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PEEPS AT HERALDRY ***




Produced by Chris Curnow, Lesley Halamek and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)









PEEPS AT HERALDRY




AGENTS


AMERICA THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

AUSTRALASIA OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
205 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE

CANADA THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD.
ST. MARTIN'S HOUSE, 70 BOND STREET, TORONTO

INDIA MACMILLAN & COMPANY, LTD.
MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY
309 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA

[Illustration: PLATE 1.

HERALD, SHOWING TABARD ORIGINALLY WORN OVER MAIL ARMOUR.]




[Illustration:
PEEPS AT HERALDRY

BY
PH[OE]BE ALLEN

CONTAINING 8 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
IN COLOUR AND NUMEROUS LINE
DRAWINGS IN THE TEXT


LONDON
ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK

1912
]




TO MY COUSIN

ELIZABETH MAUD ALEXANDER




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE

I. AN INTRODUCTORY TALK ABOUT HERALDRY 1

II. THE SHIELD - ITS FORM, POINTS, AND TINCTURES 8

III. DIVISIONS OF THE SHIELD 16

IV. THE BLAZONING OF ARMORIAL BEARINGS 24

V. COMMON OR MISCELLANEOUS CHARGES 31

VI. ANIMAL CHARGES 39

VII. ANIMAL CHARGES (CONTINUED) 47

VIII. ANIMAL CHARGES (CONTINUED) 56

IX. INANIMATE OBJECTS AS CHARGES 63

X. QUARTERING AND MARSHALLING 70

XI. FIVE COATS OF ARMS 74

XII. PENNONS, BANNERS, AND STANDARDS 80




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


PLATE

1. HERALD SHOWING TABARD, ORIGINALLY WORN
OVER MAIL ARMOUR _frontispiece_

FACING PAGE

2. THE DUKE OF LEINSTER 8
Arms: Arg. saltire gu.
Crest: Monkey statant ppr., environed
round the loins and chained or.
Supporters: Two monkeys environed
and chained or.
Motto: Crom a boo.


3. MARQUIS OF HERTFORD 16
Arms: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, or on a pile
gu., between 6 fleurs-de-lys az., 3 lions
passant guardant in pale or; 2nd and 3rd gu.,
2 wings conjoined in lure or. Seymour.
Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or a ph[oe]nix
ppr.
Supporters: Two blackamoors.
Motto: Fide et amore.


4. THE EARL OF SCARBOROUGH 41
Arms: Arg. a fesse gu. between 3 parrots vert,
collared of the second.
Crest: A pelican in her piety.
Supporters: Two parrots, wings inverted vert.
Motto: Murus aëneus conscientia sana.


5. BARON HAWKE 48
Arms: Arg. a chevron erminois between three
pilgrim's staves purpure.
Crest: A hawk, wings displayed and inverted
ppr., belled and charged on the breast with
a fleur-de-lys or.
Supporters: Dexter, Neptune; sinister, a
sea-horse.
Motto: Strike.


6. SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL 73
Arms: Arg. on mount vert, representation of
the 40 feet reflecting telescope with its
apparatus ppr., on a chief az., the
astronomical symbol of Uranus irradiated or.
Crest: A demi-terrestrial sphere ppr.,
thereon an eagle, wings elevated or.
Motto: C[oe]lis exploratis.


7. THE FLAGS OF GREAT BRITAIN 80
(1) The Union Jack, (2) The Royal Standard.


8. A CRUSADER IN MAIL ARMOUR _on the cover_

_Also fifty-five small black and white illustrations
throughout the text._




"... The noble science once
The study and delight of every gentleman."

"And thus the story
Of great deeds was told."




PEEPS AT HERALDRY




CHAPTER I

AN INTRODUCTORY TALK ABOUT HERALDRY


What is heraldry?

The art of heraldry, or armoury, as the old writers called it,
consists in blazoning the arms and telling the descent and history
of families by certain pictorial signs. Thus from age to age an
authenticated register of genealogies has been kept and handed on from
generation to generation. The making and keeping of these records have
always been the special duty of a duly appointed herald.

Perhaps you think that explanation of heraldry sounds rather dull, but
you will soon find out that very much that is interesting and amusing,
too, is associated with the study of armorial bearings.

For heraldry, which, you know, was reckoned as one of the prime
glories of chivalry, is the language that keeps alive the golden deeds
done in the world, and that is why those who have once learnt its
secrets are always anxious to persuade others to learn them too.

"Although," says the old writer, Montague; "our ancestors were little
given to study, they held a knowledge of heraldry to be indispensable,
because they considered that it was the outward sign of the spirit of
chivalry and the index also to a lengthy chronicle of doughty deeds."

Now, it is in a language that is all its own that heraldry tells its
stories, and it is unlike any other in which history has been written.

This language, as expressed in armorial bearings, contains no words,
no letters, even, for signs and devices do the work of words, and very
well they do it. And as almost every object, animate and inanimate,
under the sun was used to compose this alphabet, we shall find as we
go on that not only are the sun, moon and stars, the clouds and the
rainbow, fountains and sea, rocks and stones, trees and plants of all
kinds, fruits and grain, pressed into the service of this heraldic
language, but that all manner of living creatures figure as well in
this strange alphabet, from tiny insects, such as bees and flies and
butterflies, to the full-length representations of angels, kings,
bishops, and warriors. Mythical creatures - dragons and cockatrices,
and even mermaidens - have also found their way into heraldry, just
as we find traditions and legends still lingering in the history of
nations, like the pale ghosts of old-world beliefs.

And as though heavenly bodies and plants and animals were not
sufficient for their purpose, heralds added yet other "letters"
to their alphabet in the shape of crowns, maces, rings, musical
instruments, ploughs, scythes, spades, wheels, spindles, lamps, etc.

Each of these signs, as you can easily understand, told a story of its
own, as did also the towers, castles, arches, bridges, bells, cups,
ships, anchors, hunting-horns, spears, bows, arrows, and many other
objects, which, with their own special meaning, we shall gradually
find introduced into the language of heraldry.

But perhaps by now you are beginning to wonder how you can possibly
learn one-half of what all these signs are meant to convey, but
you will not wonder about that long, for heraldry has its own
well-arranged grammar, and grammar, as you know, means fixed rules
which are simple guides for writing or speaking a language correctly.

Moreover, happily both for teacher and learner, the fish and birds and
beasts (as well as all the other objects we have just mentioned) do
not come swarming on to our pages in shoals and flocks and herds, but
we have to do with them either singly or in twos and threes.

Now, even those people who know nothing about heraldry are quite
familiar with the term, "a coat of arms." They know, too, that it
means the figure of a shield, marked and coloured in a variety of
ways, so as to be distinctive of individuals, families, etc.

But why do we speak of it as a _coat_ of arms when there is nothing to
suggest such a term?

I will tell you.

In the far-away days of quite another age, heraldry was so closely
connected with warlike exploits, and its signs and tokens were so much
used on the battle-field to distinguish friends from foes, that each
warrior wore his own special badge, embroidered on the garment or
_surcoat_ which covered his armour, as well as, later on, upon the
shield which he carried into battle.

And this reminds us of the poor Earl of Gloucester's fate at the
Battle of Bannockburn. For, having forgotten to put on his surcoat, he
was slain by the enemy, though we are told that "the _Scottes_ would
gladly have kept him for a ransom had they only recognized him for the
Earl, but he had forgot to put on his coat of armour!"

On the other hand, we have good reason to remember that the "flower of
knighthood," Sir John Chandos, lost _his_ life because he _did_ wear
his white sarcenet robe emblazoned with his arms. For it was because
his feet became entangled in its folds (as Froissart tells us) in his
encounter with the French on the Bridge of Lussac, that he stumbled
on the slippery ground on that early winter's morning, and thus was
quickly despatched by the enemy's blows.

"Now, the principal end for which these signs were first taken up and
put in use," says Guillim, "was that they might serve as notes and
marks to distinguish tribes, families and particular persons from the
other. Nor was this their only use. They also served to describe the
nature, quality, and disposition of their bearer."

Sir G. Mackenzie goes farther, and declares that heraldry was
invented, or, at any rate, kept up, for two chief purposes:

_First_, in order to perpetuate the memory of great actions and noble
deeds. _Secondly_, that governors might have the means of encouraging
others to perform high exploits by rewarding their deserving subjects
by a cheap kind of immortality. (To our ears that last sentence sounds
rather disrespectful to the honour of heraldry.)

Thus, for example, King Robert the Bruce gave armorial bearings to
the House of Wintoun, which represented a falling crown supported by
a sword, to show that its members had supported the crown in its
distress, while to one Veitch he gave a bullock's head, "to _remember_
posterity" that the bearer had succoured the King with food in
bringing some bullocks to the camp, when he was in want of provisions.

Some derive their names as well as their armorial bearings from some
great feat that they may have performed. Thus:

"The son of Struan Robertson for killing of a wolf in Stocket Forest
by a durk - dirk - in the King's presence, got the name of Skein, which
signifies a dirk in Irish, and three durk points in pale for his
arms."

We shall meet with numbers of other instances in heraldry where
armorial bearings were bestowed upon the ancestors of their present
bearers for some special reason, which is thereby commemorated.

Indeed, it is most interesting and amusing to collect the legends as
well as the historical facts which explain the origin and meaning of
different coats of arms.

Here are a few instances of some rather odd charges. (A charge is the
heraldic term given to any object which is _charged_, or represented,
on the shield of a coat of arms.)

To begin with the Redman family:

They bear three pillows, the origin of which Guillim explains - viz.:
"This coat of arms is given to the Redman family for this reason:
Having been challenged to single combat by a stranger, and the day and
the place for that combat having been duly fixed, Redman being more
forward than his challenger, came so early to the place that he fell
asleep in his tent, whilst waiting for the arrival of his foe.

"The people being meanwhile assembled and the hour having struck, the
trumpets sounded to the combat, whereupon Redman, suddenly awakening
out of his sleep, ran furiously upon his adversary and slew him. And
so the pillows were granted to him as armorial bearings, to remind all
men of the doughty deed which he awakened from sleep to achieve."

In many cases the charges on a coat of arms reflect the name or the
calling of the bearer.

When this happens they are called "allusive" arms, sometimes also
"canting," which latter word is a literal translation of the French
term, _armes chantantes_, although, as a matter of fact, _armes
parlantes_ is a more usual term. Here are some examples of allusive
arms.

The Pyne family bear three pineapples, the Herrings bear three
herrings, one, Camel of Devon, bears a camel _passant_; the Oxendens
bear three oxen; Sir Thomas Elmes bears five elm-leaves; three soles
figure on the coat of arms of the Sole family, and to the description
of the last armorial charge, old Guillim quaintly adds:

"By the delicateness of his taste, the sole hath gained the name of
the partridge of the sea."

The arms of the Abbot of Ramsey furnish, perhaps, one of the most
glaring examples of canting heraldry, for on his shield a ram is
represented struggling in the sea!

On the shield of the Swallow family we find the mast of a ship with
all its rigging disappearing between the capacious jaws of a whale,
whilst the Bacons bear a boar.

But whoever designed the coat of arms of a certain Squire Malherbe
must have surely been in rather a spiteful mood, and certainly had a
turn for punning. For on that gentleman's shield we find three leaves
of the stinging-nettle boldly charged!

In the armorial bearings of the Butler family we see allusion made to
their calling in the charge of three covered cups, which commemorates
the historical fact that the ancestor of the present Marquis of
Ormonde, Theobald Walter by name, was made Chief Butler of Ireland
by Henry II. in 1171, an office which was held by seven successive
generations of the Ormonde family. The family of Call charge _their_
shield very appropriately with three silver trumpets.

The Foresters bear bugle horns; the Trumpingtons, three trumpets.

Three eel-spears were borne by the family of Strathele, this being
the old name given to a curious fork, set in a long wooden handle, and
used by fishermen to spear the eels in mud.

The Graham Briggs charge a bridge upon their coat of arms.

A tilting spear was granted as his armorial bearings to William
Shakespeare, which he bore as a single charge; a single spear was also
borne appropriately by one Knight of Hybern.

As a last example of allusive arms, we may quote a comparatively
modern example - viz., the coat of arms of the Cunard family.

Here we find three anchors charged upon the field, in obvious allusion
to Sir Samuel Cunard, the eminent merchant of Philadelphia and the
founder of the House of Cunard.




CHAPTER II

THE SHIELD - ITS FORM, POINTS, AND TINCTURES


Nothing is more fascinating in the study of heraldry than the cunning
fashion in which it tells the history either of a single individual
or of a family, of an institution, or of a city - sometimes even of an
empire - all within the space of one small shield, by using the signs
which compose its language. It is astounding how much information can
be conveyed by the skilful arrangement of these signs to those who can
interpret them.

For armorial bearings were not originally adopted for ornament, but to
give real information, about those who bore them.

[Illustration: PLATE 2.

THE DUKE OF LEINSTER.

_Arms._ - Arg: saltire gu:
_Crest._ - Monkey statant ppr. environed round the loins and
chained or.
_Supporters._ - Two monkeys environed and chained or.
_Motto._ - Crom a boo.
]

Thus every detail of a coat of arms has its own message to deliver,
and must not be overlooked. Let us begin with the shield, which is
as necessary a part of any heraldic achievement[1] as the canvas of a
painting is to the picture portrayed upon it.

[Footnote 1: Any complete heraldic composition is described as
an _achievement_.]

It actually serves as the vehicle for depicting the coat of arms.

The word "shield" comes from the Saxon verb _scyldan_, to protect,
but the heraldic term "escutcheon," derived from the Greek _skûtos_,
a skin, reminds us that in olden days warriors covered their shields
with the skins of wild beasts.

Early Britons used round, light shields woven of osier twigs, with
hides thrown over them, whilst the Scythians and Medes dyed their
shields red, so that their comrades in battle might not be discouraged
by seeing the blood of the wounded. The Roman Legionary bore a wooden
shield covered with leather and strengthened with bars and bosses of
metal, whilst the Greek shield was more elaborate, and reached from a
man's face to his knee. Homer describes Æneas' shield in the "Iliad"
thus:

"Five plates of various metal, various mould,
Composed the shield, of brass each outward fold,
Of tin each inward, and the middle gold."

But whether the shield were of basket-work or metal, whether it were
borne by a savage hordesman or by a nobly equipped and mounted knight,
it has always ranked as its bearer's most precious accoutrement, the
loss of which was deemed an irreparable calamity and a deep disgrace
to the loser.

How pathetically King David laments over "the shield of the mighty
which was vilely cast away," when Saul was slain! And everyone
knows that when their sons went forth to battle the Spartan mothers
admonished them to return either "with their shield or upon it"!

That they should return _without_ a shield was unthinkable! Thus,
naturally enough, the shield was chosen to bear those armorial devices
which commemorated the golden deeds of its owner.

It was probably in the reign of Henry II. that shields were first used
in this way; until then, warriors wore their badges embroidered upon
their mantles or robes.

In studying the heraldic shield, its shape must be considered first,
because that marks the period in history to which it belongs.[2]

[Footnote 2: Parker states that twenty-one differently shaped
shields occur in heraldry, but Guillim only mentions fourteen
varieties.]

Thus a bowed shield (Fig. 1) denotes those early times when a
warrior's shield fitted closely to his person, whilst a larger, longer
form, the kite-shaped shield, was in use in the time of Richard I.
(Fig. 2). This disappeared, however, in Henry III.'s reign, giving way
to a much shorter shield known as the "heater-shaped" (see Fig. 3).

Another form of shield had a curved notch in the right side, through
which the lance was passed when the shield was displayed on the breast
(Fig. 4).

The shield of a coat of arms usually presents a plain surface, but it
is sometimes enriched with a bordure - literally border. This surface
is termed the "field," "because, as I believe," says Guillim, "it
bore those ensigns which the owner's valour had gained for him on the
field."

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

The several points of a shield have each their respective names, and
serve as landmarks for locating the exact position of the different
figures charged on the field. (In describing a shield, you must always
think of it as being worn by yourself, so that in _looking_ at a
shield, right and left become reversed, and what appears to you as the
right side is really the left, and _vice versa_.)

In Fig. 5, _A_, _B_, _C_, mark the chief - _i.e._, the highest and most
honourable point of the shield - _A_ marking the dexter chief or upper
right-hand side of the shield, _B_ the middle chief, and _C_ the
sinister or left-hand side of the chief. _E_ denotes the fess point,
or centre; _G_, _H_, and _I_, mark the base of the shield - _G_ and _I_
denoting respectively the dexter and sinister sides of the shield, and
_H_ the middle base. After the points of a field, come the tinctures,
which give the colour to a coat of arms, and are divided into two
classes. The first includes the two metals, gold and silver, and
the five colours proper - viz., blue, red, black, green, purple. In
heraldic language these tinctures are described as "or," "argent"
(always written arg:), "azure" (az:), "gules" (gu:),[3] "sable"
(sa:), "vert," and "purpure." According to Guillim, each tincture was
supposed to teach its own lesson - _e.g._, "as gold excelleth all other
metals in value and purity, so ought its bearer to surpass all others
in prowess and virtue," and so on.

[Footnote 3: This term for red is thought to be derived either
from the Hebrew _gulude_, a bit of red cloth, or from the
Arabic, _gulu_, a rose.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

In the seventeenth century one Petrosancta introduced the system of
delineating the tinctures of the shield by certain dots and lines, in
the use of which we have a good example of how heraldry can dispense
with words. Thus pin-prick dots represent or (Fig. 6); a blank
surface, argent (Fig. 7); horizontal lines, azure (Fig. 8);
perpendicular, gules (Fig. 9); horizontal and perpendicular lines
crossing each other, sable (Fig. 10); diagonal lines running from
the dexter chief to the sinister base, vert (Fig. 11); diagonal lines
running in an opposite direction, purpure (Fig. 12).

[Illustration: FIG. 6. - OR.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7. - ARG.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8. - AZ.]

[Illustration: FIG. 9. - GU.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10. - SA.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11. - V.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12. - PURPURE.]

Two other colours, orange and blood-colour, were formerly in use, but
they are practically obsolete now.

Furs constitute the second class of tinctures. Eight kinds occur
in English heraldry, but we can only mention the two most
important - viz., ermine and vair. The former is represented by black
spots on a white ground (Fig. 13).[4] As shields were anciently
covered with the skins of animals, it is quite natural that furs
should appear in armorial bearings. "Ermine," says Guillim, "is a
little beast that hath his being in the woods of Armenia, whereof he
taketh his name."

[Footnote 4: When the same spots are in white on a black field
it is termed _ermines_, whilst black spots on a gold field are
blazoned or described as _erminois_.]

Many legends account for the heraldic use of ermine, notably that
relating how, when Conan Meriadic landed in Brittany, an ermine sought
shelter from his pursuers under Conan's shield. Thereupon the Prince
protected the small fugitive, and adopted an ermine as his arms.

[Illustration: FIG. 13. - ERMINE.]

From early days the wearing of ermine was a most honourable
distinction, enjoyed only by certain privileged persons, and
disallowed to them in cases of misdemeanour. Thus, when, in the
thirteenth century, Pope Innocent III. absolved Henry of Falkenburg
for his share in the murder of the Bishop of Wurtzburg, he imposed
on him as a penance _never_ to appear in ermine, vair, or any other
colour used in tournaments. And, according to Joinville, when St.
Louis returned to France from Egypt, "he renounced the wearing of
furs as a mark of humility, contenting himself with linings for his
garments made of doeskins or legs of hares."

As to vair, Mackenzie tells us that it was the skin of a beast whose
back was blue-grey (it was actually meant for the boar, for which
_verres_ was the Latin name), and that the figure used in heraldry to
indicate vair represents the shape of the skin when the head and feet
have been taken away (Fig. 14). "These skins," he says, "were used by
ancient governors to line their pompous robes, sewing one skin to the
other."

Vair was first used as a distinctive badge by the Lord de Courcies
when fighting in Hungary. Seeing that his soldiers were flying from
the field, he tore the lining from his mantle and raised it aloft as
an ensign. Thereupon, the soldiers rallied to the charge and overcame
the enemy.

[Illustration: FIG. 14. - VAIR.]

Cinderella's glass slipper in the fairy-tale, which came originally
from France, should really have been translated "fur," it being easy
to understand how the old French word _vaire_ was supposed to be a
form of _verre_, and was rendered accordingly.

Much might still be said about "varied fields" - _i.e._, those
which have either more than one colour or a metal _and_ a colour
alternatively, or, again, which have patterns or devices represented
upon them. We can, however, only mention that when the field shows
small squares alternately of a metal and colour, it is described
as _checky_, when it is strewn with small objects - such as
_fleurs-de-lys_ or billets - it is described as "powdered" or "sown."
A diapered field is also to be met with, but this, being merely an


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