Few items on coat of arms will make it look suspiciously inauthentic as quickly as a letter of the alphabet, however, A.C. Fox-Davies points to a few examples where authentic arms used letters as charges.
It should be noted that these examples are from more “modern” heraldry and alphabetical charges should be avoided if you are trying to design arms to look authentically medieval.
Kip Kay @ Heraldry on History Road ©2008-2011
In dealing with those charges which may be classed under the above description one can safely say that there is scarcely an object under the sun which has not at some time or other been introduced into a coat of arms or crest. One cannot usefully make a book on armory assume the character of a general encyclopaedia of useful knowledge, and reference will only be made in this chapter to a limited number, including those which from frequent usage have obtained a recognised heraldic character. Mention may, at the outset, be made of certain letters of the alphabet.
Instances of these are scarcely common, but the family of Kekitmore may be adduced as bearing: “Gules, three S’s or,” while Bridlington Priory had for arms : ” Per pale, sable and argent, three B’s counterchanged.” The arms of Rashleigh are : “Sable, a cross or, between in -the first quarter a Cornish chough argent, beaked and legged gules; in the second a text T in the third and fourth a crescent all argent.” Corporate arms (in England) afford an instance of alphabetical letters in the case of the B’s on the shield of Bermondsey.
A Complete Guide to Heraldry; Arthur Charles Fox-Davies (1909).
Originally posted 2010-10-16 23:31:03.