Crow (Period)

Crow (Period)

The crow is a bird with a harsh voice and a reputation for avarice.  It is close by default; period emblazons, in fact, overwhelmingly depict it close and sable.  A few heraldic depictions, particularly on the Continent, show it with hairy feathers; most others draw it sleekly feathered; but all show the crow with a long, pointed bill.  A “crow speaking” or “croaking” has its mouth open as if in speech.

Similar to the crow are the “raven”, the “rook”, and the “(jack)daw”.  Indeed, for emblazonry purposes, all these corvids are indistinguishable; the exact term was frequently chosen purely for the sake of a cant.  Likewise, any of these might be blazoned a “corbie”, as in the canting arms of Corbet, c.1255 [ANA2 200].

There is also the “Cornish chough” (pronounced “chuff”), in form identical to the crow, and only distinguishable when “proper”:  it is then black with red beak and feet.  Its most famous use is in the arms of Cardinal Wolsey, c.1520 [Wagner 66].  The chough may sometimes be blazoned a “beckit” for canting purposes [Parker 136].

Ogan O Crowly bears:  Argent, five crows in saltire and a chief sable.

Cigfran o Gaer Walch bears:  Or, six ravens close sable.

John of Ravenwolf bears:  Sable, a raven speaking Or, beaked and membered argent.

Cynthia of the Loch bears:  Per bend sinister Or and gules, a bend sinister counter-ermine between a rook contourny sable and three towers Or.

Pippin de Corbie bears:  Ermine, a corbie sable holding in its mouth a ring Or and in chief three apples gules.

Cadan of Mons Tonitrus bears:  Quarterly argent and azure, in bend two Cornish choughs proper.

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