The Manticora, Mantegre, or Man-Tiger is the same as the man-lion,
but has horns attached to its forehead.
The Hippogriff has the head, wings and foreclaws of the griffin
united to the hinder part of the body of a horse.
The Calopus or Chatloup is a curious horned animal difficult to
describe, but which appears to have been at one time the badge of the
Foljambe family. No doubt, as the name would seem to indicate, it
is a variant of the wolf.
Many of the foregoing animals, particularly those which are or
are supposed to be hybrids, are, however well they may be depicted,
ugly, inartistic, and unnecessary. Their representation leaves one with
a disappointed feeling of crudity of draughtmanship. No such objec-
tion applies to the pegasus, the griffin, the sea-horse, the dragon, or
the unicorn, and in these modern days, when the differentiation of
well-worn animals is producing singularly inept results, one would
urge that the sea-griffin, the sea-stag, the winged bull, the winged stag,
the winged lion, and winged heraldic antelope might produce (if the
necessity of differentiation continue) very much happier results.
BIRDS of course play a large and prominent part in heraldry
Those which have been impressed into the service of heraldic
emblazonment comprise almost every species known to the
Though the earliest rolls of arms give us instances of various
other birds, the bird which makes the most prominent appearance is
the Eagle, and in all early representations this will invariably be found
"displayed." A double-headed eagle displayed, from a Byzantine silk
of the tenth century, is illustrated by Mr. Eve in his " Decorative
Heraldry," so that it is evident that neither the eagle displayed nor the
double-headed eagle originated with the science of armory, which appro-
priated them ready-made, together with their symbolism. An eagle
displayed as a symbolical device was certainly in use by Charlemagne.
It may perhaps here be advantageous to treat of the artistic
development of the eagle displayed. Of this, of course, the earliest
prototype is the Roman eagle of the Caesars, and it will be to English eyes,
accustomed to our conventional spread-eagle, doubtless rather startling
to observe that the German type of the eagle, which follows the
Roman disposition of the wings (which so many of our heraldic artists
at the present day appear inclined to adopt either in the accepted
German or in a slightly modified form as an eagle displayed) is certainly
not a true displayed eagle according to our English ideas and require-
ments, inasmuch as the wings are inverted. It should be observed
that in German heraldry it is simply termed an eagle, and not an eagle
displayed. Considering, however, its very close resemblance to our
eagle displayed, and also its very artistic appearance, there is every
excuse for its employment in this country, and I for one should be sorry
to observe its slowly increasing favour checked in this country. It is
quite possible, however, to transfer the salient and striking points of
beauty to the more orthodox position of the wings. The eagle (com-
pared with the lion and the ordinaries) had no such predominance in
early British heraldry that it enjoyed in Continental armory, and
therefore it may be better to trace the artistic development of the
234 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the eagle appears with the
head raised and the beak closed. The sachsen (bones of the wings)
are rolled up at the ends like a snail, and the pinions (like the
talons) take a vertical downward direction. The tail, composed of a
number of stiff feathers, frequently issues from a knob or ball. Com-
pare Fig. 440 herewith.
With the end of the fourteenth century the head straightens itself,
the beak opens and the tongue becomes visible. The rolling up of
the wing-bones gradually
disappears, and the claws
form an acute angle with
the direction of the body ;
and at this period the claws
occasionally receive the
" hose " covering the upper
P art of the ie S- The
feathers of the tail spread
FIG. 440. FIG. 441. FIG. 442. ... . ,.
out sicklewise (Fig. 441).
The fifteenth century shows the eagle with sachsen forming a half
circle, the pinions spread out and radiating therefrom, and the claws
more at a right angle (Fig. 442). The sixteenth century draws the
eagle in a more ferocious aspect, and depicts it in as ornamental and
ornate a manner as possible.
From Konrad Grunenberg's Wappenbuch (Constance, 1483) is
reproduced the shield (Fig. 443) with the boldly sketched Adlerflugel
mit Schwerthand (eagle's wing with the sword hand), the supposed arms
of the Duke of Calabria.
Quite in the same style is the eagle of Tyrol on a corporate flag of
the Society of the Schwazer Bergbute (Fig. 444), which belongs to
the last quarter of the fifteenth century. This is reproduced from the
impression in the Bavarian National Museum given in Hefner-
Alteneck's " Book of Costumes."
A modern German eagle drawn by H. G. Strohl is shown in Fig. 445.
The illustration is of the arms of the Prussian province of Brandenburg.
The double eagle has, of course, undergone a somewhat similar
The double eagle occurs in the East as well as in the West in very
early times. Since about 1335 the double eagle has appeared sporadi-
cally as a symbol of the Roman-German Empire, and under the
Emperor Sigismund (d. 1447) became the settled armorial device of
the Roman Empire. King Sigismund, before his coronation as
Emperor, bore the single-headed eagle.
It may perhaps be as well to point out, with the exception of the two
positions "displayed" (Fig. 451) and "close" (Fig. 446), very little if
any agreement at all exists amongst authorities either as to the terms to
be employed or as to the position ^^^^^^^^^^a
intended for the wings when
a given term is used in a
blazon. Practically every other
single position is simply blazoned
" rising," this term being em-
ployed without any additional
distinctive terms of variation in
official blazons and emblazon-
ments. Nor can one obtain
any certain information from
a reference to the real eagle,
for the result of careful observa-
tion would seem to show that
in the first stroke of the wings,
when rising from the ground, the
FIG. 443. Arms of Duke of Calabria.
wings pass through every posi-
tion from the wide outstretched
form, which I term " rising with wings elevated and displayed " (Fig.
450), to a position practically " close." As a consequence, therefore,
no one form can be said to
be more correct than any
other, either from the point
of view of nature or from
the point of view of ancient
precedent. This state of
affairs is eminently unsatis-
factory, because in these
days of necessary differenti-
ation no heraldic artistof any
appreciable knowledge or
(which certainly hasnot been
officially conceded)to depict
an eagle rising with wings
elevated and displayed,
when it has been granted
with the wings in the posi-
FIG. 444. Eagle of Tyrol.
tion addorsed and inverted.
Such a liberty when the wings happen to be charged, as they so fre-
quently are in modern English crests, must clearly be an impossibility.
236 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
Until some agreement has been arrived at, I can only recommend
my readers to follow the same plan which I have long adopted in
blazoning arms of which the
official blazon has not been
available to me. That is, to
use the term " rising," fol-
lowed by .the necessary de-
scription of the position of
the wings (Figs. 447-450).
This obviates both mistake
and uncertainty. Originally
with us, as still in Germany,
an eagle was always displayed,
and in the clays when coats of
arms were few in number and
simple in character the artist
may well have been permitted
to draw an eagle as he chose,
providing it was an eagle.
But arms and their elabora-
tion in the last four hundred
years have made this impos-
FIG. 445. Arms of the Prussian Province of Branden- q jui p jf ;, fr^lioh fr ^r
burg. (From Strohl's Deutsche Wappenrolle.) ' l6 '
look this, and idle in the face
of existing facts to attempt to revert to former ways. Although now
the English eagle displayed has the tip of its wings pointed upwards
(Fig. 451), and the contrary needs now to be mentioned in the blazon
FIG. 446. Eagle close.
FIG. 447. Eagle rising, wings FIG. 448. Eagle rising, wings
elevated and addorsed. addorsed and inverted.
(Fig. 452), this even with us was not so in the beginning. A reference
to Figs. 453 and 454 will show how the eagle was formerly depicted.
The earliest instance of the eagle as a definitely heraldic charge
upon a shield would appear to be its appearance upon the Great Seal
of the Markgrave Leopold of Austria in 1136, where the equestrian
figure of the Markgrave carries a shield so charged. More or less
regularly, subsequently to the reign of Frederick
Barbarossa, elected King of the Romans in 1152,
and crowned as Emperor in 1155, the eagle with
one or two heads (there seems originally to have
been little unanimity upon the point) seems to have
become the recognised heraldic symbol of the Holy
Roman Empire ; and the seal of Richard, Earl of
Cornwall, elected King of the Romans in 1257,
shows his arms ["Argent, a lion rampant gules,
within a bordure sable, bezante "] displayed upon FlG 449 ._^ agle nsmgj
the breast of an eagle ; but no properly authenti- wings displayed and
cated contemporary instance of the use of this inverted -
eagle by the Earl of Cornwall is found in this country. The origin
of the double-headed eagle (Fig. 455) has been the subject of endless
FIG. 450. Eagle rising, wings
elevated and displayed.
FIG. 451. Eagle displayed.
FIG. 452. Eagle displayed
with wings inverted.
FIG. 453. Arms of Ralph de
Monthermer, Earl of Glou-
cester and Hereford : Or, an
eagle vert. (From his seal,
FIG. 454. Arms of Piers de
Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall
(d. 1312); Vert, six eagles
FIG. 455. Double-
headed eagle dis-
controversy, the tale one is usually taught to believe being that it
originated in the dimidiation upon one shield of two separate coats
238 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
of arms. Nisbet states that the Imperial eagle was " not one eagle
with two heads, but two eagles, the one laid upon the other, and
their heads separate, looking different ways, which represent the
two heads of the Empire after it was divided into East and West."
The whole discussion is an apt example of the habit of earlier writers
to find or provide hidden meanings and symbolisms when no such
_ _ meanings existed. The real truth undoubtedly is
that the double-headed eagle was an accepted
figure long before heraldry came into existence,
and that when the displayed eagle was usurped
by armory as one of its peculiarly heraldic figures,
the single-headed and double-headed varieties were
used indifferently, until the double-headed eagle
became stereotyped as the Imperial emblem.
Napoleon, however, reverted to the single-headed
eagle, and the present German Imperial eagle
FIG ' 45 E7gk? POle niC has likewise only one head.
The Imperial eagle of Napoleon had little in
keeping with then existing armorial types of the bird. There can be
little doubt that the model upon which it was based was the Roman
Eagle of the Caesars as it figured upon the head of the Roman
standards. In English terms of blazon the Napoleonic eagle would
be : " An eagle displayed with wings inverted, the head to the sinister,
standing upon a thunderbolt or " (Fig. 456).
The then existing double-headed eagles of Austria and Russia
probably supply the reason why, when the German Empire was created,
the Prussian eagle in a modified form was preferred to the resuscitation
of the older double-headed eagle, which had theretofore been more
usually accepted as the symbol of Empire.
By the same curious idea which was noticed in the earlier chapter
upon lions, and which ruled that the mere fact of the appearance of two
or more lions rampant in the same coat of arms made them into lioncels,
so more than one eagle upon a shield resulted sometimes in the birds
becoming eaglets. Such a rule has never had official recognition, and
no artistic difference is made between the eagle and the eaglet. The
charges on the arms of Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, are
blazoned as eagles (Fig. 454). In the blazon of a few coats of arms,
the term eaglet, however, still survives, e.g. in the arms of Child [" Gules
a chevron ermine, between three eaglets close argent "],. and in the
arms of Smitheman [" Vert, three eaglets statant with wings displayed
argent, collared or "].
When an eagle has its beak of another colour, it is termed " armed "
of that colour, and when the legs differ it is termed " membered."
FIG. 457. Eagle's head
An eagle volant occurs in the crest of Jessel [" On a wreath of the
colours, a torch fesswise, fired proper, surmounted by an eagle volant
argent, holding in the beak a pearl also argent. Motto : ' Persevere ' "].
Parts of an eagle are almost as frequently met with as the entire
bird. Eagles' heads (Fig. 457) abound as crests (they can be distin-
guished from the head of a griffin by the fact
that the latter has always upstanding ears).
Unless otherwise specified (e.g. the crest of
the lat Sir Noel Paton was between the two wings
of a dove), wings occurring in armory are always
presumed to be the wings of an eagle. This,
however, in English heraldry has little effect upon
their design, for probably any well-conducted
eagle (as any other bird) would disown the
English heraldic wing, as it certainly would never
recognise the German heraldic variety. A pair
of wings when displayed and conjoined at the
base is termed "conjoined in leure " (Fig. 458), from the palpable
similarity of the figure in its appearance to the lure with which,
thrown into the air, the falconer brought back his hawk to hand.
The best known, and most frequently quoted instance, is the well-
known coat of Seymour or St. Maur [" Gules, two wings conjoined in
leure the tips downwards or "]. It should always
be stated if the wings (as in the arms of Seymour)
are inverted. Otherwise the tips are naturally
presumed to be in chief.
Pairs of wings not conjoined can be met
with in the arms and crest of 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, charged with a mullet
Or. Crest : in front of fire proper two wings elevated
and addorsed purpure, charged with a mullet or "] ;
but two wings, unless conjoined or addorsed, will
not usually be described as a pair. Occasionally, however, a pair of
wings will be found in saltire, but such a disposition is most unusual.
Single wings, unless specified to be the contrary, are presumed to be
Care needs to be exercised in some crests to observe the difference
between (a) a bird's head between two wings, (b) a bird's head winged
(a form not often met with, but in which rather more of the neck is
shown, and the wings are conjoined thereto), and (c) a bird's head
between two wings addorsed. The latter form, which of course is really
FIG. 458. A pair of
wings conjoined in
FIG. 459. An eagle's
leg erased a la quise.
240 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
no more than a representation of a crest between two wings turned to
be represented upon a profile helmet, is one of the painful results of
our absurd position rules for the helmet.
A pair of wings conjoined is sometimes termed a vol, and one
wing a demi-vol. Though doubtless it is desirable to know these
terms, they are but seldom found in use, and
are really entirely French,
Eagles' legs are by no means an infrequent,
charge. They will usually be found erased at the
thigh, for which there is a recognised term " erased
a la quise " (Fig. 459), which, however, is by no
means a compulsory one. An eagle's leg so erased
was a badge of the house of Stanley. The eagle's
leg will sometimes be met with couped below the
feathers, but would then be more properly described
as a claw.
A curious form of the eagle is found in the
which is represented without beak Or legs. It is difficult to
conjecture what may have been the origin of the bird in this debased
form, unless its first beginnings may be taken as a result of the
unthinking perpetuation of some crudely drawn example. Its best-
known appearance is, of course, in the arms of Loraine ; and as
Planche has pointed out, this is as perfect an example of a canting
anagram as can be met with in armory.
The Phoenix (Fig. 460), one of the few mythical birds which heraldry
has familiarised us with, is another, and perhaps the most patent example
of all, of the appropriation by heraldic art of an
ancient symbol, with its symbolism ready made.
It belongs to the period of Grecian mythology.
As a charge upon a shield it is comparatively rare,
though it so occurs in the arms of Samuelson.
On the other hand, it is frequently to be found
as a crest. It is always represented as a demi-
eagle issuing from flames of fire, and though the
flames of fire will generally be found mentioned
in the verbal blazon, this is not essential. With-
out its fiery surroundings it would cease to be
a phoenix. On the other hand, though it is always depicted as a
demj-bird (no instance to the contrary exists), it is never considered
necessary to so specify it. It occurs as the crest of the Seymour
family [" Out of a ducal coronet a phoenix issuant from flames of
The Osprey may perhaps be here mentioned, because its heraldic
FIG. 460. Phoenix.
representation always shows it as a white eagle. It is however seldom
met with, though it figures in the crests of Roche (Lord Fermoy) and
Trist. The osprey is sometimes known as the sea-eagle, and heraldic-
ally so termed.
The Vulture (probably from its repulsive appearance in nature and
its equally repulsive habits) is not a heraldic
favourite. Two of these birds occur, however,
as the supporters of Lord Graves.
The Falcon (Fig. 461) naturally falls next to
the eagle for consideration. Considering the very
important part this bird played in the social life
of earlier centuries, this cannot be a matter of
any surprise. Heraldry, in its emblazonment,
makes no distinction between the appearance of
the hawk and the falcon, but for canting and FIG 46 ^TL Falcon
other reasons the bird will be found described by
all its different names, e.g. in the arms of Hobson, to preserve the
obvious pun, the two birds are blazoned as hobbies.
The falcon is frequently (more often than not) found belled.
With the slovenliness (or some may exalt it into the virtue of
freedom from irritating restriction) characteristic of many matters" in
heraldic blazon, the simple term " belled " is found used indiscriminately
to signify that the falcon is belled on one leg or belled on both, and
if it is belled the bell must of necessity be on- a jess. Others state
that every falcon must of necessity (whether so blazoned or not) be
belled upon at least one leg, and that when the term " belled " is used
it signifies that it is belled upon both legs. There is still yet another
alternative, viz. that when " belled " it has the bell on only one leg,
but that when "jessed and belled" it is belled on both legs. The
jess is the leather thong with which the bells are attached to the
leg, and it is generally considered, and this may be accepted, that
when the term " jessed " is included in the wording of the blazon the
jesses are represented with the ends flying loose, unless the use of the
term is necessitated by the jesses being of a different colour. When
the term " vervelled " is also employed it signifies that the jesses have
small rings attached to the floating ends. In actual practice, however,
it should be remembered that if the bells and jesses are of a different
colour, the use of the terms "jessed "and " belled" is essential. A
falcon is seldom drawn without at least one bell, and when it is found
described as "belled," in most cases it will be found that the intention
is that it shall have two bells.
Like all other birds of prey the falcon may be " armed," a technical
term which theoretically should include the beak and legs, but in actual
242 A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERALDRY
practice a falcon will be far more usually found described as " beaked
and legged " when these differ in tincture from its plumage.
When a falcon is blindfolded it is termed " hooded." It was always
so carried on the wrist until it was flown.
The position of the wings and the confusion in the terms applied
thereto is even more marked in the case of the falcon than the eagle.
Demi-falcons are not very frequently met with, but an example
occurs in the crest of Jerningham.
A falcon's head is constantly met with as a crest.
When a falcon is represented preying upon anything it is termed
" trussing " its prey, though sometimes the description " preying upon "
is (perhaps less accurately) employed. Examples
of this will be found in the arms of Madden
[" Sable, a hawk or, trussing a mallard proper, on
a chief of the second a cross botonny gules "], and
in the crests of Graham, Cawston, and Yerburgh.
A falcon's leg appears in the crest of Joscelin.
The Pelican, with its curious heraldic repre-
sentation and its strange terms, may almost be
considered an instance of the application of the
existing name of a bird to an entirely fanciful
' IG ' 4 he^ety. ica creation. Mr. G. W. Eve, in his "Decorative
Heraldry," states that in early representations of
the bird it was depicted in a more naturalistic form, but I confess I
have not myself met with such an ancient representation.
Heraldically, it has been practically always depicted with the head
and body of an eagle, with wings elevated and with the neck embowed,
pecking with its beak at its breast. The term for this is "vulning
itself," and although it appears to be necessary always to describe it in
the blazon as " vulning itself," it will never be met with save in this
position ; a pelican's head even, when erased at the neck, being always
so represented. It is supposed to be pecking at its breast to provide
drops of blood as nourishment for its young, and it is termed " in
its piety " when depicted standing in its nest and with its brood of
young (Fig. 462). It is difficult to imagine how the pelican came
to be considered as always existing in this position, because there
is nothing in the nature of a natural habit from which this could
be derived. There are, however, other birds which, during the
brooding season, lose their feathers upon the breast, and some which
grow red feathers there, and it is doubtless from this that the idea
In heraldic and ecclesiastical symbolism the pelican has acquired
a somewhat sacred character as typical of maternal solicitude. It
will never be found tl close/' or in any other positions than with the
wings endorsed and either elevated or inverted.
When blazoned " proper," it is always given the colour and plumage
of the eagle, and not its natural colour of white. In recent years,
however, a tendency has rather made itself manifest to give the
pelican its natural and more ungainly appearance, and its curious
The Ostrich (Fig. 463) is doubtless the bird which is most frequently
met with as a crest after the falcon, unless it be the dove or martlet.
The ostrich is heraldically emblazoned in a very natural manner, and
it is difficult to understand why in the case of such a bird heraldic
artists of earlier days should have remained so true _______
to the natural form of the bird, whilst in other
cases, in which they could have had no less intimate
acquaintance with the bird, greater variation is to
be found. '
As a charge upon a shield it is not very
common, although instances are to be found in the
arms of MacMahon [" Argent, an ostrich sable, in
its beak a horse-shoe or "], and in the arms of Mahon
[" Per fess sable and argent, an ostrich counter-
i j i_ u- M u i 1. MT FIG. 463. Ostrich.
changed, holding in its beak a horse-shoe or ].
It is curious that, until quite recent times, the ostrich is never met
with heraldically, unless holding a horse-shoe, a key, or some other
piece of old iron in its beak. The digestive capacity of the ostrich,