Orle (heraldry)

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Argent, an orle gules Orle demo.svg
Argent, an orle gules

In heraldry, an orle is a subordinary consisting of a narrow band occupying the inward half of where a bordure would be, following the exact outline of the shield but within it, showing the field between the outer edge of the orle and the edge of the shield.

Heraldry profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol

Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement. The achievement, or armorial bearings usually includes a coat of arms on an shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

Ordinary (heraldry) basic geometric charge in heraldry

In heraldry, an ordinary is a simple geometrical figure, bounded by straight lines and running from side to side or top to bottom of the shield. There are also some geometric charges known as subordinaries, which have been given lesser status by some heraldic writers, though most have been in use as long as the traditional ordinaries. Diminutives of ordinaries and some subordinaries are charges of the same shape, though thinner. Most of the ordinaries are theoretically said to occupy one-third of the shield; but this is rarely observed in practice, except when the ordinary is the only charge.

Bordure heraldic ordinary

In heraldry, a bordure is a band of contrasting tincture forming a border around the edge of a shield, traditionally one-sixth as wide as the shield itself. It is sometimes reckoned as an ordinary and sometimes as a subordinary.

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An orle can sometimes be confused with an inescutcheon or escutcheon voided (a smaller shield with a shield-shaped hole), or with a patch of the field left over between a bordure and an inescutcheon.

Orles may varied by any of the lines of variation.

Discrete charges arranged in the position of an orle are described as in orle or as "an orle of".

Charge (heraldry) heraldic motif; an ordinary, common charge or symbol

In heraldry, a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon (shield). This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object or other device. In French blazon, the ordinaries are called pièces while other charges are called meubles.

Blazon art of describing heraldic arms in proper terms

In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image. The verb to blazon means to create such a description. The visual depiction of a coat of arms or flag has traditionally had considerable latitude in design, but a verbal blazon specifies the essentially distinctive elements. A coat of arms or flag is therefore primarily defined not by a picture but rather by the wording of its blazon. Blazon also refers to the specialized language in which a blazon is written, and, as a verb, to the act of writing such a description. This language has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax, which becomes essential for comprehension when blazoning a complex coat of arms.

Roundel (heraldry) heraldry term for a circular charge

A roundel is a circular charge in heraldry. Roundels are among the oldest charges used in coats of arms, dating from the start of the age of heraldry in Europe, circa 1200–1215. Roundels are typically a solid colour but may be charged with an item or be any of the furs used in heraldry. Roundels are similar to the annulet, which some heralds would refer to as a false roundel.

In heraldry, gules is the tincture with the colour red. It is one of the class of five dark tinctures called "colours", the others being azure (blue), sable (black), vert (green) and purpure (purple).

Dervorguilla of Galloway Medieval Gaelic woman

Dervorguilla of Galloway was a 'lady of substance' in 13th century Scotland, the wife from 1223 of John, 5th Baron de Balliol, and mother of John I, a future king of Scotland.

Tressure

A tressure is a subordinary that can be regarded as a diminutive of an orle. John Woodward is of the opinion that "a plain tressure is a diminutive of the orle, and is depicted half its thickness".[ citation needed ] A tressure is described as representing the circular raised line on a coin that shows the user if the coin has been clipped or overly worn. A double tressure is normally an 'orle gemel', i.e. an orle divided into two narrow ones set closely together, one inside the other, with artists interpreting it as composed of two narrow orles each being one-third or one-fourth the width and the void between them being one-third or one-half the width. A. C. Fox-Davies argued that a tressure is by necessity doubled, otherwise it would be an orle. However, examples exist of coats of arms with a single tressure, as in the arms of Edward Lawrence. [1]

Arthur Charles Fox-Davies British writer

Arthur Charles Fox-Davies was a British expert on heraldry. His Complete Guide to Heraldry, published in 1909, has become a standard work on heraldry in England. A barrister by profession, Fox-Davies worked on several notable cases involving the peerage, and also worked as a journalist and novelist.

Plain tressures are rare. It is much more common to see tressures flory-counter-flory, especially in Scottish heraldry, where many coats of arms derive from the Royal Coat of Arms, in which the tressure represents the Auld Alliance with France (fleurs-de-lys being a French symbol). As a result the double tressure flory-counter-flory is often referred to as 'the royal tressure'.

When a tressure is impaled, it is supposed to follow the same rule as the bordure, and not to be continued on the side of the impalement, but several exceptions may be found.

Related Research Articles

Division of the field section of the field on an escutcheon

In heraldry, the field (background) of a shield can be divided into more than one area, or subdivision, of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name. Shields may be divided this way for differencing or for purposes of marshalling, or simply for style. The lines that divide a shield may not always be straight, and there is a system of terminology for describing patterned lines, which is also shared with the heraldic ordinaries. French heraldry takes a different approach in many cases from the one described in this article.

The lines of partition used to divide and vary fields and charges in heraldry are by default straight, but may have many different shapes. Care must sometimes be taken to distinguish these types of lines from the extremely unusual and non-traditional use of lines as charges, and to distinguish these shapes from actual charges, such as "a mount [or triple mount] in base," or, particularly in German heraldry, different kinds of embattled from castle walls.

Variation of the field heraldic term

In heraldry, variations of the field are any of a number of ways that a field may be covered with a pattern, rather than a flat tincture or a simple division of the field.

Ordinaries in heraldry are sometimes embellished with stripes of colour alongside them, have lumps added to them, shown with their edges arciform instead of straight, have their peaks and tops chopped off, pushed up and down out of the usual positions, or even broken apart.

Flaunch heraldic ordinary

In heraldry, a flaunch are among the ordinaries or subordinaries, consisting of two arcs of circles protruding into the field from the sides of the shield. The flaunch is never borne singly.

Cadency System in heraldry to distinguish family members

In heraldry, cadency is any systematic way to distinguish arms displayed by members of the nuclear family of the holder of a coat of arms, when those family members have not been granted arms in their own right. Cadency is necessary in heraldic systems in which a given design may be owned by only one person at any time, generally the head of the senior line of a particular family. As arms may be used by sons or wives 'by courtesy' whilst their father or husband is still living, some form of differencing may be required so as not to usurp those arms, known as the undifferenced or "plain coat". Historically arms were only heritable by males and therefore cadency marks have no relevance to daughters, except in the modern era in Canadian and Irish heraldry. These differences are formed by adding to the arms small and inconspicuous marks called brisures, similar to charges but smaller. They are placed on the fess-point, or in-chief in the case of the label. Brisures are generally exempt from the rule of tincture. One of the best examples of usage from the medieval period is shown on the seven Beauchamp cadets in the stained-glass windows of St Mary's Church, Warwick.

Bend (heraldry) heraldic ordinary

In heraldry, a bend is a band or strap running from the upper dexter corner of the shield to the lower sinister. Authorities differ as to how much of the field it should cover, ranging from one-fifth up to one-third. The supposed rule that a bend should occupy a maximum of one-third of the field appears to exclude the possibility of three bends being shown together, but contrary examples exist. Outside heraldry, the term "bend sinister" is sometimes used to imply illegitimacy, though it is almost never true that a bend sinister has this significance, and a "bar sinister" cannot, by its nature, exist.

Augmentation of honour

In heraldry, an augmentation is a modification or addition to a coat of arms, typically given by a monarch as either a mere mark of favour, or a reward or recognition for some meritorious act. The grants of entire new coats by monarchs as a reward are not augmentations, but rather grants of arms, and an augmentation mistakenly given to someone who did not have a right to a coat would be nugatory.

Royal Arms of Scotland coat of arms

The royal arms of Scotland is the official coat of arms of the King of Scots first adopted in the 12th century. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI inherited the thrones of England and Ireland and thus his arms in Scotland were now quartered with the arms of England with an additional quarter for Ireland also added. Though the kingdoms of England and Scotland would share the same monarch, the distinction in heraldry used in both kingdoms was maintained. When the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain, no single arms were created and instead, the royal arms as used in either Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would continue to differ.

Chief (heraldry) ordinary in heraldic blazon; horizontal band at the top of a coat of arms

In heraldic blazon, a chief is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the top edge of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by the chief, ranging from one-fourth to one-third. The former is more likely if the chief is uncharged, that is, if it does not have other objects placed on it. If charged, the chief is typically wider to allow room for the objects drawn there.

Coat of arms of Napoleonic Italy Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Napoleonic Italy was the coat of arms used by the Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814) during the reign of Napoleon as King of Italy.

Coat of arms of Perth

The coat of arms of Perth, Western Australia were originally granted to the City of Perth on 2 December 1926. They were altered with the slight addition of part of the arms of Perth, Scotland in 1949.

Dimidiation

In heraldry, dimidiation is a method of marshalling two coats of arms.

Crosses in heraldry heraldic figure

A number of cross symbols were developed for the purpose of the emerging system of heraldry, which appeared in western Europe in about 1200. This tradition is partly in the use of the Christian cross an emblem from the 11th century, and increasingly during the age of the Crusades. A large number of cross variants were developed in the classical tradition of heraldry during the late medieval and early modern periods. Heraldic crosses are inherited in modern iconographic traditions and are used in numerous national flags.

Coat of arms of the Prince of Spain

The Coat of arms of the Prince of Spain was set out in the Spanish Decree 814 of 22 April 1971, by which the Rules for Flags, Standards, Guidons, Banners, and Badges were adopted.

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