|Let me make it very clear that I am not an expert on the
subject of Armory, Arms, Crests, etc.
Having said that, let's look at some material on the
Is there a single coat of arms to which
all Savages can lay claim?
Not exactly, but there appears to be
a common theme in the design
of the various Savage coats of arms;
six black lions against a silver background.
Savage Coat of Arms - one description
(with my non-expert interpretation)
Blazon: Argent six lions rampant sable langued gules.
(A silver field on which stand six black lions with red
Crest: Out of a ducal coronet, or a lion's gamb erect sable.
(The apex out of three strawberry leaves, or the erect
foreleg of a lion)
Motto: A te pro te (From thee for thee)
Another, which appears to be from an Irish clan is;
Fortis atque fidelis, which evidently means Brave and faithful, or
Strong and faithful.
Origins and History
The practice of displaying armorial devices on banners, shields, etc,
dates back to feudal times when it was necessary for a knight, with his
face covered by the visor of his helmet, to be recognized at a distance.
Symbolic figures were used as tribal emblems. The family, or clan,
insignia was embroidered on the surcoat worn over the coat of mail,
giving rise to the term, coat of arms. Thus, the original purpose of
identifying the knight in battle began a system of identification of social
status. The practice was brought to the American colonies and even
today the seals of each of the United States bear heraldic devices.
A coat of arms is made up of several parts, i.e. the escutcheon, or
shield; the helm, or helmet; the crest; the motto; the mantle; the
supporters; and the torse, or wreath. The escutcheon is the most
important. The assembled components make up what is called an
achievement of arms. To properly describe a coat of arms one must be
precise in the use of a heraldic vocabulary that has survived, in English,
from about the 13th century.
The term escutcheon signified a shield with arms portrayed on it, as
distinguished from a plain shield. The escutcheon is, in most cases,
shaped like a conventional shield. The shield is divided, from top to
bottom into three areas; chief, fess, and base and from right to left (of
the wearer) into dexter, middle or pale, and sinister. The shield bears
charges, (figures), in different colors, or tinctures. The term tincture
includes the representation of metals, colors, and furs. The most
common metals are (gold) and argent (silver). While gold is usually
represented by yellow, silver is depicted in white. In black-and-white
drawings gold is shown in white stippled with fine black dots, and silver
by plain white. The principal colors are red, blue, sable (black), green,
and purple. The furs are ermine and squirrel.
The following definitions are based on the works of C.N. Elvin (edited by Marvin Beatty) from his
original manuscript of 1879.
Lion: The noblest of all wild beasts, which is made to be the emblem of
strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in
Coat-Armour, as a Charge, Crest and Supporter. The Heraldic Lion is
always armed and langued gules unless such be the tincture of the
field, when, if not named to the contrary, it is azure. See Languid.
Helmet: The helmet of a King, or Prince, is full faced, with six bars, all
of gold, and lined inside with crimson. The Helmet of a Duke, Marquis,
Earl, Viscount, and Baron, is of steel, garnished with gold, placed in
profile with five bars, lined with crimson. The Helmet of a Baronet, or
Knight, is of steel, ornamented with gold, and is shewn full-faced, with
beaver open, lined with crimson. The Helmet of an Esquire, or
Gentleman, is a steel profile Helmet, ornamented with gold, the beaver
close. Helmet with Vizor raised. If two Helmets are placed on one shield
to support two different crests, they are usually set face to face.
Blazon: or Blason. A term generally applied to the knowledge and
description of armorial bearings according to the rules of Heraldry. In
blazoning a Coat of Arms, i.e. describing it, the Field is always first
mentioned noticing the lines wherewith it is divided, and the differences
of these lines, whether they be straight or crooked. Then proceed to
the charge nearest the centre, and name those charges last which are
furthest from the field, i.e. the charges upon the Ordinaries. The
principal Ordinary in the coat (with the exception of the Chief) must be
named next to the field. If the Ordinary itself is charged, such charge to
be blazoned next to those between which the Ordinary is placed. If
there is no Ordinary in the arms the central charge is to be first named
after the field, then the charge, if any, on the central charge, then the
Border; next the Chief or Canton with its charges. When a bearing is
described without naming the point of the Escutcheon where it is to be
placed, the centre is always understood; the same is also observed in
respect to the charges upon Ordinaries, or
Crest: A figure set upon a wreath, coronet, or chapeau, placed above
the Helmet. The manner of placing the Crest differs according to the
rank of the bearer. By all below the Peerage, it is placed above the
Helmet, the latter rests on the shield. Peers carry the coronet on the
shield, and the Helmet and Crest above; but in both cases the Helmet
very frequently is altogether omitted. Ladies are not entitled to wear
Crests. But as an appendage to sepulchral monuments Crests are
placed beneath the head of the armed effigy; are attached to the
helmet, or are carved at the feet of the recumbent figures.