First of all there is no reward for spotting that I labelled the crest for Derbyshire as the crest for Bristol – I have no idea what came over me! Many apologies. Have now amended it online.
So – to the shield – the background of the shield is called the field and it is usually made of a colour (a tincture) or a metal or a design representing a fur.
- metal – gold (or) and silver (argent)
- colour – red (gules), blue (azure), green (vert), black (sable), purple (purpure)
- fur – ermine, ermines, peon and vair – (I’ll come back to them)
Keeping things straight forward for the time being -we’ll come back to the way the shield is divided up- a charge is then added to the field. This is the shape, object, bird or animal that identifies the shield’s owner. A colour is never put on a metal!
There may be one large charge or several smaller repeated ones.
Popular charges include; crosses, stars, rings, balls, crescents and diamonds. – except of course nothing is as straight forward as that – why call a star a star when you can call it something different!
- Can you identify the following: bezant, mullet, lozenge and annulet
A certain well known online encyclopaedia provides a list of heraldic charges.
Lions are a popular charge!
2) Which countries do these lions belong to?
And finally can you identify these English or Welsh county coats of arms – I’ve selected ones with repeating charges. The Derbyshire coat of arms should be no problem as he represents the fact that Derbyshire was initially founded by the Danes who came on their dragon boats (presumably not all the way to land locked Derbyshire) and there’s also a nod to the county’s mining. And of course its an opportunity to spot lozenges, lions rampant and martlets. How I managed to miss the crests for Lincolnshire and Suffolk I do not know!