The alphabet is one set of arbitrary symbols. The figures of heraldry are another set of arbitrary symbols. In the fourteenth century every gentleman knew one: in the twentieth century every gentleman knows the other. The first gentleman was just precisely as ignorant for not knowing that c-a-t spells "cat," as the second gentleman is for not knowing that a St. Andrew's Cross is called a cross saltire, or that vert on gules is bad heraldry. -- G.K. Chesterson
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
This is what happens when an heraldic artist has never seen anything more than a very rough description of an heraldic beast when painting ...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Well, it's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, a day set aside to be with friends and family, to stuff ourselves with turkey or ham, watch football, and get ready to fight the crowds and begin our Christmas shopping on "Black Friday." Unless you're me (and some others), of course, in which case it's a day for remembering the half of those hardy souls who made it through that first winter of 1620-21 and celebrated bringing in the harvest in Plymouth, Massachusetts with three days of celebration and feasting with their Wampanoag friends.
Surprisingly enough, a significant percentage of the passengers on the Mayflower were entitled to bear coats of arms. Among those so entitled, my personal favorite is the canting arms borne by Capt. Myles Standish (this image from the website of the Myles Standish Society):
"Really?" I hear you ask. "And how is this coat with three white roundels a pun on the name Standish?"
It's simple, really; the blazon (found in Burke's General Armory) is Sable three standing dishes argent. (I suppose the more expected heraldic term "plates" might also work, but really, isn't "standing dishes" more appropriate here?)
So there you have it, a little Thanksgiving Day heraldry. I hope you enjoy your day, whether you have it off from work or not.
As for me, I'll be thinking about then 14-year-old Mary Chilton, my 10th great-grandmother, who lost both of her parents during that first winter in New England, but who was also a part of that early thanksgiving celebration in the New World.