1902 Encyclopedia > Heraldry > Common Charges - Miscellaneous Objects

(Part 12)

MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS.—Helmet.—The helmet completed the knight’s equipment. He wore "l’ecu au cou, son heaulme sur la tête, et son glaive au poing," or,

"His helm of latoun bright,

His saddel was of revell bone,

His bridle as the sun shone,

His spere was of fine cypress."

Halliday of Hungerford: sable, three helmets argent, garnished or, with a border engrailed of the second. The motto referring to the ornitted fourth helmet is exceedingly happy, "Quarta salutis."

Morion, or steel cap.

Brudenel of Dene: argent, a chevron between three morions sable.


Gunter of Tregunter: sable, three dexter gauntlets or.

The Sword is much used in heraldry; it was the oldest weapon and that most thought of. The soldier in all time was the man of the sword. Damascus, Cologne, Bilbao were in turn famous for the manufacture, as was among smiths Andrea di Ferrara. The swords of great soldiers have been celebrated : Bhowanee as the sword of Sivajee, Excalibar of Arthur, Taillefer of Coeur de Lion—-

"Schwafurlama’s magic blade

Was by dwarfs at midnight made."

There was also the weapon by which Roland, with "hug two--handed sway," cleft the pass of Roncesvalles,

"And to the enormous labour left his name."

The sword of Talbot bore "Sum Talboti pro vincere inimicos suos,"—"Bad Latin," says Fuller, "on it, but good steel in it." King John gave his own sword to the town of Lynn Regis with the inscription, "Ensis hie donum fuit regis Joannis, a suo ipsius latere datum." The sword of heraldry is two-handed.

Kilpec of Kilpec: argent, a sword bendwise sable.

The Axe was reckoned a manly weapon—

"King Richard, as I understond,

Yet he went out of Englonde,

Let make an axe for the nones,

Therwith to crush the Saracens bones.

Thereon were twenty pound of steele."

The Danish battle-axe was famous. Walter de Plumpton held Plumpton by the tenure of a Danish axe that hung up in his hall there.

Hackluyt: gules, three Danish axes or.

Lance.—The arms granted to Shakespeare’s father were, or, on a bend sable a lance of the field.

Spear Head.—This is a common bearing among the Welsh of Glamorgan and Brecknock, and used by Jones of Fonmon : sable, a chevron between three spear heads argent, points embrued gules. It is quartered by Lewis of Greenmeadow, a cadet of Vau, and by others.

The Arblast, or cross-bow, was a most unpopular weapon, as requiring no strength or manliness for its use. Richard I. is gene-rally said to have met his death from a cross-bow ; but the earls of Aberdeen, who claimed to represent Bertrand de Gourdon, bear as their crest two arms drawing a long bow. The cross-bow was forbidden by Innocent II. and the emperor Conrad at a council in 1139. Guillaume de Dôle, who wrote before 1200, say of this weapon—

"Par effort de lance et d’escu,

Conqueront toy ses ennemies

Ja arbalétrices nu fu mis,

Por sa guerre li autoritez."

Nevertheless as early as 1270 the master of the cross-bows was a great officer of the French crown.

Arblaster: ermine, a cross-bow in pale gules.

The Bow, though formed of Spanish yew, wag essentially an English weapon. It occurs in heraldry, though scarcely so frequently as might have been expected, and chiefly in allusion to a name. The belt or baldrick, sheaf of arrows, buckler, and sword com-pleted the equipment of all archer—

"Their baudricks set with studs, athwart their shoulders cast,

To which, under their arms, their sheaves were buckled fast;

A short sword at their belt, a buckler scarce a span,

Who struck below the knee, not counted then a man.

All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous strong;

They not an arrow drew but was a clothyard long.

Of archery they had the very perfect craft."

The bow was used by the English in the attack on the isle of Rhé, in 1627.

Bowes of Streatlam: ermine, three bows palewise strung gules (fig. 117).

The Arrow.—Drayton describes

"Their arrows finely paired for timber and for feather,

With birch and Brazil pierced, to fly in any weather;

And shot they with the round, the square, or forked pile,

The loose gave such a twang as might be heard a mile."

The burgesses of Sheffield seal with a sheaf of arrows.

Birdbolt, or bozon.

William de Gresley held a manor "per unum arcum…et unarn bozonem."

Bozon of Barrowby: argent, three birdbolts gules, feathered or.

The Pheon, or broad arrow.

Sydney of Penshurst: or, a pheon azure (fig. 119).

Floyer of Floyer’s-Hayes: sable, a chevron between three broad arrows argent.

In heraldry arrows are usually drawn as clothyard shafts. The pheon is always drawn with the head only.

Besides these, and also more or less connected with war and the chase, are the buckle, barnacle, calthrop, castle, fireball, hammer, horse-shoe, hunting horn, maul, pick, spur, stirrup, and some hundreds of miscellaneous objects, travelling so far out of the legitimate charges of heraldry as to include apples and acorns, beehives, and a turnstyle. A very few of the most ancient have been selected. Walter Agard held Tutbury under Henry III. by a white hunter’s horn, and bore for arms, argent, three hunters’ horns sable.

The Chain borne by the kings of Navarre, the puzzle and delight of French heralds, "gules, a trellis of chains or, in cross and saltire," also blazoned "gules, a carbuncle closed and pomelled or," or by the Spanish heralds—"cadenas d’oro atronesados en campo de sangre."

The Annulet, said to be a link of mail,

Musgrave of Edenhall, derived from Vipont: azare, six annulets or, 3,2,1.

Lowther also derived his arms, or, six annulets sable, 3,2,1, from the same source.

Calthrop—a four-spiked implement, so arranged that when thrown on the ground one spike always stood upright. Calthrops were used to keep off cavalry. Bruce used them at Bannockburn, and among the stores at Dover castle, 16 Edward III., was a barrel containing 2900 calketrappes. Froissart says the English on one occasion supplied their place by sticking their spurs into the ground.

Horseman: or, three calthrops gules (fig. 120).


Hill: ermine, on a fess sable a castle triple towered argent.

Comb.—a singular bearing of high antiquity borne by Ponsonby of Ponsonby and Tunstall of Thirland.


Argentine: argent, three cups gules.

Cushions, oreilliers.

Earls of Moray: argent, three pillows gules.

Maheu de Redman, in the roll of Henry III.: de goules, .. f ois horeilers d’or. Possibly these are birds.

Tiara.—The Dukes d’Urbino bore a papal tiara.

Crowns (mural, naval, and others) and mitres are not uncom-mon in arms. The Berkeley crest is a mitre. The crancelin or crown of rue was used in 1150 by Saxony. Bernhard of Anhalt bore barry of eight or and sable, a crancelin vert.

Mullet.—This is usually called a spur rowel, but it was in use long before the rowelled spur. Besides being employed as a differ-ence, it is a constituent of numberless coats of arms.

Assheton of Downham: argent, a mullet pierced sable.

But it is generally borne in numbers (see fig. 15).

The Lymphad or galley. The bearing of the Lords of the Isles, quartered by the dukes of Argyll for Lorne, is argent, a lymphad, sails furled and oars in action, all sable, flags flying gules (fig. 121),

The Maunch, or lady’s sleeve—

"A lady’s sleeve high-spirited Hastings bore."

The earls of Pembroke bore or, a maunch gules; those of Hunting-don bear argent, a maunch sable. It was borne also by Flamville, Wharton, Maunsel, Conyers, and many others. Bayard took a lady’s sleeve and proclaimed it, with a valuable ruby, as a prize to be con-tended for. Bayard himself won it, and the lady wore it for his sake. Fig. 123 is from the seal of John de Hastings, 1291.

The Battering-rain is borne by the Berties, earls of Lindsey, sometime dukes of Ancaster, with the allusive motto, "Virtus ariete fortior" (fig. 122).

The Escarbuncle was a very early bearing of the Mandevilles. It is a cross of eight rays, set with knobs and the arms ending in fleurs-de-lys. In another form the ends are connected by cross-bars. The escarbuncle of the reign of Henry III. resembles the iron work on doors of that period.

Blount of Bitton: argent, two bars azure, over all an escarbuncle of eight rays gules, fleurettée and pomettée or.

Among musical instruments the Clarion is borne by Granville, and is seen on tiles at Neath abbey. It resembles a pan-pipe. The Trumpet is seen on the fine Trumping-ton brass near Cambridge.

Williams of Thame: azure, two organ pipes saltier-wise, the dexter over the sinister, between four saltires argent.

The Water Budget or bucket is an early charge identified with the names of Ros and Rose. Ros, however, got it from the Trusbuts of Belvoir, who possibly bore it as lords of Watre in Holderness. Air Planché has discovered a drawing of a pair of water budgets in actual use. They were of leather, and carried in pairs on a stick over the shoulder.

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