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


Once a minor glory of High Medieval art, heraldry has long since degenerated to a genre replete with ostentatious affectation. Even so, vestiges of the strange beauty of a vanished world linger in its time-tattered traditions.

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

In comparison, what follows is seldom other than an illustrated ramble through the scanty [antique fables] heraldic symbology of an obscure and undistinguished British commoner* — and could easily be taken for an unwise attempt to draw a saga out of a short story.

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.


‘‘Ancient’ …

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

… and Modern’

A Mullet of six points within a Circlet of six of the same all conjoined Argent each entoured by six regular Hexagons also conjoined Azure.


* Commoner: an ordinary person where subject to monarchal prerogative, one without aristocratic rank or ecclesiastic privilege. Once a forthrightly condescending term, time has erased its insolence and mocks its pretensions. Considering the reflected glory from the cumulative achievements of so many commoners — including the enduring legacy of the countless forgotten lives and unknown deeds whose silent memorial is the stemming of barbarism and survival of civilisation — it has long been an agreeable title, despite the sometimes contrary diversity it must encompass.4

Copyright © 2006 Alan Geal