. The arms should be encircled by a silverCordon, which is the special symbol of widowhood.
As the episcopal dignity is one in which a wife cannot participate, the achievement of a prelate's widow should not differ from that of the widow of a private gentleman. The same may be said of the widow of a knight.
The place for affixing the arms above described is against the residence of the deceased; but some years ago in many churches, but now in very few, helmets and banners of some deceased knight were frequently found remaining hung up in some aisle or chapel, and these also went by the name of hatchments. The banners in St.George's, Windsor, afford the most complete example of the survival of an old custom, and here also the achievement is engraved on a plate in the stall held by each successive knight of the Order of the Garter.
In France the litre, or lisiere, hung around the churches, answers, perhaps, to the hatchment. Acorn, (fr. gland, old fr. cheyne): this is usually represented vert, but they may be of other colours. They may also be slipped or leaved. An acorn-sprig is not unfrequently used in the arms, and is often used also as a crest. Sometimes, too, the acorn-cups are represented alone.
Addorsed, or endorsed(fr. adossé): said of two animals turned back to back. These terms(generally the latter) are also used with reference to axes(bills), to keys, when the keybits or wards are turned outwards, and to other similar objects, and more especially to wings and heads of birds, &c.
[These arms are supposed to have originated from the circumstance of Godfrey of Boulogne, duke of Lorraine, shooting three allerions with an arrow from a tower at Jerusalem "upon the direction of a prophetick person." A far more probable supposition is, that the arms were intended as a play upon the name of the duchy.]
Anchor, (fr. ancre): this is frequently used as a charge, or crest, emblematical of hope, or of naval service. In old examples it is not unfrequently ringed at the point as well as at the head The parts are thus named: the shank or beam(fr. stangue): the stock, timber, or cross-piece(fr. trabe): the cable(fr. gumène): and the fluke(fr. patte). In some coats the anchor has a chain attached instead of a cable.
Angles: this bearing seems intended to represent the hook or fastening of a waistband(the arms of Wastley being allusive), and for this purpose the rings are attached; possibly for the same purpose, namely, that it might serve as a dress fastening, rings were attached to the Cross annuletty. This charge might be described also as two chevronsinterlaced and couped.
Antelope: it is now customary with herald-painters to draw animals as they appear naturally, which is, generally speaking, directly contrary to the practice of ancient artists, who drew them conventionally. Hence arises the distinction between the heraldic antelope and the natural. The form of the antelope, as drawn by the old heralds, has a mane and longtail, and differs considerably from the fawn-like appearance of the animal in nature. Antelopes'heads are also frequently named, and both the animal and the head appear among the crests. The antelopegorged with a crown occurs amongst the badges of Henry V., and with an ordinarycollar with chain attached amongst those of Henry VI.
Armoyé, (fr.): charged with a shield of arms. Arms in heraldry signify the Armorial bearings(fr. Armoiries), and strictly speaking the term is applied only to those borne upon the shield. Crests, badges, and the like are not properly so described. The origin, or even date, of the earliest examples of armorial bearings has occasioned much dispute, so that the subject requires a treatise to itself.
The various modes of acquiring, and reasons for bearing arms are differently described by different writers, but the following varieties will be found to represent the more usual classification. Arms of Dominion are those borne by sovereign princes; being those of the states over which they reign: while Arms of Pretension are those borne by sovereigns who have no actual authority over the states to which such arms belong, but who quarter them to express their prescriptive right thereunto. Arms of Succession, otherwise called feudal arms, are those borne by the possessors of certain lordships or estates: while Arms of Family are hereditary, being borne(with properdifferences) by all the descendants of the first bearer. Arms of Assumption are such as might rightfully be taken, according to certain laws, from the original bearer otherwise than by grant or descent: and Arms of Alliance are those of a wife, which a man impales with his own, or those which he quarters, being the arms of heiresses who have married into his family. Arms of Adoption are those borne by a stranger, when the last of a family grants him the right to bear his name and arms, as well as to possess his estates: and Arms of Concession are granted when an important service has been rendered to the Sovereign. The grant almost always consists of an Augmentation, q.v. Arms of Patronage: those of the lesser nobility or gentry derived from the arms of the greater. Arms of Office, such as those borne by Bishops, Deans, Kings of Arms, &c.; and lastly. Arms of Community, those borne by cities, towns, abbeys, universities, colleges, guilds, mercantile companies, &c. The arms of abbeys and colleges are generally those of their founders, to which the abbeys usually added some charge of an ecclesiastical character, as a crosier, mitre, or key. Such arms, as well as those borne by Sovereigns, are more properly termed Insignia. The Royal Arms. Arms have been assigned in subsequent times to all the early kings of England from Alfred the Great onwards, but the earliest English sovereign for whose insignia we have any contemporary authority is Richard Cœur-de-Lion. From that time onwards the series is complete; and in most cases the great seal of each successive reign affords a good illustration. The following notes will be found to represent a brief summary of the more important changes.
WILLIAM I, &c.
Though we have no authority for the arms of WILLIAM I., WILLIAM RUFUS, or HENRY I., writers agree in ascribing to them the following.
Some ingenious writer, knowing that the Sagittarius was ascribed as the badge of KING STEPHEN, substituted it for the lions in the Royal arms, but following late examples, placed three instead of two upon the shield.
According to a theory of comparatively late date, HENRY II., upon his marriage with Eleanor, daughter and heiress of the Duke of Aquitaine and Guyenne, added another lion, and hence the Insignia of England(q.v.)
These arms appear very distinctly upon the great seal of his successor, RICHARD I., but there is a second great seal of this king(perhaps even earlier), in which a portion of the shield is shewn, and(possibly by carelessness of the die-cutter) this contains a lion counter-rampant.
The great seals of JOHN, HENRY III., and EDWARD I. exhibit the arms of England very clearly. The seal of EDWARD II. is without a coat of arms, but there is abundance of other evidence for ascribing the same to him.
Le Roy de ENGLETERRE, porte de goules a iij lupars passauns de or--Roll, temp. ED. II.
EDWARD III., for some years after his accession, bore the same arms, but after 1340 he bore--
On the seal is represented, for the first time, a distinct crest(a lionpassant on a chapeau).
There are several authorities for the same arms being borne by RICHARD II.; but towards the end of his reign he impaled the imaginary arms of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, his patron Saint.
These arms were continued to be used by CHARLES I., CHARLES II., and JAMES II., and are usually represented in carving, painting, &c., with the same supporters, namely, the lion and the unicorn. It may be noted, however, that CROMWELL, as Protector, bore:--
A broad arrow differs somewhat, perhaps, from the above in the head, and resembles a pheon(q.v.), except in the omission of the jagged edge on the inside of the barbs. By the term broad arrow, the head alone is meant. The bolt and the quarrel were shorter arrows, used with the cross-bow.
Axe, (fr. hache): there are various kinds of axes and hatchets. It is impossible to classify them, or give the whole of the varieties; but the following will be found the chief forms which appear. The handle of the axe is sometimes called the stave, or an axe may be hafted(fr. manché), and the blade is often referred to.
1. The common axe or hatchet, is usually represented as shewn in the margin.
In the arms of the TURNERS' Company it is represented somewhat differently.
3. Brick, or Bricklayer's-axe: a charge in the armorial insignia of the Company of BRICKLAYERS and TILERS, of London. The metal portion only of the axe is exhibited, and this is made broad with the sides hollowed, as shewn in the margin.
4. Chipping-axe: this occurs in the arms of the London Company of MARBLERS(afterwards united to the MASONS), and is the axe which is still used by quarrymen in chipping the stones before they leave the quarry.
9. The Danish axe was probably so called because it occurred in the royal arms of that kingdom, in which it is drawn like a Lochabar axe, but some apply the name to an axe whose blade is notched at the back. There is a form without the notch borne by HAKELUT, and called a Danish hatchet. The Indiantomahawk occurs in the arms of HOPKINS, granted 1764.
11. Pole-axe, or Halbert, (fr. haillebarde): the axe with a longpole, often called the halbert or halberd. It was used by the men at arms in processions and on great occasions for keeping back the crowd.
Azure, bright blue, i.e. the colour of an eastern sky, probably derives the name from the Arabic lazura(conf. lapis lazuli, Gr. λαξωριον, Span. azul, Italian, azurro, Fr. azur), the name being introduced from the East at the time of the Crusades. It is sometimes called Inde from the sapphire, which is found in the East: (see example under cadency.) Heralds who blazon by planets call it Jupiter, perhaps from his supposed rule over the skies; and when the names of jewels are employed it is called Sapphire. Engravers represent it by an indefinite number of horizontal lines.