Skip to main content
R. H. EDGAR.
And then the stately Herald rose.
And donned his best Heraldic clothes
Quoth he. il Ope each, each ear;
Of Heraldry ye shall know now,
The why, the wherefore, and the how;
There's no deception here ! "
Old Ballad (unpublished).
WILLIAM TEGG AND CO., PAXCRAS LANE, CIIEAPSIDE.
[SECOND EDITION.} l8 / S -
WRIGHT'S COAL TAR SOAP,
8APO OAR BON 18 DETERGEN8.
Mr. JAS. STARTIN, M.E.C.8., says : " The only soap for the complexion is
Wright's Coal Tar Soap,' making the skin clear, smooth, and lustrous."
Highly and extensively recommended for the Toilet, and in all cases of
Cutaneous Disease, by Mr. M<CALL ANDERSON, M.D., F.F.P.S., of Woodside
Crescent, Glasgow ; by the late Mr. JAS. STAKTIN, M.D., P.E.C.S., of Savile Bow ;
and the other leading members of the Profession.
LIQUOR CARBONIS DETERGENS.
" LIQUOR CARBONIS DETEROENS. We are very sceptical of the value of new remedies, and it
was in a spirit of scepticism that we tried ' Wright's Liquor Carbonis Detergens.' Our
therapeutical experience of the preparation is very satisfactory indeed. In our hands it has
been a most effective agent in the case of various Skin Diseases. We esteem it a very
valuable addition to our list of skin remedies, and worthy of an extended trial." Lancet.
" LIO.UOR OARBONIS DETEROENS. This forms a very valuable addition to our resources. The
liquor holds in alcoholic solution the active principles of Coal Tar, and is a most ready, cheap,
and effective agent." British Medical Journal.
In Elegant Toilet Boxes, in Tablets, 6d. and Is., of all Chemists.
Invented and Introduced by the Sole Proprietors,
W. V. WRIGHT & Co., LONDON.
LIST OF CHAPTERS.
I. How HERALDRY AROSE - 17
II. OF THE HERALDS - - 22
III. CONCERNING ARMS - 30
IV. OF THE SHIELD, OR ESCUTCHEON - 35
V. CONCERNING TINCTURES - 40
VI. OF FURS, &c. - 45
VII. OF LINES 50
VIII. OF DIFFERENCES - 53
IX. OF CHARGES AND ORDINARIES - 58
X. OF SUB-ORDINARIES- 63
XI. OF COMMON CHARGES 70
XII. OF ARTIFICIAL FIGURES - 77
XIII. Or CHIMERICAL FIGURES - 81
XIV. OF HELMETS AND OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS - 89
XV. OF CRESTS - - - 94
XVI. OF SUPPORTERS 98
XVII. OF MOTTOES - - 103
XVIII. BLAZONRY - - - 112
XIX. OF BIRDS, BEASTS, AND FISHES IN BLAZONRY - - 116
XX. MARSHALLING ARMS- - 120
XXI. ON PRECEDENCE - - 125
XXII. MODERN HERALDRY, &c. .... - - 133
XXIII. FINIS CORONAT OPUS - - - - -141
HIS is not a Comic Song," was the saying 1 of the
late gifted Mr. Robson, in "Vilikins and his
Dinah;" and the author, tho' scarcely hoping to
rival that great artist in his mirth exciting quali-
ties, may also say that this is not altogether a
Comic Book. Motley is not the Herald's only wear, he has
under-clothes, modesty forbids their particularisation, of sound
Heraldic stuff; and the author has tried, not he hopes quite unsuc-
cessfully, to impart some real information on a comparatively little
known subject, and to explain, it may be in a not very dignified
fashion, the meanings and uses of the chief Heraldic badges and
signs. At the same time he hopes that the actual professors of
the science will not be offended at the jingle of the cap and bells,
and the jester's motley in connexion with the stately Tabard.
OOKS like boots, boilers, banjos and
binocular glasses are made to sell.
Sometimes the purchaser is sold as well
as the book; for instance, anyone buying
"Ruffs Guide to the Turf" under the
idea that he was obtaining a useful
work for a gardener, would probably
find himself in that predicament. Sometimes the author is sold
* THE PRINTER TO THE AUTHOR.
Yours of the 4th, received ; likewise your Introduction to the " Heraldry,"
but I am without your instructions as to where in the book you wish it to go. Some
persons in your line of business place introductions, and prefaces, and such like
fills-up at the commencement of the volume, others again at the end ; but if you take
my advice, a man who has been since the age of 13 years and 4 months in the printing
profession, I should say the middle. You see, sir, it's this way. Scarcely anybody
wants an introduction, and nobody reads it if they can do anything else. If it is at
the beginning they say, and rightly, " Oh, we'll skip this," and they skip it accordingly
with a unanimity that would be touching if it wasn't otherwise. If the Introduction
is at the end, and the readers fancy the book, when they've done with it, they say, "I
io INTR OD UCTION.
when the book does not sell but more often the publisher ; and
contradictorily when the book does sell, nobody is sold.
This book is therefore no exception to the general rule. It is
made to sell, and the author sincerely hopes that it will fulfil its
mission. He can lay his hand upon his heart with the proud
satisfaction of knowing- that it is NOT written with a moral purpose.
He does not imagine that it will make anyone wiser or better than
he or she was before reading it. Such, in fact, is not his intention.
There are plenty of excellent people in the world far more capable
of improving mankind than he is. Even if he could improve his
fellow man, he very much doubts if he would, for fear of his motives
being misconstrued. People who improve other people are
wonder what the Introduction is about dry rot as usual, I suppose, " and then perhaps
they read it, or perhaps they don't, which is the most likely, and you, as the author,
stand just half a chance of having your Introduction read. Personally, I am quite
impartial in the matter, as I never read Introductions or books either having in the
course of my profession known too many of the people who wrote them. Now what
I propose, sir, is, that you put the Introduction in, say about the 9th Chapter, and
right in the middle, so that when a reader comes across it, he'll read it and think it's
part of the text, or that the binders have got drunk, and put a bit of somebody else's
book into yours by mistake, and then he'll go into fits of laughter on the strength of
what a sharp party he or she (for it's quite likely to be a woman) is, to find it out
Consequently, sir, I think the middle is the best place in which to put the Introduc-
tion; and, if you have no objection, that is where it shall go.
THE AUTHOR TO THE PRINTER.
I am in the receipt of your letter, and can only say no one but a dunder-
headed dolt or a drivelling idiot would ever even dream of placing an introduction
generally unpleasant themselves, and somebody is sure to want to-
disestablish them, or go to their funerals, or get rid of them in some
permanent and satisfactory manner. So improvement is not, by any
means, the author's object. No his motives are higher, nobler!
motives which appeal to feelings all possess, from the penniless
pauper in the workhouse ward, to the diamonded duke in his.
palatial castle. Need the author further mention that his motives are-
three in number, and that they are s. D.
But to the book itself. On that subject the author feels himself
thoroughly competent to speak. He has written it, and nobody
knows as much about it as he does. Far be it from him unduly to
laud a work with which he has, so to say, been intimately connected
anywhere but at the commencement of a volume. Therefore, if you have no
objection, that is where I should wish it to go. Uneducated mechanics are
scarcely the proper persons to judge where introductions, far above their compre-
hensions, are best fitted to be placed. Please proceed with the business of printing
the book, and refrain from obtruding your remarks and opinions on subjects upon
which, from your position, you are utterly unable to form an opinion.
THE PRINTER TO THE AUTHOR.
Yours received. If I might suggest to you one thing, it is this Don't
lose your temper ! Who knows what might happen ? Somebody might find it who
had one of his own, or who did not want yours, and it might lead to no end of
confusion, which I am sure you as the father of a family and a ratepayer would regret.
As regards the dunder-headed dolt or drivelling idiot you mention, I never knew but
one of that sort, and he was in the same line of business as yourself, a literary person
who did the fires and fatal accidents for a high-class journal of society, and always
drew his salary in advance. Likewise he was known and not trusted at all the houses
since its commencement ; far be it from him immoderately to lavish
upon it that praise, which he feels it ought to obtain from a dis-
criminating" public : his natural modesty revolts from such a course,
and sooner than be guilty of it, he would prefer the book to be
given away free, gratis, together with a ticket for admission to the
stalls of any theatre in London, a 5 note, and a barrel of
Anglo-Portugo oysters direct from the beds. But the author's
preference, alas ! goes for nothing. The stony-hearted publisher
here steps in and declares that such an arrangement would, in the
first place, be derogatory to his honour as a publisher ; in the second
place, it would be a bad, not to say immoral, example ; in the third
place, it would lead people astray, and in the fourth place, it would
where the flowing bowl circulated, both in Fleet Street and the Strand (N.B. His
flowing bowl was usually Gin neat) and vwas the only dunder-headed dolt I ever
I think the Introduction had better go in the middle, as I said before.
THE AUTHOR TO THE PRINTER.
The Introduction hadbetter NOT go in the middle, or if it does I'll know
the reason why. Place it where Nature intended it to go, at the beginning of the
work. As regards the literary person you knew, perhaps you are not aware that
penny-a-liners are scarcely upon an equality with the writers of high-class works of
THE PRINTER TO THE AUTHOR.
" Writers of high class works of science ! " You will excuse my laughing.
But to our muttons. Gentlemen of my profession know more of the practical
not be remunerative to him : and finally, he'll see the author
privately executed in Newgate, or any where else where a good
working gallows, to carry one, can be erected first.
This, of course, at once puts an end to those philanthropic
intentions for the good of his fellow men which the author had
originally in view ; and that being the case, there is only one line of
conduct he can advise the readers of this introduction to pursue.
It is this. Having obtained possession of the book, whatever you
do, dorit lend it. Not even to the wife of your bosom, the mother of
your early years, the father of your riper manhood (or womanhood
as the case may be,) or the child of your affection. Lend it to none
of them. Tell them it is a great, grand, and glorious work, which
working of your line of business than you do who are in it. Depend upon it I know
best. 1 am advising you for your good, and you'll live to bless me for h some day.
THE AUTHOR TO THE PRINTER.
Do as I told you, and put the Introduction at the beginning of the book.
THE PRINTER TO THE AUTHOR.
Now just look here. As I said before, it's for your good I'm advising
you. If the Introduction is in the middle it's like the pill we put in jam for children,,
and it will then run a small chance of being read by accident and is bound to be
swallowed ; whereas if it is at the beginning it won't be read at all. Not that that
matters, so far as I can see, but I know that parties who write like to be read.
Shakespeare, Byron, Milton, Dickens, Thackeray, Lytton, Gladstone,
Disraeli, or any one else you may happen to think of at the moment,
would have been proud to have written, and then urge them, as they
value their welfare upon earth, to go and BUY it. BUY IT! that
is the great point. What they do with it after they have bought it,
is a matter of not the slightest consequence, and one with which you
have really no concern. So long as they buy it, and recommend
their friends to do the same, the author will be pleased, the publisher
satisfied, and general happiness pervade the atmosphere.
Finally, the author is of opinion, and he enunciates this opinion
with all possible diffidence, that although bigger, heavier, and, to a
certain extent, more important books have been written, yet he has
THE AUTHOR TO THE PRINTER.
Please annoy me no more with frivolous objections, and ridiculous suggestions.
Do as you are bid. In conclusion, if you still hold the same absurd ideas about the
proper place where an introduction ought to go, I can only regard you as an unmiti-
. gated jackass.
THE PRINTER TO THE AUTHOR.
I DO hold the same absurd ideas about where the Introduction ought to go,
and therefore I am regarded by you as an " unmitigated jackass !"
Sir, you have insulted me; A legal friend of mine, a lawwriter (when sober)
has promised to give me an opinion as to whether I can take the law of you. If I
can, there shall be a slander case that will live for ages. Westminster Hall shall ring
with my wrongs. Look out !
never, in the whole course of his life, come across one which so
forcibly appealed to the grander feelings of the human heart ; one
which was so admirably calculated to strengthen the weak, cheer the
despondent, cure dyspepsia, calm the troubled mind, produce a fine
crop of luxuriant hair on the baldest headed, or instil principles of
true goodness into the most depraved, as
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
I will put your Introduction, such as it is, at the beginning of your Heraldry, but
In justice to myself, and a growing family of nine the eldest of which, a boy who
has not his equal at a joint on Sundays, and the second, a girl who can sit upon her
own back hair I shall print this correspondence, with your Introduction (!), and then
your readers, if you have any, can see who is right.
COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
HOW HERALDRY AROSE.
OME writers on Heraldry, who have plied
the pickaxe of research in the mouldy
caverns of antiquity, digging- so deeply
that they have gone completely through
the (w)hole and come out on the other
side, place the origin of the science as far
back as the flood. They assert that Noah
was the first possessor of a coat of arms.
But in these materialistic days, when the
eye of the sceptic is apt to be drawn
down with the wink of incredulity, we
must decline to accept so very far-fetched a statement without some
stronger proof than bare assertions, which in this case can scarcely
be regarded as the naked truth. Nevertheless, if we may believe
the words of Homer, the poet of the siege of Troy a city, which
like medicine, was considerably shaken before it was taken, the
heroes engaged in that siege had various devices painted upon their
iS Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
shields. From this we may infer that the armour of the combatants
like the poet's account of the siege, was very highly coloured;
moreover, the trick of the Wooden Horse shows us that the
Greeks, even in that early age, were decidedly clever in devices.
/Eschylus in his celebrated sensational play of " Septem contra
Thebas," which sounds in its translation of " Seven against Thebes,"
like part of a bet, describes the armour of the combatants, and from
his description it is evident that mounting a piece, even in those
primitive times, must have cost the spirited manager a drachma or
two. Tydeus according to his account bore on his shield a full
moon surrounded by stars. Tydeus was a gentleman of sanguinary,
not to say cannibalistic propensities; for, after he was mortally
wounded himself, having succeeded in killing his slayer, as a final
consolation to his dying hours he had the body of his enemy brought
to him, and commenced to make a nasty, but perhaps to him satis-
factory, meal of its brains. Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, who
was coming to restore him, displeased at this bad taste and want of
manners, allowed him to die, as a gentle hint to future warriors not
to indulge in irregular meals.
Eteocles, according to the same author, bore "an armed man
ascending a ladder against a tower." As both he and his brother
Polynices ultimately settled their little personal differences in a
manner fatal to both of them, the ladder must evidently have been
typical of the rounds they were going to have. Polynices, by the
way, had on his shield "Justice leading an armed man." What this
device referred to is difficult to say, and the probability is, Polynices
himself did not know, but thought perhaps it would look neat in a
family fight, and that the figure of Justice might in some vague way
be connected with his claim to the throne of Thebes.
The shields of other champions are also described at some length
by /Eschylus, but after all enough is as good as a feast, and we will
pass on at once to a very big hero indeed.
HO W HERALDR Y AROSE. 19
Open your eyes, blow your noses, don't breathe on the Heraldic
g-lasses, and make way for a conqueror ; for here comes Alexander
the Great, a warrior who fell an early victim to his strict adherence
to anti-temperance principles and a natural hatred to the Sir
Wilfrid Lawsons of the period. He granted to his favourite captains
various badges to be worn on their armour, as rewards for valour.
These badges were strictly copyright, and any one who was guilty,
to use the words of a Mosaic celebrity, of " the untradesmanlike
falsehood" of imitating them, or even stating that "it was the same
concern " was very liable to be waited on by the party aggrieved
and to make the discovery that it is not only leather that gets
To descend, however, from the mountains of tradition to the level
plains of historical truth ; the earliest proficients in Heraldry were
the French and Normans, and by the latter it was introduced
into England amongst other civilizing influences, such as feudalism,
cookery, and confiscation of Saxon goods and chattels, &c. We find,
also, that Philip the Falconer, Emperor of Germany, A.D. 920, who,
if the same person as the one referred to in a song once popular,
was always " up with the day," giving an idea that he was
continually engaged in running a race with Time, planted the first
seeds of the Heraldic tree by the establishment of a law regulating
At these knightly games, which were practised daily, each of the
warriors was cased in iron from head to foot, a very stiff binding,
and one not unfrequently illustrated with cuts. Not even their faces
were visible, or as an old writer on the subject aptly describes it,
" Behinde y c ironne pottes (meaning their helmets) onne colde notte
" see y mugges."
Such being the case, or would it be wrong to say, casing, without
some method of distinguishing a friend from a foe, the most awk-
ward mistakes must have arisen. For example, fancy the feelings
20 Y E COMIC HIS TOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
of a young and stalwart knight, having struck down, as he imagined,
the hereditary foeman of his race, upon discovering that he
had bestowed what the Irish term "a topper for luck" upon a
rich and choleric relation of whose domains he looked for a pro-
It was, therefore, to avoid such dreadful trials to human fortitude,
that Philip the Falconer ordered that in battle, every knight should
wear some peculiar cognizance, whereby he might be known, and if
his credit were good, trusted.
In the Crusades, the warriors adopted, in many instances, a cross,
and their actions but too frequently corresponded with their cogni-
zances, being very often upon the cross and not at all upon the square;
escallops, which had nothing to do with scalloped oysters, but were
shells much affected by pilgrims a class of gentry averse to shelling
out in a general way and martlets, small heraldic birds which differ
considerably from natural feathered bipeds, and were usually worn
by younger sons ; besides numerous other badges denoting that the
knight went forth to fight the Paynim, urged thereto by mixed feelings
of piety and plunder, the latter predominating.
Hallam, whose " History of the Constitution " proves his own
must have been a remarkably tough one to have mastered so dry a
subject, places the first regular blazoning of arms in the twelfth
century, but it was not until the Third Crusade (A.D. 1 1 89) that the
fleur-de-lys first sprouted on the French coat of arms, and the Lions
jumped upon the English shield.
Hereditary coats of arms are not found before the beginning of the
thirteenth century, indeed some writers place them at the beginning
of the sixteenth, the probability being that the custom was gradually
obtaining but was not definitively settled until the latter date. Any
how it is a proof that up to that time every man stood on his own
footing, and that although he might step into his father's shoes yet he
had to find his own coat.
HOW HERALDRY AROSE.
Heraldry thus arose by slow degrees until a coat of arms became
one of those articles without which no mediaeval gentleman's ward-
robe could be said to be complete.
OF THE HERALDS.
AVING seen how Heraldry arose, it
behoves us, before we consider the He-
raldic ollapodrida itself, to say a few
words of the cooks who were the
chief compounders of the mixture. These
were the Heralds.
The word Herald is said to be derived
from two German words " Herr alt "
" Aged sir " and originally they were
veteran soldiers who, pensioners not
being invented in those days, were
appointed to carry messages, do odd jobs, and make themselves
generally useful. In fact, if this explanation be true, they were
prototypes of our modern commissionaires.
Amongst the Greeks the Heralds' duties were even less dignified,
for Homer describes Talthybius as filling up his spare time with a
little plain cooking. Cooking in those days was exceedingly plain.
Likewise they prepared the victim, human and otherwise, it was
all one to those eminent heathens, for the religious sacrifices, doubt-
OF THE HERALDS.
less consoling 1 them by comforting observations such as " It's nothing
when you're used to it" "It won't hurt much" or, "It will be all
the same a hundred
years hence," and
similar verbal pan-
acea so often applied
by persons who do
not suffer to those
Amongst the Ro-
mans the Heralds
(Fetiales as they
were called) had de-
cidedly a better time
of it, and had risen
considerably in the
world. They had a college, and were evidently as great creatures
in their way as were their mediaeval successors. Livy mentions
them as officiating extensively in that celebrated prize-fight
between the Horatii and Curiatii, B.C. 667 : though whether they held
the sponges, or the bottles, or kept the crowd in order, seeing that
the roughs in the back seats did not get into the front ones without
paying, is not mentioned with that accuracy which the ardent student
of the science could have desired.
The Fetiales also declared war, which they did in a very fantastic
manner. They proceeded to the hostile country wearing a wreath
of wool on their heads, partly, probably, for warmth, as the nights
might be cold and travelling slow, and partly as one of the insignia
of their office. Having arrived at the frontier, the Herald cast a
spear into the enemy's country, or, if he did not happen to have one
about him, a staff dipped in blood and burnt at one end did just as
well, and then everybody looked out for squalls, and the assurance
24 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
offices of the period immediately raised their premiums on military
lives to the doubly hazardous war risk elevation with a promptitude
that charmed their most grasping- shareholders.
To come down, however, to more modern ages : Richard II., who
came to a mysterious but decidedly bad end in Pomfret Castle some
time in the year A.D. 1400, first laid the foundation of the Heralds'
College by giving the Earl Marshal power to preside in the Court of
Chivalry, and to summon the Heralds to his assistance. Of course
they came. They saw their opportunity, and jumped at the chance,
and probably had what the Americans call "a real good time."
They acted as barristers, though whether they took fees for attending
cases and then never came near the place, because they had some-
thing better to do, is not stated. Such advanced manners and
customs are not unlikely to be the products of our modern
The first regular collegiate chapter of the Heralds was held in A.D.
1420, at Rouen, and after that they became a corporate body. Then
Heraldry began to look up, and the Heralds finding how good a
thing it was, made a very close borough of it indeed. They
thoroughly appreciated the virtue of keeping a good thing in the
family and did so.
Many and various were their duties : they had to regulate
armorial bearings, that is, to see that nobody took anybody else's
arms which sounds uncomfortable, or as if people, like the late Miss
Biffin, were born without them to marshal processions a duty now
relegated to the police; to superintend ceremonies also performed
now-a-days, more or less efficiently, by Sir Edmund Henderson's
myrmidons ; to see that trials by battle were conducted with a due
regard to the comfort and convenience of the combatants ; [N.B.
In those happy times no one ever gave the " office " to the
authorities with the view of stopping a " merry mill;"] to arrange
tournaments, those excessively violent sports where the knights were
OF THE HERALDS.
in the habit of killing one another just for the fun of the thing- ; and,
finally, to bear messages of courtesy and defiance between royal
personages and knights.
As this latter duty might under ordinary circumstances have proved
a most awkward one, especially if the receiver of an unpleasant
message happened to be of a choleric temperament, by common
consent the persons of the Heralds were declared inviolable. This
of course made matters comparatively comfortable for them, and they
were thus enabled to deliver the rudest, not to say insulting, personal
messages without any fear of the " Away-with-him-to-the-Iowest
dungeon-beneath-the-moat " answer being given to them, or even
of being kicked.
The Heralds also recorded the valiant acts of those who were
killed in, and those who survived great battles, and thus proved
extremely valuable to persons whose trumpets wanted blowing.
Another duty of the Heralds was to shout
"Largesse!" whenever they thought there
was a chance of anybody giving them
anything, which apparently corresponded
to the modern custom which prevails
with the small boys who run by the side
of omnibuses, turning cart-wheels to
incite the generosity of city gents to
"chuck us down a copper." Not that the
Heralds did either ground or lofty tum-
bling ; that was always left to the regular
fool, of which each family then, as now,
had always one.
Besides these duties, they had the right
of picking up the gold and silver chipped
off the armour of the knights in tournaments, a perquisite of
sterling value, considering that the combatants were oftentimes
26 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
got up as regardless of expense as a spectacle piece at Drury
Also, the Heralds once in every generation, or at intervals of from
twenty-five to forty years, had to make visitations or progresses
through the country to see that nobody had been playing tricks with
anybody's arms ; when woe to the delinquent if discovered, pepper of
the warmest description being" provided by the Heralds for his
In the provincial towns, the Heralds were ordered by the Earl
Marshal's warrant to enquire into the pedigrees of all families claim-
ing the honour of gentry, and to enter their names, titles, and places
of abode in a book. This custom only commenced regularly in
1528, when the monks in England who had previously been the chief
keepers of genealogical facts retired from business generally in conse-
quence of events not altogether unconnected with Henry VIII., Anna
Boleyn, Queen Catherine, Cardinal Wolsey, the Pope, Luther, the
Reformation, and other circumstances of a similar nature. Then, in
order to prevent genealogies, arms, titles &c., becoming irretrievably
mixed, these visitations were ordered, and the Heralds were appointed
the sorters of the period.
Previously to the Reformation these progresses had now and then
been made, and they were continued from the date above given until
the reign of William and Mary. They were relinquished, however,
in consequence of the large amount of envy, hatred, malice, and all
uncharitableness they excited in the various counties visited ; arms
granted on these occasions being frequently found to be blazoned
with bones of contention, and genealogical trees to produce apples
And now we come to the Heralds' College, a building situated at
the present day in Queen Victoria Street, which is (the college not
the street) the head-quarters of Heraldry, and where the Duke of
Norfolk, the Earl Marshal of England, is the grand lama of the
OF THE HERALDS. 27
science. After him, longo intervallo, come the Heralds, of whose
manners, customs, rights, privileges and distinctions we will now
discourse cheerfully but accurately.
Of Heralds there are three kinds : first, there are the Kings at
Arms, who may be called the big boys of the school, or Heralds'
College, and who are very extensive persons indeed. In England
Garter King of Arms holds the highest rank. He was created to
attend upon the Knights of the Garter, and originally we may
suppose he had to provide and see to the fit of the article from which
he takes his name. The distinguishing colour of Garter is blue, a
colour he invariably assumed when he caught anyone transgressing
the rules of the college over which he presided.
Garter must be an Englishman and a gentleman, words unhappily
not always synonymous.
The next king at arms is Clarencieux, who was ordained by King
Edward IV. upon his succession to the dukedom of Clarence at the
death of his brother, whose bibulous proclivities caused him to seek
his bier in a butt of Malmsey. The story goes that Edward, doubtless
wishing to do the liberal thing by his relation, offered him his choice
of deaths, and that Clarence elected to be drowned in the above
liquor, which was privately done in the Tower. To our thinking the
whole affair has about it considerably more of the public than the
Clarencieux's colour is purple, a delicate allusion to the juice of the
grape, and he is the Heraldic authority on all questions in the
English counties south of Trent.
After him comes Norroy, whose colour is also purple, and his
authority extends over all the counties north of Trent,
Besides these kings there is also a Bath King of Arms, but
as he does not belong to the Heraldic College, he may retire to
the place whence he takes his name. He is quite a modern
creation, having come into existence only in 1725, for the service
28 Y* COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
of the Knights of the Bath, when his duties probably are to see
to the temperature of the water, and the presence of the necessary
Next come the Heralds, who are six in number. Their names are
Somerset, Chester, Windsor, Richmond, Lancaster and York, and
they are supposed to be officially connected with the districts after
which they are named. Properly speaking, therefore, whenever a
fight comes off in any of the above named towns, the Herald of the
place ought to be present to prevent the police from interfering. But
now-a-days they neglect their duty sadly in this particular : not that
we are altogether surprised, considering the exceedingly low ebb to
which the "noble art" has sunk, and Heralds doubtless have with
unheraldic persons an equal objection to blackened eyes, bad lan-
guage and stolen watches.
Last of all come the Pursuivants or Novitiates, who are the lower
boys of the science. Their names are fanciful, not to say comic.
Rouge Dragon, which, translated into English, would seem to smack
more of the public-house than the college ; Portcullis, who, if his
nature takes after his denomination, must often have been lowered
in the eyes of the world ; Blue Mantle, let us hope his mantle wasn't
used to cover the mistakes he made ; and Rouge Croix, who
probably was the original bearer of the red cross banner we read of
in the song of that name.
Scotland had only one King at Arms, Lyon, but an equal number
of Heralds with England. Their names were Snowdon, Albany,
Ross, Rothesay, Marchmont and Islay ; the last-mentioned, among
his other duties, having probably to provide his brethren with the
celebrated whisky of that ilk. Scotland had one more Pursuivant
than her southern neighbour, viz., five.
These Caledonian Pursuivants rejoice in the appellations of Unicorn,
(evidently the original animal who contended for the crown un-
successfully, and after his defeat retired in disgust to a more northern
OF THE HERALDS.
country, where, to console him, he was made a Pursuivant), Carrick,
Kintyre, Ormond and Bute.
Ireland has only one King- at Arms, Ulster ; and only two Heralds,
Dublin and Cork; also only two Pursuivants, Athlone and St. Patrick.
The scantiness of the Hibernian Heraldic supply, is another instance
of injustice to Ireland.
" What ho ! " O'Gorman to the rescue I
E will now enter upon the com-
ponent parts of Heraldry, and
first of all we must say a few
words upon Arms generally. As
we have already explained that
Coats of Arms were originally
invented to distinguish individuals
in battle, or, to use a homely
phrase, to know t'other from which, it stands to reason that like all
other coats they are of various kinds, and while some may be
regarded as a kind of heraldic witney, others are only light
The varieties of Arms are ten : there are, it is true, several other
kinds, such as arms of precision, (vide Snider, Martini-Henry,
Mauser, &c., passim,} of chairs, of the sea, and of the human
article; but these are not included in the heraldic list. Their
names are as follows : Arms of Dominion, Pretension, Concession,
CONCERNING ARMS. 31
Community, Patronage, Family, Alliance, Adoption, Succession and
Arms of Dominion are those borne by sovereign princes and states,
and are annexed to the empires and kingdoms they possess. Thus,
if the proprietor of the Isle of Dogs were to throw off his allegiance
to the Queen, and to raise the flag of independence in the hope of
making it a paving stone on the road to freedom, the Arms of the
new canine kingdom would be a perfect example of Arms of
Dominion. Apropos of Arms of Dominion, we may mention that the
Eagles borne in the national arms of Russia, Germany, and formerly
of Poland, are said to have originated in the standards which the
Germans took from the Roman General, Varus, A,D. 10. Like some
other conquering heroes, Varus went forth to shear the Teutons,
and got his own hair cut remarkably close in the process; so close
in fact, that he left his Eagles behind him, and the Germans con-
sidering them far superior as standards to those they had in use,
which were doubtless a good deal knocked about, adopted them.
At the same time, the conquerors are said to have given one to each
of their Sarmatian and Sclavonian allies, and hence the origin of
the birds of prey in question.
Arms of Pretension may be regarded as a perfect instance of
Heraldic impudence, which great kings, and little ones also when
they get a chance, sometimes have the face to assume. These Arms
are those of provinces, territories, or kingdoms, to which some claim
is laid, and which the person so claiming adds to his own. That the
territory in question may already have a man in possession, in the
shape of a king or prince of its own, makes no difference, although
of course he prevents, if he can, an execution for the claim being put
in. These Arms can therefore only be borne by sovereigns and half-
sovereigns; subjects, who represent human half-crowns, shillings,
sixpences, and even smaller coin, are incapable of bearing them. For
instance, if Bodgers of Brompton, who claims a seat on the half-past
32 Y K COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
nine o'clock omnibus, finds a stranger in his place, his taking- the
arms of the intruder, except for the purpose of ejecting him, would
not hold good in Heraldry.
Arms of Concession are marks of honour for deeds done. They
are generally small figures added to the sum total of the Coat of Arms.
To illustrate this we will imagine that a favourite puppy of the Prince
of Wales were to break his leg, and that the fracture were to be
instantaneously reduced by a single application of Professor
Swallerway's world-renowned ointment, it is probable that the same
eminent mediciner would be allowed to assume a " duck quackant,"
or some other appropriate emblem of the esteem of his Royal
Arms of Community are those belonging to bishoprics, cities,
universities, companies, and bodies corporate. Bodies incorporate
are of course without Arms, so that Polytechnic ghosts, and the
whole army of spirits called up by mediums, have no right to assume
Arms of Patronage are added by governors of provinces, lords of
manors, patrons of benefices, and others, to their family Arms, as a
token of their superiority, rights and jurisdiction. But this is not
always the case. For instance, our own private Buttons, who is lord
of several manners, that towards ourselves, of whom he stands in
awe ; and that towards boys of his own size, or smaller, of whom
he does not stand in fear, would not on that account have the right
to assume Arms of Patronage.
Arms of Family, or Paternal Arms, are those which belong to one
particular family, and are handed down from father to son with the
hereditary acres and the paternal gout. These serve to distinguish
the family from any other, and it is criminal for anyone, not
of the family, to assume them. Thus, if Miss Jones goes out
walking arm in arm with Mr. Smith, while Mrs. S. is down at
Margate with the children, this assumption of arms is clearly illegal,
CONCERNING ARMS. 33
as she, Miss J., does not, and cannot, while Mrs. S. is alive, belong
to the family.
Arms of Alliance are only acquired by marriage, and
more especially when that interesting event takes place with an
heiress. But as, now-a-days, girls with money are gradually
becoming scarcer, and it is much feared by the Zoological
Society and other learned bodies, will soon be as extinct as the
Dodo, or the Megatherium, Arms of Alliance are now but seldom
Arms of Adoption are those adopted by a stranger in blood, to
fulfil the will of a testator. As a general rule, an estate accompanies
this assumption, which may in fact be regarded as a golden lining to
the coat the legatee is expected to put on.
Arms of Succession are acquired on succeeding to estates, either
by will, entail, or donation. The assumption of this kind of Arms
applies, however, only to estates, and not to gifts generally ; so that if
Brown bestows a punch on the head upon Robinson, the latter is not
entitled to take the arms, although he may previously have assumed
the fist of Brown.
Last of all come Arms of Assumption, to which the assumers have
no original title. These may only be assumed with the consent of the
sovereign. Thus, the arms of a prisoner may be assumed by his
captor : so that if Bill Sykes is caught making free with the plate
basket of Joshua Toodles, vestryman and churchwarden, J. T. may,
with the consent of Queen Victoria, take the jemmy of B. S. and
transmit it to his heirs as the sign of the prowess he displayed in the
defence of his spoons. Apropos of Arms of Assumption, assuming
them in former times was rather a ticklish thing to do. This fact was
brought home with great clearness to the Duke of Norfolk, and his
son the Earl of Surrey, in the reign of Henry VIII. They assumed
his arms, and he their heads. "Exchange is no robbery," said the
monarch with a cheerful laugh, as he ordered their execution. But,
Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
somehow, the decapitated ones failed to appreciate the dry humour of
So very much depends upon the point of view from which jests are
regarded, and Henry's jokes were not unfrequently of that exceed-
ingly cutting nature that the recipients, when, to add to their other
misfortunes, they happened to be his wives, may be said to have
quite lost their heads.
Thus much for ARMS.
OF THE SHIELD, OR ESCUTCHEON,
AVING detailed the different varieties
of Arms, and how each may be
acquired, we next come to consider
the Shield, or Escutcheon. With it,
however, we do not intend to cover
our own deficiencies, but shall boldly
proceed on our poaching expedition
on the peculiar field of the Heralds'
College, though in our own manner.
The science may be strictly preserved
by Garter, Ulster and Co.; still in
these free-trade times, we hope to
find some game in it.
Shields are of many kinds, both in and out of Heraldry. First,
there is the shield proper, used by ancient warriors, and on which
their Arms were blazoned, and which, while tasting the gaudia certa-
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
minis, or honey of fighting, they avoided getting too much of the
whacks. Then there are the shields improper, such as the copy
books which peccant schoolboys place under their jackets and
unmentionables, prior to being taught that extremely practical, if
free translation, of the first line of the yEneid, viz., " Arma virumque
cano," arms and the man (or boy) I cane. On this improper shield,
or rather on the skin beneath
it, the blazon after the visitation
is principally sable, gules, and
azure. Again, when a wife sets
down as "sundries" the sum
spent out of the house money
on a new dress, it may also be
considered as a shield; also,
perhaps, an improper one ; and
as we do not intend to have any-
thing to do with what is im-
proper, we will return to the
first mentioned kind, and will no
longer stand shivering on the edge of the shield, but at once jump
boldly into its middle.
In Heraldic language the shield is the ground upon which the Coat
of Arms is blazoned or painted, and on which the achievements of
the owner were not only symbolically depicted couleur de rose, but also
in all the colours of the rainbow as well.
Originally, the devices were placed upon the buckler, but after a
time finding that in battle, from the colours not being " warranted
fast," they were very apt to get chipped off, or otherwise damaged,
the knights had them painted on their banners instead ; perhaps in
the belief that a sight of the flag of their masters might have the
effect of raising the flagging courage of their retainers, who in
such moments became special retainers in their service.
OF THE SHIELD, OR ESCUTCHEON. 37
Shields, like bonnets, were of various shapes; although, unlike
modern bonnets, there was a good deal of them. In very ancient
times they were shaped like a horse-shoe, to typify, perhaps, the
hammering they occasionally received, or triangular. Sometimes,
also, the shields were heptagonal, or with seven points. This shape
must have been awkward to carry, as unless the bearer was very
careful, the sharp points must have either run into his chin or
penetrated his thigh, scarcely we should say an incentive to prowess
on general principles.
Mark Antony, the triumvir, had one of this pattern ; but as at
the battle of Actium he very decidedly lost the game, to say nothing
cf such a trifle as his own life, the seven points of his shield were
certainly not in his favour on that occasion.
Coming down, however, to more modern times, we find that the
shields of Knights-bannerets were square, while those of priests
were oval, but as these soldiers
of the church militant, with some
few exceptions, set far too high a
value on their holy hides to risk
them in so perilous an amusement
as fighting, it did not much matter
what shape were their shields.
Ladies, again, whose principal
weapon of defence, and also offence,
were and are their tongues, and
who consequently had no real use
for shields, nevertheless were pro-
vided by the Heralds with those
articles in a lozenge shape, recalling to uninitiated minds the jujube
of domestic life with great reality.
It now remains to us to describe the Heraldic Shield, or Escutcheon,
as received at the present day ; and, here, we must apologize to our
Y E COMIC HIS TOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
readers if, in order to make our subject intelligible, which is more
than are all subjects of our gracious sovereign, especially after
dining out, we sometimes light on ground so dry, that not even the
most inveterate jester could moisten it with a single joke ; but we
will promise to go as swiftly over these arid plains as we possibly
can ; and, who knows, we may find a well of entertainment, out of
which, however, we promise to throw no cold water over our
Ladies and gentlemen ! this is the Heraldic Shield. Observe the
letters, which are literally the ABC
of the science. Every one has
its meaning, which is more than
can be said of the letters of some
people. ABC are the first we
will meddle with, and these three
are called "The Chief," but have
no connexion either with Indian
or Scottish chiefs. A is the dexter,
or right chief; B is the precise
middle chief, and C the sinister, or
left chief. The last reminds one
of an unpleasant Ojibbeway, with a
taste for getting up in the middle
of the night and scalping his sleeping friends. Every school-boy
will tell us that D follows C in the alphabet, and so it does also in
the shield. It is called the " Honour Point." Next comes E, and
this is the "Fess Point;" observe, also, it is the exact centre of the
shield, and therefore, even when nicely pointed, can only be pretty
middling. Then we have F, which is called the "Nombril," or
"Navel Point;" and, last of all, there is G H and I, the dexter,
middle, and sinister base points.
This concludes our description of the partition of the shield ; and
OF THE SHIELD, OR ESCUTCHEON.
we really don't see how we can say any more about it. How-
ever, having 1 thus divided it, we shall now consider the style of
articles to be placed upon it ; their manners, customs, habitations,
general style of appearance, failing's, good qualities, and all the other
distinct and wonderful peculiarities which characterise the Heraldic
These are but no for further particulars, see next chapter.
IRST and foremost of the Heraldic
decorations to be considered are
the Tinctures or colours used in
the blazon, or, as some frivolous
writers term it, the blaze on the
Shield or Escutcheon. Their num-
ber is nine : so that our readers
may easily remember them by
thinking- of the days of the week
and adding- two to the total
amount : but persons with strong-
memories have of course no need
to resort to this weekly contrivance.
First comes " Or," or g-old, and
as gold may be said to hold the
first place in all human affairs, we
are not suprised to find it occupying a similar position in Heraldry.
Next comes " Argent," or silver : this is but natural, as every one
would of course place silver after gold, and in fact when changing
the first we generally obtain the second.
Thirdly we have " Gules," or red. From this tincture originated
the term "Oh, Gules," or " Goles " afterwards corrupted into the
phrase " Oh, Golly!" This was first used by a knight of Heraldic
proclivities on discovering
that his nose was bleeding
- .u * * r
after the visitation of a mace
upon that expressive feature.
The terseness and general
applicability of the phrase
was at once recognised, and
it was handed down to pos-
Fourthly comes "Azure,"
or blue; which, though often
met with on an escutcheon,
is also sometimes to be found
on the human countenance;
as, for instance, when a man
comes home at 2 a.m. and
after dismissing his cab
finds his latch-key lost and the household gone to bed.
Fifthly, " Sable," or black. This colour is to be recommended for
the armorial bearings of abolitionists, and all those gentlemen who
go in for the Am-I-not-a-man-and-a-brother business. Eyes, both
artificial and natural, of the same colour are also not unfrequent.
For choice we prefer the latter.
Sixthly, " Vert," or green. This colour is very prevalent in
humanity generally, especially when young and inexperienced.
Seventhly, " Purpur," or purple, which we should say belongs
42 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF PIERALDR Y.
rather to feline than human heraldry, as cats must naturally be best
acquainted with purr-purr.
Eighthly, " Tenne," or orange, a colour reminding us more of
dessert than of the dry study of Heraldry, though we hope to find
some juice in it.
Lastly comes "Sanguine," or murrey, and this naturally brings
us to ourselves, always sanguine of success and uncommonly murrey.
These last two colours were generally held to denote dishonour,
and were therefore never used voluntarily by knights, so that where
we now should expel a man from his club, or ceremoniously kick
him downstairs, the mediaeval gentry dabbed a daub of "Tenne" or
" Sanguine," upon his shield, which answered the purpose equally
well, and made him socially uncomfortable.
As, however, the Family Herald (his services as a rule cost the
employer of them a pretty penny) when called upon suddenly to
provide or blazon arms did not happen always to have a portable
paint-box in the pocket of his tabard, it occurred to some original
mind that it would not be a bad idea to depict the most frequently
used colours in black and white.
The idea once started was instantly run to earth, or rather to the
groundwork of the shield, and resulted in the following ingenious
CONCERNING TINCTURES. 43
Considering the wild imagining- of our Author in illustrating the
Heraldic Tinctures, as reproduced in black and white, we think the
least we can do for the sake of our readers is to explain them in
verse. Cockneys may say that the lines are verse than useless but
then, cockneys will say anything. So here goes with
OR, the first of the Tinctures, you'll own has its charms
None the less that it's used for the Lombardy Arms,
Where an uncle resides, who will tell you full soon,
The value in ARGENT of each silver spoon.
If ' Electro,' your relative won't " see his way "
To assist impecunious need; and he'll say,
With looks quite as SABLE, as black as your hat,
" I'm not to be got at that way, and that's flat ! "
Then over the way is a hostel whose sign
Is the Grapes, PURPURE, wreathed with the VERT leaves of vine:
Will you kindly observe the old gent in the cut,
His nose blazoned GULES, and his necktie is put
In a colour called AZURE, the hue of the sky ;
And his waistcoat is TENNE, his coat is called MURREY,
Now don't forget notions like these in a hurry.
Besides these tinctures there are others, including the tinct-opii, or
mother's blessing, much patronised by the late lamented Mr. Daffy to
still the voice of childhood, when indulging in the luxury of a nice
scream : but as we object to kid-napping of all kinds, and this par-
ticular sort especially, we shall pass it by, merely observing that it
has no connection with the subject in hand, and we must therefore
decline to mix it in our Heraldic retort.
Y COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
The metals and colours above mentioned are distinguished by
some ancient Heralds by the names of the planets and precious
stones, but modern Heralds plan it differently, and not only is the
practice exploded, but the originators also have been considerably
OF FURS, &c.
FTER the Heraldic Tinctures
come Furs, though
why, except on the
principle that tinctures
are generally taken
cold without, whereas
furs, on the other hand,
are generally warm
within, we are unable
to say. Furs are,
therefore, to be found
in Heraldry as well
as Hudson's Bay,
though it is a mis-
take to imagine that
the beaver of the
ancient knights had
anything to do with them, as that was a part of the helmet or casque,
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
so called from the various tappings it received, and to make a very
obvious, though atrocious, pun, it was fur otherwise.
Furs may be divided into two kinds, " ermine " and " vair," the
latter as a Scotch Herald, Sir George Mackenzie pertinently
observes, " being vairy different from the former." These again,
probably, on the principle that you cannot have too much of a good
thing, are further subdivided, reminding us somewhat of an Irish-
man's farm before the landlord and the other encumbrances have been
shot off the premises.
Ermine, heraldically described, is drawn on a "field argent, sable,"
or black on a silver ground, and consists of three black spots and
tails to match, though who the inventor, or
we should say author, of these tails may have
been, is unknown ; but the probability is, he
was a bit of a wag, as the device bears as
much resemblance to a real ermine as does
a pair of boots to a methodist hymn. Each
row of spots is called a "timber," but our
readers would be a deal bored ere we should
succeed in explaining how the name arose.
The tails are denominated " muschetors,"
although the folly of eating mush, whatever it
may be and it don't sound nice with a tail, is
an absurdity that could only exist in Heraldry.
Ermine is a fur ol great dignity, and only borne in the arms of
royalty and nobility ; from which we may infer that, should a com-
moner happen to catch an ermine running loose about Regent's
Park, he must at once put it in his pocket, as he would not be of
sufficient rank to bear it in his arms. By some writers the ermine is
considered to be an emblem of purity, as it is said to prefer death to
soiling its fur : all we can say on the subject, is, more fool the ermine;
but the story, like the animal, to use the language of an ancient
OF FURS, &c.
writer, "won't wash," and so we will leave this " ridiculus mus
armenius" beneath the mountains of lies which old chroniclers have
laid upon it.
Next comes the Variations, I. "Ermines," which are precisely
the same as ermine, only different, for the field is sable and the spots
and tails argent. 2. " Erminois," our old friend spots and tails again;
but this time they appear in black upon a field or, or a gold field, where,
however, there are no diggings. 3. " Pean," spots and tails in gold,
on a sable field. 4. "Ermenites," the same as the original ermine,
only with one black and two red tails. This ought to be used
by literary aspirants, who could thus boast of possessing two read
The second kind of fur " Vair," is represented by small skins in
the shape of cups, and usually in six rows. Placing the cups in
connexion with rows argues great know-
ledge of human nature, and shows that the
Heralds were, after all, not such fools as
they looked, whatever ribald jesters may
think of their appearance now-a-days
when, discarding the coat and waistcoat of
private life, they burst upon the astonished
gaze of the public as Y e Herald of Y e
To return, whoever, to our cups. They
were depicted " on a field argent, azure."
Some etymologists, from the skin rather
resembling a wine glass, derive the word
"vair" from the French "verre," but this glass throws a reflection
upon our common sense if we place any credence in it ; and we are,
therefore, obliged to put our foot down on it at once. The word,
however, is probably derived from the Latin "varius; " nevertheless,
should any of our readers be discontented with this derivation, as
48 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
we have no desire to restrict their choice, they can suit themselves
with any other they like to discover.
Vair has two variations; i. " Vair en Point," when the cups are
placed downwards, instead of topsyturvy, as in vair; and 2,
"Counter Vair," which is not connected with either prize-fighting
or shopkeeping, but is, when the cups are placed base to base, a
kind of double base, concerted by the band of Heralds.
In addition to the foregoing furs, there is another, which, though
classed among them, has, properly, no right to occupy that position ;
in fact, it is a species of Heraldic duckling, which has intruded itself
into the fur chicken's nest. The plan upon which the inventors seem
to have worked was this : when a new cognizance was discovered
strikingly different from anything else that had appeared, not know-
ing where to place it, they put it at once among that class to which
it bore the least resemblance. On no other principle can we
account for the " Potent," as this cognizance is called, being among
In appearance the Potent resembles a gallows to accommodate
not more than two. Should the professional Jack Ketch apply to
the Heralds' College for a coat of arms, this would, doubtless,
occupy a prominent position on his shield.
Potent is also the name for a crutch, to which this fur has a
resemblance, on account of the power it bestows on its possessor,
though whether to help him along, or to knock down enemies on the
way, we are unable to state with any certainty probably a little of
A variety of the Potent is the " Counter- Potence;" but as this
is merely turning every other row of the gibbets upside down, we
shall not keep our readers any longer in suspense on this gallows.
Potents may be depicted of any two colours.
How furs came to be introduced into Heraldic cognizances, is, like
many other things, very simple when you know all about it. First
OF FURS, &c.
of all, they were used to line mantles, and had inside places ; but
afterwards, probably in hot weather, they were worn outside, and
were at once snapped up by the Heralds as the "latest novelty in
coats;" from which circumstance irreverent mockers of the science
might be led to infer that, after all, Heralds were only tailors in an
exclusive way of business, and a gaudy turn of mind, since they were
always willing to make or find a coat, provided their own pockets
were first well lined.
HE next members of the Heraldic
family we shall present to our
readers are Lines. They are not
many in number ; and as they are
very easy to remember, we will go
at them with a will.
Lines are used to divide the
shield into two or more parts, and,
like mothers-in-law in families,
they bring about their divisions
in different ways.
1. First of all there is the " Party per Pale," which has not, as might
be expected, any connection either with a housemaid, a whitewasher,
or a milkman, all of whom are necessarily parties with pails, but is
simply a straight line drawn through the shield from top to bottom.
2. " Party per Fess," a horizontal line across the shield.
3. "Parted per Bend," a diagonal line from right to left. This
naturally reminds us of bowing to a departing acquaintance; while
the next (4), " Parted per Bend Sinister," a diagonal line from left to
OF LINES. 51
right, carries with it the same idea, as performed by a lawyer to a
client ag-ainst whom he is about to issue an immediate writ of execu-
tion for costs.
5. When the field is divided into four equal portions it is said to be
quartered (traitors in olden times were served in a similar fashion
and distributed as public ornaments, but we don't do that now, we
have our public statues), but when by diagonal lines (6) forming a
kind of St. Andrew's cross, it is said to be " parted by Saltire."
These divisions were made in order that several people's arms might
be put in the same coat an uncomfortable, not to say impossible
arrangement, when applied to the garments of every-day life, but
which Heralds made nothing of.
Besides the foregoing lines there are eight other varieties,
exclusive of clothes lines, railway lines, which latter sometimes prove
imposition lines when they pay no dividend, lines of argument, lines
of defence, poetical lines, military lines, and hard lines.
1. The "invected," which consists of a series of semicircles turned
downwards, and gives us the idea of a row of college puddings as
purveyed at eating houses "a la slap dang."
2. The " engrailed," college puddings turned upside down.
3. The "wavy." Persons with very fertile imaginations can fancy
this resembles the waves of the sea we don't.
4. The "nebuly." As this line derives its name from the Latin
52 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
nebula, a cloud, we suppose it is so called from its fancied resemblance
to one ; all we can say is, that the likeness is simply missed.
5. The "embattled," which represents battlements of a castle, and
was probably borne by knights, who to battle meant to go.
6. The " raguly." This line is supposed, though we don't know
who by, to look like the trunk of a tree with the branches cut short
off an arrangement which would do much towards facilitating an
ascent ; and this leads us to conclude that it denoted impecuniosity,
or being up a tree. For our own part, we should rather liken it to
the " embattled " in liquor.
7. The " indented." Here we have the teeth of a saw, a cutting
allusion for which we confess ourselves unable to find a solution.
8. The " dancetty." The saw teeth again only blunted, and but
three of them.
Which brings us to the end of the Lines, or perhaps it would be
more correct to say to the Terminus ; but they differ from those of a
railway, inasmuch as there are no accidents upon them.
To change the subject we will now have a few differences, not of
opinion, but of Blazonry.
(IFFERENCES, or Cadency, signify,
in Heraldry, the distinguishing-
marks on an escutcheon, whereby
various members of the same family
might, by their shields, be known
one from the other. Thus, in ancient
times, if a rich uncle had two
nephews, to one of whom he had
promised something for himself, or
a sound thrashing, while to the other, something for his pocket, or
a gold noble, and they both appeared before him with their beavers
down, it would only be by the differences of their coat armour
that he would be able to distinguish them ; though, if the to-be-
thrashed nephew were wise, the coat he would wear on the occasion
would be a cut-away.
Ancient differences consisted of "bordures," which were, as their
name denotes, borders placed round the interior of the shield, and
Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
were simply used to distinguish the different branches of the same
family ; or to put it more familiarly, that the various branches of the
family might be thus twigged.
Modern differences may be said to go to the root of the tree, and
distinguish not only the branches, but even the boughs and leaves,
or rather the various sons of the same father.
An eldest son bears a "file," or
" label," for his distinguishing
badge. Were it the fashion for
young gentlemen of the present
time to wear their coats of arms as
general garments, the "label"
would be particularly useful to
mothers of families with marriage-
able daughters, and prevent any
nonsensical flirtations with younger
and lesseligible sons. The "label"
also might be still further utilized
by inscribing thereon the exact
amount of the prospective rent-
roll, and whether, and how deeply,
the property had been dipped.
Used thus, the label would indeed
be the ticket.
Son number two bears a " crescent." This seems strange at first,
and can only be accounted for by supposing that second sons not
unfrequently turned out regular Turks in their manners and customs :
hence the emblem.
The third son takes as his badge a "mullet," on account, perhaps,
of his prospects being, if anything, more fishy than his next elder
brother. Not that the cognizance in question had anything to
do with the sea, but is, as our readers will observe, a five-pointed
OF DIFFERENCES. 55
star. In fact, it is more than probable that it was called a mullet
because that fish was, of all things in the world, what it least
A fourth son takes a " martlet " for his distinguishing cognizance.
This is described by Dr. Johnson (vide that instructive if slightly arid
work, his dictionary,) as a " small bird without legs, used in
An "annulet," or small ring, denotes a fifth son; a clear hint that
his fortune lies in a ring, or, to reduce it to the roughly modern and
material ideas, marrying a girl with money.
For son six a " fleur-de-lys " is provided, though what the sup-
posed connection between them may consist in, we are unable
The seventh young gentleman of the family is distinguished by
a "rose." As seven is always supposed to be a lucky number,
this must mean that his path in life is destined to be a flowery
What in Heraldry is called a " cross-moline," decorates the
escutcheon of number eight. If the cross signifies the bias of
the temper of the bearer, it argues but badly for domestic
Last of all comes the " double quatre-foil," for the ninth son.
And as the Heralds very properly considered that nine sons
were enough for any man, however fond of children, to go on
with, they made no provisions for any further additions to the
Besides these differences there are also " abatements," and
"augmentations." They may be compared to the stripes for good
and bad conduct we bestow upon our soldiers. Augmentations
signifying the good conduct stripes borne upon the sleeve, and
abatements the bad ditto, ditto, which are, as a rule, blazoned gules
upon the back of the warrior.
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
Augmentations are additional charges borne on an escutcheon as
marks of honour for services rendered to the sovereign. Thus, Her
Majesty the Queen might, if she felt so inclined, and the Prime
Minister didn't object, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer didn't
think it would cost the country anything, grant to the family
house-maid at Buckingham Palace the following augmentation in
lieu of raising her wages "argent, a broom sweepant proper,"
for her services rendered in the domestic department of the
"Abatements" are casual marks attached to coat armour, and
denote some dishonourable action of the bearer.
Monarchs in the olden time, like their modern
successors, had occasionally bad knights, and
when that was the case the Heralds stepped in and
did their best to abate them. As a rule, before
abating a disreputable warrior, sovereigns not
unfrequently cut off his head, and stuck it up on
Temple Bar, or some other prominent public edifice,
thus placing him at the head of the pole in a way
that was certainly not the result of his own election.
As a public ornament, these heads were scarcely
successes but after all we ought not to throw stones at our ancestors
for their want of taste. Have we not our public statues ?
Abatements are of two sorts " diminution, or reversing."
Diminution is the blemishing some particular point of the shield
by the tinctures, "sanguine," or "tenne," which we have mentioned
in Chapter V., and which are regarded as stains. Reversing is
when some cognizance on the shield is turned backward, or upside
down. So Sneaker, caught in the act of annexing the pocket-
handkerchief of Pumpkinson, churchwarden, ratepayer, and pork-
butcher, a big man and strong' in the arms, would, should
Pumpkinson take the law into his own hands, receive an abatement
of his joy at the robbery, in the shape of the following heraldic
diminution, "on a field (or face) argent, a nose sanguine."
Or he might be seized by the irate Pumpkinson, and be turned
backward to the police station which would be reversing S.'s
intention, which did certainly not tend to such a goal or gaol.
Now let us have no more differences though we trust nobody has
lost his temper over them, unless, indeed, the temper was a bad one,
in which case we hope he has.
OF CHARGES AND ORDINARIES.
AVING settled our differences,
let us hope satisfactorily, we
come next to what in common
life often leads to them, es-
pecially when made by trades-
people, viz.: Charges. These
charges, however, must not be
confounded with those made
before a magistrate, or in a bill,
nor yet with the prices paid to
the Heralds for finding an
Heraldic coat. Sooner than such an imputation should be made
upon them the English King of Arms would hang himself in
his own garter; Lyon, the Scotch King, would bite off his own
'ear; and Ulster, the Irish ditto, would smother himself in his own
Charges are the figures expressed on a coat of arms, and we will
now proceed to add them up.
OF CHARGES AND ORDINARIES.
We must premise by saying that they consist of everything
depictable (to coin a word) either in or on the earth, air or sea,
besides a great many other things which never could, would, ought,
might, or can be found anywhere but in the brains of the Heralds.
Having thus eased our minds in regard to them, readers will
please take note that of charges there are six kinds. 1. Ordinaries,
which have no connection either with the chaplain of Newgate, who
is also an ordinary, or with tables-d'hote every day at one and four.
These ordinaries, the Heraldic ones are entitled " honourable," to
distinguish them from 2, the " Sub-ordinaries," which anyone
who was rash in jumping at conclusions would of course say were
the dishonourable kind. The only objection to this would be that it
was perfectly wrong, seeing that they are nothing of the sort.
Next comes number 3, "Common Charges," which might again be
supposed to include those of wife-beating, adulteration of food, con-
spiracy of directors of bogus companies, &c., which are very common
now-a-days only they don't.
Four Natural Figures. What these are, and are not, we will
explain when we come to them a promise we will also fulfil in re 5
and 6, Artificial and Chimerical
The honourable ordinaries are
nine in number, in that resembling
the muses, and if we can only
make each of them amuse, the
likeness will be still further carried
First of all we have, as might
be expected, the "Chief." This
charge consists of a bar occupying
the upper third of the shield.
Next we have the " Pale." This charge takes up the third of the
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
shield perpendicularly, and would seem to be better adapted for the
arms of a sickly girl than a stalwart knight. It has two diminutives
the "Pallet," half the size of the pale, which is clearly intended for the
cognizance of a painter, who would of course put his own colours on
it; and the "Endorse," half the size of the pallet, the bill broker's own
charge. One might naturally expect the renewal and the protest to
follow ; only, by some unaccountable omission, they are not included
Thirdly comes the " Bend," which consists of two diagonal lines
from right to left. It has four diminutives the " Bendlet," the
" Garter," the " Cost," and the " Ribbon." By the association of
the last two we might almost fancy that the Heralds, under the guise
of their, science, were slily poking fun at the ladies.
Fourthly, the Bend Sinister. This is
the same as the beud, only from left to
right. It is usually, but not always, the
Heraldic sign of illegitimacy, and has
two diminutives, the "Scarp," and the
" Baton," which latter smacks more
of the Orchestra than Heraldry, and
also strikingly suggests the policeman
Fifthly, the " Fess." A bar occupying
the middle third of the shield, over which
we shall bolt to the Bar itself, which is
the fifth ordinary, and only takes up a
fifth of the escutcheon. This is never
borne singly, and when there are five bars, the shield is said to be
"blazoned barry," which naturally calls to mind the Revalenta
Arabica food, and perhaps the name was invented by some grateful
Herald restored to health after years of " indescribable agony," by
the use of that much- vaunted condiment. The bar has two
OF CHARGES AND ORDINARIES.
diminutives, the "Barrulet," and the "Closet," which we shall now
shut up, and proceed to.
The " Chevron," the seventh ordinary. This is in shape like a
rafter used to sup-
port a roof, and
hence is sometimes
called the "Spar."
For a fighting man
in training this would
be eminently adap-
ted. The eighth
ordinary is the
"Cross." In Herald-
ry, as in life, there
are various crosses :
but as advertising tradesmen say, none others are genuine but the
plain cross, consisting of two bars, one horizontal and the other
perpendicular. We therefore beg our readers
to beware of all spurious imitations calling
Last of all comes the "Saltier," which
is neither more or less than a St. Andrew's
cross, and is so called by both German
and Scotch Heralds. The last-named gentle-
men would, of course, lose no opportunity
of glorifying the " Land of Cakes and of
immortal Burns," and their proverbially
canny character is shown by their seeking
to obtain a larger measure of honour from
the ordinary by bestowing it upon their own
private and particular saint, thus making
it, in fact, an extraordinary.
Y E COMIC HISTQR Y OF HERALDR Y.
This ends the list of honourable ordinaries. In our next chapter
we shall attack the Subordinaries, which may be reg-arded as a sort
of Heraldic cuisine a la cookshop, in contradistinction to the more
aristocratic food of the honourable ordinaries.
HE Sub-Ordinaries now claim our atten-
tion. These number in all fourteen, and,
as they will form our present course, we
will proceed to serve them up for the
palates of our readers, making up by the
sauce for the heaviness of the food.
Heraldry is known to be a dry subject ;
so, on the homoeopathic principle that
"like cures like," we will add a little
The first sub-ordinary we shall draw out and wave on our Heraldic
banner is the "Gyron." This is formed by two lines, one drawn
diagonally from one of the angles to the centre of the shield, meeting
another straight line drawn from the same side : the whole giving us
the idea that at first the inventor had intended to put a triangle into
the escutcheon and had then thought better of it, and had only inserted
half a one. When there are six, eight, or ten Gyrons in the field,
the blazoning is said to be " gyronny," just on the principle that
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
boys term a pudding with more than the usual amount of plums a
Next comes the " Quarter," which, as its name denotes, occupies a
fourth of the shield, and always in the " dexter chief," or, to reduce
the Heraldic jargon to the language of common life, in the right-hand
It is a plain square, as once was that of Leicester, but which now,
thanks to a Baronial Grant, though not in China, is quite a flowery land.
And on we go again to the "Canton," which has nothing to do
with Switzerland ; so our readers
need not fancy that any " Merry
Swiss boy" business is here go-
ing to be transacted. It exactly
resembles the Quarter, of which it
may be said to be a little brother,
as it only takes up one-fifth of
the shield instead of one-fourth.
It is supposed to represent the
flag borne by knights bannerets,
which was of small size, as those
knights were created on the field
of battle, where it was but natural
the supply of bunting would run
short, it being scarcely likely that a man would take some with him
on the speculation that the cutting off the heads of his enemies would
prove for him a short cut to glory.
Our next sub-ordinary is the " Fret," not that we intend to do so-
quite the contrary. It is formed by two narrow bendlets, interlaced
by a small square. Sometimes it is called the " Herald's true lover's
knot," and we need scarcely mention the appropriateness of the con-
nection between love and frets, which must, of course, be apparent to
the meanest amorous capacity.
When the escutcheon is covered with these true
lovers' knots, it is termed " fretty," and who would
not be fretty at finding a number of such tokens
in the possession of one party, especially if the
belief had been cherished that only the knot of one
beau, and that one yourself, had been preserved.
Fifthly comes the "Pile," which is in shape like
a long narrow wedge, and must have been invented
by a Herald of destructive proclivities trying to
split a shield by driving a wedge therein, but fail-
ing and leaving the wedge in disgust, christened
it an ordinary. It exactly represents a pile upon ^
which bridges are built; nor can we be surprised at this, for
Heralds invariably had an arch way with them.
To proceed, we have the " Orle," which may, of course, be all our
fancy painted it, and a lot more besides, but is a kind of inner border
within the shield. A good notion of this
ordinary may be obtained by taking two
hats, one a large size and the other con-
siderably smaller, cutting off the brims and
placing one within the other; flatten both to
the required shape, and there you have the
Orle. We should advise the experimentalist
not, for obvious reasons, to use his own
property for the trial.
After the Orle comes the " Tressure," a
neat article of the same kind, but only half
the width of that charge. When we have
said that we have not, however, said everything thereanent. It is
generally borne double, or one within the other; so that when a
Herald had more than one, he was able to act on the advice given
to unskilful horsemen, and make the Tressure get inside. The
66 Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
Tressure is ornamented with fleur de lys, that is to say those flowers
are placed on the sides, reminding- us somewhat of the sprigs of
holly stuck about a Christmas pudding.
This bearing- forms a part of the arms of Scotland ; the legs of
Scotland, especially the Highland legs, having a baring of a different
kind, and as a rule gravitating towards England. It was granted by
Charlemagne to Achaius, the then king of the country, as a present of
honour. For our own part, we should prefer a present of game to
any such unsubstantial gift, but in those times the smallest honorial
donation was thankfully received and gratefully acknowledged.
The " Flanches " come next. They are formed by two curved
lines nearly meeting in the centre of the
escutcheon. To give a receipt for making
them in the style of that mirror of cookery,
Mrs. Glasse, we should say : first catch
your shield a plain one is best on which
no Heraldic cookery has been performed.
Draw two circles, cut a slice off each and
place at opposite sides within the shield.
Serve up as wanted. Of this sub-ordinary
there are two diminutives, " Flasques " and
" Voiders." The former of these would seem to have some
connection with drinking, and doubtless Heralds, like other men,
had no objection to moisten their Heraldic clays. Voiders, again,
clearly relate to the same subject ; being smaller than flasques, may
be taken to typify glasses when voider or emptier than they were
We now come to the " Lozenge," a sub-ordinary exactly repre-
sented by a jujube. Visions of anti-pertussents rise before us as we
take this charge out of the Heraldic coffer. The Lozenge may be of
any size, either filling up the whole of the shield, like two fat women
in a small Hansom, or only just appearing at the corner of the shield,
like one small passenger in a three-horse omnibus. When the shield
is crossed by diagonal lines, it is called " lozengy," a good idea of
which may be formed by thinking of the
open-work jam tarts of childhood.
The " Fusil " is narrower and longer
than the "Lozenge," and gives us the notion
of a partially-sucked and pulled-out-length-
ways lozenge. It is also called the "Spindle,"
from its supposed resemblance to that
ancient housewifely instrument. Anyone
who can see the resemblance is perfectly
welcome to do so, though for our own
part we shall not spin a yarn upon the subject, as we consider it
needle-less. A fusil is also a light kind of gun, but we should not hit
the mark if we imagined there was any connection between that
weapon and the sub-ordinary in question.
In the " Rustre," our friend the jujube appears once more. Again
referring to the Heraldic cookery book, we find the following direc-
tions: take a lozenge, punch a hole in the middle, place in centre of
the shield, garnish with what you please, or serve up plain or according
to taste. At least, if you don't, we have given you the means of
making a very good substitute.
The " Mascle " derives its name from macula, the mesh of a net.
Though the derivation is somewhat fishy, yet we hope our readers
will not carp at our description. Still, if we should flounder at this
place, our sole desire is to give a friendly lift or hoister to every man
jack into the science of Heraldry. Not yet are we free of the Lozenge,
for the Mascle is another connection of this cough-no-more ordinary.
It is, however, a mere frame lozenge-shaped, or, as the Heralds
would express it, a " lozenge voided." Our own ideas on the subject
correspond exactly with the scientific description, for we have held,
ever since the days of infancy, when peppermint specimens of the
Y E COMIC HIST OR Y OF HERALDR Y.
article invariably followed senna tea, that lozenges of all sorts are
things specially to be avoided.
Next comes the " Inescutcheon." This
is merely, as the name denotes, a small
shield inside a larger one, and, like the
result of many races, is a case of an out-
sider coming in.
We come now to the last sub-ordinary,
the " Guttes," a name vulgarly and un-
pleasantly suggestive of the internal eco-
nomy of the human and other bodies.
Some Heralds do not class this charge
among the sub-ordinaries at all, but we
intend to be more liberal. The word is
derived from " goutte," a drop, and we
may at once state that it has no connec-
tion either with capital punishment, the Old
Bailey, or Mr. Marwood.
Guttes are small round spots borne on the shield, and when they
are placed at equal distances over the whole of the shield, giving it
somewhat the appearance of having been suddenly taken ill with some
cutaneous disorder, the cognizance is called "gutty."
As in common life there are drops of different kinds, for instance,
drops of comfort, drops of brandy, and drops in life, so also in
Heraldry Guttes or drops differ. When the Guttes are gold colour,
the shield is said to be " gutty d'or." We should prefer, however, a
bucketfull, or, why not say a hogshead while we are about it, instead
of a few drops of gold. When white it is called " gutty d'eau," or
water colour. This has a very washy sound, and calls to mind Sir
Wilfrid Lawson and teetotallers, a class of people who ought to be
the happiest in the world, since, according to their own accounts, they
are never given to whine, which perhaps accounts for the unsteady
gait of the sons of temperance after their annual festivals at the
Crystal Palace and elsewhere.
When the drops are red, they are said to be de sang, or of blood,
which suggests cut fingers, and sticking plaister that never sticks.
When blue they are said to be de larmes, or of tears. This notion is
too ridiculous. Who, beside a Herald, ever heard of blue tears ?
That people may look blue is possible : we ourselves have done so at
times, notably when expecting a remittance from our country estate
and receiving a County Court summons from our discontented tailor
instead. But blue tears. Never !
When the "Guttes" are black, they are called de poix, or pea colour.
Again we demur to this description. Mellow pears are all very well;
green peas when young are like young ladies, nice; peas-pudding
not perhaps tempting, but decidedly cheap, and oh ! so filling all
these we have heard of and even know ; but black peas argue a degree
of nastiness, not to say putridity, that would turn the stomach of a
rhinoceros. We are really surprised at meeting with such unplea-
santness among the Heralds.
Finally, when green, the " Guttes " are d'huile, or olive-oil colour.
This definition clearly originated with some King-at-arms, who had
a predominant taste for salad. Still, as we are strong, so will we be
merciful, and he shall receive no dressing on that account. And this
concludes the Sub-Ordinaries.
OF COMMON CHARGES.
AVING had our fill of Heraldic
food at the Ordinaries and
Sub-Ordinaries, we shall, so to
say, take our dessert off the
"Common Charges." Amongst
these we might class, the six-
pences or shillings, over and
above their fares, demanded
by, and frequently paid to
cabmen ; the six-and-eight-
pence to a lawyer, for informing
you that curling your hair with a boiled carrot is not a criminal offence ;
the shilling demanded of hurried travellers at Mugby Junction for a
ptiree of horsebeans, called euphemistically soup : all these are very
common charges, but unfortunately are not included in Heraldry.
Common Charges are of three kinds : Natural, Artificial, and
Chimerical Figures. Thus, we should call a figure representing a
donkey as strictly natural, considering the number of those animals
(both biped and quadruped) to be found in the world; one repre-
OF COMMON CHARGES, 71
senting- a wig" as decidedly artificial, since we are not aware that any
man, woman, or child in a state of nature has yet been discovered
with a foreign hair-apparent to his crown; and one representing
a lawyer's conscience could such a charge be invented as very
chimerical, since we never heard of such a thing existing in real life ?
To commence, however, with the Natural Figures. They consist
of everything in general and most things in particular, and comprise
birds, beasts, men (which of course includes women), fishes, insects,
infusoria, and other rudimentary animalculae. Anything, in fact, that
might or could have life.
The objects and when we see the unpleasant not to say absurd
positions in which some of them are placed by the Heralds we may
indeed call them so which constitute the terrestrial figures are re-
presented either whole or like serial publications, in parts. When in
the latter, they appear cut up, and seem acutely to feel the joint-stock
element and unnatural combination introduced into their pourtrayal.
There are also a variety of Heraldic phrases descriptive of the
different positions assumed, which we shall enumerate and explain,
in order that readers may not break their mental shins over them in
future researches into the science.
Heraldry has a language some call it jargon, but they are ill-
natured of its own, and anyone guilty of using an incorrect phrase
in describing the cognizances or blazon of a shield, is regarded by
Garter and Co, as an utter barbarian, with whom no Herald of any
self-respect can have dealings. In fact, as a rule, Heraldic mis-
descriptions grate to such an extent upon the ear of the Tabard
wearers that they long for, and would have were it not that the act
might lead them to visit the stately halls of the Ancient Bailey, and
subsequent introduction to Marwood the blood of the offender.
Under the circumstances, therefore, they don't get the liquid in ques-
tion. And now to arm our readers against any possibility of incur-
ring the Heraldic vengeance.
Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
The colour of the hair in men, including
women, is described by the word " crined."
Thus a lady with hair of a carrotty or
fashionable colour would be Heraldically
termed "crined gules." If a cockney, how-
ever, were to ask if his sheets were "crined,"
instead of haired, the phrase would be in-
correct. As a rule, it may be taken that
Heraldic expressions fit badly in domestic
life, and are liable to cause him or her using- them to be looked upon
as a dangerous lunatic. Still our readers may try for themselves ;
but if ill consequences follow, we accept no blame for the results.
"Couchant" denotes lying
iown, though you could hardly
say a false witness was couchant
because he was, when giving
evidence, lying downily.
When an animal is couchant
the head is raised, and an art-
fully expectant look may generally be observed in his or her eye, also
an expression, which says, as plainly as possible, " If you come within
reach of my paws or teeth, your family will go into mourning, but
they needn't worry about
" Dormant " sleeping.
This description applies to
men (again including wo-
men), and beasts, as they
are frequently to be seen on the Heraldic shield with a nod appearance.
The "dormant" animal is distinguished from the couchant by
having his head resting on his paws, and his tail coiled up along side
him, so as to prevent people treading on it. A peaceful calm
OF COMMON CHARGES.
pervades his countenance, and thoughts of that last Hindoo au
naturel which formed his sup-
per, evidently give a gentle
zest to his well-earned slumbers.
"Regardant" a man or beast
steadily looking at nothing.
This description of figure is
frequently found in connection
with lions, bears, stags, bulls
[N.B. No connection with Capel Court], and other animals not
possessed of human impudence
enough to take a sight at anything.
"Statant," standing upright. Per- ^~^f/
sons fond of seeking eleemosynary
drinks can vary their usual invoca-
tion of "What are you going to
stand?" with "Will you be stat- gJ-%^-
ant? " The British Lion often has
to stand a good deal. Instance, the
Alabama award. Still, " We don't want to fight, but by jingo," &c.
"Rampant" rearing. Lions are
often seen indulging in this un-
seemly pastime on the Heraldic
field, and, like a bad tenant with
his landlord, are frequently in ar-
rear. Under these circumstances,
it is the landlord who becomes ram-
pant, and makes things lively for
the tenant, by sending him a
visitor in the shape of a man in
possession, who is not usually a wel-
Y E COMIC HIS TOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
" Sejant " sitting. This position would most probably be used
to describe a Member of Parliament, or a hen both do a quantity
of cackling or any other
abnormal animal whose
principal employment is to sit.
It is an eminently peaceful
position, and one much used
by humanity generally when
not walking, standing, or lying.
Not but what we have known
people who could lie sitting just
as well as standing, if not better,
but then they had talents for
mendacity, which we are certain are wanting to all readers of
this work. At least we hope so, although sometimes in the still-
ness of the night doubts will arise even on that point.
" Current," which has no connection with tarts, but means run-
ning, is generally found
associated with stags
and dogs in Heraldry; out
of it, bills have also that
have also been known to
be current, especially if
their creditors were after
them. As a rule, how-
ever, the criminal law has a tendency to disapprove of their funny
way of running on.
Money also, both good and bad, is current. We prefer the for-
mer, and as much of it as possible. No reduction made on taking
OF COMMON CHARGES.
Salient" leaping" applied to lions and tigers, who, like flowers,
often appear in the spring 1 . Not
that the time of year makes the
slightest difference to them. As a
rule, a lion or a tiger is a creature
quite devoid of prejudice, and is
as ready to eat you in the summer,
autumn, or winter, as in the spring.
The high jump at an athletic
meeting is also a salient subject
for the persons who compete.
rising out of the midst of an ordinary ; thus a
grog-blossom rising out of the
midst of a nose would be so
described, though we are not
aware of any family which
bears that peculiar flower as
a portion of its cognizance,
though what says the Bard of
" It's a nose tree in full bearing."
But no Moore upon that
Counter current ; two ani-
mals, human or otherwise, run-
ning in opposite directions. In common life we often see this
peculiarity; for instance, one man will run into 10,000 a year, and
another into the workhouse : one man on to the bench, and another
into the dock. But there, we might continue our illustrations from
here to the middle of next year, were it convenient; but as it is
not, we shall, like the old preachers, proceed to our
Lastly, we have "Issuant," which denotes anything coming out of
76 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
the top or bottom of an ordinary. As an example, we might take
the speeches of many public characters which frequently issue from
the mouths of very ordinary men indeed.
There are many other descriptive terms, but the above are the
chief ones. Anyone can manufacture them to order by simply adding
the syllable " ant" to the descriptive word, thus :
"Smokant," "kickant," "hookant," "smilant," " drunkant," &c.,
&c. ; and so, as the showman says, "on we go again, my little dears,
up and down, in and out, and all round the show/'' to the next
OF ARTIFICIAL FIGURES.
HE next selection of Heraldic articles
we shall present to our readers are
the Artificial Figures, and though, as a
rule, we object to artifices of all kinds,
yet in Heraldry we have to do violence
to our feelings and deal with them.
Artificial figures are of various
kinds. There is our maiden aunt,
whose money we hope to inherit some
day, and who, under the circumstances,
displays a tenacity of life which is positively dishonest; we reckon
her as an absolutely artificial figure when we contemplate her false
teeth, hair, eyebrows, and padding in proportion. Modesty, of which
we have an overwhelming quantity, forbids us even to guess to what
extent the latter adjunct to beauty obtains with her, though we have
a suspicion, we might almost say a certainty, that were that aged
damsel to appear as nature made her, she would not only be un-
recognizable, but also in danger of being disposed of on the spot for
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
Another class of artificial figures we frequently read of are
those used by accountants of public companies to delude the un-
fortunate shareholders into a belief of prosperity, whereas the
winding-up process is what they properly require. And here
we would make a digression in reference to public companies.
And at the same time we would just throw out a conundrum for the
benefit of those of our readers who may be desirous of reproducing
it in select society, or in quires and places where they sing,
or anywhere else where they think it would fit in well. It is this:
What is the difference between a public company and a watch ?
Do you give it up Gentle Reader? * You do ! We see it in your
expressive eye your mind's eye. Mark ye ! List, list oh, list !
The company stops by winding up the watch goes on.
Go on ahead.
Neither of these kinds of artificial figures, however prevalent in real
life, are found in Heraldry, but
instead of them we have, as might
be expected, swords, which are
said sometimes to be "erect" or
"pommelled:" the non-Heraldic
mind would naturally suppose that
when it came to a rough-and-
tumble fight the men and not the
swords were pommelled. Oc-
casionally, also, they are "hilted,"
the hilt thus forming a handle,
enabling us to grasp the fact.
Sometimes arrows appeared as
charges, which of course afforded
shafts for ridicule and rudimen-
* This phrase is copyright ; anyone using it without permission of the publisher
will be prosecuted according to law.
OF ARTIFICIAL FIGURES.
tary jokes about an arrow mind. They were said to be "armed"
or "feathered," according- as they appeared pointed or otherwise.
Gauntlets, battle-axes, spears, battering-- rams, and pole-axes we
simply mention, declining to be struck by them.
Next we come to the Ornamental Figures in contradistinction to the
useful, which latter are but seldom to be found in Heraldry. Among- the
Ornamental Figures are Crowns and Coronets, which belong to the
arms, though we might more properly say to the heads, of kings and
Bishops, again, display the might of the Church by bearing a
mitre; nor have we any right to throw
doubt on the validity of the episcopal
appointment by saying of one of those
clerical peers that he is a bishop with a
hook, because in his arms appears a
In addition to these artificial flowers of
Heraldry, we must also take down a few
bricks from architecture to serve as com-
mon charges, such as towers, castles,
arches, battlements, churches, portcul-
lises, &c., &c. These last were a species of addition to castle gates,
which kept out invaders in tolo, by being- dropped upon their toes.
Navigation also furnishes a few charges to Heralds as well as to
underwriters of the present day. Thus sailors who have to see fair
and also foul weather on the briny deep, had ships assigned to them,
and anchors. These last are also emblems of hope ; though why,
except it be to denote that what we hope for is often obtained by
a fluke, we are unable to state with any certainty.
To recount, however, all the artificial figures which are or may be
used in Heraldry would be a perfectly endless task, seeing that the
list may be made to comprise vegetables, snuff-boxes, flowers, jam-
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
pots, boot-jacks, compound rhubarb pills, steam-engines, pickled
walnuts, garden-rollers, patent knife-cleaning- machines, violins,
batter puddings, balloons, tinder boxes, stewed oysters, baby
jumpers, dress improvers, hot sausages, 8i-tcn guns, Revalenta
Arabica, opera boxes, eye-openers, post-cards from Mr. Gladstone,
blacking bottles, and in fact anything which the hand of man is able
to fabricate or his head to imagine.
OF CHIMERICAL FIGURES.
HIMERICAL Figures are
the last and most ancient
kind of charge to be
found in Heraldry, and
represent a variety of
figures which never did,
can, will, shall, might,
could, or should exist in
any zoological collection
in the whole world.
Chimerical animals are
a sort of Heraldic half-and-half, being generally compounded of half
of one animal and the rest from another quite different, with very often
a dash of a third, just to make the mixture more mixed, and con-
fusion worse confounded. In fact, when in a Chimerical frame of
mind, the Heralds as often as they got hold of an animal or two
to serve up in their Heraldic dishes, invariably made a hash of
With the exception of Griffons, Martlets and Unicorns, these figures
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
are of foreign origin, a great number coming over with the conquer-
ing hero William the First; that French "Bill," which our Saxon
forefathers were compelled to accept at sight, and on his own demand.
The bland way in which the conquering hero walked first into
England, and then into the English, including most of their pos-
sessions, was a thing to be remembered by the sufferers. In fact
they did remember it those who were left especially when they
saw the Norman intruders taking possession of their Saxon estates
with an open handed freedom that, however enjoyable to the
takers, was less so to the takees. Still, let byegones be byegones;
and far be it from us to rake up old grievances, especially since,
so far as he knows, the author did not suffer by them to any great
extent. Perhaps his not having been born at that time had some-
thing to do with this fact.
Anyhow, to return to our Chimerical Figures
First of all we will commence with the Unicorn, which represents
a"horse with the tail of a lion, and
a single horn in the middle of his
forehead. He is of course familiar
to all our readers, not only as one
of the Supporters of the Arms of
England, but also as an early,
though unsuccessful competitor for
the crown of this country. What
he would have done with it had he
obtained it, history does not say ;
in fact, with all due deference to
the legend in question, we fear we
must relegate it to the category
of things which never happened. Anyway, looking at the present
shape of the head-piece in question it would have had to be con-
siderably altered before it would have fitted his peculiar con-
OF CHIMERICAL FIGURES.
formation of head; but as he did not get it, but only a thrashing
instead, it is perhaps useless to speculate upon the contingency.
Speculation so often leads to trouble : ah ! woe is me why did I
buy those Spanish bonds ?
" Martlets," which, as we have already observed in a former
chapter, were small legless birds,
formed part of the arms of
Edward the Confessor, and were
probably borne by him to denote
that, by never confessing anything,
he was determined never to put
his foot into any trouble. Sharp
fellow, Ned, though it is probable that the clerical gentlemen
of his time had something to say to him on the subject if he
carried his principles out in their entirety when dealing with
them. Probably they talked to him like Dutch uncles ; or, perhaps
to speak more correctly holy fathers.
"Griffons" remind us of the celebrated American warrior, who
was half horse, half alligator, and
the rest snapping turtle. They
are composed of the head, wings,
and talons of an eagle, with the
hinder part of a lion; thus pre-
senting an appearance which would
lead irreverent thinkers to remark
that, did such an animal exist, the
fore part of his body would be a bird-un indeed. As a mixture
to be taken at bedtime they must, we should say, be slightly
conducive to nightmare ; but still, compared with some of the
Heraldic animals which were of the most dreadful, not to say
ferocious description, they must have been rather soothing than
Y R COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
A " Sagittary " is the same
as the zoological figure of that
name, and represents a being
half human and half horse, and
armed with an arrow and a
bended bow. He would be a
useful sort of creature at an
archery meeting, but anywhere
else we do not see that much
could be done with him. As
our proclivities are not toxo-
philite we don't seem to hanker
much after a Sagittary, at
least not for private consump-
A "Pegasus" is a horse again; this time, however, with wings.
This Charge forms the arms of the Society of the Middle Temple.
Belonging, as it thus
does, to lawyers, it is
most apposite, and
signifies that whoever
has anything to do
with the law, will find
his money not only
disappear as fast as
a horse can gallop,
but like a horse and
A "Dragon" is a serpent with wings. Dragons form the sup-
porters of the arms of the City of London ; but this we regard
as a mistake, since it is perfectly certain that the chief supporters
of the civic powers are venison and clear turtle. Students of
OF CHIMERICAL FIGURES.
fabulous history may
also remember that it
was with an animal
of this class that St.
George of England
had an unsatisfactory
interview ; unsatisfac-
tory, that is, from the
dragon's point of view.
A " Salamander " is a beast somewhat resembling- a lizard, and is
always represented in flames, so that, when wanted, he had always to
be called over the coals.
In that respect he was like the "Phoenix," which is an eagle with
gaudy plumage, sitting on a blazing nest. The vulgar saying of
"going to blazes," probably originated with the last-named bird,
which tradition asserts was in the habit of burning itself periodically,
whereby it regained its youth coming out of the operation like an
old coat under the skilful hands of a Jew trader, as good as new and
a great deal better.
A "Cannet" was a duck without beak or feet. The name arose
from the astonishment of those persons who first saw it, and who
naturally asked "what can it mean?"
The answer given is not known, but
let us hope the enquirer had his
Next we come to the "Harpy."
This creature is half a woman and
half a bird, the upper part thus re-
sembling one of the fair and the
lower part one of the fowl.
The " Cockatrice " has the head
and feet of a cock, with the wings
86 Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
and tail of a drag-on. This is the Heraldic description of the animal ;
but in common life, although we never had the pleasure of meeting- a
Cockatrice, we should imagine it was something quite different. This
opinion we ground upon the fact that, when a young man living in
lodgings, we frequently heard our landlady (for whom we had the
greatest respect personally, despite occasional differences on the
subject of rent,) describe a rival lady of the same persuasion, as
"a stuck-up Cockatrice." Now, putting aside the epithet " stuck-up,"
which may be regarded as irrelevant to the question before us, the
person thus described was a little woman of the meekest nature, with
a constant determination of water to the eyes, whereby the hearts of
the most obdurate non-paying lodgers were softened. Moreover, she
had nothing of the dragon about her except the long tale, to which she
treated the inmates of her house, when on rent-collecting thoughts
intent. Therefore, we have since come to the conclusion that
the epithet " Cockatrice," domestically, means somebody more suc-
cessful than the person using the term. Any of our readers who
may be able to elucidate this abstruse point, are requested to send
(under cover to our publisher) their notions on the subject, accom-
panied by a dozen of champagne (Cliquot or Mumm's preferred) to
moisten the dryness of the subject. On second thoughts our readers
need only send the " fiz," and can keep their notions until we ask for
The " Mantiger " is a creature of a more than usually composite
order, since it has the face of a man, the mane of a lion, the body of
a tiger, and two straight horns; an amalgamation, the peculiar
ugliness of which would entitle the creature to be distinguished
as what garrotters call the " nasty man " of the Heraldic party.
Then we have the "Triton," a mixture of man and fish, the
upper part being human, while instead of understandings to match,
it is forced to be contented with the continuation of a tail a
decidedly scaly ending.
OF CHIMERICAL FIGURES.
The " Mermaid " is a " triton" of the feminine gender, and is gene-
rally represented with a
mirror and a comb. These
adjuncts are of course in-
tended as gentle allusions
to the natural vanity of the
sex; whereby they were
always able to see a good
looking lass whenever they
The " Wyvern " is a dragon
with two legs, the common
dragon not possessing those useful articles of locomotion. It might,
therefore, be described as of the species "Walker," not that we wish
to throw any doubt upon the reality of the Heraldic existence of
this most delightful animal.
The " Sphinx " is an animal of Egyptian origin, with the head and
upper portion of a woman ; the lower part consisting of a lion,
with two broad plumed wings. In ancient times it was celebrated as
the propounder of a mild riddle ; which, naturally, being immediately
guessed by a person of quite average abilities, named GEdipus, so
disgusted the Sphinx, that she destroyed herself on the spot; an
allegory pointing out how intuitively the female mind objects to
being found out.
Last of all we shall mention the "Opimicus," a very neat thing in
Heraldic curiosities. This wonderful mixture has the head and wings
of an eagle, the body of a lion, and the tail of a camel ; a combination
which, were it possible to be realized, would beat the celebrated
woolly horse of Phineas T. Barnum into fits.
With this creature we shall conclude our notice of the Chimerical
Charges. There are many more, but those we have described will
show the style of article used. Anyone, however, who may be
Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
desirous of making one for himself, can, as we have already observed,
easily do so by sticking- the head of one animal on to the body of
another, and adding a tail from a third.
The amusement can be continued ad infinitum the mixture, as
before, being the sole rule of action under the circumstances.
OF HELMETS AND OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS.
r\L H E Heraldic Shield, like the
House of Commons, has
two sides an inside and
an outside. Having- now
exhausted the list of the
principal articles to be
found inside the shield, we
will proceed to treat of
those external articles,
which, like other mys-
terious puzzles, are to be
Of these external orna-
ments, the principal are
helmets, crowns, half-
crowns or coronets, wreaths, crests, mitres, scrolls, supporters and
90 Y F - COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
First of all, we have the Helmet ; which, appertaining literally to
the head of the family, was naturally
a most important item in the Heraldic
system. The helmet was always
placed on the top of the shield, and
varied according to the rank of the
owner. That belonging to the king
is of gold, which is naturally the
correct material for a sovereign. It
is full-faced and open, with six bars.
Considering the very few bars formerly
placed upon the actions of kings, and great men generally, those on
the helmet clearly derived their origin from the lucus a non lucendo
principle. A ducal helmet is of steel, and defended with five gold
bars : from which we may note that, like publicans, both kings and
dukes were always to be found behind their bars.
The helmet of a baronet or knight is also of steel, full-faced, the
visor up, and without bars; their countenances being thus totally un-
covered it may naturally be inferred that this class of warriors were
a decidedly barefaced lot. Esquires and gentlemen have also steel
helmets with the visor down, ornamented with gold, and placed in
profile, the faces in this instance being concealed : this class was pro-
bably more modest than the former, apt to turn aside, and easily shut
up, if, at any rate, they followed the examples of their visors.
On a well-regulated coat of arms, a crown, coronet, or wreath
invariably surmounted the helmet. Crowns, of course, belong to
kings though sometimes we have had them, or their equivalent in
shillings, in our possession ; but unluckily they never stay long.
The first crowns were simply bands or fillets, which latter word
reminds us naturally of butchers' meat ; and considering they were
not unfrequently bestowed upon those who had benefited the
common weal or veal, the connection is not so remote as at first
OF HELMETS, &c.
sight might appear. Afterwards, they were composed of branches
of various trees, which shows that ideas about that time began to
sprout, though, to modern minds, the notion of a wooden crown would
only be suitable to persons possessing a head of a similar
texture. Next, flowers were added to the crown, so that a conquering
hero in the middle ages must have presented an absurd mixture of
the warrior and the nursery gardener combined.
To pass, however, to more known times. Constantine the Great
first used a diadem of pearls and precious stones over a gold helm,
somewhat like the close crowns of later times, which seems to have
set the example the sovereigns afterwards followed.
Crowns, as a rule, are composed of a circle of gold round a velvet
cap, therein differing from coronets, which are not covered at the top.
Hence the expression "to close the crown," used to be synonymous with
the assumption of royal prerogatives, just as now-a-days, in a humbler
grade of life, the expression to " shut up shop," is equivalent to the as-
sumption of private life after the fatigue of selling small coal and mealy
potatoes. This action of closing the
crown was thus one performed by
those princes who felt themselves
strong enough to set up in business
as kings on their own account.
The royal crown of England
consists of a circlet of gold enriched
with jewels and heightened by four
crosses, and four fleur-de-lis alter-
nately. It is really a neat thing in
crowns, and in cases of emergency,
as King John, found in impecunious
days, a deal can be made of it. He
made a deal with it, and raised
some money on it.
92 Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
The Prince of Wales has only a coronet, consisting- of a circle of
gold, set with crosses and fleur-de-lis. As, however, it is not covered
in, it must on the whole be a drafty kind of head-piece; which, perhaps,
accounts for His Royal Highness usually preferring a modern hat,
or at any rate a wide-a-wake, when out of doors. Not having
ever worn a coronet, we cannot, however, speak with certainty on
this point. Ascending from the coronet are three ostrich feathers,
which, perhaps, denote that the Prince is always in good feather.
The younger sons and brothers of sovereigns have coronets diver-
sified with crosses and strawberry leaves. A duke has merely eight
strawberry leaves. And here we shall inform those of our readers
who may not happen to be acquainted with the manners and customs
of the " upper ten," upon a point of breeding most requisite to be
observed should they be summoned, as most probably some of them
will be, to the House of Lords. [No extra charge is made for the in-
formation ; it is included in the price of the present volume.] In
consequence of the strawberry leaves adorning a ducal coronet, it is
regarded as a delicate attention, when addressing anyone of the rank,
to mention him as " Leaves," or, in case you should desire to be very
ceremonious, to address him as "Pottle," at once. This will invariably
ensure favourable notice from the party (and a duke is a very large
party indeed) spoken to.
We shall rapidly dismiss the other decorations, by stating that
a marquis's coronet has two balls and two strawberry leaves ; that
of an earl, five balls only ; a viscount, any quantity of balls you like
to stick on ; but, as a rule, either seven or nine balls ; and a baron,
who is the smallest kind of peer a sort of stepping-stone, in fact,
only rejoices in four balls to his coronet. A pawnbroker has three
balls; but as, for reasons of state, he does not usually wear a coronet,
he places them, for convenience, outside his dwelling. As a rule,
he is not a peer.
Besides crowns and coronets, we have also " Mitres," and
OF HELMETS, &c.
" Chapeaux." The former of these belong- exclusively to bishops,
who, as pillars of the Church, also do their best, as clerical peers, to
support the Establishment.
The " chapeau," or " cap of maintenance," was orignally borne by
dukes only, and was placed beneath the crest, serving sometimes in
place of a wreath, of which more in our next. Afterwards the
chapeau, like patents that have run out, became common property,
and appeared in all sorts of unexpected shields. It is generally of
velvet, scarlet in colour, turned up with ermine, and when not in use
Heraldically, will serve as a smoking-cap.
ESIDES the coronets, crowns, and
chapeaux, there are other external
ornaments used in Heraldry, and
the most important of these is the
Crest. Let us, however, commence
in the orthodox manner, and in the
regular didactic fashion.
The word " crest " is derived from
the Latin word crista, a comb, and
was worn by warriors on the tops
of their helmets. As the fighting-
men who appeared in helmets,
and they all did it, naturally not
being desirous of having their nuts
too easily cracked, strove to be
cocks of the walk, it was to be ex-
pected that they would assume a comb : besides, its connection with
a brush with the enemy must of course be obvious, to say nothing of
the way in which they used to show their teeth to one another.
OF CRESTS. 95
Originally, Crests were only carried by commanders, who were thus
distinguished in battle, in order to prevent their being extinguished,
just on the same principle as the cognizances on the shield.
The first Crest extant, is found on the great seal of Richard Cceur de
Lion, and as both his friends and foes often found him a man much
given to whacks, it is to be presumed that the seal made a great
impression upon them.
Crests came into general use about the time of Henry III., in whose
reign that now popular entertainment, the House of Commons, may be
said to have originated.
In the present day, everybody who is somebody, and a great many
who are nobodies, sport Crests,, and very often with about as much
right to them as a dromedary has to a frock coat.
The coats of arms of ladies are not surmounted by Crests, although
in private life combs are often to be met with above their coats, or, we
should say, dresses. Perhaps the nearest approach to a Crest in
feminine adornments, is the chignon, though we doubt much if Sir
Albert Woods would be inclined to admit that as a true Crest.
Crests are composed of all kinds of articles arms, legs, heads,
tails, and bodies of men and animals, to say nothing of such trifles as
hatchets, towers, gates, or in fact any other thing or person that the
exuberant taste or fancy of the wearer might suggest. When dis-
cussing the Heraldic Charges, we endeavoured to show to what extra-
ordinary lengths heraldic imagination would travel, and the same
remarks apply equally to Crests, so that it is impossible to classify
them with any degree of accuracy, and, as it is impossible, we are not
going to try. Nevertheless, we will just give our readers five heads,
under which, as a rule, they may place the origin of most Crests.
This will be a contradictory process to a certain extent, as in general
the comb or crest is placed upon the head, but we shall place the comb
or crest under it.
Firstly : sometimes a ferocious animal, such as a lion, a tiger, or a
96 Y E COMIC HIST OR Y OF HERALDR Y.
bear, was used as a Crest, and these were assumed to denote the
peculiarly unpleasant or savage qualities of the original bearer
such as a propensity catawampously to chaw up his enemies on the
smallest or no provocation.
Secondly: Devices also were adopted to perpetuate feats of chivalry.
Thus, if a knight had vowed to fight three other knights with his left
foot tied under his right ear, (they did such foolish things in those
times that nothing was too absurd for them to attempt,) and success-
fully performed his vow, he would probably ever after have worn a
foot with a rope round it as his Crest, to perpetuate how extensive an
idiot he had been on that occasion. On the same principle in the
present day, when an inebriated draper's assistant, coming from the
Pig and Whistle, successfully smashes a gas lamp without being taken
up by the police, he might, should his selection be sanctioned by the
Herald's College, adopt a "gas lamp frangant proper" as his Crest.
Thirdly : Occasionally the most prominent charge in the shield was
used as a Crest as when three potatoes baked, or three herrings
pickled, are the chief cognizance of a shield, one of them would, in
default of any other Crest, be adopted as such.
Fourthly : In commemoration of religious, which are often quite as
stupid as chivalric, vows, Crests were assumed. Thus, a pilgrim
to the Holy Land would wear a scollop shell in his helmet, which,
to modern ideas, engenders thoughts of oysters; and as pilgrims
were frequently what we should call a fishy lot, this device was not
Fifthly : In sheer whims originated many Crests ; and when we
reflect upon the exceeding varieties of whimsicality existing in this
world, the extent to which this source must have given rise to Crests is
positively appalling in the wideness of the field it opens to our view.
So that all those Crests which cannot be traced to any exact origin
must come under this head, and it may serve us instead of the well-
used but slightly vague expression, et calera, el catera.
Before saying good-bye to the Crest, it will not be out of place to
mention the wreath upon which it stands. This wreath is composed
of different colours, generally those chiefly predominating in the
shield. It is also sometimes called the "Torce," which name may,
we do not speak with any certainty, have arisen from the fact
that it was a toss up whether the wearer carried his head and Crest
out of battle or not.
HE word "Supporter"
opens a wide field for
consideration in a gene-
ral way, and when we
contemplate how many
and various are the per-
sons and things which
come under this head,
we are tempted to lay
down our pen, cut loose
the painter of imagina-
tion, and drift off into
an ocean of speculation
too vast to be contem-
plated, even, by any single-action brain as at present constructed.
The human legs are supporters to most people, and as a rule,
except in cases where the natural ones have from some unexplained
causes retired from business and been replaced by artificial, very
good supporters to get along with. Sometimes, however, they carry
us too far ; as when, for instance, they take us into somebody else's
house to search for his spoons and other unconsidered trifles, and
the police step in and interfere with our acquisitive propensities.
Our fathers and mothers in early youth are not unfrequently also
our supporters in fact, we may say almost the best we can have at
that early stage of our existence. Failing these, do not the genial
authorities of the parish step in ? though we fancy but few would for
choice accept these last.
Again, some have found a good dinner a capital supporter, espe-
cially when hungry ; and even a glass of beer has been found not bad
upon occasion ; nevertheless, too many glasses are apt to prove less a
support than a cause of stumbling, and finally to reduce the human
form divine from the perpendicular to the horizontal.
A rich and childless uncle, or aunt, who gives us an allowance, can
also be used as a supporter; and if to his or her other good qualities
he or she should add the peculiarity of dying and leaving all his or
her money to you, they prove most efficient.
Other supporters by dozens might be mentioned ; but for the present,
content with those we have in-
stanced, we will merely say they
are none of them the kind we have
to deal with in Heraldry.
" Supporters," in Heraldry, are
the two figures placed at the sides
of shields, and may consist of
either man, bird, beast, or fish, or
a mixture of all four. They may
be borne by Peers of the Realm,
Knights of the Garter, Knights
of the Grand Cross of the Bath,
Nova Scotia baronets, and chiefs of Scottish clans, and are conceded
to those sons of peers who bear honorary titles. Bishops, probably
ioo Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
in consideration that after all they ought to be able to support them-
selves on their ecclesiastical revenues, have no Supporters, just as in
armorial bearing ladies have no crests.
In England Supporters cannot be borne without the express leave
of the sovereign, and in Scotland the same permission must be
obtained of Lord Lyon, King-of-Arms. Like gloves, love-making,
human ears, and other duplex arrangements, they are generally
found in pairs ; though a few single Supporters remain in English
coats of arms, and in goods of the same description manufactured
abroad, they are not uncommon.
Originally the nale was that both Supporters should be alike, but
in modern English Heraldry they are frequently different. To quote
only one instance, which must be patent to the most unobserving, we
may mention the Lion and the Unicorn on the royal banner. Perhaps
it was discontent with this arrangement that, among other reasons,
caused the celebrated quarrel.
Supporters are usually represented as the figure of a man or an
animal, where there is a man or an animal either composite or
natural in the shield ; but this is not an arbitrary rule, and it
frequently varied according to the taste, or want of it, of the
In foreign Heraldry, where the Supporters are represented by
human beings, they are called " Tenants," in allusion evidently to
the rent paid by those individuals so useful in supporting landlords,
and it was only when animals performed the duties that they were
Supporters were introduced by Edward III., but were not in general
use until the reign of Henry VI.; so that we may conclude that they
were Heraldic articles de luxe introduced with the advance of civiliza-
tion, like Australian beef, Dr. Kenealy, the School Board, and other
It has been supposed that Supporters originally represented the
OF SUPPORTERS. 101
servants by whom, at tournaments, the shields of the knights were
supported or guarded until such times as they might be wanted.
Thus in modern life John Thomas supports or guards the cloaks and
great coats at a pic-nic, albeit he would not therefore be considered
as a Heraldic Supporter.
The Mantling is an embellishment of scroll-work flowing down on
both sides of the shield, and originated in the "Contoise," or scarf,
which the knights wrapped round their bodies in the days of coat-
armour. Whether this scarf was worn for ornament or warmth,
or both, is not clear, though on a cold knight a wrap of silk
round the body would be preferable to a rap of a mace on the head.
An interesting question here arises which has often troubled our
minds when contemplating effigies and figures in armour and it is
this. What exceedingly draughty wear armour must have been ! Of
course, we do not for a moment fancy that the Knights of old had
nothing underneath their defensive apparatus that is of course
absurd. Propriety, and we suppose mediaeval persons had as
keen a sense of it as we at the present day, would alone have
demanded it; but, on the other hand, there could not have been
much clothing. And yet we never hear of a gallant warrior
catching cold. We cannot fancy him tallowing his nose, or
sitting with his feet in mustard and water, or taking sweet spirits
of nitre before he picked out a soft plank well bestrewn with rushes
on which to repose. But they must have had colds sometimes.
Catarrh is not a modern invention. Coughs very likely came over
with the Conqueror but we are prepared to bet something
handsome that the Saxons, and for the matter of that the Ancient
Britons themselves, could have given an exceedingly good account
But yet there it is Chivalry and coughing don't seem to go
well together. Nevertheless, if the wearer of chain armour on a
chilly night, did not catch as good or bad a bold as he could
102 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
desire, or not desire, all we can say is, that the Knights must have
been Arctic ones, and used to it.
But we are digressing from our digression. What did they
wear ? Well, after all it does not much matter. Still, let us try
and evolve their garments.
Of course they had something in the jerkin line that sounds
useful when throwing themselves upon the enemy and was
usually a garment fitting close to the upper portion of the body ;
then they had trunk hose at least we hope so and this corre-
sponded somewhat to our modern breech (again we had nearly
written an unmentionable word, but our readers will know what
we mean without forcing us to enter into minute particulars);
likewise, they finished off their legs with hose, which were as nearly
as possible the stockings of to-day.
Therefore, however good for defensive purposes, it seems to us
that armour must have been objectionable wear ; heavy and hot in
summer, and heavy and cold in winter. Q. E. D.
So, doubtless, the " Contoise," or scarf, came in as a useful vest-
ment to Knights when on the tented field and in gratitude they
hung it on to their shields, and called it a Mantling.
WHEN we mention the word mottoes, we wish it most distinctly to
be understood that Heraldic mottoes, though oftentimes quite as silly,
have no connection whatever with those poetical effusions in which
the crackers and kisses of festive life are so often enfolded
Ay de mi. Our readers must pardon us if we here pause awhile to
resuscitate from the dead past our first love, and tell how it was
born, lived, throve, and died on mottoes and the sugarplums they
were wrapped in.
We were young very young : in fact we had, both of us,
commenced our existence in that condition, and we were cousins.
Another and a yet stronger tie bound us to each other and it was
that we had each two parents a male and a female. Need we say
that the former were our fathers the latter our mothers.
The present author started in his troubled course of life just one
year and two months in advance of the object of his affection.
How we loved ! Well do we remember the day when our mutual
passion, which had hitherto been too deep for words, broke through
the bonds of silent adoration, and took form and shape in action
The author was five, She was four. A fond relation had the
104 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
previous day presented Her with a painted wooden doll and true
to the natural instructs of childhood, and her sex, the paint adorn-
ing- its lig-neous head had been promptly and partially sucked off.
The author was sleeping- in his cot the mid-day sleep of childhood
when She came to share his rest. The author, as he lay wrapped in
deep slumber, and doubtless communing- with unseen angels, thoug-h
he is not quite clear upon that point not being- able at this distance
of time to speak with absolute certainty had his mouth wide open,
and She had the well-sucked doll in her small but puddy hand.
The truth of the eternal axiom that "Nature abhors a vacuum "
must have dawned upon her infant mind, and with that rapid de-
cisiveness of character which marks all great intelligences She at
once determined to put it to the test. Where could a fitter subject
for experiment be found than her sleeping love.
" Fiat experimentum in corpore amato " was her unspoken motto,
and instantly the head of the doll was rammed, with all the force of
which that tiny hand was capable, into the open mouth of her un-
expecting lover. How, unused to such scientific demonstrations of
love, he awoke ; how he tried to scream, but could not ; how, after
severe wrestling with the offending foreign body, premature choking
was that time, at any rate, avoided; how, when restored to his
normal condition and comparative comfort, the author recognized
the depth of affection which had prompted this somewhat unusual
action, are matters too sacred to be spoken of even in a deep work
of science such as is the present.
Suffice it " that day they read no more." They had not been
reading previously, perhaps for the reason that neither of them knew
their letters perfectly. But the love thus auspiciously inaugurated
was henceforward nurtured on sugarplums and mottoes.
To enumerate the hundreds of sugarplums we sucked on the joint-
stock partnership principle, and the numberless mottoes we spelled
out together, would be a task compared to which the labours of
OF MOTTOES, 105
Hercules were but a light and facile recreation. Yet truth bids the
author state that, as a rule, She sucked more than her share ; more-
over, She had what now seems to him an unjustifiable trick of biting
them in two and retaining- the larger half as her own portion, so
that, on the whole, he did not altogether get the best of it but what
of that when " Love is lord of all ! "
And the mottoes ! How well does the author remember them.
" When this you see
or the more ambitious
' ' To travel with you through this life,
Both hand-in-hand, and free from strife."
which had the advantage of being adapted to either sex, and was
always applicable to loving souls.
But our love ! How shall we recount its sad ending ? The author
has not the heart to do so. He has been young himself, and knows
how susceptible are youthful minds ; still he feels that he has a duty
to perform to his readers which mere personal considerations do not
permit him to evade.
She returned to Her parental home, and (the salt tears are
trickling adown the authorial nose as he pens these lines) faithless
as are Her sex, she fell in love with a boy of ten, with red hair,
goggle eyes, and general repulsiveness alone to recommend him.
And he who had first taught Her infant lips to lisp love's language
found, when next he met Her, that he was forgotten, and that that
other and repulsive boy was reaping the ripe crop of affection the
author had sown.
It was hard very hard so was the other boy's hand when he
smacked the Author's head for daring to look at Her he had fondly
regarded as his own property. The spell was broken ; the Author
106 Y E COMIC HIS TOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
went to school, and when next they met She had daughters as tall as
herself, and the long dead past was relegated to the limbo of oblivion.
To return, however, to our Heraldic mottoes. Their origin is
enveloped in mystery. The generally received opinion is, however,
that the first idea of the motto was obtained from the war-cries of the
different nations. For instance, that of the Irish was "A boo,"
which, as an old chronicler whose name, however, the pickle jar of
history has not preserved to us, says was "a bootiful one to listen to."
Like the bagpipes, distance lent enchantment to the sound.
Edward III. was the first person who introduced a motto into
his coat of arms, and the fashion once set, every one followed the
royal example, and selected a motto for himself.
Heraldic mottoes are of three kinds the enigmatical, or foggy,
of which you have to discover the meaning, if any ; the sentimental,
or clap-trap, which are comprehensible even by an inhabitant of
Earlswood ; and the emblematical, or utterly boshy, which in nineteen
cases out of twenty have no meaning at all, and finally the punning
mottoes, which would bring down the house in a modern burlesque
from their exceeding badness.
And here it may not be out of place to put in our protest against
the extraordinary amount of inconclusiveness which generally pervades
mottoes. No matter what language they may be in, and they are to
be found in several, the fact remains the same, they very seldom finish.
For instance let us take the motto of the Marquis of Aylesbury
"Fuimus," "We have been" Well! what if they have been somebody
of the family is surely going on with the business, whatever it was
and so "he is," and the motto, like most mottoes, doesn't in the least
apply, and wants something else at the end of it. Either " we have
been" rich, or poor, or hanged or blessed, or boiled, or skinned
alive, or made chairman of a joint stock company ; but we must have
But to resume, we will just cull a few examples from the enigmatical,
OF MOTTOES. 107
or foggy. Suppose we take "Che sara, sara," "What will be, will
be," the motto of the house of Bedford. This is a self-evident pro-
position, which nobody for a moment doubts; but what does it mean ?
We knew it all before. The only possible explanation of it we can give
is that the inventor of the motto was just going to be hung and had
learnt that the Home Secretary of the period declined to interfere.
Or take "Moveo et propitior," "I make an impression on him
and am appeased," borne by the Earl of Ranfurly. Now, will any
one explain the signification of this Heraldic gem ? Don't all speak
at once, but step up one at a time. To us it seems to be the
observation of a knight, who, having found a soft joint in his
antagonist's armour, had inserted his dagger into the place to the
discomfort of his adversary. Naturally such an action would make
an impression upon the patient, and the agent would of course feel
appeased if he knew there was no chance of the compliment being
One more jewel from the Scottish Heraldic Crown. The Earl of
Kintore proclaims on his coat of arms, "Quae amissa salva,"
"What has been lost is safe." Yes, not to be found again. Just for
all the world like the captain's celebrated kettle, that was safe at
the bottom of the sea.
And again another, " Vix ea nostra voco," "I scarcely call these
things our own," which, if it means anything, must certainly be a rather
unkind allusion to the probable way in which the remote ancestors of
the Duke of Argyll, to whom the motto belongs, probably gathered
together their possessions. Scottish chieftains of the early pattern
had remarkably loose notions on the subject of meum and tuum, and
the motto would seem to have been adopted either by a repentant
MacCallum More, after a successful raid, or else one in doubt whether
he should be able to get his plunder safely within the walls of
We now come to the enigmatical, or clap-trap. To illustrate this
io8 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
style the Earl of Radnor comes to our aid with " Patria cara, carior
libertas," " My country is dear, but my liberty is dearer/' which
sounds very beautiful, but at the same time gives us the idea of a
regretful pickpocket leaving England to avoid Cold Bath Fields.
Again, we have "Murus aeneus conscientia sana." "A sound
conscience is a wall of brass." This is contributed by the Earl of
Scarborough. People who have not got sound consciences not
unfrequently have faces of brass, and brass in connexion with the
human subject is generally found in that portion of the body. Not
that it has more of the clap-trap element about it than the motto
of Lord Sandy's, who declares on his coat of arms that "Probum non
pcenitet," "The honest man does not repent," which, like a glass of
blue vitriol, is very pretty to look at, but when reduced to common
sense implies that so long as we only do not pick pockets we may
commit any other trifles in the way of sins it may seem good unto
us, and not care anything about it; which we cannot but fancy
would be uncomfortable if carried into practical working.
Just another plum from the sentimental Heraldic pudding, viz : the
motto of the Marquis of Ely, " Prend moi tel que je suis," "Take me
just as I am." This is from the Sister Isle, and evidently is a pretty
way of putting the old chorus of
" Tow row row,
Paddy, will you now
Take me while I'm in the humour."
which, unaccountable as it may appear, is not an Heraldic motto.
It is astonishing, considering how very unsentimental were the
Heralds in the discharge of their duties, what an amount of
unmeaning mottoes, which will not for a moment bear reading by
the light of common sense, we find in the coats of arms of the
governing families of Great Britain.
We now come to another branch of the motto system.
The emblematical, or utterly boshy. Of this kind, " Cassis tutissima
OF MOTTOES. 109
virtus," " Virtue is the safest helmet," is a good example. The
Marquis of Cholmondeley is the fortunate possessor of this
Heraldic jewel. The perfect idiocy of this motto must at once strike
our readers. The notion of any one in the days of battle-axes and
five-foot swords putting" his virtue on his head, even supposing he
possessed a more than usual amount of that desirable quality, by
way of a helmet, is too absurd to need one word of observation.
Another neat example of this class is that borne by the Duke of
Athol "Furth fortune, and fill the fetters." This is not a co-
nundrum, or an acrostic, or an anagram, or any other of those verbal
gymnastics the answer of which is to be found in our next. It is a
simple motto. If any of our readers can explain it our publisher
has strict orders not to charge him anything extra for this
present volume, on account of his extraordinary acumen.
When we come to " Crom a boo," " I burn," the motto of the Duke
of Leinster, we think we have achieved a depth of enigma (or
boshiness) which is positively unequalled. What does he burn
whom does he burn and when does he burn ? Doubtless some of
the Leinster race have at various periods of the family existence
burnt their fingers metaphorically and actually in various ways, but
why commemorate the painful facts on the ancestral escutcheon. We
have at times had our misfortunes, but as a rule we don't care to talk
about them, perhaps because we remember that pity, tho' akin to love,
is also a very near relation to contempt. Another thought strikes us,
perhaps the originator of the motto was a. victim to spontaneous
combustion, and the singularity of the circumstance caused it to be
commemorated as above; or, stay, can it be that not having led a
particularly good life here on earth, " Crom a boo " represents the
post mortem anticipations of the chieftain.
Before we say adieu to the utterly boshy one sweet and lovely
specimen must not be omitted. It is " Agitatione purgatur." This
Burke translates as "He or it is purified by motion," or, to put it
i io Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
vulgarly, by being shaken up. Sir William Russell, Bart., is the
happy owner of this delectable legend. Burke owns "but what the
sense can be it is difficult to determine." We quite agree with
Burke. But, stay ! we have found the solution ! The first possessor
of the title was a doctor, and, doubtless, when he was made a baronet
in 1832, the Heralds, in order to keep in his mind a recollection of
the profession to which he belonged, gave him the motto which, they
naturally thought, was a pleasant allusion to the practical directions
we so often see on dispensed medicine "When taken to be well
shaken." On no other ground can we or anybody else account for
this exceedingly forcible example of the utterly boshy.
We now come to the punning mottoes, which, as we have already
observed, are frequently bad enough to figure in a modern burlesque.
Very often these belong either to the emblematical or the senti-
mental, but, as a rule, to the boshy. Of the first, " Festina lente,"
"Hasten slowly," the war cry of the Onslow family, may be taken
as a fitting example; and of the second, "Court hope," the legend of
the Courthope race.
Amongst the punning boshy order we may class that of the
Fortescue family, and it is " Forte scutum saius ducum," " A strong
buckler is the safeguard of the leaders," which is perfectly true if
they only get behind it; but as a motto the F.S.S.D. is beneath con-
tempt, and would seem to imply that the original owner was in the
habit of getting out of harm's way whenever there was a row on, and
he had a chance of being in it.
The Vernons take, " Ver non semper viret," "The spring is not
always green," and this applied to the inclemency of our English
springs has a ring of truth about it not often found in Heraldic
mottoes. Evidently, the inventor of this one was an acute observer
of meteorology, if not first cousin to the clerk of the weather,
Before we conclude this interesting subject it may not be out of
OF MOTTOES. in
place here to mention that Bishops and Peeresses have no mottoes
on their coats of arms. This at first sight seems rather hard upon
them, but really they get along exceedingly well without them and
we believe we may state on reliable authority, that the want of a
motto has never had any deleterious effect upon their healths. This
we are sure is gratifying to our readers.
And with these specimens of the motto we shall conclude.
HE word Blazonry comes from the
German word blasen, to blow, and
originated in the custom of each
knight blowing a trumpet on his
arrival at a tournament. (The
custom of blowing one's own
trumpet is still maintained, but as
tournaments have been abolished,
and no corresponding games are
extant, though football, according
to the Rubly rules, is equally
dangerous, it is now done at all
times and seasons.) This blast
was answered by the Heralds, who
decribed aloud and proclaimed the arms and titles borne by the
knights. Hence the term "Blazonry."
Heraldry is a science which, like old maids, is both arbitrary and
exact, and therefore the rules of blazonry are always observed with
the most rigid precision, no variations being permitted. In fact, any
Herald attempting 1 to stray from the beaten track would be liable to
find himself castigated instead of the track on the ground of having-
been guilty of " false heraldry."
The first rule in Blazonry is to express the Heraldic distinctions in
the proper terms, omitting- nothing and avoiding- tautology. This
rule might, with great advantage, be applied to other than Heraldic
descriptions. We have received letters which but we will not par-
ticularise, still, oh departed Aunt Jemima! if in another, and let us
hope, a better world, spirits are allowed, as the mediums tell us they
are, to revisit these glimpses of the moon, and you come across these
lines, will not your conscience prick you ? but a truce to vain regrets,
and we dash aside the manly tear, and proceed at once to
Secondly : In blazoning a coat, commence with the field, stating its
colour or tincture. Then the lines must be mentioned by which it is
divided, as per Pale, per Fess, or per Chevron, such lines belonging
to the Honourable Ordinaries, and assuming the first place in the de-
scription, just as in a penny-a-liner's report of a public dinner the name
of Sir Thomas Spriggles, Knight, precedes that of Common-Councillor
Also, if such lines are indented, engrailed, or invected, the fact must
not be omitted, otherwise it is taken for granted they are straight.
Finally, their metal or colour must be given, or the description will
come under the head of a shady one. Then follow the Sub-ordinaries
or Common Charges.
Thirdly : As we have already observed, there must be no unneces-
sary repetition in blazoning- ; thus, where the field is white and the
charges black, we should say " argent, a nose between two eyes
sable," thereby intimating that both the nose and the eyes were
black, a charge that would argue the proprietorship of somebody who
had been in a fight, and one not unlikely to lead to an interview with
Fourthly : It would be wrong to say two eyes with a nose between
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
them, because we must always begin with the charge that lies nearest
the centre of the shield, and of course the nose, in one sense at least,
must be the scenter. It may also have been on the principle of media
iuiissimus ibis, which is an excellent rule when walking in a tunnel
with two trains, each coming a different way.
Fifthly: Where a colour has been already mentioned, and it is
necessary to avoid ambiguity to repeat it in describing a subsequent
charge, we say, "of the first," "of the second," &c., as the case may
be. Thus we should say, "Vert a head or charged with a bonnet of
the first," which would denote that on a green field a head with
golden or fashionable hair and a green bonnet on the head.
Sixthly : When no position is mentioned for an ordinary, it is
understood to be in the middle of the shield that being the most
honourable place just as the
middle stump is the best to bowl
over at cricket if you can.
Seventhly : Where the charges
are ot the natural colour of the
objects described, the word
"proper" is used after them,
thereby signifying that when
otherwise they are improper,
not that any of our readers
need fear being shocked, seeing that Heraldry is one of the most
decorous of sciences.
Eighthly : Where a sun-ray is borne otherwise than in the centre
of the shield, the issuant point must be mentioned. Thus we should
say : " From a pie proper in chief four-and-twenty blackbirds
Ninthly . The number of points in a star or Mullet must be
mentioned when more than five. If this rule were adhered to by
dramatic critics it would be great gain, as we should then know
whether a star was worth going- to see, by the number of points he or
she was able to make in his or her performance.
Tenthly : When three figures are upon the shield whose position is
unmentioned, it is always understood that two are placed above and
one below, thus carrying out the well-known betting cry of two
to one on the field.
Eleventhly : When there are many figures of the same kind, their
numbers and position in the field must be distinctly expressed, just as
in the police courts the number and position in the force of the
policemen giving evidence are always stated in the papers.
Finally, and Twelfthly : A metal must not be placed upon a metal, or
a colour upon a colour, on pain of any quantity of penalties, too
numerous to mention and too dreadful to contemplate. The only
exception to this being that when a charge lies over upon a field
partly of metal and partly of colour, and at this half-and-half
arrangement the Heralds would wink. Marks of Cadency, chiefs
cautons and bordures are also exempted from the general rule, some
Heralds averring that they are not laid on the shield, but " cousu," or
sewn upon it, a very sow-sow plan at the best.
OF BIRDS, BEASTS, AND FISHES IN BLAZONRY.
APART from the Charges, Ordi-
naries, Sub-Ordinaries, Common
Charges, Artificial and Chimerical
Figures, birds, beasts, and fishes
occur as frequently in blazoning
arms as in a Guildhall Banquet.
And in the Heraldic, as in the
culinary menu, they have their vari-
ous values, and have to be described
secundum art em.
Beasts and birds come first, and
in blazoning savage beasts they
should always for choice be repre-
sented at their fiercest. A lion or
tiger, for instance, should be " rampant." Not that in real life they
are pleasant to meet when in that condition, as they then have,
according to the Heralds, their tails erected, their mouths open, and
their claws, which are not by any means to be considered as the
OF BIRDS, BE A S TS, & FISHES IN BLAZONR Y. 117
saving- clause, out. [N.B. Advice gratis. When thus met with, sharp's
the word and run's the action.] Otherwise they are " salient,"
leaping-. In India, tigers may often be found a-bounding. Leopards
and wolves are generally described as "passant," walking along-
would be a colloquial interpretation of the phrase, and if they were
walking a long way off from us so much the better, and Griffins as
This rule of ferocious description is, however, not always followed,
as wild beasts are frequently blazoned "couchant" or " dormant."
Some people say that this latter attitude is too frequently that of the
British Lion ; but as he usually sleeps with one eye open and the other
not shut, he is apt, should anyone tread on his tail or toes, to become
rampant, and then things are exceedingly lively for any who get in
The milder animals are represented in Blazonry as nature
made them, or as the Heralds imagined them, which is not quite the
same thing. As a rule they are supposed, though, in many cases it is
only a supposition, to have some connection with the cause for which
they were granted. Thus the armorial cognizance of the Temple in
London no connection with Dr. Parker where lawyers most do con-
gregate, is a lamb, and the connection between a lawyer and fleece, to
say nothing of the woolsack, is too obvious to need any further remark.
Ever) 7 animal should, as a rule, be looking to the right side of the
shield, and have its right leg forward. This peculiarity of putting the
right or best leg foremost is advisable also in private life, should a
mad dog or bull be behind you, wanting in the one instance a sample
of your person, or an unfriendly toss in the second.
Another rule as regards the blazoning of beasts is that when the
animal is coloured azure the tongue and claws should be gules and vice
versa, unless the description is otherwise expressed in the grant of
arms. The chief animals that appear in blue are lions and boars, and
perhaps, if we go into the human species, policemen and blue-coat
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
boys. The tongue and claw rule, however, applies to them as well
as to the Heraldic sorts.
Now for the birds,as the Alderman said when he helped himself to
a brace of plovers, leaving- only the dish and the smell to the rest of
his family. Birds of prey, like beasts of similar proclivities, are the
most sought after instance falcons and eagles. Both the Russian
and Prussian varieties of the latter are given to preying 1 , firstly with
an e upon their neighbours (vide France and Turkey passim) and
afterwards with an a in their churches.
When birds have their wings on each side of the head, they are
said to be " elevated " or "displayed." Bipeds without wings also
may sometimes be described as
"elevated," and occasionally it
ends by their being "displayed"
as well upon a stretcher, with
four policemen " portant," en
route for the Station.
When, however, the wings of
the Heraldic bird are behind its
head, or back to back, they are
"expanded" or "adossed;" a
fanciful arrangement looked at
from a practical point of view,
but doubtless, armorially, very
nice as far as it went.
When the wings are not dis-
played at all, they are said to be
'borne close." Shut up would
be the colloquialism for this style, and some interpreters of the science
have supposed that this denoted that the bearers of such charges
were originally impecunious, and that the non-volant attitude de-
noted that they had, vulgarly speaking, not a feather to fly with.
OF BIRDS, BE A STS, & FISHES IN BLAZONR Y. 119
If a bird be placed on a shield in an unnatural position, such pecu-
liarity must always be mentioned ; thus " Argent, a pheasant proper
making- bread sauce to be eaten with itself," would be a case in point
requiring decided mention.
Fishes are of less esteem as common charges than birds or beasts.
Some Heralds declare the cause of this to be that they came after
the latter in the order of creation. Hence the term " fishy," as
applied to any dubious transaction. They are borne either " upright,"
" embowed," " extended," or, like a bill of exchange or a cheque,
"endorsed." Sometimes, also, they are "fretted" (lobsters boiled
alive come very much under that description) or "triangled."
Spitchcocked, devilled, or crimped, are not Heraldic terms applied to
fishes. If a fish is placed horizontally is it "naiant," and then may be
said to be going along swimmingly; it perpendicularly, it is
And that is about all, for the money, that we have to say about
birds, beasts, and fishes. Anyone wanting to know more, had
better apply to Mr. Frank Buckland, or the Curator of the Zoo-
Y Marshalling Arms 5s meant
the art of putting- two or
more sets of these useful
appendages to a gen-
tleman's Heraldic ward-
robe into one escutcheon,
which might lead people
to imagine that Heraldic
coats were made of some
elastic material, with a
capacity for stretching
unequalled in any other
Such, however, was not the case. The coats were not stretched,
but the arms were diminished and made to fit, making the pattern on
the shield, where the operation was performed by " dimidiation " (a
kind of Heraldic half-and-half) distinct from the entire of a coat, and
displaying only one set of cognizances.
"Dimidiation" was the most ancient style of marshalling, and
MARSHALLING ARMS. 121
possessed the extraordinary merit of simplicity. It was effected by
chopping- both coats in two, and sticking- half one on to the half of
the other, and vice versa. What was done with the bits over we are
not told ; probably the Heralds regarded them in the light of legiti-
mate "cabbage" and took them home to their wives, and mended their
own tabards with them when those official garments required repair.
Of course, as might be expected, the dimidiated halves never
matched, and presented to the spectator an incongruous, not to say
ridiculous, appearance. Thus, supposing the cognizance on the first
coat to have been " Arg., a good templar proper " (or sober), and
on the second " Or, a licensed victualler inebriant, beaked gules,"
half the cognizance would appear to be sober and the other half in a
state of inebriety, which would naturally offend the susceptibilities of
This plan was therefore not found to work well in practice ; the
Heralds, who were nothing if not inventive, determined to discard it
in favour of " impalement."
The first idea as regards "impalement" is that it has some con-
nection with a stake and the early Turkish prescription for the cure
of Mohammedan perverts when caught, and that the Heralds, with
that dry humour for which they were so famous, stuck at the perpe-
tration of no monstrosity for the advancement of their doctrines. But
this idea, like a good many others in connection with Heraldry, would
be utterly wrong.
Impalement, in Heraldry, is performed by compressing two coats of
arms and placing them side by side in one escutcheon, a fine line
dividing them per pale. Thus, for instance, would be blazoned the
arms of a husband and wife, just as in common life you may see
woman and her victim, or "Baron " and "femme," as those funny
wags Garter & Co. would persist in calling them, coming home from
the family pew every Sunday morning.
As in the Latin grammar, so here, the masculine is, erroneously,
122 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
say the shrieking- sisterhood, more worthy than the feminine, and
consequently the arms of the husband occupy the dexter half of the
shield, those of the wife taking the sinister side, or what is left.
Should, however, the lady be an heiress an excellent quality in
woman her legal proprietor and worse half would not impale her
arms, but would impose her armorial bearings upon his own coat,
charged upon an escutcheon or " shield of pretence," thereby deli-
cately intimating- to the general public that she, having given him
her hand, he pretends to or wants to get hold of the rest of her g'oods
and chattels. Where the marriage settlements are not tight, and
the husband is loose, this pretence becomes a reality.
The children of an heiress take the hereditary coats of arms of
their father and mother quarterly, just as landlords do their rents ;
which implies a fixed inheritance, a capital institution, and one
specially to be recommended to all young persons starting in life.
In these coats the first and fourth quarters contain the arms of the
father, and the second and third those of the mother another
instance of man's injustice to woman, the first-named quarters being
the most honourable.
To return, however, to the general run of wives who are not
heiresses, except to the natural estate of sin and wickedness which
we all inherit, and upon which, as a rule, no money is to be raised.
If from railway accidents, doctors, or other misfortunes, the lady
should retire from this life, and the disconsolate widower takes
another dip in the matrimonial lucky-bag, the first wife's arms will
stand on the chief (which suggests to the pensive student something-
of an acrobatic performance with the Bounding Brothers of the
Desert), and those of the second on the base. Or the shield may be
divided in tierce, that is, in three equal divisions in pale (this has a
domestic smack about it, as the little boy said when his mother
spanked him), the first wife's coat, or should we say petticoat ? next
to the husband's, and those of the second outermost.
MARSHALLING ARMS. 123
Supposing, however, we have to deal with a man of such reckless
hardihood and love of adventure, one who has the extraordinary
boldness to plunge for a third time into matrimony, the arms of his
two first speculations shall stand on the chief (acrobatic performances
again, only more so), and the third on the base. Nay, Heralds even
provided (Heraldically) for the positively awful contingency of a fourth
wife, and ordained that her arms must participate in one-half of the
base with defunct number three ; and thus the armorial bearings of
the various spouses will appear on the escutcheon of the husband as
so many coats quartered, for it stands to reason that a man who thus
often indulges in so many better-halves connubially must be content
with quarters Heraldically.
Further than that Garter and his friends declined to go. Four
wives in a lifetime they considered enough for any man, and the
domestic relations of a Bluebeard [N.B. A much misunderstood
victim of marital love of perfection] were not recognized by the
Should a man, like the illustrious Mr. Weller, sen., marry a widow,
he is not allowed, while adopting the rib of the deceased's husband, to
take his arms with the other baggage, but only those borne by the
wife as a single woman.
If a maiden or dowager lady of rank marry a commoner person
than herself, their coats of arms are not impaled, but are placed
side by side in two separate escutcheons upon one mantle or drapery,
the lady's arms ornamented according to her title. As usual, lovely
woman gets the worst of it, and goes to the left.
Kings-at-Arms and bishops impale their private with their official
arms, the latter occupying the dexter side. Thus, in a prelate it would
seem to intimate that though as a man he may be a success, yet as a
bishop he is a successor, as he undoubtedly is to the former occupant
of the See.
The arms of a bachelor, with the exception of the before-mentioned
Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR V.
officials, consist of a single Heraldic coat, never of two coats impaled.
Bachelors, however, may have any quantity of other coats, waist-
coats, trou , sundry habiliments, provided they have money to pay
for them, or can find a confiding tailor to trust them. Equally is this
the case with unmarried ladies, both armorially and sartorially,
substituting milliners for tailors.
[N.B. The Heralds never gave trust.]
S we have already observed in an earlier portion of this
great work, one of the duties of the Heralds in ancient
limes was that of marshalling- processions and in the
performance of this duty they had to see that nobody
got in front of anybody behind whose boots etiquette
ordained that he or she should walk. According 1 to
the dictum laid down by the American Constitution " All men are
born free and equal," (niggers of course excepted they take a
back seat though not so far back now as formerly,) but the
Heralds do not by any means accept this constitutional arrangement
they place men, and women too for the matter of that, on a line,
at the head of which stands the sovereign of the country, and
subjects follow in regular rotation, according to that station of life
in which they may have started, and to which they may have
We will, just in order to prevent any of our royal, ducal, or lordly
readers getting out of place, run over the various ranks of which
humanity in general is composed.
Before starting we may premise that holding a high position on a
cab rank does not necessarily involve a peerage, or, ex officio,
126 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
entitle the holder to take his seat in the House of Lords. This
point being settled, we come first of all to the Sovereign, who, as
the fountain of honour, dispenses titles and other luxuries to those
who please him or her, or still better, please his or her ministers.
The sovereign is therefore, ex officio, the first gentleman or lady in
the kingdom and is literally at the top of the Heraldic tree. The
subjects of the sovereign are also not unfrequently to be found up a
tree worse luck. Monarchs now-a-days do not have altogether a bad
time of it, especially in constitutional countries, where the first axiom
of Government is that the King can do no wrong. When things do
not work easily, the prime minister of the period has his head
metaphorically smacked, and is kicked out of office, and the
sovereign rubs his hands contentedly, and thinks how pleasant it is
that there is not the slightest chance of his being served in the same
way. And thus matters work pleasantly for all parties and
frequent changes of government give every one a chance of
having a finger in the national pudding.
After the Queen in the scale of precedence comes the Prince ot
Wales. As a loyal subject, the author hopes it will be a long time
before his Royal Highness does come after our present gracious
sovereign. And after our future king come the other sons of the
Queen, her grandsons, brothers, uncles, and nephews all gradually
shelving down to the common rank and file.
Then, having finished up our stock of royalty, the Church comes
in for our attention, and the Archbishop of Canterbury makes his
appearance. He, as the Lord Primate of All England, takes the
first place among the Peers spiritual and temporal. Apropos of
All England, it is a popular delusion to imagine that he is captain of
the All England Eleven, although we believe it would be quite
possible to pitch a good wicket in the gardens of Lambeth Palace, if
one or two good ground men were engaged to look after the turf,
and have it carefully rolled.
ON PRECEDENCE. 127
But we digress the Lord High Chancellor follows the Primate,
and is followed by the Archbishop of York. The trio, in fact,
forming- a human sandwich in which the Chancellor plays the meat.
Then come various great officers of State, such as the Lord High
Treasurer, the Lord President of the Privy Council, the Lord Privy
Seal, and the Lord Great Chamberlain, if these are of hereditary
baronial rank ; while the Lord High Constable, Earl Marshal,
Lord High Admiral, Lord Steward of the Queen's Household, and
the Lord Chamberlain take rank above all peers of their own degree,
and enjoy themselves accordingly.
After these Royal and Official personages follow Dukes Royal
specimens of the order coming naturally first.
The title Duke, as our readers are aware, comes from the Latin
word " Dux," a leader, (no connection with green peas, though, if
very rich, they sometimes shell out liberally, and instances have been
known of even these exalted personages being done particularly
brown at times). History says that Moses was the first Duke; at any
rate he led the Jews a pretty dance through the wilderness. Be that
as it may, Dukes were originally only of Royal blood, and the first
English creation was Edward Plantagenet, the son of Edward III.
who was raised to that rank by his father, as Duke of Cornwall
but Henry VI. broke through this royal rule.
During the Wars ot the Roses Dukes had a lively time of it, as
also did the nobility of England generally, each party as it got the
upper hand having an awkward trick of celebrating its victories by
decapitating, or otherwise extinguishing the leaders on the vanquished
side and the consequence was that the peerage was a good deal
thinned out and Dukes, like strawberries at Christmas, became
excessively scarce. So much so, in fact, was this the case, that at
the accession of Elizabeth there was only one to be found in
England, the Duke of Norfolk. He, unfortunately for himself, got
mixed up with Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth, who had a
128 Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
forcible way with her at times, had his head carefully removed from
his shoulders in 1572, as a gentle hint that she disapproved of his
associations. After that the ducal title was extinct until 1623, when
James I. created George Villiers Duke of Buckingham.
Charles II. created several young- people in whom he was
interested Dukes, and those of Grafton, St. Albans, and Richmond
owe the origin of their titles to that exceedingly Merry Monarch.
Dukes take precedence of each other, as in fact do all peers of
equal rank, according to the dates of their patents.
After dukes proper, come the eldest sons of Royal Dukes, and
then follow the Marquesses.
The first Marquess was invented in 1386, by Richard II. who
created Robert de Vere, Marquess of Dublin. Two } r ears afterwards
that nobleman got into trouble, and was attainted of treason and
banished and we have no doubt considered himself particularly
lucky at being able to take his head with him into his banishment as
part of his personal luggage.
After the Marquesses come the eldest sons of Dukes Dukelets
we might call them and then follow the Earls.
The title of Earl is the most ancient of all barring of course,
the Apocryphal Duke Moses and dates its origin from the Saxon
Alfred the Great used the title as a substitute for King, and up
to the time when Dukes were created, it was the highest dignity
short of actual sovereignty extant.
Earl is the same as " Comes," or Count. In the early periods
possessors of this title never used any other addition to their Christian
names but in process of time, by way to distinguish one from
another, and preventing the various Earls Robert or Earls William
getting badly mixed, they began to add to their names those of their
shires. As at that time there were not so many of them, this method
was sufficient. To avoid mistakes, we beg to inform those of our
ON PRECEDENCE. 129
readers that the wife of an Earl is not an Earless she is best
known as a Countess.
After the Earls come the eldest sons of Marquesses, and
they are followed in due course by the next highest grade of
Viscounts, who were originally a species of deputies to the Earls,
or Counts as their Latin name "Vice-comes," would seem to imply.
What their duties were is not mentioned but probably at the first
starting of their business they had to do all the odd jobs which the
Earls themselves either did not care about or think worth while
Originally Viscounts were not an order of the Peerage, but only
an official title; but in 1440 Henry VI. conferred the title by patent
on John Baron Beaumont, and,
Then we come again to the younger generation, and up crop the
eldest sons of Earls and the younger sons of Marquesses, who walk
very much in front of the Bishops of London, Durham, and
Winchester, who take top seats on the episcopal bench, and are
followed by the other lawn-sleeved gentlemen, according to the
seniority of consecration.
And apropos of bishops, the last-made bishop has no seat in the
House of Peers, he has to wait outside the door and content himself
by looking at the proceedings through the keyhole, until one of his
senior brethren thinks proper to retire to another and a better
world, or from his See. Not that bishops often do the latter until
they are obliged.
The Bishop of Sodor and Man is just a shade better off than the
last bishop. He may take a seat in the peers, but is not allowed to
vote; which seems to us something like being asked to dinner but
not allowed to eat.
After the English Bishops (oh, Hibernia weep !) follow the Irish
varieties of the dignity and then we come to the Barons, which is
130 Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
the lowest order of the peerage the first rung of the lordly ladder
on the top of which sits the Sovereign.
Who has not heard of the Barons of old? how they made war
upon one another, hurled
their enemies to the low-
est pit beneath the moat,
how they performed feats
of dentistry on the guile-
less children of Israel, and
how they had a habit of
About their halls, among
their dogs alone,
Their beards a foot before
them, and their hair
A foot behind.
In fact Barons of the
early pattern were about
as uncomfortable and unpleasant a race of people as it is well
possible to imagine. Well, we have them among us now, only
modified and civilised, and really, if it were not for the look of the
thing, the author would not at all mind being a Baron himself, with
50,000 a year, and a seat in the House of Lords. But this is idle.
Barons are a very old institution, and have existed in England for
any quantity of centuries the reader may like to imagine. Before
the Normans came over the Saxons called them Thanes, but the
conquerors altered the name to Baron, and it has stuck to them ever
since. Up to the time of Charles II. Barons had no coronets, but
that sovereign on his Restoration, perhaps to show his gratitude at
once more finding himself in a royal berth again, where the wages
were high and the work light, granted them the privilege of wear-
ing coronets, which they have done ever since excepting, of course,
at bed time.
ON PRECEDENCE. 131
Then follow Viscounts' eldest sons, Earls' younger sons, Barons'
eldest sons, Knights of the Garter, Privy Counsellors, Judges, and
such like, small deer, Viscounts' younger sons, Barons' younger
sons, and we come at last to Baronets, for whose existence James I.
is answerable. He, with an eye to the main chance so natural
among his canny countrymen, made every one a baronet who had an
estate of 1,000 a year, and could undertake to maintain thirty
soldiers for three years in the province of Ulster, and remit the first
year's pay to the royal treasury. Artful Jimmy ! Cash down was
his motto, and not a bad one either on general principles ; moreover
he ordained that in order to distinguish their arms from those of
other people who had not 1,000 a year, they were to bear on the
paternal coat of arms a red hand, the badge of Ulster. We have
seen two red hands coming out of the arms of an Ulster on a cold
day; but away with frivolity. James made rather a good thing
of the baronet business, and we are only surprised that no
impecunious monarch has followed his example with a similar titular
trick. We are certain there's a great deal of loose cash to be
picked up now-a-days, among the nouveaux riches.
But to our precedence. Following the Baronets come Knights of
the various orders this, however, does not include the summer nights,
which the lover, invoking his pretty Jane, said were "coming, love; "
after them the eldest sons of the younger sons of Peers, the eldest
sons of Baronets and Knights, and then, we have nearly got to the
end of the story, Esquires.
Esquires were formerly apprentices to the Profession of arms
hoping to become, and very often becoming, full-blown Knights
that is to say if nobody knocked them on the head beforehand. Pre-
viously to being an esquire the noble youth commenced as a page
and, although of a higher rank in life, we have not the slightest
doubt he was just as troublesome as are our modern and domestic
pages the only difference being that he had a soul above buttons.
Y E COMIC HIS TOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
Esquires had to make themselves generally useful to their lords,
and they seem to have combined in their pursuits the duties of stud
grooms (esquires of the stable), of housemaids (esquires of the
chamber), of footmen (carving- esquires), and of outdoor attendants
(esquires for the body).
Now-a-days, anybody who likes may call himself esquire whether
he has any right to do so or not. As a rule those who do
Lastly we have " Gentlemen," which embraces every one who has
a right to write himself " Armiger," and wear a coat-of-arms.
As anybody can, now-a-days, wear any sort of coat he likes,
provided he can pay or get credit for it, this term " Gentleman "
would seem to embrace all the rest of the world not previously
Having thus laid down the law of precedence, there will be no
excuse for any of our readers going to the rear when they ought to
go to the front, or, what we think is far more likely, reversing that
MODERN HERALDRY, ETC.
ODERN HERALDRY differs from ancient in
about the same degree that electro-plated
spoons of the present day differ from those
found in old family plate-baskets. Both are
of white metal, and serve the same purpose
but there the resemblance ends. Not but
what g-enuine Coats of Arms are as procurable
in this Year of Grace as they were five centu-
ries ago, only as a rule the persons putting
on such garments for the first time do not
g-o for their outfit to the regular Heraldic tailors at the College,
but prefer the slop work of Heraldic engravers, who "find arms."
Where on earth these latter do find some of the specimens they
present to their customers would, as a prize conundrum, puzzle
nobody more than the finders.
As a rule, the process employed by these artists is somewhat as
Jones has made money in the tallow trade, and retires from the
warehouse and shop. Jones is not ambitious, but Mrs. J. is, and
134 Y E COMIC HIS TOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
thinks that a Coat of Arms with a Crest to match would be an
acquisition to flaunt before the eyes of less fortunately endowed
neighbours. So she makes enquiries on the subject of procuring- the
object of her ambition, and finds out how it is done. This informa-
tion she communicates to Jones, who at first does not see it in the
same light that she does. But when woman proposes she generally
disposes as well; and the wretched Jones, finding his uncoated and
uncrested life a burden to him, gradually comes round to her view>
and in a rash moment consents, and starts for the Heralds' College.
On his way he meets Smith, also retired, and confides his troubles to
him, who sympathetically responds " Lor' bless you, my dear boy,
don't go to that there College. It'll cost you no end of money. Just
you go to a Heraldic engraver, he'll do the job for you for half the
price ; and if you don't like the pattern when you've got it, you can
just make him alter it to suit your taste." Jones has a frugal mind
and follows his friend's advice, and in process of time a gorgeous
Coat of Arms, Crest, and Motto complete, is sent home with a bill
this is paid, and the Joneses are happy.
The way the engraver has gone to work is very simple. He has
looked up in a Heraldic encyclopaedia the arms of some family of a
similar name, and slightly altering some point of the blazonry, has
served it up all hot to the innocent Jones, who, naturally not knowing
any better, is perfectly content, and stamps it all over his belongings
in a reckless and fanciful manner regretting, perhaps, that he can-
not tattoo it on his own person so that the whole world may see he
calls himself " Armiger," which he has about as much right to do as
a bird of paradise has to wear a pea-jacket.
Not but what real Heraldry exists in the present day, and Grants
of Arms made by the sovereign are enrolled at the College
as strictly as in former times. In fact none are genuine that
emanate from any other establishment; so that those of our
readers who desire to start a real Coat of their own had better
MODERN HERALDRY, ETC. 135
apply to that old established concern, and see what Sir Albert
Woods has to say to them.*
Jones having" got his Coat of Arms, naturally longs for liveried
menials, and hires them accordingly and puts them into gorgeous
attire, with tags, aiguillettes, facings, and all the luxuries of the
season, complete. Whether he does it in strict accordance with the
rules of Heraldry is more than doubtful, dazzling splendour being
more the object he and Mrs. J. have in view, than armorial
The liveries of servants are governed by Heraldry, and rightly, for
originally they were the clothes, as the name denotes, " livree," or
delivered to the retainers by their feudal lords. In fact, the
mediaeval liveries were exactly the same as the uniforms of modern
times the said "Baron's retainers so blithe and gay " cutting the
throats of, robbing, or otherwise ill-treating, those persons who were
obnoxious to the great man.
It did not always follow that those persons who wore a lord's
livery were his domestic servants ; a duke's son might wear the livery
of a prince, if it fitted him nicely and suited his complexion, and it
merely meant that he followed that particular chief, and went on the
war-path with him, until he was old enough to have a war-path of
his own. But when the feudal system was getting- to be played out,
our king's came to the conclusion that the festive retainers were
becoming rather a bore than otherwise, to quiet order-loving folks,
including the monarch himself, for the latter did not always care
about having a free fight going on among the Upper Ten of the
period, and thought it was high time to put a stop to the retainer
* For this advertisement we shall expect the College to find us not only a Coat of
Arms, but a whole suit of Armorial Bearings, gratis. We are not at all particular as
to the pattern, but require something neat and durable, adapted for the road, the
river, and indoor wear. Supporters we shall not require, but a Motto illustrating our
good qualities is absolutely indispensable.
136 Y E COMIC HISTOR V OF HERALDR Y.
nuisance. So Richard II. passed a law that no one but those standing
in menial relation to a lord, should wear that lord's livery thereby
hoping- to put a stop to the army-on-a-small-scale business which
those noble Christians were in the habit of accumulating-. But,
despite the law, during- the Wars of the Roses the retainers
flourished more than ever, and it was not until the accession of
Henry VII. that they were fairly knocked on the head for that
particularly 'cute sovereign put the law in force, as the Earl of
Oxford found to his cost. Henry, happening- one day to visit the
Earl, he, in order to do honour to his king-, g-athered around him,
and clothed in his livery, a large number of nice young- men, who
doubtless looked very pretty, and all that sort of thing. But the
monarch upon leaving, sent the Earl in a little bill to the melody of
about 15,000 marks fine, for breaking the law, which that nobleman
had to pay and look pleasant over, and this rather put a stop to the
accumulation of retainers, since it made them expensive luxuries,
which not even the Rothschilds of the time could afford.
But to return to our Modern Liveries. Heraldically, the livery of a
domestic servant should be of the two colours most prominent on the
Shield ; thus the colour of the coat should be the same as the field of
the Escutcheon, while the facings should be that of the principal
But in practice this rule has to be considerably modified, and a
dark drab would represent gold, and a lighter hue of the same
colour, silver and so on, and so on.
The Heralds, too, were nothing if not thorough, and they had not
always souls above buttons for they ordained that on these useful
and ornamental appurtenances the badge of the lord should be worn
not his Crest, which was as personal to the great man as his nose,
and could not be passed on, but his badge, which formed usually the
chief charge on the shield, and was, so to say, the emblem of his
MODERN HERALDR Y, ETC. 137
Before we conclude our opusculum we must just make a few re-
marks on Allusive Heraldry and Armes Parlantes, or Canting-
Heraldry not that there will be any cant about our readers ; we are
quite sure that if they have accompanied us so far over the armorial
fields they will have far too much sense in their compositions to leave
any room for cant.
Allusive Arms are of two kinds, just for all the world like the
sexes ; firstly, those which contain Charges relating to the character
office, or power of the original bearer ; and, secondly, those which
convey a direct pun upon the name. As an instance of the former
we may mention the three cups to be found in the Ormond Arms,
(N.B., that sounds rather like a public house, but it would not be
one doing much of a trade if it only required three cups) whose
family name is Butler. Moreover, this is the more applicable, since
the Ormond family is said to have originated with one Theobald
Walter, who in 1177 had the chief butlerage of Ireland conferred
on him by Henry II. Of course, holding the key of the Hibernian
whiskey cellar, the Butler celebrated the cups he drank of that potent
beverage by recording them on his shield, though we should much
doubt if he always restricted himself to a humble three. Another
instance is that of Lord Forester, who bears a bugle horn on his coat,
as a forester naturally should do. Whether the original Forester
had an unpleasant habit of blowing- his horn at unseemly times, to the
annoyance of quiet- loving people, and so had to put it on his coat
in order to stop the row, we are not told, but probably that had
something to do with the charge.
The second kind of Allusive Arms are those called Armes Parlantes,
or Canting Arms. On these a neat pun upon either the title or
family name of the owner is embroidered. Lord Roseberry, who
rejoices in the name of Primrose no relation to the late
Vicar of Wakefield has three primroses in his escutcheon, and
numerous other similar cases could be cited; but any of our readers
138 Y E COMIC HISTOR Y OF HERALDR Y.
by taking- up a peerage can find them out for themselves, whereby
they will acquire knowledge and keep themselves out of mischief
at the same time.
Some Heraldic purists consider that Canting Arms are unworthy
of the science, but those people are like the wounded sailor who
objected to be thrown overboard before he was dead, viz : " too jolly
particular/' inasmuch as in the earliest Roll of Arms, that of Henry
III., no less than nine examples of this particular kind of blazonry
are found. N.B., that roll we should say must be fairly brown by this
time, not to say musty.
In the earlier examples of so-called Canting Arms, however, the
process was frequently reversed, and so far from the Arms originating
from the name, the name originated from the Arms; and it happened
thus Surnames were not, and, as we have already mentioned, earls
added the names of their shires to distinguish the various Toms,
Dicks, and Harrys. So the knights, who frequently had no other pos-
sessions than light hearts and a thin pair of chain mail greaves to
bless themselves with, were not unfrequently known as the Knight of
the Tooth-brush, the Blacking Bottle, or the Sack Posset, according
as they bore those imposing charges on their shields.
Finally, one of the most unfortunate arrangements in connection with
our present state of existence is that we must all die, but even after we
are dead and buried we cannot get rid of the Heralds. They have
several remarks to make even then, and their observations take the
form of Hatchments. And when we come to Hatchments, any of
our readers who are inclined that way may with perfect safety lay
long odds that the Armiger to whose memory the Hatchment is
erected, is as dead as a boiled cod.
The next thing the very uninitiated may ask is, "What is a Hatch-
ment?" but here we draw the line this book is not an "Answers
to Correspondents" in a penny dreadful, nor yet an encyclopaedia of
useful knowledge, and if any of our readers does not know what is a
MODERN HERALDR Y, ETC. 139
Hatchment let him or her lay down this work and go and find out
and if he or she does know, he or she will not want to be told.
Hatchments, as our readers are aware, are always lozenge-shaped,
and vary in colour between white and black Place aux Demoiselles.
The Hatchment of an unmarried lady is black, and the full Coat of
Arms is displayed upon it in its proper colours and tin % tures. As
ladies have no Crests, a knot of ribbons takes its *-" .oe ; this last
tribute to female vanity is very touching-, and shows that our Heralds,
however stern and exacting 1 in the execution of their duty, had yet a
soft spot in their composition for the natural weaknesses of the sex.
Ladies! think of this, and cherish a Herald, if you should ever have
the good fortune to catch one alive. The Heraldic motto of the
escutcheon is always omitted on the Hatchment, and in its stead
some religious sentence is placed.
A bachelor has his Hatchment arranged precisely as an unmar-
ried lady, with the exception of the ribbons. Not wearing them in
his life-time, he does not require those adornments for his escutcheon
when "life's fitful fever is over."
Again, Place aux Dames. A widow impales her arms with those of
her husband, who survives, the Hatchment in this case being half
black and half white the arms of the defunct resting on the black,
those of the survivor on the white portion.
The same rule is also observed by a widower. No difference is
made for the disconsolateness or otherwise of the relict. In Heraldry
there is no mitigated grief department. All are tarred with precisely
the same armorial brushes.
When we come to the Church, we find that a bishop impales his
paternal Arms with those of his See on his Hatchment. The black
and white arrangement also prevails with him as with widows and
widowers his private arms taking the dark side, while those of his
See are on the white. This is to signify that although he himself
has gone over to the majority, yet his See remains behind to be
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
enjoyed by his successor, who naturally feels piously pleased at his
predecessor having" thus vacated it, and made room for him, which is,
we think, all we have to say about Hatchments. One disadvantage
of them is, however, that nobody, however heraldically inclined, can
see his own put up ; at least not on general principles.
Hatchments in Heraldry are like the cup of cafe noir at the close
of a well-api_ : nted dinner. The Heraldic feast is done, and the
properly constituted Armiger to whom the Hatchment refers is care-
fully, comfortably, and securely deposited in his grave ; his heir has
endued the family Armorial Coat, to be worn until Death, the
Eraser, makes him too a candidate for a Hatchment.
CHAPTER XXIII. AND LAST.
FINIS CORONAT OPUS.
AST scene of all which ends this
strange, eventful history," says
the melancholy Jaques and we
shall make bold to borrow the
line of him for this occasion only
not that we hope our readers
have been melancholy while
reading- our Heraldic lucubra-
tions, or that our attempt to raise
a laugh on the arid soil of the
College of Heralds has proved
an ignominious failure. We have
also the less reluctance to "conveying," as the wise do call it, from
Shakespeare, seeing that the divine "Williams" must have known
all about the science, from the frequent allusions he makes to it in
We have now come to the end of our Heraldic journey; the terminus
is in sight, the passengers are collecting their rugs, coats, and un^brellas,
Y E COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY.
previous to getting- out of our antiquarian train of thought, and we hope
they are satisfied with the trip they have made with us.
Readers! we must part! It is hard, very hard, as the monkey
remarked when they gave him a marble instead of a nut; but the best
of friends have to do it, and why should not we ? Still, if you have
travelled thus far over a rather obscure domain of science, we hope
you will have learned a little and have laughed a great deal more, in
which case we shall have achieved the aim we had in view in narrating
to you "YE COMIC HISTORY OF HERALDRY."
LONDON: M'CORQUODALE AND CO.,
55, CARDINGTON STREET; AND AT NEWTON, LEEDS, AND GLASGOW,
A 000124534 9
Jl --f; i '**''% IF 98 " &' 5
f*X | | * I
i b a i ,1 li i - ;
PLATE, , r] BL]
' ND T.TM2
- I ;