Chain fesswise (Period)

Chain fesswise (Period)

A chain is a series of metal links, used for binding or pulling.  It is found in the arms of von Bueningen, c.1370 [Gelre 109].  The usual heraldic depiction of chain is with square links, but round-linked chains are found in period; the links’ actual shape is a matter of artistic license.  (Indeed, the same effect is often blazoned as, e.g., “annulets interlaced in fess”.)

There seems to be no default orientation for chain; it must be specifically blazoned, e.g., a “chain fesswise” as in the illustration.  A chain throughout may also be blazoned as an ordinary of chain, e.g., the “saltire of chain” in the arms of Elwett, c.1460 [RH].

In Society heraldry a closed loop of chain is reserved to Knights.  See also mail, maily.

The Order of Knighthood bears:  A circular chain.

Guy of Alderney bears:  Gyronny sable and argent, a saltire of chains vert.

Éimhín mac Ultáin bears:  Per bend sable and argent, a bend of chain Or.

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