1902 Encyclopedia > Heraldry > Differences and Marks of Cadency

(Part 14)


The object of an armorial bearing having been to dis-tinguish one iron-sheathed warrior from another, it was necessary to provide bearings for the members of a family, all entitled to take the paternal coat. This was managed by the introduction of a difference (French, brisure), usually some slight but well-marked alteration, sometimes by in-verting the tinctures, sometimes by changing an ordinary or a smaller charge, as a bend for a fess, or a crosslet for a martlet. Where an heiress had been married a part of her coat was often introduced. The object was with a suffi-cient difference to show the connexion with the head of the house. The following examples are from the families of Hastings and Zouch. Females, who wore no armour, did not need distinguishing marks, and bore the coat unbroken.

Sir John Hastings bore (see fig. 123) or, a maunch gules, called "le de plein armes."

Sir William Hastings bore the same, with a label of Pembroke.

Sir John Hastings bore the same, with a border of Valence.

Sir Edmund Hastings bore the same, with a label vert.

Sir Nicholas Hastings bore the same, with a label azure.

Sir Miles Hastings bore or, a fess and a chief, three mullets gules.

Sir Philip Hastings bore the same, with a label azure.

Sir Robert Hastings bore ermine on a chief azure, three mullets or.

The label of Pembroke and border of Valence show the match with the heiress of Valence, earl of Pembroke. Sir Miles formed a distinct branch, that of Daylesford, probably before armorial bearings were fixed; his descendants, however, returned to the maunch.

Sir Alan la Zouch bore gules, bezanty.

Sir William la Zouch bore the same, with a quarter ermine.

Sir William la Zouch bore the same, with a label azure.

Sir Oliver la Zouch bore the same, with a chevron ermine.

Sir Amory la Zouch bore the same, with a bend argent.

Sir Thomas la Zouch bore the same, on a quarter argent a mullet sable.

The quarter ermine is to show the descent from the dukes of Britanny.

These and many others of an early date are suitable for their purpose; but, as armorial bearings became less actually useful, alterations of a different character crept in. The label, however, retained its place. It closely resembles the strap with pendants which from the saddle crossed the horse’s chest. The earliest example of its use is said to be by Geoffrey, son of Henry II., in 1153, but a more certain case is the seal of Saher de Quincy, though whether there borne as a charge or as a difference is uncertain. At Caerlavrock Maurice de Berkeley bore a blue label "parceque ces pere vivoit." In ScotlandWilliam Fraser, in 1295, uses a label of three points and on each three roses or mullets, probably meant for "fraises" or strawberry leaves. The mullet, crescent, and fleur-de-lys are used as differences about the same time. The label, even then, was most frequently used by the eldest son, but occasionally he used the crescent, and the label was taken by the second son. The royal house generally used the label, but occasionally the border. Edward I., as prince, bore a label of five points azure ; Edniund Crouchback his brother, who married a French princess, charged the label with fleurs-de-lys. His second son, Henry, bore England with a bendlet ermine. Thomas and Edward, second and third sons of Edward 1, used labels. Edward IV., as prince, bore on his great seal a label of three, and on his counterseal one of five points. John of Eltham, his brother, bore England with a border of France. The Black Prince, who bore France and England quarterly, added a label argent, and Richard, during his father’s life, placed a cross of St George on the middle point. Lionel, third son of Edward III., having married the heiress of De Clare and De Burgh, used a label and on each point a canton gules, said to be the original arms of De Clare, and on his seal as earl of Ulster each point bore a cross for De Burgh. The number of points was matter of indifference, though usually confined to three. The label itself was, on the whole, and has continued to be, a mark for all the princes of the royal house.

Setting aside the royal family, a new system of differ-ences.came into use, and is touched upon by Upton early in the I 5th century, though then but imperfect. He gives, the crescent to the eldest son, and to the others the label with three or more points in succession. Dame Berners, in 1486, besides employing the billet, crosslet, and other marks, describes a method of differencing by "gerratting," that is, powdering the field with billets or other charges, but the good lady’s coats are often mere fancies. The first regular appearance of the modern system is on the effigies of seven Beauchamp cadets in St Mary’s windows at War-wick. There the label, annulet, crescent, martlet, fleur--de-lys, and mullet indicate the several cadets. The label is placed in chief, the rest on the fess point of each surcoat.

The modern mark now regularly admitted are—(1) the label of three points; (2) the crescent; (3) the mullet; (4) the martlet (5) the annulet ; (6) the fleur-de-lys; (7) the rose; (8) the cross moline ; (9) the octofoil (fig. 124). The elder son of the elder son places a label upon a label, the second a crescent, and so on, so that the ninth son of a ninth son would bear an octofoil upon an octofoil, pointing out the relationship of each member to the parent stock. Practically, however, marks of cadency are but seldom used. The earls of Harrington indeed, descending from the second son of a second son, place a crescent upon a crescent. Lords Abergavenny and Braybrooke difference their Neville saltire with a rose, as springing from the seventh son of Ralph, earl of Westmoreland. On the other hand Lord Derby, though a cadet, bears his arms unbroken.

Marks of Illegitimacy are very various, and on the earlier coats not to be distinguished from differences. Probably the earliest English example is afforded by Wm. Longspee, natural son of Henry II., who bore six lioncels, no doubt derived from his father, though usually attributed to his wife Ela, heiress of the earldom of Salisbury. His counterseal bears the long sword whence he derived his name. The sons of Richard, brother of Henry III., bore their father’s lion of Poitou, inverting the colours, until Sir Geoffrey Cornwall took prisoner the duke of Britanny, when he chanoed his field to ermine. In the roll of Edward II., Sir John Lovel le Bastard bore Lovel, usually or and gules, with "un label d’azur." Sir Roger Clarendon, son of the Black Prince, has already been mentioned (page 701). John Beaufort, son of John of Gaunt, bore per pale argent, and azure on a bend gules three lions of England, with his father’s label. After his semi-legitimization he bore England with a border gobonny argent and azure, the Lancaster colours. Arthur, Viscount Lisle, son of Edward IV., placed a bâton over his father’s arms. Sometimes the father’s coat was altered. Sir John Stanley bore a coat compounded of Stanley and Lathom. Sometimes a bâton sinister was added, sometimes a border. Strictly a natural son does not adopt his fathe’'s quarter-ings, unless such as are habitually borne conjoined, as the royal arms. The descendants of Charles II. bear the whole arms with a bâton sinister or border; those of William IV. the bâton. With the house of Bourbon the bâton marked the cadets, the bâton sinister the bastards. Sir Gilbert Tal-bot (1569), son of a bastard son of Sir Gilbert Talbot, was allowed Talbot and the usual five quarterings of the family, with a bendlet sinister over the whole, but this is unusual.

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