THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 123
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. 133. Chevron wavy. FIG. 134. Chevron nebuly.
FIG. 135. Chevron raguly.
FIG. 136. Chevron
FIG. 137. Chevron doubly
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.
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
FIG. 138. Chevron
i2 4 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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 en-
closing 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 chev-
ron invecked I am uncertain,
but think the points should be
upwards for engrailed.
The field when entirely com-
posed of an even number of
chevrons is termed " chevronny "
The diminutive of the chev-
ron 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 li rompu " or
broken is depicted as in Fig. 142.
FIG. 139. Armorial bearings of Rodolph Lade-
veze Adlercron, Esq. : Quarterly, I 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 dis-
played 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 (Fig. 143) is a
triangular wedge usually (and
unless otherwise specified) issu-
ing 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 SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 125
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 intro-
duced in the field of the escutcheon or upon the pile.
A single pile may issue from any point of the escutcheon except
^^^ ^*+^^ ~**-&i* r
FIG. 140. Chevronels. FIG. 141. Chevronels braced. FIG. 142. Chevron rompu
FIG. 143. Pile.
FIG. 144. Pile engrailed. FIG. 145. Pile invecked.
FIG. 146. Pile embattled. FIG. 147. Pile indented.
FIG. 148. Pile wavy.
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 Holies, Earl
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
126 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
at the tips, as in the arms of the Earl of Huntingdon and Chester
or in the arms of Isham, 1 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
Piles terminating in fleurs-de-lis or crosses pate 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 forme.
An unusual instance of a pile in which it issues from a chevron
FIG. 149. Pile nebuly. FIG. 150. Pile raguly. FIG. 151. Pile dovetailed.
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 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
1 Armorial bearings of Isham : Gules, a fesse wavy, and in chief three piles in point also
wavy, the points meeting in fesse argent.
THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 127
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, in-
cluding 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."
The necessity of displaying this device of rank the pallium
FIG. 152. Three piles, two in
chief and one in base.
FIG. 153. Shakefork.
FIG. 154. Ecclesiastical
FIG. 155. Cross. FIG. 156. Cross engrailed. FIG. 157. Cross jnvecked.
upon a field of some tincture has led to its corruption into a usual
and stereotyped " charge."
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
ia8 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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.
But the contemporary shortening of the shield, together with the
introduction of charges in its angles, led naturally to the arms of the
FIG. 158. Cross embattled. FIG. 159. Cross indented. FIG. 160. Cross raguly.
Fitr. - iQi-. Cross dovetailed.
FIG. 162. Passion Cross.
FIG. 163. Cross Calvary.
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 through-
out 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 dis-
tinguished from the cross fleurette (Fig. 168) ; the cross moline,
ARMS OF THE DUKE OF ARGYLL.
ARMS OF SIR WILLIAM GORDON GUMMING, BT,
THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 129
(Fig. 169), the cross potent (Fig. 170), the cross patee or formee
(Fig. 171), the cross patonce (Fig. 172), and the cross crosslet
Of other but much more uncommon varieties examples will be
found of the cross parted and fretty (Fig. 174), of the cross patee
FIG. 164. Crucifix.
FIG. 165. Cross couped.
FIG. 1 66. Cross boton
FIG. 167. Cross flory.
FIG. 1 68. Cross fleurette.
FIG. 169. Cross moline.
.^ 170. Cross potent.
FIG. 171. Cross patee
FIG. 172. Cross patonce.
quadrate (Fig. 175), of a cross pointed and voided in the arms of
Dukinfield (quartered by Darbishire), and of a cross clech voided
and pomett6 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.
130 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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 pate, it is then termed
"fitchee at the foot" (Fig. 182).
Of the hundreds of other varieties it may confidently be said that a
FIG. 1 73. Cross crosslet.
FIG. 174. Cross parted
FIG. 175. Cross patee
FIG. 176. Cross quarter-
FIG. 177. Cross Tau.
FIG. 178. Maltese Cross.
FIG. 179. Patriarchal Cross.
FIG. 1 80. Cross crosslet
FIG. 181. Cross patee
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
THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 131
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
FIG. 182. Cross patee
filched at foot.
FIG. 183. Crusilly.
FIG. 184. Saltire.
FIG. 185. Saltire engrailed. FIG. 186. Saltire invecked. FIG. 187. Saltire embattled.
them, for in a lifetime they will mostly be met with but once each or
thereabouts. A field seme of cross crosslets (Fig. 183) is termed
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 conform-
The field of a coat of arms is often per saltire.
When one saltire couped is the principal charge it will usually be
1 32 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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 (Fig. 194), which is a broad band across the top of the
shield containing (theoretically, but not in fact) the uppermost third
FIG. 188. Saltire indented. FIG. 189. Saltire wavy.
FIG. 190. Saltire nebuly.
FIG. 191. Saltire raguly. FIG. 192. Saltire dovetailed
FIG. 193. Saltire parted
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. 195203).
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.
The chief especially lent itself to the purposes of honourable aug-
mentation, 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
THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 133
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
FIG. 194. Chief.
FIG. 195. Chief engrailed. FIG. 196. Chief invecked.
FIG. 197. Chief embattled. FIG. 198. Chief indented. FIG. 199. Chief dancette.
FIG. 200. Chief
FIG. 201. Chief nebuly.
FIG. 202. Chief raguly.
dealt with more fully in the chapter relating to the insignia of knight-
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
1 34 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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 augmen-
tation 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 sur-
mounts the chief. Such a case is very unusual, as the use of the bend
for differencing has long been obsolete.
FIG. 203. Chief dove-
FIG. 204. Arms of Peter
de Dreux, Earl of Rich-
mond (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
A chief is never couped or cottised, and it has no diminutive in
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 parti-
tion line is often introduced in a new grant to conjoin quarterings
THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 135
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).
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 prin-
cipal 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 dis-
tinction) is superimposed over every other charge
or ordinary, no matter what this may be. Theo-
retically 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
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.
FIG. 207. Chequy.
136 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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
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 mar-
riage. 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, bezante, a canton indented at the
bottom " and adds that the canton has been sometimes thought to in-
dicate 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
THE SO-CALLED ORDINARIES 137
such meaning may have been intended, but it can have no such applica-
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 inescut-
cheon, 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
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.
FIG. 2o 9 .-The arms of Roger * know of no other instance of the use of lines
Mortimer, Earl of March and of partition in a gyronny field. The arms of
and*", azure, three^an/ or Lanyon afford an example of the gyron as a
(sometimes but not so cor- charge, as does also the well-known shield of
rectly quoted barry of six), on , , /T - ^. \
a chief of the first two pallets Mortimer (Fig. 209).
between two base esquires of
the second, over all an in-
escutcheon argent (for Morti-
mer) ; 2 and 3, or, a cross
gules (for Ulster). (From his
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.
138 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
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