“C” Terms

CABOCHED or CABOSHED. Beasts’ heads borne without any part of the neck, and full faced.

CALTROP. An iron instrument made to annoy an enemy’s cavalry. They were formed of iron, being four spikes conjoined in such a manner that one was always upwards. It is found in many ancient coats of arms.

CANTON. The French word for corner. It is a small square figure, generally placed at the dexter chief of the shield.

CELESTIAL CROWN. Distinguished from any other crown by the stars on the points or rays that proceed from the circlet.

CHAPEAU. Cap of maintenance or dignity, borne only by sovereign princes. It is formed of crimson or scarlet velvet, lined with ermine.

CHAPLET. An ancient ornament for the head, granted to gallant knights for acts of courtesy. It is frequently borne as a charge in a shield of arms, and always tinted in its natural colours.

CHARGE. The figures or bearings contained in an escutcheon.

CHECKY. The field covered with alternate squares of metal and fur.

CHEVRON. This ordinary is supposed to represent the rafters of the gable of a house.

CHEVRONEL. The diminutive of the chevron, being one half its size.

CHIEF. One of the honourable ordinaries. It is placed on the upper part of the shield and contains a third part of it. The letters show the points in the chief. A is the dexter chief; B, the precise middle chief; C, the sinister chief.

CHIMERICAL FIGURES. Imaginary figures, such as griffins, dragons, harpies, &c.: all of them will be found under their proper names.

CINQUE FOIL. Five leaves conjoined in the centre.

CIVIC CAP. A cap of dignity borne by mayors of cities or corporate bodies: it is formed of sables garnished with ermine.

CLARION. A horn or trumpet borne in this shape in English and German coat-armour.

CLENCHED. The fingers pressed towards the palm of the hand.

CLOSE. A bird with its wings closed.

CLOSET. A diminutive of the bar, being only one half its width.

CLOSEGIRT. A figure whose dress is fastened round the waist.

COAT ARMOUR, or Surcoat. A loose garment worn over the armour of a knight; hence the term coat of arms. On this garment were emblazoned the armorial bearings of the wearer.

COCKATRICE. A chimerical animal, a cock with a dragon’s tail and wings.

COLLARED. Having a collar. Dogs and inferior animals are sometimes collared: the supporters and charges are generally said to be gorged. See GORGED.


COMBATANT. A French word for fighting. See LION.

COMPLEMENT. The Heraldic term for the full moon. When this figure is introduced as a charge in a coat of arms, it is called a moon in her complement.

COMPONY. A term applied to a bordure, pale, bend, or any other ordinary, made up of squares of alternate metal and colour.

CONJOINED. Joined together.

CONY. An heraldic name for a young rabbit.

CORONET. A “crown” used by members of nobility.  See CROWNS AND CORONETS.

COTICE. One of the diminutives of the bend: cotices are generally borne on each side of the bend.  The cotices are frequently of a different tincture from the bend they cotice.

COUCHANT. The French word for lying down with the breast towards the earth, and the head raised. See LION COUCHANT.

COUNT. A nobleman that was deputed by the king to govern a county or shire: the title is not used in the British Peerage; his rank is equal to an earl.

COUNTER. In Heraldry implies contrariety, as in the following examples:—

COUNTER-CHANGED. The intermixture of metal with colours opposed to each other.

COUNTER SALIENT. Two animals leaping different ways from each other.

COUNTER PASSANT. Two animals passing the contrary way to each other.

COUNTER FLORY. Any ordinary ornamented with fleurs-de-luce: the points of the flowers run alternately in a contrary direction.

COUPED. From the French word couper, to cut.  Part of an object being cut off, so as not to touch the edges of the shield.

COUPED. The head or limbs of any animal cut close is called couped.

COUPLE-CLOSE. One of the diminutives of the chevron, half the size of the chevronel.

COURANT. Running.

CRENELLE. The French heraldic term for embattled. See EMBATTLED.

CRESCENT. The half moon with its horns turned upwards.

CREST. The ornament on the upper part of the helmet in Heraldry placed over coats of arms, either with or without the helmet.

  • The English crest is a crown surmounted by a lion statant guardant crowned, or.
  • The Scottish crest is an imperial crown, surmounted by a lion sejant guardant, displaying two sceptres or.
  • The Irish crest is an ancient diadem surmounted by an embattled tower, a stag courant issuing from the portal.
  • The crest of Wales is a dragon passant guardant, gules.

Crests are usually displayed upon a wreath. See HELMET, WREATH, and MANTLING.  
[Article available on Crests]

CRESTED. A cock or other bird, whose comb is of a different tincture from the body, is said to be crested. See JOWLOPED.

CRINED. This is said of an animal whose hair is of a different tincture from its body.

CROSIER. The pastoral staff of a bishop or abbot: a very frequent charge in ecclesiastical arms.

CROSS. An honourable ordinary, more used as a charge in a coat of arms than any of the others. During the Crusades for the recovery of the Holy Land, the troops of the different nations that joined in the Crusade displayed crosses on their banners and arms: every soldier bore a cross upon his dress; this was composed of two pieces of list or riband of equal length, crossing each other at right angles. The soldiers of France attached their national emblem, the fleur-de-lis, to the ends of the members of the cross; hence the introduction of the cross flory. The Crusaders from the Papal dominions placed transverse pieces on each member of the plain cross, and by this means transformed it into four small crosses springing from a centre, forming what is now called the cross-crosslet. It would be impossible within the limits of this work to give an example of all the crosses that have been introduced as bearings in coats of arms. Berry, in his comprehensive work on Heraldry, gives nearly two hundred examples, without giving all that might be found. The following are the crosses most used in English Heraldry.

·       Cross
·       Cross potent
·       Cross flory
·       Cross crosslet  
·       Cross bottonny               
·       Cross pattee     
·       Cross raguly                  
·        Cross patonce
·       Cross moline                   
·       Cross quadrate 
·       Cross quarter-pierced                
·       Cross of Calvary
·       Cross fitchy                    
·       Cross patriarchal
·       Cross potent rebated     

CURTANA. The pointless sword of mercy is the principal in dignity of the three swords that are borne naked before the British monarchs at their coronation.

CROWN AND CORONETS.  Royalty and Nobility of differing station and heritage will use different styles of coronets and coronets.  [The term Crown is usually properly assigned only to the sovereign of the country, all other titled persons will use the Coronet.]

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