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Wheel

Wheel (Period)

Wheel (Period)

Dexter half of a wheel (Period)

Dexter half of a wheel (Period)

A wheel is a circular spoked frame, attached to an axle by its hub and permitted to spin freely.  Sets of wheels are normally found attached to wagons, but wheels are often found as charges in their own right.  The default wheel is more fully blazoned a “wagon-wheel” or “cartwheel”; it’s found as early as c.1340, in the arms of Berg [Zurich 232].  The number of spokes is usually left to the license of the artist – six or eight spokes seem to be the norm – but sometimes the number is explicitly blazoned.  The wheel’s “proper” coloration is brown, the color of wood.

Particularly in German heraldry, we find examples of partial wheels:  a quarter-wheel, as in the arms of von Billick, 1605 [Siebmacher 71], or a half-wheel, as in the arms of Rusetzker [Siebmacher 73].  The orientation of the partial wheel (e.g., “dexter half of a wheel”, as in the illustration) must be specified in blazon.

Catherine's wheel (Period)

Catherine’s wheel (Period)

Cog-wheel (Period)

Cog-wheel (Period)

Variants of the wheel include the “Catherine’s wheel”, the symbol of the martyr St. Catherine, with curved knife-blades radiating from the rim.  As an heraldic charge, it’s found in the arms of Brentingham, Bishop of Exeter 1370-94 [DBA3 443].  There is the “cog-wheel”, also called a  “gear-wheel” or “mill-wheel”, with an embattled outer edge, used in mechanisms from tiny clockworks to giant mill-works; it’s found in the canting arms (German Mühle, “mill”) of Mülinen c.1460 [GATD 20v].

Water-wheel (Accepted)

Water-wheel (Accepted)

Finally, there is the “water-wheel”, unique to Society armory, with vanes on the outer edge to draw power from running water.  See also grindstone, spinning wheel.

Cyprian of the Wheel bears:  Argent, a wooden cartwheel of twelve spokes proper.

Caterine Barré de Venoix bears:  Barry azure and Or, a Catherine wheel gules.

Iathus of Scara bears:  Ermine, a cog wheel gules.

Patrick MacFynn bears:  Per chevron vert and azure, a chevron argent between two natural dolphins embowed respectant Or and a water wheel argent.

Catherine de la Loire bears:  Purpure, a Catherine’s wheel missing the dexter chief quarter between three fleurs-de-lys argent.

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

Water-bouget

Water-bouget (Period)

Water-bouget (Period)

A water-bouget is a pair of water bags on a yoke, drawn in a highly stylized heraldic form.  It is one of the most ancient of charges, dating from 1244 in the arms of de Ros (Roos, Ross, Rous) [Asp2 212].  There are several period depictions of the water-bouget; no difference is counted between them.  The illustration is taken from the Garter stall plate of Sir John Bourchier, d.1474.  See also bottell (leather).

Constance Grey bears:  Azure, three water-bougets Or.

Elspeth of Seal Cove bears:  Purpure, a water-bouget erminois.

Margaret de Mey bears:  Gules, three water-bougets argent.

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

Sparks

Estencely (Period)

Estencely (Period)

Sparks are tiny flashes of light or radiance.  In early Norman heraldry, a field semy of sparks was termed “estencelé”, and was not uncommon [Brault 197].  Estencelé, or estencely, is only found as a semy field; its sparks are not used as individual charges.  In mundane armory, estencely is considered negligibly different from a semy of estoiles or mullets.  See also ermine spot, semy.

François la Flamme bears:  Vert estencely Or.

Brigitta da Montanha da Fogo bears:  Or estencely, a mountain gules.

Thomas of Tenby bears:  Party of six sable semy of sparks argent and argent, a martlet displayed gules.

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

Sheaf

Sheaf of spears (Period)

Sheaf of three spears (Period)

A sheaf is a bundle or cluster of objects.  The unmodified term is normally considered equivalent to a garb, and this is sometimes made explicit (e.g., “a sheaf of wheat”).  But in blazonry, the term also refers to a group of three charges, two in saltire surmounted by another palewise.  The term is most often used with arrows:  a “sheaf of (three) arrows” is a common motif, found in the arms of Joskyn, c.1435 [DBA1 11].  But the term has also been used in mundane blazons for charges other than arrows [Franklyn 302], and it has been adopted for use in Society blazons as well.  (It thus replaces older, more awkward neologisms, such as “in estoile” or “in gyronny”).

The illustration shows a sheaf of three spears.  It is also possible to have more than three charges in a sheaf, but such cases must be explicitly blazoned.

Aidan of Kilkenny bears:  Argent, three sheaves of arrows sable flighted vert.

Conaire Anluan MacMurchadha bears:  Vert, a sheaf of three spears argent within a bordure checky vert and Or.

Kilic ibn Sungur ibn al-Kazganci al-Turhani bears:  Sable, a sheaf of five swords argent within an orle Or.

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

Semy

Semy of roundels (Period)

Semy of roundels (Period)

A semy field is one strewn or powdered with many small, identical charges.  In medieval usage, any number greater than six could be blazoned “semy”.  (Strictly speaking, “semy” is an adjective, not a noun:  it’s from the French semée, “strewn”.)

Semy charges on the field may be drawn as whole charges, placed to fit as best they can; or as an orderly array of charges, cut off by the edges of the shield.  Both depictions are period, and either may be used.  While semy charges are not a field treatment, in many ways they act as though they were:  e.g., semy charges on a field are always blazoned immediately after the field tincture.

Charges may themselves be charged with semy charges (e.g., a bordure mullety).  In those cases, the semy charges are not cut off at the edges, but are always whole.

Semy charges may only themselves be charged if the tertiary charges remain identifiable; even then, the usage is deemed a step from period practice.

The illustration is semy of roundels.  Semy fields may always simply be blazoned “semy of [charges]”, but some charges have special terms when semy.  “Crusilly” is semy of crosses crosslet; “semy-de-lys” is semy of fleurs-de-lys; “goutty” is semy of gouts.  In like manner, “bezanty” is semy of bezants, “billety” is of billets, “mullety” is of mullets, &c.

Astra Christiana Benedict bears:  Per fess azure mullety of eight points Or and purpure crusilly Or.

Gwenlliana Clutterbooke bears:  Gules semy of open books Or.

Marie de Lyon bears:  Or semy of suns azure.

 

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

Schnecke

Schnecke issuant from base (Period)

Schnecke issuant from base (Period)

A schnecke is a highly stylized charge from German heraldry, consisting of a tapering line spiraling inward from a point on the shield’s edge to its center.  The term literally translates as “snail”, as its curve resembles that of the snail’s shell; in French blazon, it’s termed un gyron gironnant, “a spiraling gyron”.

The schnecke is a period charge, found in the arms of von Rordorf, 1605 [Siebmacher 198].  We have no period examples of its being charged, or used with other charges on the field; therefore, the use of a schnecke with secondary charges is considered a step from period practice, as is its use with tertiary charges.

The point at which the schnecke enters the shield should be blazoned; whether it spirals deasil or widdershins is left to the artist.  The illustration shows a schnecke issuant from base.

Schnecke issuant from base maintaining on its outer swirl three schneckes (Period)

Schnecke issuant from base maintaining on its outer swirl three schneckes (Period)

An early-period variation on the schnecke depicts it with three smaller schneckes issuant from its outer curve.  This form is found in the arms of Casteleynsche or Kestelinge, c.1370 [Gelre 110v], and appears to be unique to those arms.

For related charges, see gurges.

Peter Schneck bears:  Sable, a schnecke issuant from dexter chief argent.

Leocadia de Bilbao bears:  Argent, issuant from base a schnecke azure.

Marie de Blois bears as a badge:  Or, a schnecke issuant from sinister base maintaining on the outer swirl three schneckes sable.

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

Roundel

Roundel (Period)

Roundel (Period)

A roundel is an ancient heraldic charge, consisting of a simple circular shape.  Its use dates from the earliest heraldic records:  bezants are found in the canting arms of Biset, c.1244 [Asp2 222].

Roundels of different tinctures have special names in blazon:  A roundel Or may be termed a “bezant”; a roundel argent, a “plate”; gules, a “torteau”; vert, a “pomme”; sable, a “gunstone”, “pellet”, or “ogress”; azure, a “hurt”; purpure, a “golpe”.  The use of these special names is discretionary.  Note that only “bezant”, “plate”, “torteau” and “pellet” were used in period blazons.

Also included in the roundel family is the “fountain“, a roundel barry wavy azure and argent.  A Society-specific variant is the “t’ai-ch’i”, a roundel per fess embowed-counterembowed argent and sable, charged with two counterchanged roundels.  As a non-European motif, the t’ai-ch’i is deemed a step from period practice.

T'ai-ch'i (SFPP)

T’ai-ch’i (SFPP)

Roundel echancré (Disallowed)

Roundel echancré (Disallowed)

Roundels with complex edges (e.g., the “roundel echancré”, with three semi-circular notches; the “roundel embattled”; &c) have been registered in the past; but their use has been disallowed, pending evidence of period use.

The roundel is considered a shape upon which arms may be borne; thus, like the lozenge and escutcheon, when used as a fieldless badge it must not itself be charged.  See also astrolabe, bowl (dish), egg, moon, shield, sphere, yarn.

The Exchequer bears:  Azure, a pale checky gules and argent between six bezants in pale three and three.

Alewijn van Zeebrouck bears:  Sable, three roundels argent.

Nigel the Byzantine bears:  Purpure bezanty and a bordure Or.

Duncan of Blackrock bears:  Per fess and per bend sinister argent and vert, two pellets in bend.

Marius del Raut bears:  Per chevron ermine and sable, three roundels counterchanged.

Ynir Cadwallen bears:  Azure, a roundel echancré and in base a bar Or.

Morgan ap Llewellan Peregrine bears:  Sable, a t’ai-ch’i, the line of division forming a hawk’s head erect, voided, orbed argent.

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

Point

Point pointed (Period)

Point pointed (Period)

Three points (Disallowed)

Three points (Disallowed)

A point is one of the corners of the shield.  The unmodified term is synonymous with a base.   The point is most often used in a modified form called a “point pointed”:  a triangular shape issuant from base, extending roughly one-third the height of the shield.  The sides are properly drawn with concave sides, but there is one period example with flat sides – the canting arms (Portuguese canto, “corner”) of Canto or Docanto, c.1540 [Nobreza xxxviiº] – so the concavity of the sides is left to the artist.

The “dexter” and “sinister” points are the upper corners of the shield.  The dexter point was considered an abatement of honor by Legh, 1562; neither the dexter nor sinister point were actually used in period armory.  For that reason, the use of either dexter or sinister point is not permitted in Society armory.  The use of all three points, as in the illustration, was once permitted but is now disallowed, pending period examples.

The term “point”, when used to denote a specific spot inside the shield (e.g., “fess point”, “nombril point”, &c), is not a medieval usage and is no longer practiced in Society blazonry.  See also mount.

Cuðbriht se breowere bears:  Quarterly azure and gules, a point pointed Or.

Marian Greenleaf bears:  Or, a point pointed flory counterflory gules.

Andrew Drexler bears:  Sable, on a mullet of four points argent between three points Or, a fireball gules.

This entry was posted on May 24, 2014, in .

Papellony

Papellony (field treatment) (Period)

Papellony (field treatment) (Period)

Papellony (fur) (Accepted)

Papellony (fur) (Accepted)

The term “papellony” may refer to either a fur or a field treatment, as they are known in the Society.  When blazoned, e.g., “argent papellony sable” (as in the first illustration), it’s a field treatment equivalent to scaly; this is the older usage, found in the arms of Sansuerre or Sancerre, c.1254 [Brault2 27; also see de Bara 55].  When blazoned “papellony argent and sable” (as in the second illustration), it’s a derivative of the vair furs, similar in appearance to plumetty [Woodward 72].  Because of the ambiguity in the term, it is best not used if an alternative term will work as well.

Egil Bloodax bears:  Papellony argent and azure, a double-bitted axe gules.

Runolfr Audsson bears:  Per chevron sable and gules, papellony argent, in chief a wolf courant to sinister argent.

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

Nesselblatt

Nesselblatt (Period)

Nesselblatt (Period)

A nesselblatt is a highly stylized nettle leaf; it is found in German heraldry, c.1370, in the arms of the Counts von Holstein [Gelre 97v].  Though some books claim it is equivalent to a bordure indented, the nesselblatt is actually an independent charge:  it does not follow the line of the shield, but always keeps its basic triangular shape.  See also leaf, seeblatt.

Wolfger von Sibenbürgen bears:  Or, a nesselblatt sable.

Friedrich Bruner bears:  Per pale gules and sable, a nesselblatt Or.

Olwynn ni Chinnéidigh bears:  Or, three nesselblätter gules.

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