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Page viii. Burke's General Armory

Page viii. Burke's General Armory

Burkes General Armory



Viii HERALDRY. These observations apply more especially to the usage of arms, in England. In England and Wales, Arms are granted, under the authority of' the Earl Marshal, by Garter and one of the Provincial Kings, according to his ,jurisdiction. In Scotland, Lyon King of Arms, and in Ireland, Ulster King of Arms, have the sole power to grant or confirm Arms in their respective Kingdoms. In consequence of the disturbed state of Ireland towards the close of the sixteenth and nearly all through the seventeenth century, the very period when the English Heralds made their Visitations, and admitted arms to all who proved their right, it was impossible to carry out Visitations in Ireland. In fact, there are only three Irish Visitations remaining on record, viz., Dublin County, 1606; Dublin City, 1607 ; Wexford County, 1618. To provide for this want of Visitation, Ulster King of Arms has authority to give a CONFIRMATION (with some slight heraldic difference to indicate the fact of its being a Confirmation), to a claimant who can prove to 6i:; satisfaction that he, the claimant, and his family have used for a certain number of generations the said arms and crest. BLAZON OF ARMS. Blazon, or Blason, is the proper technical description of Armorial Bearings, according to the scientific rules of Heraldry. In blazoning a coat of arms, brevity is to be studied, and tautology avoided, care being still taken to give a minute description of every bearing, its position, place on the shield, tincture, &c. Though the same metal, colour, or fur, may occur More than once, the repetition of its name should be scrupulously guarded against, by describing the charge, which happens to be of a tincture already mentioned, as if the first, second, or third, according to the relative position that tincture may hold in the blazon ; for example, the arms of Preston of Furness Abbey are, " Ar. two bars gu. on a canton of the second a cinquefoil or." In this blazon the colour of the canton is described of the second, to obviate the repetition of the word "gu." The next general rule to be observed is to begin the blazon with the description of the field, its tincture or tinctures, unless it is divided by any of the main partitions already treated, in which case the descriptive blazon would begin as per fess, per pale, per saltire, &c. The principal ordinary, if any, should next be described, with its tincture, &c.; and then the charges around it generally, giving the surcharges upon such ordinary, after those between which it is borne; the chief, canton, or any charge placed in a particular point of the shield, with its surcharges, if any, being generally blazoned last. If a coat consists of two tinctures only, it is blazoned, as in the arms of Lam bton, " Sa. a fess between three lambs pass. ar. which indicates that both the fess and lambs are of the tincture argent ; when the last-mentioned charge, or bearing, is of the same tincture as that one named immediately before it, and yet cannot be included under one word, it is necessary to describe it as " of the last: " thus, in the arms of Dorm er, " Az. ton billets, four, three, two and one, or, on a chief of the last a demi lion ramp. issuant sa." Of the last is used to prevent a repetition of " or." If there be two sets of charges of equal number on any parts of the shield, or one set of charges on an ordinary between the same number of charges on the shield, the repetition of the number must be avoided, by describing the second set of charges by the words " as many." Thus, in the arms of Wilmot, " Ar. on a fess gu. between three eagles' heads erased sa. as many escallops or: the words " as many " prevent the repetition of the number " three " in this example. When charges are borne without the interposition of the ordinaries, the exact position they occupy on the shield -fessways, or in fess, if in line across the field; paleways, or in pale, if perpendicular, one over the other; and bendways, or in bend, if placed diagonally from the dexter chief to the sinister base, must bedescribed, as well as the attitude and tinctures of such charges


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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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