The small business of arms

This is as much to remind myself of where our current ideas on this are as anything else, as I have a lot more research to do to make sure everything works and is suitable.    I’m also a cub scout leader and I have done some stuff with the cubs and my lads regarding the use and design of their own arms to uniquely identify themselves, and I was pleased that some of it stuck with my own boys.  (By the way, I’ve included a really quick cheat sheet on the bottom of this post for anyone starting out and interested in learning the basics from scratch.  Anyone more experienced gets to ignore it so they don’t choke on the factual inaccuracies)

I am a little worried that we won’t make ours “different” enough.  How big is the pool of arms with which we need to compare and have two differences from?  I’ll worry about that later, this is toe in the water stuff.   I’m even going to have a go at blazoning these and see how it goes..

Art would like Or, a fox passant gules.  (red fox walking on gold field (background)) I’m not sure if you use metal (Or and Argent) in the same way you do colours (gules, azure etc)

Tuathal would like per pale argent and sable, a lion passant gules (half and half silver and black, red walking lion.  He’s hoping to be able to use the lion that’s now associated with the Caomhanach name.

As usual I’m still deciding.  I’d like to get my association with the Household into it, and since I was going with Vert anyway, that helps.   I’m currently thinking vert quartered argent or per bend argent and vert, which potentially gives me room to add my allegiances in some way.    Crescents appeal, as do an oak tree, a lion, a birch leaf or Art’s fox.

There follows my easy peasy cheat sheet for arms. (I’m going to stick with the very basics)

  1. What the hell is that ‘vert, a lion rampant argent’ business??
    It’s the traditional way to describe (or blazon) your arms using heraldic terms.  I am by no means an expert and I have not yet talked to (or even properly identified) heralds in my neck of the woods.  Emblazoning is the process of creating the visual representation of the arms.
  2. Okay.. Arms?
    The shield shape with colours and symbols (called ‘charges’)  You decide the colour(s) of the field (background), then your charge(s) and their colour and describe (blazon) them in that order.
  3. What are the traditional colours and their names
    Gules – bright red
    Azure – royal blue (not light blue)
    Vert – Emerald green
    Purpure – Purple
    Sable – Black
    Or – is the metal Gold (yellow)
    Argent – metal silver (white)There are other finishes too, like fur, called tinctures, but I’m ignoring them.
  4. Charges (the symbols (often animals used)
    We’ve stuck to obvious charges (lions, crescents, foxes) as I haven’t done proper research into what works yet.   I’m pretty certain a lot of the internet sources I was reading are not exactly …the done thing.  Tuathal has expressed an interesting in learning a bit more about charges what they represent, so I think a visit to the library is on the cards.
    They are often animals or mythological beasts (dragons, griffins etc.) and they can be in various positons, these are the basics:
    rampant – standing on hind legs
    rampant guardant – standing on hind legs, face turned outwards
    passant – walking
    couchant – lying down

5.  Dividing up the shield for different colours.  (Ordinaries)
Best way I can do this is with an image I think.. 


(I got this from, I may revisit with something more complete soon)

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