Aux armes …

More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys …

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

William Shakespeare (c. 1595). A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Figure: Marginalia


One of the minor glories of medieval art and the sole active form to have survived, heraldry has long since degenerated to a genre replete with pomposity and affectation. Even so, this time-tattered art retains lingering vestiges of the strange beauty of a vanished world.

Whether or not any such trace can be found here, to many these well-meaning airy nothings and unruly digressions will offer little of interest — particularly for hunters of family histories, given the paucity of genealogical detail — yet tastes vary and some venturing further may find a morsel here and there. Although no one should confuse often solemn but otherwise flippant commonplaces with scholarship: this clearly is not a treatise on heraldry. If that is your object then these could be helpful:

In comparison, what follows is seldom other than a ramble through the scanty antique fables heraldic symbology of an obscure and undistinguished English commoner.*

The Arms and Crest of Alan Geal1



Azure semy of Mullets of six points conjoined Argent.


On … a Wreath Argent and Azure within a Circlet of Chain fracted Argent an Eagle wings expanded Or grasping in the talons the Chain.


Azure doubled Argent.

This arcane vocabulary is explained in a glossary.


Below the Arms:

Be bright: be daring: be joyful.

Above the Crest:

Seek the truth.


On a Circlet of Chain sans the base link Argent an Eagle wings expanded Or grasping in the talons a link fracted also Argent.3

Figure: The 'Seven Stars' badge

A Mullet of six points within a Circlet of six of the same all conjoined Argent each with an orle of six regular Hexagons conjoined Azure.


* Commoner: an ordinary person where subject to monarchal prerogative and privilege, one without aristocratic or ecclesiastical rank. Once a forthrightly condescending term, time has erased its insolence. Considering the reflected glory from the achievements of commonalty's myriad — including the countless forgotten lives and unknown deeds whose only memorial is the survival of civilisation — commoner is an agreeable title, despite the sometimes contrary diversity it must encompass.

Copyright © 2006 Alan Geal