Coats of Arms meanings and those officially registered to 1884

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Coats of Arms can offer clues about ancestry, if you have an ancestor who was granted Coats of Arms by the crown. Each component of the arms has meaning. Learn about the science of Coats of Arms and how they offer clues in this valuable book.

  • Learn what each type of shield, or escutcheon, represents.

  • Learn what types of Tinctures (metals, colours or furs) were used for the "field", or background of the shield.

  • Learn what precious stones and planets were associated with the Tinctures.

  • Learn what the partition lines mean (engrailed, invected, wavy...)

  • Learn what the divisions mean (field divided quarterly, diagnoally, horizontally - saltire or sinister, on a chevron, etc).

  • Learn about the principal ordinaries: The Chief, The Pale, The Bend, The Bend Sinister, The Fess, The Bar, The Cross, The Saltire

  • Learn about the sub-ordinaries: The Border, The Orle, The Inescutcheon, The Quarter, The Canton, The Cheque, Billets, The Paile, The Gyron, The Pile, The Flaunch, The Lozenge, The Mascle, The Fusil, The Roundle (Bezant, Plate, Torteau, Pomey, Hurt, Ogress or Pellet, Golpe, Orange or Guze), The Annulet, Lozengy, The Fret, and The Gouette.

  • Learn about the appendages of the Shield (THe Helmet, mantling, wreath, crest, supporters, and motto.

  • Learn about the helmets, which were assigned to the arms of Kings and Princes of the Royal Blood, nobles, knights, baronets, and esquires.

  • Learn about crowns and coronets and their symbolism.

  • Learn about Marks of Cadency, used to indicated the various branches of a family. They show the order of birth of sons bearing the arms.



The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; comprising a registry of armorial bearings from the earliest to the present time, published in 1884 by Sir Bernard Burke (1814-1892). (Alternate Link)


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