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I have used two books as a basis for the lexicon here. First, The Manual of Heraldry. (Second Edition. London: Virtue & Company 1806). This book has the distinction of being the oldest work I could find on the subject of heraldry which is written in what we might consider modern English. There are definitely more definitive works which are much older than the scant two centuries in issue here, but I have found it is much easier to reference works when the language used is not arbitrarily difficult, after all, heraldry offers plenty of difficult words for the layman to learn already.
The second book I have used is A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry: Newly Annotated and Illustrated by Gough, Parker & Kay. (Published by the Unutterable Press 2009. Used with Permission). This text is largely from the original Gough/Parker edition of 1896 with contemporary annotations and illustrations addressing they developments of the last century.
I have annotated and illustrated this list in places to increase the reader’s ability to envision the concepts, I have also added a few notes on where English-style heraldry differs from continental heraldry, as well as some notes I think may be helpful for medieval recreationists.
In places The Manual of Heraldry has omitted discussion of some terms completely. If this was because they did not think they warranted discussion at the time, were worried about space constraints, or if by simple oversight, we are about 200 years too late to find out. In the case of many of these terms, I have done my best to add suitable definition in my own words.
I hope you find the list useful. I will be examining each phrase as the “Term of the Day” in the future, giving each entry an up-close treatment. In the meantime, if you have any questions please use the Ask Herald feature and I’ll do a blog entry for your answer.
Below you can find a listing of the lexicon terms we’ve discussed recently.
The Ermine Point or Ermine Spot is heraldic element which is repeated in the fur “Ermine”.read more
The term adumbration means literally to shadow and is a term used to denote a charge which is shown either only in outline or by a slight darkening of the tincture of the field.read more
Anche, (fr.): curved; used of a scimitar.read more
Anchor, (fr. ancre): this is frequently used as a charge, or crest, emblematical of hope, or of naval service. In old examples it is not unfrequently ringed at the point as well as at the head.read more
An architectural Arch used as a charge in heraldry. Usually shown as a castle’s Arch, but the Bridge Arch also appears, but will be blazoned as such.read more
The arc from the bible’s great flood is found occasionally in heraldry. It can be seen as the primary charge on the shields of individuals, municipalities and corporations.read more
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