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Family Crest Charges

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Man and the parts of him play but a small part in English shields, and we have nothing to put beside such a coat as that of the German Manessen, on which two armed knights attack each other’s hauberks with their teeth. But certain arms of religious houses and the like have the whole figure, the seal of Salisbury bearing the Virgin and Child in a blue field. And old crests have demi-Saracens, coal-miners, monks and blackamoors.

Sowdan bore in his shield a turbaned soldan’s head. The Stanleys, as kings of Man, quartered the famous three-armed legs whirling mill-sail fashion, and Tremayne of the west bore three men’s arms in like wise. Gules three hands silver was for Malmeyns as early as the 13th century, and Tynte of Colchester displayed hearts.

Miscellaneous Family Crest Charges

Other charges of the shield are less frequent but are found in great variety, the reason for most of them being the desire to play upon the bearer’s name.

Weapons and the like are rare, having regard to the military associations of armory. Daubeney bore three helms; Philip Marmion took with his wife, the coheir of Kilpek, the Kilpek shield of a sword (espele). Tuck had a stabbingsword. Bent bows were borne by Bowes, an arbiast by Arblaster, arrows by Archer, birding-bolts or bosouns by Bosun, the mangonel by Mangnall. The three lances of Amherst is probably a medieval coat; Leweston had battle-axes.

A scythe was int he shield of Praers; Picot had picks; Bilsby a hammer or "beal"; Malet showed mallets. The chamberlain's key is in the shield of a Chamberlain, and the spenser's key in that of a Spenser. Porter bore the porter's bell, Boteler the butler's cup. Three legged pots were borne by Monbocher. Crowns are for Coroun. Yarde had yard wands; Bordoun a burdon or pilgrim's staff.

Of horse furniture we have the stirrups of Scudamore and Giffard, the horse barnacles of Bernake, and the horse shoes borne by many branches and tenants of the house of Ferrers.

Of musical instruments there are pipes, trumps and harps for Pipe, Trumpington and Harpesfeld. Hunting horms are common among families bearing such names as Forester or Horne. Remarkable charges are the three organs of Grenville, who held the house of Clare, the lords of Glamorgan.

Combs play on the name of Tunstall, and gloves (wauns or gauns) on that of Wauncy. Hose were borne by Hoese; buckles by a long list of families. But the most notable of the charges derived from clothing is the hanging sleeve familiar in the arms of Hastings, Conyers and Mansel.

Chess rooks, hardly to be distinguished from the roc or roquel at the head of a jousting lance, were borne by Rokewode and by many more. Topcliffe had pegtops in his shield, while Ambesas had a case of three dice which should each show the point of one, for "to throw ambesace" is an ancient phrase used of those who throw three aces.

Although we are a sea going people, there are few ships in our armory, most of these in the arms of sea ports. Anchors are commoner.

Castles and towers, bridges, portcullises and gates have all examples, and a minister church was the curious charge borne by the ancient house of Musters of Kirklington.

Letters of the alphabet are very rarely found in ancient armory; but three capital T's in old English script, were borne by Toft of Chesire int he 14th century. In the period of decadence whole words or sentences, commonly the names of military or naval victories, are often seen.