Armorial Bearings

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Heraldry in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges. The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets.

Origins and History
At the time of the Norman Conquest of England, modern heraldry had not yet been developed. The beginnings of modern heraldic structure were in place, but would not become standard until the middle of the twelfth century.  By the early thirteenth Century, coats of arms were being inherited by the children of armigers. In Britain the practice of using marks of cadency arose to distinguish one son from another, and was institutionalized and standardized by the John Writhe in the fifteenth century.

In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, heraldry became a highly developed discipline, regulated by professional officers of arms. As its use in jousts became obsolete coats of arms remained popular for visually identifying a person in other ways—impressed in sealing wax on documents, carved on family tombs, and flown as a banner on country homes.

From the beginning of heraldry, coats of arms have been executed in a wide variety of media, including on paper, painted wood, embroidery, enamel, stonework, stained glass, and computerized media. For the purpose of quick identification in all of these, heraldry distinguishes only seven basic colors and makes no fine distinctions in the precise size or placement of charges on the field. Coats of arms and their accessories are described in a concise jargon called blazon. This technical description of a coat of arms is the standard that must be adhered to no matter what artistic interpretations may be made in a particular depiction of the arm 

The idea that each element of a coat of arms has some specific meaning is unfounded. Though the original armiger may have placed particular meaning on a charge, these meanings are not necessarily retained from generation to generation. Unless the arms incorporate an obvious pun on the bearer's name, it is difficult to find meaning.

The development of firearms made plate armor obsolete and heraldry became detached from its original function. This brought about the development of "paper heraldry" that only existed in paintings. Designs and shields became more elaborate at the expense of clarity. The 20th century's taste for stark iconic emblems made the simple styles of early heraldry fashionable again.

The Rules of Heraldry
Shield and Lozenge
The focus of modern heraldry is the armorial achievement, or coat of arms. The central element of a coat of arms is the shield. In general the shape of shield employed in a coat of arms is irrelevant. The fashion for shield shapes employed in heraldic art has generally evolved over the centuries. There are times when a particular shield shape is specified in a blazon.

Traditionally, as women did not go to war, they did not use a shield. Instead their coats of arms were shown on a lozenge—a rhombus standing on one of its acute corners. This continues to hold true in much of the world, though some heraldic authorities make exceptions. In Canada the restriction against women bearing arms on a shield has been completely eliminated. Noncombatant clergy have also made use of the lozenge as well as the cartouche—an oval-shaped vehicle for their display.

Tinctures are the colors used in heraldry. Since heraldry is essentially a system of identification, the most important convention of heraldry is the rule of tincture. To provide for contrast and visibility metals—generally lighter tinctures—must never be placed on metals and colors—generally darker tinctures—must never be placed on colors. There are instances where this cannot be help, such as where a charge overlays a partition of the field. Like any rule, this admits exceptions, the most famous being the arms chosen by Godfrey of Bouillon when he was made King of Jerusalem.

The names used in English blazon for the tinctures come mainly from French and include Or (gold), Argent (white), Azure (blue), Gules (red), Sable (black), Vert (green), and Purpure (purple). A number of other colors are occasionally found, typically for special purposes.

Besides tinctures, certain patterns called furs can appear in a coat of arms. The two common furs are ermine and vair. Ermine represents the winter coat of the stoat, which is white with a black tail. Vair represents a kind of squirrel with a blue-gray back and white belly sewn together it forms a pattern of alternating blue and white shapes.

Heraldic charges can also be displayed in their natural colors. Many natural items such as plants and animals are described as proper in this case. Proper charges are very frequent as crests and supporters. It is considered bad form to use proper as a method of circumventing the tincture convention.

Division of the Fields
The field of a shield in heraldry can be divided into more than one tincture, as can the various heraldic charges. Many coats of arms consist simply of a division of the field into two contrasting tinctures. Since these are considered divisions of a shield the rule of tincture can be ignored. For example, a shield divided azure and gules would be perfectly acceptable. A line of partition may be straight or it may be varied. The variations of partition lines can be wavy, indented, embattled, engrailed, or made into myriad other forms.

In the early days of heraldry, very simple bold rectilinear shapes were painted on shields. These could be easily recognized at a long distance and could also be easily remembered. They therefore served the main purpose of heraldry—identification. As more complicated shields came into use, these bold shapes were set apart in a separate class as the "honorable ordinaries." They act as charges and are always written first in blazon. Unless otherwise specified they extend to the edges of the field. Though ordinaries are not easily defined, they are generally described as including the cross, the fess, the pale, the bend, the chevron, the saltire, and the pall.

There is also a separate class of charges called sub-ordinaries which are of geometrical shape subordinate to the ordinary. According to Friar, they are distinguished by their order in blazon. The sub-ordinaries include the inescutcheon, the orle, the tressure, the double tressure, the bordure, the chief, the canton, the label, and flaunches.

Ordinaries may appear in parallel series, in which case English blazon gives them different names such as pallets, bars, bendlets, and chevronels. French blazon makes no such distinction between these diminutives and the ordinaries when borne singly. Unless otherwise specified an ordinary is drawn with straight lines, but each may be indented, embattled, wavy, engrailed, or otherwise have their lines varied.

A charge is any object or figure placed on a heraldic shield or on any other object of in an armorial composition. Any object found in nature or technology may appear as a heraldic charge in armory. Charges can be animals, objects, or geometric shapes. Apart from the ordinaries, the most frequent charges are the cross—with its hundreds of variations—and the lion and eagle. Other common animals are fish, martlets, griffins, boars, and stags. Dragons, unicorns, and more exotic monsters appear as charges but also as supporters.

Animals are found in various stereotyped positions or attitudes. Quadrupeds can often be found rampant—standing on the left hind foot. Another frequent position is passant, or walking, like the lions of the Coat of Arms of England. Eagles are almost always shown with their wings spread, or displayed.

In English heraldry the crescent, mullet, martlet, annulet, fleur-de-lis, and rose may be added to a shield to distinguish cadet branches of a family from the senior line. These cadency marks are usually shown smaller than normal charges, but it still does not follow that a shield containing such a charge belongs to a cadet branch. All of these charges occur frequently in basic undifferenced coats of arms.

Marshalling is the art of correctly arranging armorial bearings. Two or more coats of arms are often combined in one shield to express inheritance, claims to property, or the occupation of an office. Marshalling can be done in a number of ways, but the principal modes of include impalement and dimidiation. This involves using one shield with the arms of two families or corporations on either half. Another method is called quartering, in which the shield is divided into quadrants. One might also place a small inescutcheon of a coat of arms on the main shield.

When more than four coats are to be marshalled, the principle of quartering may be extended to two rows of three (quarterly of six) and even further. A few lineages have accumulated hundreds of quarters, though such a number is usually displayed only in documentary contexts. Some traditions have a strong resistance to allowing more than four quarters, and resort instead to sub-quartering.

Helm and Crest
In English the word "crest" is commonly used to refer to a coat of arms—an entire heraldic achievement. The correct use of the heraldic term crest refers to just one component of a complete achievement. The crest rests on top of a helmet which itself rests on the most important part of the achievement—the shield. The crest is usually found on a wreath of twisted cloth and sometimes within a coronet. The modern crest has evolved from the three-dimensional figure placed on the top of the mounted knights' helms as a further means of identification. In most heraldic traditions a woman does not display a crest, though this tradition is being relaxed in some heraldic jurisdictions.

When the helm and crest are shown, they are usually accompanied by a mantling. This was originally a cloth worn over the back of the helmet as partial protection against heating by sunlight. Today it takes the form of a stylized cloak or hanging from the helmet. Typically in British heraldry, the outer surface of the mantling is of principal color in the shield and the inner surface is of the principal metal. The mantling is conventionally depicted with a ragged edge, as if damaged in combat.

Clergy often refrain from displaying a helm or crest in their heraldic achievements. Members of the Roman Catholic clergy may display appropriate headwear. This takes the form of a galero with the colors and tassels denoting rank. In the Anglican tradition, clergy members may pass crests on to their offspring, but rarely display them on their own shields.

An armorial motto is a phrase or collection of words intended to describe the motivation or intention of the armigerous person or corporation. This can also form a pun on the family name as in the Neville motto "Ne vile velis." Mottos are generally changed at will and do not make up an integral part of the armorial achievement. Mottoes can typically be found on a scroll under the shield. In Scottish heraldry where the motto is granted as part of the blazon, it is usually shown on a scroll above the crest. A motto may be in any language.

Supporters and Other Insignia
Supporters are human or animal figures placed on either side of a coat of arms as though supporting it. In many traditions, these have acquired strict guidelines for use by certain social classes. On the European continent, there are often less restrictions on the use of supporters. In Britain only peers of the realm, senior members of orders of knighthood, and some corporate bodies are granted supporters. Often these can have local significance or a historical link to the armiger.

If the armiger has the title of baron, hereditary knight, or higher, he or she may display a coronet of rank above the shield. In Britain this is usually below the helmet, though it is often above the crest in Continental heraldry.

Another addition that can be made to a coat of arms is the insignia of an order of knighthood. This is usually represented by a collar or similar band surrounding the shield. When the arms of a knight and his wife are shown in one achievement, the insignia of knighthood surround the husband's arms only, and the wife's arms are customarily surrounded by a meaningless ornamental garland of leaves for visual balance.

Modern Heraldry
Heraldry continues to flourish today in the modern day. Institutions, companies, and members of the public may obtain officially recognized coats of arms from governmental heraldic authorities. However, many users of modern heraldic designs do not register with heraldic authorities, and some designers do not follow the rules of heraldic design at all.

In Scotland the control of heraldry is fully legal and the Lord Lyon King of Arms retains powers—including imprisonment, fines, and defacement of illegitimate arms. His office has no equivalent in England and is closer to that of the Earl Marshal than that of Garter Principal King of Arms.

The Heineman Arms
The Heineman Armorial Bearings are registered to Wilhelm August Heineman, late of Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa; the son of John Henry Heineman and Bertha Ann Heineman, nee Burger; recognized 16 January 1999 and entered in the Heraldic Register (American College of Heraldry) under Number 1778.

The blazon for the Heineman Armorial Bearings is as follows:

Per fess Gules and Azure a barrulet Argent, over-all an eagle displayed wings inverted Or, charged on the breast with a fleur-de-lis Azure.  Above the Shield is placed a Helmet with a Mantling Gules doubled Or, and on a Wreath Or and Gules is set for Crest, a castle with two towers Argent the port occupied by a cross throughout Gules, and issuing there above three trees in Autumn tinctures Proper, and in an Escrol below the Shield this Motto:  Leadership Through Service.

The Shield
A "fess" is associated with the military girdle and belt of the ancients and their nobility.  The red, white, and blue shield colors were chosen to signify American service.  The eagle has a number of meanings.  The surname Jensen is a variant of the "son of Jens" or the "son of John."  Usually this has an ancient allusion to respect for St. John, who is represented by the eagle in ancient and modern religious iconography.  The eagle with turned-down wings alludes to Germanic ancestry.  The fleur-de-lis on a golden background (a reversal of the ancient French flag colors) alludes to Wilhelm's military service for the United States in France as part of the Allied Forces during WWI.  The fleur-de-lis is representative of the Crum family origins.  The fleur-de-lis is an adaptation of the lily, generally recognized as one of the most highly regarded charges with those of royalty and nobility.  The three leaves of the fleur-de-lis represent courage, faith, and wisdom.

The Helm
The proper helmet of a gentleman's coat of arms is the "tilting" helm.

The Crest
A wreath or torce is common in early arms.  The castle in the crest alludes to the Burger (meaning dweller in a castle or town).  Growing from the castle is a grove of trees, alluding to the Heineman name meaning a man who lives in or protects a grove or forest.  The trees are in Autumn colors to keep from clashing with the other tinctures.  The cross on the castle port is of Germanic design referring to the Christian faith.

The Motto
The motto represents the family's dedication to service organizations and their leadership roles.

Rightful Bearers of the Arms
The bearer of a coat of arms is called the Arminger (Wilhelm August Heineman) and the arms are passed to the male heirs in direct lineage.  The following individuals have rightful use of these arms:  Lucille Ann Dodson, Peter Edward Heineman, Sharen Lee Heineman, Bim August Heineman, Peter Lea Heineman, Chad August Heineman.

Ancestral Arms
The following are representative of some of the coat of arms used by ancestors of the Heineman family.