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The symbolic figures of Heraldry are so well known to those acquainted with the science in every kingdom of Europe, that if an Englishman was to send a written emblazonment or description of an escutcheon to a French, German, or Spanish artist acquainted with the English language, either of them could return a properly drawn and coloured escutcheon; but a correct emblazonment would be indispensable. A single word omitted would spoil the shield.


The reader has already been informed that in emblazoning an escutcheon, the colour of the field is first named; then the principal ordinary, such as the fess, the chevron, &c., naming the tincture and form of the ordinary; then proceed to describe the charges on the field, naming their situation, metal, or colour; lastly, describe the charges on the ordinary.


When an honourable ordinary or some one figure is placed upon another, whether it be a fess, chevron, cross, &c., it is always to be named after the ordinary or figure over which it is placed, with either the words surtout or overall.


In the blazoning such ordinaries as are plain, the bare mention of them is sufficient; but if an ordinary should be formed of any of the curved or angular lines, such as invected, indented, &c., the lines must be named.


When a principal figure possesses the centre of the field, its position is not to be expressed; it is always understood to be in the middle of the shield.


When the situation of a principal bearing is not expressed, it is always understood to occupy the centre of the field. Ex. See Azure, an annulet argent , p. 48.


The number of the points of mullets must be specified if more than five: also if a mullet or any other charge is pierced, it must be mentioned.


When a ray of the sun or other single figure is borne in any other part of the escutcheon than the centre, the point it issues from must be named.


The natural colour of trees, plants, fruits, birds, &c., is to be expressed in emblazoning by the word proper ; but if they vary from their natural colour, the tincture or metals that is used must be named.


Two metals cannot come in contact: thus or, cannot be placed on argent, but must be contrasted with a tincture.


When there are many figures of the same species borne in coats of arms, their number must be observed as they stand, and properly expressed. The annexed arrangements of roundlets in shields will show how they are placed and described.

Two roundlets in pale

The two roundlets are arranged in pale, but they may appear in chief or base; or in fess, as in No. 2.

Two roundlets in fess

Three roundlets, two over one

Three roundlets, two over one; if the single roundlet had been at the top, it would have been called one over two .

Three roundlets in bend

Three roundlets in bend. They might also be placed in fess, chief, base, or in pale.

Four roundels

Four roundlets, two over two. Some armorists call them cantoned as they form a square figure.

Five roundlets in saltier

Five roundlets; two, one, two, in saltier.

Five roundlets in cross

Five roundlets; one, three, one, or in cross.

Six roundlets paleway

Six roundlets; two, two, two, paleway.

Six roundlets in pile

Six roundlets; three, two, one, in pile.

There are seldom more figures than seven, but no matter the number; they are placed in the same way, commencing with the figures at the top of the shield, or in chief. If the field was strewed all over with roundlets, this would be expressed by the word semé .

Marshalling coats of arms , is the act of disposing the arms of several persons in one escutcheon, so that their relation to each other may be clearly marked.

In Heraldry, the husband and wife are called baron and femme ; and when they are descended from distinct families, both their arms are placed in the same escutcheon, divided by a perpendicular line through the centre of the shield. As this line runs in the same direction, and occupies part of the space in the shield appropriated to the ordinary called the pale, the shield is in heraldic language said to be parted per pale . The arms of the baron (the husband) are always placed on the dexter side of the escutcheon; and the femme (the wife), on the sinister side, as in the annexed example.

Parted per pale, baron and femme, two coats

Parted per pale, baron and femme, two coats; first, or, a chevron gules; second, barry of twelve pieces, azure and argent.

If a widower marries again, the arms of both his wives are placed on the sinister side, which is parted per fess; that is, parted by an horizontal line running in the direction of the fess, and occupying the same place. The arms of the first wife are placed in the upper compartment of the shield, called the chief; the arms of the second wife in the lower compartment, called the base.

Parted per pale, baron and femme, three coats

Parted per pale, baron and femme, three coats;—first, gules, on a bend azure, three trefoils vert: second, parted per fess, in chief azure, a mascle or, with a label argent for difference. In base ermine, a fess, dancette gules. The same rule would apply if the husband had three or more wives; they would all be placed in the sinister division of the shield.

Where the baron marries an heiress, he does not impale his arms with hers, as in the preceding examples, but bears them in an escutcheon of pretence in the centre of the shield, showing his pretension to her lands in consequence of his marriage with the lady who is legally entitled to them. The escutcheon of pretence is not used by the children of such marriage; they bear the arms of their father and mother quarterly, and so transmit them to posterity. Annexed is an example of the arms of the femme on escutcheon of pretence.

Baron and femme, two coats

Baron and femme, two coats; first, gules, a saltier argent; second, on an escutcheon of pretence, azure, a chevron, or.

If a peeress in her own right, or the daughter of a peer, marries a private gentleman, their coats of arms are not conjoined paleways, as baron and femme, but are placed upon separate shields by the side of each other; they are usually inclosed in a mantel, the shield of the baron occupying the dexter side of the mantel, that of the femme the sinister; each party has a right to all the ornaments incidental to their rank. The femme claiming the arms of her father, has a right to his supporters and coronet. The baron, who only ranks as an esquire, has no right to supporters or coronet, but exhibits the proper helmet, wreath, and crest.

The peeress, by marrying one beneath her in rank, confers no dignity on her husband, but loses none of her own. She is still addressed as "your ladyship," though her husband only ranks as a gentleman; and it is for this reason that the arms cannot be conjoined in one shield as baron and femme.

Ex. Baron and femme, two atchievements. First, azure, a pile or, crest a star of six points, argent; second, gules, a cross flory argent, surmounted by an earl's coronet: supporters, on the dexter side a stag ducally gorged and chained, on the sinister side a griffin gorged and chained; motto, Honour and Truth.

Baron and femme, two atchievements

In the arms of the femme joined to the paternal coat of the baron, the proper differences by which they were borne by the father of the lady must be inserted.

If the arms of the baron has a bordure, that must be omitted on the sinister side of the shield.

Archbishops and bishops impale the paternal arms with the arms of the see over which they preside, placing the arms of the bishopric on the dexter, and their paternal arms on the sinister side of the shield; a bishop does not emblazon the arms of his wife on the same shield with that which contains the arms of the see, but on a separate shield.

Arms of augmentation are marshalled according to the direction of the College of Heralds: they are usually placed on a canton in the dexter chief of the shield; in some cases they occupy the whole of the chief. The mark of distinction denoting a baronet is usually placed on an escutcheon, on the fess point of the shield.

The rules here laid down apply to funeral atchievements, banners, &c. The only difference, as will be seen by the annexed examples, is, that the ground of the hatchment is black, that surrounds the arms of the deceased, whether baron or femme, and white round the arms of the survivor.


In fig. 1. the black is left on the dexter side, showing that the husband is deceased, and that his wife survives him.


Fig. 2. shows that the husband survives the wife.


Fig. 3. shows that the husband and his first wife are deceased, and that the second wife is the survivor.


Fig. 4. The shield on the dexter side of the hatchment is parted per pale; first, the arms of the bishopric; second, the paternal arms of the bishop. The shield on the dexter side is the arms of the bishop impaling those of his wife as baron and femme; the ground of the hatchment is black round the sinister side of this shield, showing that it is the wife that is dead.


Fig. 5. is the hatchment of a lady that has died unmarried. The arms of females of all ranks are placed in a lozenge-shaped shield.


Fig. 6. is the hatchment of the widow of a bishop; the arms are the same as those displayed at fig. 4.: here the lozenge-shaped shield is parted per pale. Baron and femme:—first, parted paleways, on the dexter side the arms of the bishopric, on the sinister side the paternal arms of the bishop. Second, the arms of the femme: the widow of a bishop has a right to exhibit the arms of the see over which her husband presided, as though his death has dissolved all connection with the see. She has a right to emblazon all that will honour her deceased husband.

For banners, pennons, guidons, cyphers, hatchments, &c., and all other matters where heraldic emblazonment is used in funeral processions, the reader is referred to the Dictionary.


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