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:
- Bohemian love knot
- Bourchier knot
- Bowen knot
- Cavendish knot (or Savoy knot)
- Heneage knot
- Hungerford knot (or Dacre knot)
- Knot of two hearts voided and braced
- Lacy knot
- Stafford knot
- Suffolk knot
- Wake knot (or Ormond knot)
The simple generic knots include:
The knots used in occupations include:
- Belt knot
- Hangman’s noose
- Ligature knot (or surgeon’s knot)
- Masthead knot (disallowed)
- Weaver’s knot (disallowed)
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.