When a charge is entirely hidden by another charge or ordinary being placed upon it, the concealed item is said to be absconded. In all manners the absconded charge is considered to be present and is emblazoned as if it were.The most common source of absconded charges is likely from Augmentations received after the original coat of arms was awarded. Augmentations are awarded by the sovereign to distinguish the bearer for some exceptional service to the crown.
Conversely, in theoretical heraldry, it is possible that an abatement may also abscond a charge. [See Abatement]
Since the use of abatements seems to have little or no actual historic use, the armature armorist is fairly safe in the assumption that any absconded charge is the result of a later augmentation, however heraldry loves its exceptions.
Absconded: Entirely hidden by superimposed ordinary or charge. In all ways the absconded charge is considered to still be there and is blazoned as such.A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry; Parker & Company (1894).
Originally posted 2009-12-21 12:28:15.