Estoile (Period)

Estoile (Period)

An estoile is a heavenly body, the heraldic representation of a star in English heraldry.  Its use dates from the 13th Century, where it was often interchangeable with a mullet; toward the end of period, mullets were more often used to represent stars in Continental heraldry, while estoiles performed that function in English heraldry, as in the arms of Sir Francis Drake, 1581 [Wagner 72].

As defined in later period heraldry, the estoile has wavy rays, numbering six by default.  One ray points to chief by default.  If the number of rays is other than six, this must be explicitly blazoned; an estoile with five rays is deemed a step from period practice.  For related charges, see comet, sun.

Sequora of Zagamar bears:  Gyronny ermine and Or, an estoile gules.

Giovanni Basilio de Castronovo bears:  Counter-ermine, three estoiles Or.

Matilda Stoyle bears:  Azure, three estoiles argent.

This entry was posted on January 26, 2014, in .


Decrescent (Period); increscent (Period)

Decrescent (Period); increscent (Period)

Crescent (Period); crescent pendant (Period)

Crescent (Period); crescent pendant (Period)

The crescent is an ancient charge, shaped like the quarter-moon just after new.  It’s thought to have been intended originally as a horse-brass; but it quickly gained its present lunar interpretation.  It’s found as early as c.1244, in the canting arms of de Cressy [Asp2 215].

The crescent has its horns to chief by default.  If the horns point to base, it is blazoned a “crescent pendant (or pendu)” or “crescent inverted”; this form is seen in the arms of Pope Benedict XIII, 1394 [Conz.Const. lxxv].  If the horns point to sinister, it’s blazoned a “decrescent”; if to dexter, an “increscent”.

In Society heraldry, the use of a red descrescent on a white background, by itself or in combination with other motifs, has been restricted due to its use as the symbol of the International Red Crescent, which is protected by mundane international law.

In the English system of cadency, the crescent is the mark of the second son.  In medieval times, it was sometimes used to represent the Turks or the Moslems.  For related charges, see moon.  See also heavenly bodies.

The King of Caid bears:  Azure, a crown within a laurel wreath Or, between three crescents within a bordure embattled argent.

Saher de Wahull bears:  Or, three crescents gules.

Sean Macarailt of Sandyhume bears:  Sable, an increscent argent.

Arqai Ne’ürin bears:  Gyronny sable and argent, a decrescent vert.

Fiona Ann the Fair bears:  Ermine, three crescents inverted sable.

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


Comet (Period)

Comet (Period)

A comet is a heavenly body with a long trail of light, manifesting irregularly, and considered a portent of disaster in medieval times.  In heraldry, it’s depicted as a mullet or estoile (called the “head”), trailing plumes of vapor or fire (called the “beard”).  The head is to chief by default; in Society blazonry, a comet with its head to base is sometimes blazoned a “shooting star” or “falling star”.

There are several styles of comet in heraldic art.  The most common form has an estoile as the head, trailing fire, as in the illustration.  However, it might be drawn indistinguishably from a mullet of eight points with one point greatly elongated; or as a mullet with a wavy trail.  No difference is granted between these styles.

The comet is a period charge, found in the canting arms of de Comma, mid-15th C. [Triv 121]; cf. also the civic arms of Colmar, 1605 [Siebmacher 219], and the illustration in Bossewell, 1572 [II.132].  The known examples of comets in period armory were singly tinctured; having the comet’s head a different tincture than its beard is deemed a step from period practice.  For related charges, see estoile, mullet.

Marc of Esfenn bears:  Sable, in pale three comets fesswise argent.

Elena Glamorgan bears:  Gules, a comet bendwise inverted Or.

Esmirelda Dancingstar bears:  Purpure, a shooting star bendwise sinister Or.

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


Two clouds (Period, Disallowed)

Two clouds (Period, Disallowed)

A cloud is a mass of condensed water vapor, suspended in the atmosphere.  In heraldry, clouds are usually found in conjunction with rainbows, winds, sunbursts, and the like; but they are occasionally found as independent charges.  The illustration shows a period and a modern depiction of clouds; the period form (in chief) is taken from the arms of the Worshipful Company of Drapers, granted 1439 [Bromley & Child 72].  The modern form has been disallowed, pending documentation.  See also heavenly bodies.

Elisabetta Tempesta bears:  Azure, three clouds argent.

Brigid of Skye bears:  Per chevron azure and argent, three clouds counterchanged.

Anne Liese Wolkenhaar bears:  Or, a cloud azure between flaunches vert.

This entry was posted on December 19, 2013, in .