Archives

Wreath

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.

Giovanni Loredan bears as a badge:  A wreath of oak leaves Or.

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 .

Vine

Two grape vines entwined, fesswise and throughout (Period)

Two grape vines entwined, fesswise and throughout (Period)

A vine is a long, slender slip characterized by its twisty shape; in nature, vines are too weak to stand upright, and so must entwine themselves around a support.  In heraldry, the vine is shown wavy or undy, usually leaved or fructed according to its kind.  Period armory has examples of “ivy vine” in the arms of Barbalonga, c.1540 [Nobreza xxviº], and “grape vines” in the arms of di Cadamosti, mid-15th C. [Triv 111].

Vines do not seem to have a default orientation – though if on an ordinary, they follow its line – so must in general be specified as palewise, &c.  Unlike other slips, however, vines are often placed as ordinaries:  thus, in the above examples, the arms of Barbalonga have an orle of ivy vine, while the arms of di Cadamosti have two grape vines entwined, fesswise and throughout, as in the illustration.

The Baron of Vinhold bears:  Per fess wavy argent and sable, two wreaths of grape vine vert fructed proper and a laurel wreath Or.

Esobella Rowena Erwyn Ross bears:  Bendy sinister argent and vert, a vine bendwise throughout wavy sable, flowered with a rose gules.

Eliška z Jihlavy bears:  Argent, an ivy vine palewise between flaunches vert.

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

Tree

A tree is a large plant, with a main wooden trunk branching into foliage at the top.  Its “proper” coloration is with green leaves and brown trunk.  A tree “fructed” is bearing fruit, whose color may be specified; the fructing may also be considered artistic license, and added to a tree whether blazoned so or not.

Oak tree (Period)

Oak tree (Period)

Pine tree couped (Period)

Pine tree couped (Period)

In heraldic art, the tree’s leaves and fruit may be drawn much larger than in naturalistic art.  Early examples, such as the canting arms (German Eich, “oak”) of von Eyck, c.1360 [Gelre 32v] show a very simplified and stylized form of tree.  Later depictions, such as the oak tree in the allusive arms (Italian bosco, “wood”) of dal Bosco, mid-15th C. [Triv 78], are closer to natural art but still exaggerate the size of the leaves and fruit [see also de Bara 75-77].  (Swedish heraldic art in particular is noted for this.)  Finally, by the end of period, trees were drawn very naturalistically, as with the oak tree in the arms of Eychhauser, 1605 [Siebmacher 63], to the point that the type of tree becomes difficult to tell.  The exaggerated style is therefore encouraged in the Society; a tree whose type cannot be determined is likely to be blazoned simply as a “tree”.

Orange tree fructed and eradicated (Period)

Orange tree fructed and eradicated (Period)

Palm tree couped (Period)

Palm tree couped (Period)

Many types of tree are found in heraldry.  The oldest and most common type is the oak tree, found in the canting arms of Okestead, 1275 [ANA2 551].  (Indeed, if no specific type of tree is blazoned, the oak may always be used.)  Many other types of tree are also found in period: the pear tree in the canting arms of Piriton, c.1285 [ANA2 551], the walnut tree in the canting arms (Latin nux) of de Noxigiis, mid-15th C. [Triv 247], the olive tree in the canting arms of Oliveira, c.1540 [Nobreza xxxv], the beech tree in the canting arms (German Buche) of Bucher, 1605 [Siebmacher 64], the rowan tree in the canting arms (Italian sorbo) of Sorballi, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 273:239].  (It should be obvious by now that cant was the primary reason in period for choosing a type of tree.)  Society armory has instances of the pine, the linden, the ash, the yew, and the palm, among others.

Willow tree (Period)

Willow tree (Period)

Poplar tree (Period)

Poplar tree (Period)

Of special note are the willow and poplar trees.  The willow tree is found in period armory in the canting arms (Latin salix) of von Salis, 1605 [Siebmacher 204].  The form used in period armory is the white willow; if the “weeping willow tree” is intended, it must be specified in blazon.  No difference is granted between these variants.

The poplar tree had been ruled a step from period practice, based on the lack of period examples – particularly as it’s usually depicted, as the elongated “Lombardy poplar” [Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, p.65].  However, the poplar tree in this form has since been documented, in the arms of Cardinal Dominic de Capranica, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 267:179].  The Lombardy poplar, as it’s modernly known, is the default heraldic poplar tree for Society use.

Tree blasted and eradicated (Period)

Tree blasted and eradicated (Period)

Tree stump eradicated (Period)

Tree stump eradicated (Period)

Both the top and the base of a tree are subject to variation.  At the base, the Society default is with a small upper portion of the roots showing, as might be seen in nature.  The roots may also be “eradicated”, with the entire root system showing, as if forcibly uprooted from the ground; or “couped”, with the trunk cut cleanly, and no roots shown at all.  The illustrations show an oak tree (with default roots), a pine tree couped, and an orange tree eradicated (and fructed as well).

At the top, the default is with leaves or foliage; but it also may be “blasted” or leafless, showing only the bare branches.  This variant is found in de Bara, 1581 [77], who terms it un arbre sec (“a dry tree”).  The illustration shows a tree blasted and eradicated.

A “stump” or “stock” is the bottom part of the tree, left after the tree has been felled; it was the canting badge of Zouche, c.1510 [HB 162].  The stump’s top edge is usually couped, but is sometimes found “snagged”, with the rough top surface tilted to the viewer.  In Society blazonry, a “trunk” is a somewhat longer form of stump, while a “log” is simply a cleanly lopped form of a ragged staff.  The illustration shows a stump eradicated.

Hurst of trees couped (Period)

Hurst of trees couped (Period)

A group of trees with their foliage conjoined may be called a “hurst”.  When thus conjoined, the number of trees, even when blazoned, counts for no difference.  Hursts are often issuant from a mount in mundane heraldry, but this fact is always specifically blazoned in Society heraldry.  The illustration shows a hurst of trees couped.

For related charges, see:  bush, créquier, slip, staff (ragged).  See also fruit, leaf.

The King of Drachenwald bears:  Or, in fess three pine trees eradicated gules, overall a dragon passant coward, all within a laurel wreath, in chief an ancient crown sable.

The Baron of Gyldenholt bears:  Azure, on a hurst Or a laurel wreath vert, a bordure Or.

The Order of the Willow, of the Middle, bears:  Purpure, a weeping willow tree eradicated Or.

Ioseph of Locksley, the Rhymer, bears:  Vert, a tree eradicated argent.

Melodia of Okhurste bears:  Per bend Or and argent, a tree blasted and eradicated azure.

Christian of Orange bears:  Argent, an orange tree fructed proper issuant from a mount vert.

Catalina Estevez de Teixeira bears:  Quarterly Or and gules, a yew tree eradicated proper.

Mustafa al-Jabal Tariqi bears:  Argent, a palm tree couped gules within a bordure sable.

Allendale of the Evergreens bears:  Argent, a pine tree proper.

Tala al-Zahra bears:  Argent, an olive tree fructed and eradicated and a bordure gules.

Toly Woodsman bears:  Per chevron argent and azure, three tree stumps counterchanged.

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

Slip

Slip, or branch, with leaves (Period)

Slip, or branch, with leaves (Period)

A slip is a stem of a plant, with leaves, fruit, and flowers attached.  The term is often used in blazons such as “a rose, slipped and leaved”, or “an apple slipped”; in such cases the slip is subordinate in importance to the flower or fruit.  However, slips may be used in their own right, as in the arms of Goldast, c.1340 [Zurich 441].

In general, a slip is blazoned a “sprig” to indicate a long stem, with many leaves and several blossoms or fruits; in that case, the flowers are subordinate to the slip.  There is also the “branch”, denoting a woodier slip (typically from a tree) with fewer leaves, or none; the bare wood is clearly visible.  Branches are found in the arms of Schönbühl, c.1340 [Zurich 294].

Linden branch twined on itself (Period)

Linden branch twined on itself (Period)

Slips, sprigs and branches are palewise and couped by default.  A specific depiction of slips and branches in period has them “twined on themselves”, or twisted about in a stylized, symmetric manner.  This depiction is found in the arms of von Seckendorff or Säggendorff, c.1450 [Ingeram152]; the number of twists seems to have been artistic license.

For related charges, see broom, bush, leaf, tree, vine.

Lavendar of Lorne bears:  Per bend sinister argent and azure, six sprigs of lavender in annulo counterchanged.

Melucine de Ronceverte bears:  Vert, on a pale argent a greenbriar slip vert.

Alice of Kent bears:  Vert, a sprig of elder bendwise sinister argent.

Enid de Bohun bears:  Per bend sinister Or and vert, a hawthorne sprig gules.

Yorath of Delvingrim bears:  Gules, in pale three oak branches fesswise leaved and fructed Or.

Alessandra de Messina bears:  Per chevron gules and argent, three linden branches twined on themselves counterchanged.

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

Seeblatt

Seeblatt (Period)

Seeblatt (Period)

A seeblatt is a Germanic representation of a water-lily leaf, drawn in a highly stylized manner:  heart-shaped, with a cruciform or trefoil incision in chief.  It is a period charge, found in the arms of Ribbing, 1295 [Volborth 131].  Note that “seeblätter” is the usual plural form of “seeblatt”.

In Society armory, a correctly drawn seeblatt is now granted difference from a heart.  For related charges, see nesselblatt.

Clarissa Wykeham bears:  Or, a seeblatt azure.

Rebecca Marchand d’Alsace bears:  Vert, a seeblatt argent.

Angharad Caprioli Amante bears:  Per chevron sable and gules, three seeblätter argent.

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

Mushroom

Mushroom (Period)

Mushroom (Period)

A mushroom is a saprophytic plant, considered a fruit for purposes of heraldic classification.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of Dryland, c.1480 [DBA2 351], and the arms of Phoffwintzer, mid-16th C [NW 65].  The mushroom is couped by default; occasionally, the type (e.g., “morel”) is specified in blazon.

Deborah the Wanderer bears:  Purpure, a mushroom argent.

Leopold van Audenhoelve bears:  Sable, three mushrooms argent.

Geoffrey des Champignons bears:  Or semy of mushrooms, a bordure sable

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .

Mandrake

Mandrake (Period)

Mandrake (Period)

The mandrake is a plant whose root resembles a human figure; it is normally depicted with vague human features.  It may also be called “mandragora”.  The mandrake’s narcotic properties made it a favorite with mystics and herbalists.

In armory, the mandrake is rarely found in period armory:  e.g., the arms of Bodyam or Bodyham, c.1540 [Dennys 129; cf. also BSB Cod.Icon 291:43].  The mandrake is affronty by default; Society practice grants it difference from a human figure.

Cairistiona nic Bheathain bears:  Vert, a mandrake Or.

Martin Andreas of Windsor bears:  Azure, a mandrake argent between three goblets Or.

This entry was posted on May 18, 2014, in .

Leaf

Leaf (generic) (Period)

Leaf (generic) (Period)

A leaf is that part of a plant which gathers light and provides shade.  The default heraldic leaf seems to be a generic sort, with a simple elliptical shape; as heraldic charges, this sort dates from c.1300 [ANA2 249].  However, leaves of all shapes are found in period armory:  elm leaves in the arms of Elmerugge or Elmridge, c.1285 [ANA2 289], oak leaves in the arms of Tregruthken, 1335 [DBA2 381], holly leaves in the arms of Eruyn or Irwin, 15th C. [Scots 48v], linden leaves in the arms of von Lynden or Linden, c.1370 [Gelre 43v; also Siebmacher 141], ivy leaves in the arms of Yve, c.1470 [DBA2 43].

 

 

 

Linden leaf (Period); oak leaf (Period)

Linden leaf (Period); oak leaf (Period)

Ivy leaf (Period); holly leaf (Period)

Ivy leaf (Period); holly leaf (Period)

As may be seen, the type of leaf was frequently chosen for the sake of a cant – Yue had yew leaves, Hesilrigg had hazel leaves, Malherbe had nettle leaves, &c – and without the cant, it is often difficult to determine the type of leaf being used.  Period rolls show the same arms drawn with different types of leaves.  The Society grants difference between some types of leaf, but not others.

Leaves have their stems to base by default, but there are frequent period examples of leaves inverted as well.  For related charges, see card-pique, foil, nesselblatt, seeblatt, slip, vine.  See also feather.

Ann of the Tall Trees bears:  Vert, an oak leaf fesswise argent.

Avisa of Rideja bears:  Per saltire Or and argent, a maple leaf vert.

Tamara iz Kiev bears:  Argent, three birch leaves vert.

Seved Ribbing bears:  Per fess azure and Or, three linden leaves counterchanged.

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

Garb

Garb (Period)

Garb (Period)

A garb is a bundle of grain, bound about the middle; the grain is wheat, unless specified otherwise.  Garbs are ancient charges, dating from 1244 in the arms of the Earls of Chester [Asp2 219].

In period blazon, the term “sheaf” is considered synonymous with “garb”; in particular, the term “oatsheaf” was used to refer to a garb of oats.  However, for charges other than grain, the term “sheaf” refers to a specific arrangement of charges (see sheaf); some Society armories have an explicit number of grain stalks (e.g., five) in this arrangement, and blazoned as a “sheaf”, despite the chance of confusion.

Teresa la Marchant bears:  Per pale sable and Or, a garb counterchanged.

Njall of Fur bears:  Argent, three garbs azure.

Medb ingen Muiredaich bears:  Vert, three garbs argent.

Otuell Gowe bears as a badge:  In pale an oatsheaf issuing from an open well Or.

This entry was posted on January 29, 2014, in .

Créquier

Créquier (Period)

Créquier (Period)

The créquier is a highly stylized depiction of the wild cherry tree; unlike other trees, however, it is always depicted in this stylized form.  It is found in the canting arms of Crequy as early as 1450 [GATD 74].

Because most trees (e.g., oak) were depicted in the style of the créquier in early period heraldry, no difference is granted between them.

Morberie of Tor Denly bears:  Argent, a créquier plant azure.

Richenda du Jardin bears:  Per pale azure and argent, a créquier counterchanged.

Orlando dei Medici bears:  Or, a créquier vert.

This entry was posted on January 4, 2014, in .