Archives

Key

Key (Period)

Key (Period)

A key is a metal implement for opening a lock by moving its bolt; it’s found as early as c.1275, in the allusive arms of Chamberlain [ANA2 477].  As the attribute of St. Peter, keys are frequently found in episcopal and papal armory.

The key is palewise, wards to chief, by mundane and Society default.  (For many years, the Society had no default for palewise keys, so the orientation was explicitly blazoned.)  When the key is fesswise, its wards are to dexter, again by both mundane and Society default.

 

 

A pair of keys, bows linked (Period)

A pair of keys, bows linked (Period)

Ring of three keys (Period)

Ring of three keys (Period)

The handle of the key may be termed its “bow” [Parker 343].  A “pair of keys” has two keys palewise, their wards outward (the pair is sometimes explicitly blazoned “addorsed” for this reason); the bows are drawn touching, either linked or conjoined (as in the arms of Siganer, 1605 [Siebmacher 34]).  A “ring of keys” is a set of keys (usually three) joined by a large ring or annulet.  In this case, the keys’ wards are certainly to base by Society default, although period examples (e.g., the arms of Beheim, 1605 [Siebmacher 66]) can also have the keys in pall.

 

The Seneschalate bears:  Gules, a key fesswise Or.

The Chastellany bears:  Vert, a key palewise wards to sinister base Or.

Avelina Keyes bears:  Per pale Or and sable, in pale three keys fesswise counterchanged.

Hélène de Lyon bears:  Gules, a pair of keys addorsed with wards to chief and bows interlaced Or.

Ysabeau Boucher bears:  Azure, a ring of four keys in saltire argent.

This entry was posted on February 17, 2014, in .

Keyhole

Keyhole (Disallowed)

Keyhole (Disallowed)

A keyhole is the opening in a padlock into which its key is inserted; it is represented as a simple pawn-like shape.  The charge appears to be unique to Society heraldry; as no period exemplar has been found for it, the keyhole is no longer registerable.  See also chess pieces.

Zarina Daeth bears:  Gules, a bend sinister sable fimbriated argent between a whip coiled Or and a heart sable fimbriated and bearing in its sinister chief a keyhole, both argent.

Andrew MacRobb bears:  Per pale Or and purpure, a keyhole counterchanged.

This entry was posted on February 17, 2014, in .

Keystone

Keystone (Accepted)

Keystone (Accepted)

A keystone is the central stone found at the top of an arch, which has the job of keeping the two halves of the arch from collapsing.  Though the term was used in period, the keystone does not seem to have been a period heraldic charge.  In Society armory, the keystone is defined to be trapezoidal, with the wide edge to chief; this appears to have been a common form in period architecture.  This form is similar in shape (though inverted) to the “quoin”, a wedge-shaped cornerstone, as found in the canting arms (Portuguese cunha) of Cunha, c.1540 [Nobreza x].

A form of keystone frequently used in Society armory is a stylized modern form, one of the symbols of the state of Pennsylvania:  a trapezoid with two notches in the upper corners.  This form is considered a step from period practice.

The Order of the Keystone, of Æthelmearc, bears:  Or, on a keystone gules an escarbuncle argent.

Jon Trimara bears:  Per chevron vert and gules, in saltire an arrow inverted and a sword Or and in chief a dovetailed keystone gules, fimbriated Or.

Lysken die Waeyer bears:  Vert, three keystones argent.

This entry was posted on February 17, 2014, in .

Knife

Dagger (Period)

Dagger (Period)

A knife is a bladed tool or weapon, used for cutting or stabbing.  The knife’s blade is proportionally shorter than that of a sword; no heraldic difference is normally counted between the two.  Like the sword, the knife is palewise, point to chief, by default.  Its “proper” coloration is with argent blade and Or quillons and handle; occasionally the handle may be light brown.

 

The most common form of knife, in both medieval and Society armory, is the “dagger”, called in French a poignard.  It’s a period charge, found in the attributed arms of la Montagne c.1340 [Zurich 7; also Conz.Const. xciii, 1413].

 

Kitchen knife (Period)

Kitchen knife (Period)

Leatherworker's head knife (Period)

Trenket (Period)

In period armory, we also find the “kitchen knife” as in the arms of von Jaxtheim, 1605 [Siebmacher 113]; the “trenket”, a cordwainer’s or leatherworker’s knife, with a spiked moon-shaped blade, as in the arms of Benvenuti, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 278:409]; knives with serrated blades, in the arms of Lepuzáin, mid-16th C. [Armeria 359]; and a broad knife with a curved blade (cortell, coltello), found in the canting arms of Cortona, mid-15th C. [Triv 122].

 

 

 

Calligrapher's knife (Accepted)

Calligrapher’s knife (Accepted)

Cinquedea (Accepted)

Cinquedea (Accepted)

Examples of knives found in Society heraldry include such divers items as the “calligrapher’s knife” (the illustration is taken from an illumination of Eadwine of Canterbury c.1140; Donald Jackson, The Story of Writing, p.71); and the “cinquedea”, a 15th C. Italian weapon whose blade is five fingers in width [Stone 181].

 

 

 

 

Half-moon knife (Accepted)

Half-moon knife (Accepted)

Kris (SFPP)

Kris (SFPP)

Other Society examples include the “half-moon knife”, a slicing tool with a crescent blade [Singer 166]; and the “kris”, a wavy bladed Malay dagger [Stone 382].  The use of the kris, as an artifact from outside Europe, is a step from period practice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindjal (Disallowed)

Kindjal (Disallowed)

Skene (sgian dubh, modern) (Disallowed)

Skene (sgian dubh, modern) (Disallowed)

Two other knives have been registered but since disallowed, pending evidence of their existence in period.  One is the “kindjal”, an Indian dagger with a round hilt; no further evidence has been found as of this writing.  The other is the “skene” or “skean”, a short dirk favored by Scotsmen.  While the modern form of skene (sgian dubh) has not been documented to period, and is therefore disallowed, a period form may be seen in the canting arms of James Skene of That Ilk, b.1544 (Lord Crawford’s Armorial, late-16th C., fo.140v).  It appears indistinguishable from a dagger, and seems to be used solely for the cant.

 

Skene (Period)

Skene (Period)

For related charges, see cleaver, drawknife, fer-a-loup, shave, sickle.

The Ansteorran Scribes and Illuminators Guild bears:  Vert, a calligraphic knife and a reed pen in saltire argent, tied with a ribbon Or.

Giles William Trout bears:  Per bend sinister azure and argent, two pairs of daggers in saltire counterchanged.

Gwenere of Ben Murry bears:  Purpure, in bend two krisses inverted argent.

Shuaib Hassan bears:  Argent chapé sable, a cinquedea gules, ornamented Or.

Umbar in Harchiral Dandachi bears:  Argent, chaussé ployé cotised and in chief a kindjal dagger palewise inverted sable surmounted by a madu shield fesswise gules.

Daveed of Granada bears as a badge:  Or, two trenkets addorsed gules within a bordure azure.

Morgan the Tanner bears:  Or, on a hide sable a half-moon knife argent, hilted Or.

Cathbarr MacQuarrie bears:  Argent, a sea-lion vert, on a chief invected purpure a skean reversed Or.

This entry was posted on February 17, 2014, in .

Knot

A knot is a complex interlace, usually of rope or twine; there are a great many varieties.  In period heraldry, knots were normally used as badges, but there are some examples of knots used in coats of arms – e.g., the Bourchier knots in the arms of Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1454-86 [DBA3 430] – and they may be so used in Society heraldry.

Of the knots used in the Society, many are taken from medieval heraldry; some are simple knots, described in the blazon rather than given a special name; some are used mundanely in other occupations, such as surgery; and some knots are Society inventions.  The illustrations show each knot in its default orientation.

The knots taken from medieval heraldry include:

The simple generic knots include:

The knots used in occupations include:

Finally, of the Society inventions:

Knots must maintain their identifiability when used as charges.  In general, this means they may not be conjoined to form a large knotwork pattern, such as found in Celtic illumination.  So long as they can still be identified, simple knots may be conjoined in small numbers:  v. the arms of Zyganer, 1605 [Siebmacher 73], with three knots conjoined in pall inverted.

For related charges, see cross, fret, Norse beasts, pretzel, serpent, star of David, tassel, tress of hair, triquetra, valknut, yarn.

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

Knot: belt knot

Belt knot (Accepted)

Belt knot (Accepted)

The “belt knot” is the knot used to tie a leather belt around a person’s waist.  It’s a Society charge, no examples having been found in period armory.

Aldred von Lechsend aus Froschheim bears:  Or, the knot of a leather belt, ends embattled, proper within a bordure embattled vert.

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Knot: Bohemian love knot

Bohemian love knot (Period)

Bohemian love knot (Period)

The “Bohemian love knot” (Liebesknote) is special among period knots:  all examples were tied from ribbon rather than cord.  It appears to have been a badge of Wenzel (or Wenceslaus) of Bohemia, c.1400:  the knot appears frequently in manuscripts and architecture he commissioned.  [K.M. Swoboda, Gotik in Boehmen]

Johannes von Narrenstein bears:  Ermine, a Bohemian love knot azure within a bordure gules.

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Knot: Bourchier knot

Bourchier knot (Period)

Bourchier knot (Period)

The Bourchier knot was the badge of Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex, d.1483 [HB 99].  The knot was used by subsequent members of the Bourchier family, sometimes substituting other items (thorn branches, garters) for the cords [Siddons II.2 94].

The modern term “granny knot” is drawn as a Bourchier knot.  For heraldic purposes, the “square knot” and “reef knot” are equivalent to the Bourchier knot as well.

Kemrith Danil bears as a badge:  Argent, a Bourchier knot vert.

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Knot: Bowen knot

Bowen knot (Period)

Bowen knot (Period)

The “Bowen knot” was the badge of the Bowen family [HB 80].  It was normally drawn with curved bows, as in the illustration, but sometimes with corners, as seen in the Visitation of Wales, 1530 [Woodcock & Robinson 149].

Eilonwen verch Gryffyn bears:  Per pale vert and sable, a Bowen knot crosswise argent.

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Knot: Cavendish knot; Savoy knot

Cavendish (or Savoy) knot (Period)

Cavendish (or Savoy) knot (Period)

The “Cavendish knot” or “Savoy knot” was used as a badge by the House of Savoy since 1362; but it is better known as the badge of Cavendish, Dukes of Devonshire [Woodcock & Robinson 186], though no period examples of its use by that family have been found.  The knot may be called a “figure-eight knot” in non-heraldic contexts.

The Order of the Cavendish Knot, of the Middle, bears:  Four Cavendish knots conjoined in cross vert.

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