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.
One of the minor glories of High Medieval art, heraldry — being inherently inclined to affectation — has long since degenerated to a genre replete with ostentation. Even so, some 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, for many these well-meaning airy nothings and unruly digressions will offer little of interest — particularly for family historians, given the absence of genealogical detail. Yet tastes vary and others may find an odd morsel further on, although none should confuse often solemn but otherwise flippant commonplaces with scholarship: this is plainly not a treatise on heraldry. If that is your object, your efforts would be better directed elsewhere. In which case the following could be helpful:
In contrast this is seldom more than an illustrated ramble through the scanty [antique fables] heraldic panoply of an obscure and undistinguished British commoner.1
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:
CLARERE AUDERE GAUDERE
Be bright: be daring: be joyful.
Above the Crest:
ΖΗΤΕΙΝ ΤΗΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑΝ
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.
A Mullet of six points within a Circlet of six of the same all conjoined Argent.
As befits the free and independent nature of heraldic badges, both show some diversity of expression.3