1902 Encyclopedia > Heraldry > Common Charges - Animals

(Part 5)


The following rules are applicable to the blazoning of animals. Generally, unless otherwise specified, they are shown in profile, looking towards the dexter side ; when to the sinister, the word counter is prefixed, "a lion counter-passant." Animals back to back are "addorsed" ; face to face, "confrontée" ; facing the spectator, "gardant," or " affrontée" looking back, "regardant" ; when rising out of the edge of an ordinary, "issuant ;" when out of the middle of it, "naissant." When the claws, horns, tongues, hoofs, or mane are shown of a special colour, the animal is "armed," "corned," "langued" or "lampassé," "ungued," or "crined." Sometimes he is crowned royally or ducally, sometimes "collared," "gorged," or "accollée." When wounded he is "vulned."

When of its natural colour an animal is "proper," but it may be of any metal, colour, or fur, and divided by any partition lines. When a head or member is torn off it is "erased." When cut off "couped." When men are clothed, they are "habited" ; when nude, they are "salvage."

QUADRUPEDS.—Of these the Lion is by far the most popular, nor is his popularity confined to England. He appears not only in the British arms, but in those of Spain, Holland, Denmark, Bohemia, and Saxony, and many lesser states. Of Edward II.’s 918 bannerets, 225 bear lions in some form or other. The favourite attitude is rampant, but he may be passant, saliant, statant, sejant, couchant, or dormant. About thirty varieties of attitude are enumerated by writers ; but most are rarely if ever used, and indeed it is seldom the lion is other than rampant or passant. Sometimes he is borne "demi," especially as a crest. His paws or jambs are also borne, and his tail. In one or two well-known instances on the Continent he is "déhaché," that is, his head and paws and the tuft of his tail are cut off. When a member is borne upright, it is "erected." As a set off to this dismemberment, in early rolls the lion is sometimes represented as two-tailed, or "queue furchée," and there are examples of bicorporate and tricorporate lions, though not many. When above three lions are shown, they become lioncels or lions’ whelps, unless otherwise specified.

It has been shown that as early as 1127 Henry I. used the lion as an ornament upon the shield he gave to his son-in-law, who bore those animals upon his brodekins, as did the early French kings the fleur-de-lys. Mr Planché has investigated this early use of the lion by Henry with great acuteness. A prophecy of Merlin, held to apply to that king, designated him as the Lion of Justice ; his favourite residence and death-place was in the forest of Leon or Lyons in Normandy; his wife Adeliza was a daughter of Godfrey, duke of Louvain or Löwen, a nanie which certainly gave rise to the lion as the arms of that family.

William, earl of Gloucester, Henry’s grandson, sealed with a lion. Richard de Redvers, earl of Devon, who married a granddaughter of Henry, also bore a lion, as did Ranulph, earl of Chester, who married another grandchild. William d’Albini who married Henry’s widow, used the same animal. All this occurred at a period when armorial bearings were by no means an established institution, and when every great noble was taking it up, and quite open to assume a bearing, On the whole, therefore, it seems probable that to Henry I. was due the introduction of the lion into English heraldry. It has been seen that under Richard and John the lions became the settled arms of England, and this will account for the general adoption of the royal beast in English coats of arms. In heraldry a "lion passant gardant or" is always blazoned as "a lion of Eng-land."

The identity of the lion of England with the leopard has been the subject of much controversy, and when Napoleon talked of driviiig the leopards into the sea he evidently used the word in disparage-ment of our national bearing. The early heralds, who probably were not zoologists, seemed to have confounded the lion with the leopard, and to have used the name according to the attitude of the animal. When rampant he was a lion, when in any other attitude, as passant, he was leo-pardé or a lion-as-a-leopard, but never drawn spotted like a real leopard. As the lion came more generally into use, and was borne in various attitudes, the allusion to the leopard was gradually dropped, though as late as the reign of Edward III. and Richard II. the royal crest was described as a leopard, and Henry V. had a Leopard herald. Among the greater barons of the 13th and 14th century, the lion was borne by the earls of Arundel, Cornwall, Devon, Hereford, Leicester, Lincoln, the Earl Marsbal and the earl of Salisbury, as well as by scores of the lesser barons or knights. Sir Tristem, the knight of Lyonesse, bore a lion when

"Mordant with his might,

With a lance un-light,

He smote him in the lion."

Lewis of Llanishen find Cromwell their cadet bore and bear sable, a lion rampant argent, a bearing still used by their cadets, the Lewises of Pennsylvania, who migrated above two centuries ago (fig. 86).

Mathew of Castell-y-Mynach: argent, a lion rampant regardant sable (fig. 87). Everingham: gules, a lion rampant vair, crowned or.

Havering: argent, a lion rampant queue furchée gules, gorged azure (fig. 88).

Capel gules, a lion rampant between three cross crosslets, fitchy, or. In allusion to which Lord Capel is described at the siege of Colchester:—

"There lion-like undaunted Capel stood,

Beset with crosses in a field of blood."

Sir Simon de Felbrigge, K.G.: or, a lion sallant gules (fig. 89).

Fitz Payne : gules, three lions passant in pale argent, debruised by a bendlet azure (fig. 90).

The lion statant is more usually seen on a crest, and is that of Percy and

Talbot .

Tynte of Cefn Mably: gules, a lion couchant between six cross crosslets, argent, 3 and 3.

Ayieworth of Essex: gules, a lion dormant or.

Longspee, earl of Salisbury: azure, six lioncels rampant or, 3,2,1 (fig. 91).

Edmond, earl of Lancaster : a tricorporate lion issuing from three parts of the escutcheon, united at the head, gardant in the fess point, or, armed and langued azure (fig. 92).

A Scottish seal of Chalmers, 1449, bears a demi-lion issuant from a fess, in base a fleur-de-lys.

Markham : azure, on a chief or a demi-lion rampant issuant gules (fig. 93).

Sir Henry Eame, K.G.: or, out of the middle of a fess a lion rampant naissant gules, armed azure (fig. 94).

Wyndham : argent, a chevron between three lions’ heads erased or (fig. 95.

Newdigate: gules, three lions’ jambs erased argent (fig. 96).

Pinchbeke: sable, three lions’ tails erased erect argent (fig. 97).

The Leopard, that is, the real spotted animal, is seen now and then in coats of arms, but is of much later introduction than the lion, which is often called by that name. Thus Sir Reginald de Dunstan-ville is blazoned as bearing "gules, two leopards passant de-bruised of a bâton ;" these most certainly were lions. A coat of Astley was however, gules, a leopard rampant argent, in that case a real leopard. He is often called a pard.

Cantelupe : azure, three pards’ heads jessant fleurs-de-lys or (fig. 98).

Wentworth : sable, a chevron between three pards’ faces or.

Hubard of lpsley, who held under Cantelupe: sable, three pards’ heads jessant fieurs-de-lys argent.

The heraldic Tiger is neither a common nor an early bearing. To the body of the wolf he adds the tail of a lion, and he is studded with tufts of hair.

The supporters of Hastings, earls of Huntingdon, are two man-tigers affrontés.

Lone of Ellow bears azure, a tiger passant or.

Hunloke of Wingerworth : azure, a fess between three heraldic tigers’ heads erased or.

The Wolf, when saliant, is said to be "ravissant."

Lovett of Astwell: gules, three wolves passant sable, in pale.

The wolf, the boar, the hart, and the hare were the four heraldic beasts of venery. Dame Juliana Berners, says—

"Four maner beastys of venery there are:

The first of thern is the hert, the second the hare,

The boar is one of them, the wolf, and not one moe."

The Boar is the only beast besides the lion borne in the roll of Henry III., where Adam de Swyneburne bears "de goules, a trois testes de sanglier d’argent" (fig. 99), a bearing which, however, the family have long laid aside for "per fess gules and argent, two cinquefoils counterchanged," a coat derived from Umfraville. The hure or teste de sanglier is a common crest. The "glory of the tusky boar" is in his tusks, "dente timetur aper." He is also borne whole.

Gilpin: or, a boar sable.

The boar was the cognizance of Richard III., with a thorn bush-—

"The bristly boar

In infant gore

Wallows beneath the thorny shade."

It is the crest of most of the clan Campbell.

The Bear is also a beast of heraldry.

Beresford: argent, a bear rampant sable, muzzled, collared, and chained or

Fitz Urse: or, a bear passant sable.

The Fox.

Williams: argent, two foxes saliant counter-saliant in saltire, gules, the dexter surmounting the sinister (fig. 100).

The Cat-a-Mountain, musion, or wild cat, was long preserved in. Rockingham forest, the country of Catesby, the first of the well--known trio—

"The cat, the rat, and Lovel our dog."

Catesby, however, bore argent. two lions passant gardant sable, crowned or,

Keate : argent, three mountain cats passant in pale sable.

The musion was the emblem of Burgundy and the arms of an im-prisoned cat were fabled to have been granted by Childebert to a knight who made prisoner Gundemar of Burgundy.

In the following dialogue from Ferne’s Glory of Generositie the reader will recognize an amusing passage in Quentin Durward.

"Paradis, the herald.—Therefore, I pray you, begin and tell your sovereign what coat armour this knight beareth?

"Torquatus, a knight.—Methinks he beareth sable, a musion passant gardaut or, oppressed with a fret gules of eight parts, mayles argent (fig. 101).

"Columel, a ploughman.—Jezu, Zir! call you thk arms? now by my vaye, c’had thought arms should not have been of such triffling things. Why, this is even the cat in the milk-house window. Full ill will her dayri thrive giffe she put zutche a vermin beast in trust to keep it."

The Dog.—The mastiff or talbot supports the shield of the earls of Shrewsbury. "The talbot ever true and faithful to the crown." In the fine brass of Sir Brian Stapleton at Ingham, 1432, the knight rests his foot upon a dog whose collar is marked "Jakke."

Burton of FaIde : azure, a fess between three talbots’ heads erased or.

Mauleverer of Allerton Mauleverer : gules, three greyhounds or levriers currant in pale argent.

The alaund or hunting dog was in great request. Those of Henry VIII. bore his arms and badges on their collars. Fienes, Lord Dacre, used it as a supporter.

The Stag and Hart were old, though not of the earliest bearings. The stag appears in the roll of Edward II. When in motion he is trippant when lying down he is lodged. His antlers are his "attires;" a pair of attires attached to a fragment of the skull bone forms "a massacre." The bead is usually borne full-faced, when it is said to be cabossed or cabaged,

Green of Green’s Norton: azure, three bucks trippant or.

Bullstrode of Bullstrode : sable, a stag’s head cabossed argent, attired or, and between the attires a cross patee ritchy of the third, transfixed through the nostrils by an arrow of the last, barbed and feathered of the second. This is called a stag of St Hubert (fig. 102).

The kingdom of Würtemberg: or, three attires of a stag banvise in pale sable.

Cocks : sable, a chevron between three massacres argent.

Roper: per fess, azure and or, a pale and three roebucks’ heads counterchanged.

John Trie who, tenp. Edward II, was son and heir of Alicia de Hertley, bore

"a hart’s head cabossed."

The staw’s head was the emblem and armorial bearing of tht M’Kenzies, whose chief, the lord of Kintail, was called by the Highlanders "Caberfaigh"—

"Proud chief of Kintall,

Let the stag in thy standard bound wild in tbe gale.

The heraldic Antelope, or agacella, somewhat resembles a tiger, but has horns and hoofs. Brooke, Lord Cobbam, had for a dexter supporter an agacella, horned, tusked, and armed or.

The Elephant.

Elphinston: gules, an elephant passant argent, tusked or.

Saunders of Welford : per chevron, sable and argent, three elephants’ heads erased counterchanged.

The Bull, or buffler, in his wild state was a formidable animal, and is used heraldically, though more frequently as a crest, supporter, or cognizance, than in arms—

"Mightiest of all the beasts of chase

That roamed in woody Caledon."

Front de Boeuf, a real Norman name, probably bore no arms, though Scott appropriately gives him the bull’s head. The head cabaged was a Welsh bearing; and when the horns and hoofs are noticed, he is said to be armed or corned and ungued. The bull’s head is the crest of Hastings and Nevill, and the pied bull a well-known cognizance.

Skeffington : argent, three bulls’ heads erased sable, armed or (fig. 103).

The Calf.

Le Vele of Tortworth and St Fagans in Glamorganshire: argent, on a bend sable three calves or.

Calverley: argent, on a fess gules three calves or.

The Horse, the support of the equestrian order, does not appear in early coats of arms, although the winged horse was a cognizance of the order of the Temple. A grey horse is a liard, a bay a bay-ard. When in the field he is free, when in harness barded and caparisoned.

Trevelyan of Nettlecombe, whose ancestor is supposed, in Cornwall, to have come out of the sea at the Land’s End ready mounted, incongruously enough, upon a land horse, bears gules, a demi land horse issuant from the water, all proper.

Horsey of Melcombe-Horsey: azure, three horses’ heads couped, bitted, and

reined or.

The Ass, probably the wild ass endued with sublimity in the book of Job, found a place on the shield of the old Cheshire family of Hockenhull, argent, an ass’s head erased sable.

The Ram/—Recently a valuable silver dish was fished up from Whittlesea Mere, having rams’ heads at each end, evidently once the property of the Abbey.

Ramsey Abbey, "Ramsey the rich," bore or, on a bend azure three rams’ heads couped argent, armed of the field.

The Sheep is occasionally seen, but the Lamb from its religious association was in general use. The Pascal Lamb was one of the cognizances of the Templars, and is adopted with equal propriety by the gentlemen of the long robe. As the "Lamb and Flag" it is known extensively in South Wales. Price of Park and other descendants of Jestyn ap Gwrgant bore it as a crest.

Lambton of Lambton : sable, a fess between three lambs trippant argent.

The fleece of the sheep gave name to the great Burgundian order, and the toison d’or was its jewel. It probably refers to the pas-toral wealth of Burgundy, but is said to have been founded by Philip the Good, in allusion, not to the bad faith of Jason, but to the prowess of Gideon.

The Goat.—Williarn de Capraville bore a goat "exsiliens."

Thorwold of Marston: sable, three goats saliant argent.

The Coney.

Coningsby of Hampton Court: gules, three coneys argent.

The Otter.—L’outre was used as a supporter by Luttrel of Dunster.

The Squirrel.

Nutshaw : argent, a squirrel sejant nibbling a nut, all proper, from a hatchment in Claybrook Church.

The Hedgehog, herison, ericius.—In the church of Gamelston, Notts, is a fine effigy in chain mail of the end of the 13th century, of one of the family of Heriz, and on the shield are three hedgehogs. They bore azure, three hedgehogs or. The hedgehog is also borne by the Maxwells for the lordship of Herries.

The Mole.

Mitford of Mitford: argent, a fess sable between three moles proper.

The Ermine, the fur of which is borne widely, is scarcely known in heraldry as an animal. The reader will, however, remember the three ermines in the windows of Waverley House.

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