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Tierce

Tierce (SFPP when used with other charges)

Tierce (SFPP when used with other charges)

The tierce is an heraldic ordinary, a vertical band issuant from the dexter side of the shield.  As the name implies, it is usually drawn one-third the width of the shield; this proportion may vary, depending on the presence of other charges, or on complex lines of division.  The tierce may also be called a “side”; it has no diminutives in Society heraldry.

The tierce may also issue from the sinister, which case is always specified.  (Indeed, the dexter tierce is often explicitly blazoned, as well.)  The tierce is subject to the normal treatments – embattled, wavy, &c – but like the chief and other single-sided ordinaries, the tierce may not be cotised, voided, dancetty or fimbriated.

We have no unarguable examples of the tierce in period armory; it is found in modern flags, and therefore permitted in Society heraldry.  However, because the use of a tierce creates an unbalanced design, the use of a tierce with other charges is a step from period practice, pending documentation.  Moreover, since a charged tierce has the additional problem of looking like impaled armory, tierces may no longer be charged in Society armory.

The King of Ansteorra bears as his battle flag:  Or, a sinister tierce embattled gules, in canton a mullet of five greater and five lesser points sable.

Charles the Grey of Mooneschadowe bears:  Or, a tierce gules.

Diarmait mac Domnaill bears:  Bendy sinister azure and argent, a tierce azure.

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

Saltire

Saltire (Period)

Saltire (Period)

Saltorel, or saltire couped (Period)

Saltorel, or saltire couped (Period)

The saltire is an heraldic ordinary, an X-shaped form intersecting the upper corners of the shield, and occupying one-third to one-fifth of its width.  It is also known as the “cross of St. Andrew”, since the saint was supposed to have been martyred on one.

The diminutive of the saltire is called a “saltorel”; this term was originally used when there was more than one saltire, which (since multiple saltires couldn’t easily be throughout) meant “saltire couped”.  The term came to apply generally to saltires couped, even solitary ones.  (“Saltorel” does not mean a “skinny saltire”; as with the fillet cross, such non-medieval usage is not permitted.)  The saltorel dates as early as 1275, in the arms of Boyville [ANA2 547].  Period emblazons may have the ends couped square, or couped fesswise as in the illustration; the latter seems more usual in British armory.

Cross of St. Julian (Period)

Cross of St. Julian (Period)

The “cross of St. Julian” is a cross crosslet set saltirewise; it seems to have acquired the name by its use (assumed 1514, confirmed 1634) in the arms of the Worshipful Company of Innholders, whose patron saint was St. Julian the Hospitaller [Bromley & Child 144-6; also Legh 39v].

In other respects, the saltire may be treated as if it were a cross:  for example, one might have a saltire flory, as in the arms of de Ayno, c.1460 [RH].  It is also subject to the usual treatments:  embattling, voiding, cotising, &c.  The “saltire nowy” is permitted, but considered a step from period practice.

The Prince of Tir Rígh bears:  Azure, on a saltire between four mullets of eight points argent a laurel wreath azure.

Mark Lasie of Westminster bears:  Per fess gules and sable, a saltire argent.

Alasdair MacArthur bears:  Or, a saltire vert.

David Conyers bears:  Argent, three saltorels gules.

Karl der Wanderer bears:  Gules, a saltire barbed Or.

Rhiannon Annsachd bears:  Gules, a saltire cotised Or.

Geoffrey de Blenkinsopp bears:  Checky sable and argent, a saltire parted and fretted Or.

James Yale bears:  Gyronny sable and gules, a cross of St. Julian Or.

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 .

Pile

Pile (Period)

Pile (Period)

Three piles in point (Period)

Three piles in point (Period)

The pile is an heraldic ordinary consisting of a triangle issuant from the chief of the shield to the base point, or almost reaching it.  It seems to have derived from attempts to fit a pale onto a heater-shaped shield, with the bottom pinched together rather than cut off.

The medieval pile is about one-third the shield’s width at top, and is throughout to the base point; the Tudor pile is wider and squatter, and does not reach all the way throughout.  Either form is found in Society heraldry, though the medieval form is encouraged; no heraldic difference is counted between the two, or between throughout vs. not.

Multiple piles are common in mundane and Society heraldry; no diminutives of the pile are recognized.  Multiple piles with their points conjoined may be blazoned “piles in point”; this was the medieval default for multiple piles, due to their derivation from pinched pallets.  If multiple piles are palewise, instead of in point, this should be explicitly blazoned.

Pile ployé (Accepted)

Pile ployé (Accepted)

Piles sometimes issue from other points besides the chief:  there are examples in late-period armory of piles “inverted” or issuant from base, piles issuant from dexter, and “bendwise” (issuant from dexter chief).  In Society heraldry there have even been piles “in saltire”.

The pile is subject to the normal lines of division, including cotising and voiding; the “pile ployé”, with concave arched lines, is unique to Society heraldry.  For related charges, see chapé, chaussé, gyron, tooth (wolves’).

The King of Artemisia bears:  Sable, on a pile between two griffins combattant, each maintaining an arrow inverted Or, an ancient crown within a laurel wreath sable.

The Baron of Ruantallan bears:  Azure, a pile argent, overall a laurel wreath counterchanged.

Adelindis filia Gotefridi bears:  Gules, a pile Or.

Muirenn ingen Nath-í bears:  Sable, three piles in point Or.

Masae Lorane bears:  Or, five piles inverted in point throughout azure.

Eleanor Valentina Beota bears:  Azure, on a pile ployé argent, a hummingbird hovering vert.

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

Pall

Pall (Period)

Pall (Period)

Pall inverted (Accepted)

Pall inverted (Accepted)

The pall is an heraldic ordinary, a Y-shaped form joining the points of the shield with its center.  Its width is one-third to one-fifth that of the shield.  The pall is a peculiarly Scots ordinary, found in the arms of Cunningham, 1542 [Lindsay].  Like the cross, the pall has no diminutives; it is often found inverted in Society heraldry.

 

 

 

Shakefork (Period)

Shakefork (Period)

Pallium (Disallowed)

Pallium (Disallowed)

Other special terms include the “shakefork”, a pall humetty.  There is also the “pallium”, a pall whose lower limb is couped and fringed; in period it was often used in archepiscopal arms (e.g., Henry de Lowndres, Archbishop of Dublin, 1215 [Michael Heenon, Coats of Arms of Magna Carta Barons, 1965, p.9]), and is therefore a disallowed charge in the Society.   Unlike most ordinaries, no difference is granted between a pall (throughout) and any of the truncated palls.

It’s permitted for a pall’s limbs to be treated in the same manner as those of the cross:  e.g., a “pall patonce” or a “pall formy”.  The “pall nowy” is considered a step from period practice.  For related charges, see fork, triskelion.

The Baron of Carolingia bears:  Azure, a pall wavy and in chief a laurel wreath Or.

Morgan Blackshield bears:  Pean, a pall Or.

Michael Gerard Curtememoire bears:  Potenty argent and sable, a pall gules.

Dan of Hamildoon bears:  Azure, a shakefork inverted Or.

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

Pale

Pale (Period)

Pale (Period)

The pale is an heraldic ordinary, a vertical band down the center of the shield, occupying roughly one-third to one-fourth the shield’s width.  Its diminutive is the “pallet”; Society blazonry does not recognize any other term for the pale’s diminutive.

The cotises of a pale are termed “endorses”; the whole may be blazoned a “pale endorsed” or a “pale between two endorses”.

 

 

 

Pale offset (Period)

Pale offset (Period)

Pale bevilled (Accepted)

Pale bevilled (Accepted)

The pale is subject to the normal complex lines:  engrailed, wavy, &c.  There are also some usages peculiar to the pale:  The “pale offset” is divided along the fess line, with each half then shifted to dexter or sinister; an example is found in the Armorial Bellenville, c.1380, in the arms of von Zirn [Pastoureau 206].  The “pale bevilled” is divided bendwise sinister, and similarly shifted; this appears to be a Society adaptation.

For related charges, see chief-pale.

The King of Meridies bears:  Argent, on a pale sable a crown of three points, above each point a mullet argent, overall a laurel wreath counterchanged.

Dermod Uí Néill bears:  Chevronelly Or and sable, a pale purpure.

Anne Balfour of Markinch bears:  Ermine, a pale endorsed azure.

Katherine of Glastonbury bears:  Vert, two pallets Or.

Angela of Rosebury bears:  Gules, a pale offset between in bend sinister two mascles argent.

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

Orle

Orle (Period)

Orle (Period)

The orle is an heraldic ordinary, a band parallel to the edge of the shield; its width is typically one-tenth to one-twelfth that of the shield.  Its original form was as an escutcheon voided, which form dates to c.1255 in the arms of Balliol [ANA2 503]; but unlike an escutcheon voided, which is always escutcheon-shaped, the orle conforms to the shape of the field it charges.  As an ordinary, it is subject to most of the usual treatments.

The diminutive of the orle is the “tressure”; the term is used when there are two or more of the charge.  The number is given as, e.g., a “double tressure” or “triple tressure”.  Double tressures are found as early as 1280, in the arms of the Kings of Scots [ANA2 103].  The tressures used in Scotland’s arms, the “double tressure flory counter-flory”, are granted by the Crown of Scotland as an augmentation, and not permitted in Society heraldry; even charges suggestive of the Scots tressures, such as the orle demi-flory, are disallowed.  (The arms of Scotland at one point used an orle flory counter-flory, c.1244 [Asp2 208], so the prohibition has some historical basis.)  Although in theory a double tressure could be surmounted by charges other than fleurs-de-lys – e.g., a double tressure surmounted by mullets – no period examples have been found, and the practice is considered a step from period practice.

Orle of martlets (Period)

Orle of martlets (Period)

The term “orle” had another usage in medieval blazons, predating its application to the escutcheon voided:  it described an unnumbered group of charges arranged around the edge of the shield, where the edge of a bordure would be.  Thus, in the arms of the Earls of Pembroke, c.1244 [ANA2 210], a group of martlets around the shield’s edge (as shown in the illustration) would be blazoned “an orle of martlets”.  Note that the charges in the orle are all in their default orientation; if the charges are to orient themselves parallel to the edge of the shield, Society blazon would use the term “an orle of [charges] in orle”.

Frithiof Sigvardsson Skägge bears:  Gyronny argent and vert, an orle sable.

Padraig Ó Taidg bears:  Azure, a double tressure argent.

Rowan of Hakesleah bears:  Gules, an orle of escallops Or.

Geoffrey le Bay bears:  Sable, an orle of plates.

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

Ordinaries

Ordinaries are among the oldest and most common heraldic charges, being simple geometric shapes bounded by straight lines (or semi-circular curves, for some).  Their shapes may have been derived from the reinforcing bands of a shield.  There is disagreement in heraldry texts over the distinction (if any) between an ordinary and a sub-ordinary, and which charges fall into which categories.  The general Society usage refers to the central ordinaries, which cross the center of the field – the bend, chevron, chief-pale, cross, fess, pale, pall, pile, and saltire – and the peripheral ordinaries, which lie on the field’s edge – the base, bordure, canton, chief, flaunches, gore, orle, and tierce.

In general, ordinaries are drawn so as to take up one-fourth to one-third the width of the shield; the bordure and the orle are typically somewhat narrower.  These are rules of thumb only, not precise divisions; the exact proportions will vary, depending on the composition of the armory.  If the ordinary is surrounded by secondary charges, it will be drawn somewhat narrower; if the ordinary is itself charged, or if it has a complex line of division, it will be somewhat wider.

When more than one of a given ordinary is used in armory, they must necessarily be drawn narrower; these are called the “diminutives” of that ordinary.  Special terms may be used in those cases:  the diminutive of the fess is the “bar”, the diminutive of the bend is the “bendlet”, &c.  The diminutive term should not be applied to single ordinaries, but only when there are two or more of them (or, rarely, when the visual importance of the ordinary is in some way reduced:  a “bendlet enhanced”, for instance).

More than a single type of ordinary may be used in one armory, though there are limitations.  In general, the use of two or more peripheral ordinaries is considered poor style.  A central ordinary may usually be used with a peripheral ordinary (a fess and a bordure, for instance).  Continental armory had some special names for certain combinations of ordinaries, treating them as charges in their own right:  e.g., the chief-pale, combining a pale and a chief.

Ordinaries are subject to the complex lines of division:  indented, wavy, &c.  Only the double-sided ordinaries, however, may be dancetty, voided, fimbriated, or cotised; and except for the fess, ordinaries nowed are considered a step from period practice.  For more information, see the entries for the individual ordinaries.  See also cotising, gemel.

Alia fitz Garanhir bears:  Argent, a fess conjoined in chief with a demi-pale between three mullets of six points gules.

Daria Tayt bears:  Gules, a pale and a chief Or.

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

Gyron

Gyron (Period)

Gyron (Period)

A gyron is a single segment of a gyronny field.  It is described in period heraldic tracts [e.g., Legh 68], but does not appear to have been used (at least with that blazon) in period armory.  Hence, only the gyron found in the tracts – issuant from dexter chief as in the illustration – may be used in Society armory.  For related charges, see pile.

Iohann se pipere bears:  Sable, a gyron argent.

Martin de Montriere sur Mer bears:  Azure, on a gyron argent a heart sable.

This entry was posted on January 31, 2014, in .

Gore; Gusset

Gore (Period)

Gore (Period)

Gusset (Period)

Gusset (Period)

A gore is considered an heraldic sub-ordinary by some texts, and a rebatement of honor by others; it seems to be an invention of heraldic writers.  Certainly, no instance of its actual use in period armory has yet been documented – but as it was described in period tracts (e.g., Legh’s Accidence of Armory, 1562 [72v]), the gore has been accepted for use in Society heraldry.

The gore may issue from either the dexter or the sinister side of the shield; the default gore issues from dexter.  Society armory has examples where both gores are used; this has been deemed a step from period practice.

The “gusset” is an artistic variant of the gore, which is drawn with straight lines instead of curved lines.  Actual instances of its use have been documented in Scots heraldry, in the arms of Cunningham, 1610 [Guillim1 35]; however, unlike the gore, gussets were found in pairs.

Charged gores and gussets had at one time been registered in Society armory, but the results were usually unbalanced; at the present, neither the gore nor the gusset may be charged in Society armory.  The use of other charges on the field alongside a gore or gusset is a step from period practice.  See also ordinary.

Regulus of Vinhold bears:  Or, two gores sable.

Thora Arnketilsdottír bears:  Sable, a gore sinister vair.

Sarah of the Crystal Water bears:  Argent, two gussets nebuly inverted azure, each charged with a gout argent.

This entry was posted on January 30, 2014, in .