“P” Terms

PALE. One of the honourable ordinaries formed by two perpendicular lines drawn from the base to the chief. The pale occupies one third of the shield.

PALL. A scarf in the shape of the letter Y, forming part of the vesture of a Roman Catholic prelate. It is introduced as the principal bearing of the archbishops of Canterbury, Armagh, and Dublin.

PALLET. A diminutive of the pale.

PALY. A field divided by perpendicular lines into several equal parts of metal and tincture interchangeably disposed.

PARTY or PARTED signifies divided, and applies to the several parts of an escutcheon parted by a line, which always runs in the direction of one or more of the honourable ordinaries.

PARTY PER FESS. A shield parted in the centre by an horizontal line through the fess point.

PARTY PER PALE. This signifies a shield parted by a perpendicular line down the centre, so that one shield may contain two coats of arms.




PATTE. A cross small in the centre, wide at the ends. See CROSS.

PATRIARCHAL CROSS. Cross used by patriarchs in the Greek church. See CROSS.

PEARL. A precious stone, used by ancient heralds for argent in emblazoning the arms of peers.

PEAN. The name of a fur, the field sable, the tufts or.

PEER. Name given to all persons included in the rank of nobility.

PELLETS. A name given to black roundlets.

PENDANT. A shield suspended or hanging from a branch of a tree, or from a nail. Shields of arms frequently appear drawn thus in architecture, and when described are said to be pendant.

PENNONS. Small flags borne at the end of a lance of an esquire or gentleman bearing his paternal arms. The end of the pennon was cut off upon the person being created a knight banneret. See BANNERET. Penoncels or Pencils were small flags decorating the helmet or the horse armour. They are now only used at funerals. The large flag in the engraving is a pennon, the smaller, penoncels or pencils.

PHEON. A missile instrument with a barbed head, thrown from a cross bow.

PIERCED OR PERFORATED. Cut through the centre.

PILE. An angular figure like a wedge, formed by lines running from the dexter and sinister chief to the middle base.

IN PILE. Arms or other charges that are placed so as to form the shape of a pile are said to be borne in pile.

PLATE. One of the six roundlets; its colour is argent, but the tincture is not mentioned, as the plate is always silver.

POMEIS. Green roundlets.

POMMELLED. The pommel of the sword is the round ball or knob at the end of the hilt of a sword.

PORTCULLIS. A grating suspended by chains, used to defend the entrance to a castle.

POTENT. The ancient name of a crutch: when the field is covered with figures like small crutches it is called potent; when the heads of the crutches touch each other it is called counter potent.

PRINCE. The only Principality in Great Britain is that of Wales. The title of Prince of Wales is usually conferred upon the eldest son of the British monarch. All other sons, grandsons, brothers, uncles, and nephews, are called princes of the blood royal.

PRINCESS. Daughter of a sovereign. In England the eldest daughter of the monarch is called the Princess Royal; the others by their Christian names.

PROCLAMATION. A publication by the authority of the King. Proclamations of peace or war, or other matters of importance, are usually read by one of the heralds. They are addressed to the whole community under their different orders or ranks, viz. Clergy, Nobility, Gentry, Burgesses, and Commons.

PROPER. This word is used to denote that animals introduced as charges in an escutcheon appear in their natural colour. Modern writers on Heraldry consider this word superfluous, as the omission of the name of any metal or tincture is quite sufficient to make any person conclude that a lion, horse, or other animal is to be represented as it appears in nature.

PURPURE. The colour of purple, described in engraving by lines drawn diagonally from the sinister to the dexter side of the shield.

PURSUIVANTS. Four officers of the Heralds’ College, whose duty it is to attend the King-at-Arms on public occasions, and preside over certain departments of the Heralds’ Office.

They are called:

  • Rouge Croix,
  • Blue Mantle,
  • Rouge Dragon,
  • Portcullis.

They are entitled to rank as gentlemen, but not esquires.

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