Torse in annulo (Period)

Torse in annulo (Period)

Laurel wreath (Period/Reserved)

Laurel wreath (Period/Reserved)

A wreath is a circlet worn on the head.  In mundane heraldry, the term refers to the twisted band of cloth holding a fighter’s mantling onto his helmet. Such a charge is called a “torse” in Society heraldry, and is normally shown as a full circle (i.e., in annulo), as found in the arms of de Torquato, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 270:823].

The term “wreath” in Society heraldry refers to a circlet of foliage, usually with leaves alone, but sometimes with flowers. (This would be termed a “chaplet” in mundane blazonry, more on which below.) Laurel wreaths are the most common form in Society heraldry, being required in (and reserved to) the arms of each territorial branch. They are also a period charge, found in the arms of von Lenberg, 1605 [Siebmacher 90]. In mundane armory, laurel wreaths were almost always drawn in an annular form (full circle), but we also find examples drawn in a penannular form (with a small opening to chief); Society armory typically uses the penannular form.

Other foliage may likewise be used to make wreaths, so long as they can be distinguished from the reserved laurel wreath. The oak wreath is found in the canting arms of Schöneiche, 1605 [Siebmacher 50]; Society armory also has examples of holly wreaths and rosemary wreaths.

Chaplets of roses (German and English) (Period/Reserved)

Chaplets of roses (German and English) (Period/Reserved)

Mundane blazon uses the term “chaplet” to denote a circle of foliage; when the unmodified term “chaplet” is used, it refers to a closed annular wreath of flowers (typically roses). The classic heraldic chaplet dates from 1298, in the arms of FitzWilliam [ANA2 230]; it has four flowers in cross. Four is the usual number of flowers for the heraldic chaplet in England; chaplets with six flowers are found in German heraldry, such as in the canting arms of Rossenhart, c.1450 [Ingeram 24; also the arms of Thastner, mid-16th C., NW 45]. These chaplets were drawn with no foliage, being essentially annulets overlain with roses, but there are period examples of chaplets with both roses and leaves, as in the arms of von Houwald, early 16th C. [BSB Cod.Icon 392d:624]. The illustrations show a chaplet of roses in the German style and in the English style.

The chaplet may also be called a “garland” for canting purposes, as in the arms of Garlond, 1347 [DBA4 459]. In the early days of the Society, a “garland” would have many flowers conjoined in annulo with little or no foliage; a “rose chaplet” would have four roses in cross; a “rose wreath” would have multiple roses, separated by rose leaves. This distinction (such as it was) between chaplets, garlands, and flowered wreaths is granted no heraldic difference, and indeed is often ignored by artists.

Chaplet of thorn (Period)

Chaplet of thorn (Period)

Joscelyn (Period)

Joscelyn (Period)

There are special terms for some types of wreaths and chaplets. A “chaplet graminy” is made of grass, with no flowers; it’s found in the arms of Goodall, 1612 [Parker 102]. A “chaplet of thorn” is woven of thorny branches, as shown on the head of Christ crucified; it’s found in the canting arms of Thornton, c.1525 [DBA2 486]. A “joscelyn” is a torse with four hawk’s bells, radiating from the outer edge; some sources [e.g., Franklyn 188] say the bells are in cross by default, but period examples of its use show the bells in saltire, as in the canting arms of Thomas Joselyn, mid-16th C. [BSB Cod.Icon 291:102. Cf. also Josellyn, of Essex, c.1520; DBA4 458].

In Society armory, rose wreaths (chaplets, garlands, &c) are reserved to the arms of Queens, Princesses, and Royal Peers. Tradition grants rose wreaths (many flowers) to Queens, and rose chaplets (four flowers) to Princesses; but this is not mandatory, has never been strictly adhered to, and is left to the bearer’s discretion.

For related charges, see crown, slip.

The Society for Creative Anachronism bears:  Or, a laurel wreath vert.

The Order of the Rose bears:  A wreath of roses.

The Order of the Laurel bears:  A laurel wreath.

The Baron of South Downs bears:  Per pale sable and azure, a laurel wreath argent.

Noe College bears:  Sable, three laurel wreaths Or.

The Order of the Coill’s Bells, of the Barony of Nottinghill Coill, bears:  A joscelyn wreathed Or and vert with six bells Or.

Rosemary of Talmont bears:  Azure, a rosemary wreath proper between three mullets of six points argent.

Corwin Blackthorn bears:  Or, a chaplet of thorns sable.

Diana Wynn bears:  Vert, an oak wreath fructed argent.

Ismenia Joslyn Wyndameer bears:  Azure, on a pile bendwise inverted throughout argent a torse in annulo azure and Or.

This entry was posted on June 8, 2014, in .


Torque, or torc (Accepted)

Torque, or torc (Accepted)

A torque, or torc, is a piece of jewelry, a stiff necklace of precious metal wires twisted together.  Though found in several cultures, it’s most strongly associated with the Celts; though a period artifact, it was not used in period heraldry.  The torque’s opening is to base by Society default; the ends may be described in blazon with animal heads, but no difference is granted for this.  For related charges, see brooch.

The Shire of Draca Mor bears:  Ermine, within a serpent-headed torc opening to chief vert surmounted by a sword sable, a laurel wreath vert.

Brand aux Deus Leons bears:  Sable, a lion-headed torque and in chief a bar raguly Or.

Rhonwen Angharad bears:  Vert, a heron-headed torc argent.

This entry was posted on June 5, 2014, in .


Tassel (Period)

Tassel (Period)

A tassel is a bundle of threads, loose at the bottom and bound into a knob at the top.  Medieval tassels were used to ornament clothing and other items such as cushions.  However, the tassel was also used as an heraldic charge in its own right:  e.g., in the arms of de Novedrate, mid-15th C. [Triv 248], and of John or Johns, c.1520 [DBA2 401].  See also knot.

The Order of the Scarlet Guard, of Æthelmearc, bears:  A tassel per pale gules and argent.

Theodora Bryennissa bears:  Argent, a tassel and a chief engrailed azure, a bordure sable.

Adalyde de Sardaigne bears as a badge:  Gules, a tassel bendwise sinister Or.

This entry was posted on June 5, 2014, in .


Slipper (Period)

Slipper (Period)

Boot (Period)

Boot (Period)

A shoe is an item of clothing covering the human foot, to protect it or keep it warm.  The generic shoe has the upper portion end at the ankle; it may be tied or buttoned in place.  If without tie or button, it may also be termed a “slipper”, as in the canting arms (from Latin caliga, “footwear”) of di Calegari, mid-15th C. [Triv 121].

Frequently, the specific type of shoe is blazoned, e.g., the “boot”, blazoned as “botys” in the arms of Byllyngedon, c.1460 [RH], where they are drawn as long boots; the “Irish broge”, a pointed-toed shoe found in the arms of Arthure, 1632 [Guillim2 299]; or the “sandal”, open footwear held in place with straps, which as a charge appears to be unique to the Society.  All shoes have their toes to dexter by Society default; if blazoned “proper”, they are of brown leather.

Irish brogue (Period); sandal (Accepted)

Irish broge (Period); sandal (Accepted)

Despite Society precedent, boots in late period did have heels; and dexter and sinister boots were distinguished in period, though not in armory.  For related charges, see hose, leg, sole.

Elizabeth Ryan of Rosewood bears:  Lozengy sable and argent, a boot gules.

Alessandra Beatrice Desiderio bears:  Per bend sinister argent and azure, two slippers counterchanged.

Christian de Guerre bears:  Argent, three shoes and in chief a pearled coronet azure.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .

Scrip; Purse

Pilgrim's scrip (Period)

Pilgrim’s scrip, or purse (Period)

Belt pouch (Period)

Belt pouch, or saddlebag (Period)

A scrip is a leather satchel or large pouch, worn on a strap.  Since it was frequently borne by pilgrims, it’s more fully blazoned a “pilgrim’s scrip” or “palmer’s scrip”; it might also be termed a “pilgrim’s pouch” or “purse”.  It’s a period charge, found in the allusive arms of Palmer, late-15th C. [DBA2 395].  The scrip is frequently depicted with its carrying strap.

Related to the scrip is the “belt pouch”, sometimes called a “kidney pouch” because of its shape; it’s also called a “saddlebag” in modern heraldry.  The belt pouch is a period charge, found in the canting arms (German Täsche) of Täschinger, mid-16th C. [NW 46].  For related charges, see bag.

Maria Taresa Ospital bears:  Sable, a cross Or goutty de sang between four pilgrim’s scrips Or.

Lucia Traveler bears:  Purpure, a palmer’s scrip and on a chief embattled Or three shoes bendwise sinister purpure.

Sáerlaith ingen mic Néill bears as a badge:  A belt pouch argent.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .


Gemmed ring (Period)

Gemmed ring (Period)

A ring is a piece of jewelry worn on the finger, consisting of a precious metal band set with gems.  It is termed a “gemmed (or finger) ring” to distinguish it from an annulet.  The gemmed ring is a period charge, found in the arms of von Enzberg, c.1450 [Ingeram 104; also Siebmacher 110]; the gemstone is to chief by default.

The Baron of Stromgard bears as a badge:  A gem ring argent gemmed gules.

Katerina von Altenstein bears:  Or, a raven and on a chief sable three finger rings Or gemmed argent.

Sofiye Darkhawk bears:  Argent, a wolf statant erect contourny reguardant sable, breathing flames and sustaining a finger ring gules, gemmed azure.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .


Quiver with two arrows (Period)

Quiver with two arrows (Period)

A quiver is a container that allows for the protection of and easy access to arrows.  It’s found in the arms of Loyd, 1632 [Guillim2 336].  The quiver is palewise by default.  If the quiver contains arrows, the fact must be blazoned; the illustration shows a quiver with two arrows.

Tsunetomi Todomu bears:  Sable, a Japanese quiver with two arrows within a bordure argent.

Elizabeth Wingfield bears:  Per pale and per chevron gules and Or, a quiver holding two arrows sable.

Malcolm Hogg bears:  Per chevron sable and vert, three quivers each with two arrows argent.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .

Paternoster; Rosary

Paternoster (Period)

Paternoster (Period)

A paternoster is a closed string of beads with a small cross or tassel pendant at the bottom, used for meditation and prayer.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of Ruswörmb or Rußworm, 1605 [Siebmacher 144].  If the pendant cross hangs from a short beaded string, it may also be blazoned a “rosary” in Society armory; and this is the modern term for both forms of the charge.

The paternoster’s beads may be uniform in size, or may have larger beads at regular intervals: both forms were found as period artifacts, and it is considered an artistic detail in Society heraldry.  See also jewelry.

Christian de Holacombe bears as a badge: A paternoster gules, its cross Or.

Elizabethe Alles bears:  Argent, a paternoster purpure tasseled Or and on a chief dovetailed purpure three escallops argent.

Poplyr Childs bears: Or, two arrows in saltire vert within a rosary gules.

This entry was posted on May 23, 2014, in .


Maunch (Period)

Maunch (Period)

A maunch, or maunche, is an ancient heraldic charge, representing a highly stylized sleeve.  As such, it has a standard heraldic form which is used in the Society:  the wrist is to dexter, and the elbow bent to base, by default.  The maunch was used as early as c.1255, in the arms of Hastings [Asp2 221].

A “dextrochère” is a maunch with a hand issuant from the cuff.  This motif was more common in France and the Low Countries, as seen in the arms of Luesninge or Lösenich, c.1370 [Gelre 32v].  See also clothing.

The Order of the Maunch, of the East, bears:  Per pale Or and purpure, a maunch counterchanged.

Aldith Angharad St. George bears:  Per bend sinister gules and ermine, two maunches counterchanged.

Rose de la Mans bears:  Per pale vert and sable, three maunches argent.

John of Hróðgerisfjörðr bears:  Checky gules and argent, three maunches sable.

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014, in .


Mask of comedy (Accepted); mask of tragedy (Accepted)

Mask of comedy (Accepted); mask of tragedy (Accepted)

Commedia dell'arte mask (Accepted)

Commedia dell’arte mask (Accepted)

A mask is an item of clothing that covers the face, usually to hide the wearer’s identity.  Though period artifacts, masks don’t seem to have been known to period armory.


In Society armory, common forms of mask include the “masks of comedy and tragedy” or “Thespian masks”, from ancient Greek theatre; the “domino mask” from the Italian Renaissance; and the “half-face mask” or “commedia dell’arte mask”, worn by commedia players in the late 16th Century.



Domino mask (Accepted); Pierrot mask (Disallowed)

Domino mask (Accepted); Pierrot mask (Disallowed)

The Society also has examples of the full-face “Pierrot mask”.  However, the character of Pierrot didn’t exist until the late 17th Century, and no examples of his mask have been found from before the 19th Century.  The Pierrot mask is thus no longer registerable as a charge.

Masks in general are guardant by Society default; the exception is the commedia dell’arte mask, which is shown in profile by default, the better to show its grotesque features.

For related charges, see eyeglasses, head (human’s), hood.

Marc Phillippe bears:  Or chapé gules, a domino mask pean.

Hal of the Mask bears:  Sable, a tragic mask Or, featured sable.

Gino di Palcoscenico bears:  Or, a commedia dell’arte mask in profile reversed sable, hatted and plumed gules.

Edwyn the Player bears:  Per pale gules and azure, a partisan spear Or, overall a Pierrot mask argent, orbed and capped sable, with lips gules.

Laurentina of Atenveldt bears:  Per bend sinister wavy azure and argent, a mask of comedy and a mask of tragedy within a bordure invected all counterchanged.

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014, in .