Our Savage Ancestry


                                        Savage Coat of Arms

Let me make it very clear that I am not an expert on Armory, Arms, Crests, etc. Having said that, let's look at some material which I dug up somewhere a long time ago. 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.                                                                   

A 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 tongues)

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 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.                      

Design: 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 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, which is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armor, 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 (except for 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.