The Mottershead Coat of Arms Explained

Heraldic terms can be confusing to the uninitiated. The heraldic description of the Mottershead coat of arms is hereby explained in a more modern English. My thanks to for providing the requisite definitions and interpretations contained herein.

There is a second description that designates "quatrefoils" (shown at right below) instead of "cinquefoils" (shown at left), this second description follows the first, although we have used the first for definition purposes.
Mottershead Coat of Arms with the Cinquefoil     Mottershead Coat of Arms with the Quatrefoil
Description one:

This comes from the Book of Arms at College of Arms collected by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald and made c.1566 No. 405. "He beareth Sable on a chevron Argent, three cinquefoils Gules, between three cross crosslets Or, as the cost of Mottram of Mottram which after took the name of Mottershead from the owning of an ancient parcell of lands called Mottersheved in the lordship of Mottram" Enrolled, College of Arms dated April 1692 and signed by, - "Sr.Jo.Dugdale, Norroy, and Gregory King, Lancaster Herald, Register of the College of Arms.

Description two:

"Sable, on a chevron argent, between three crosses crosslet or, as many quatrefoils gules" (source: Burke, Encyclopaedia of Heraldry, 1944).
sable (Fr. sable): the heraldic term for black, the term being probably derived from certain animals with black feet called Sabellinœ (mustela zibellina of Linnæus).
chevron (Fr. chevron, old Fr. cheveron): an ordinary occupying one-fifth of the field. The origin and meaning of this term has afforded ground for many guesses, but in diversifying the forms which bars across the shield may take, that of the chevron is a very natural one. The name itself is derived directly from the fr. chevron, i.e. rafter of a roof.
argent (Fr.): the tincture Silver.
crosses crosslet (Fr. croissette or petit croix): two or more crosses are sometimes borne in the same coat, and are then termed crosslets. If only two or three are borne they may be termed crosses or crosslets. If more, they must be termed crosslets.

Distinct, however, from the crosslet is the cross crosslet, or, as it is sometimes, though rarely, termed a cross crossed (Fr. croix croisée). By rights, however, a cross crossed is equivalent to a cross crosslet fixed, that is, the arms extend to the extremities of the escutcheon.
Crosses crosslet
or (Fr. from Latin aurum): the chief of the tinctures, i.e. gold.
cinquefoils/quatrefoils Cinquefoil, (Fr. quintefeuille) or quintefoil: a bearing of conventional form, having five leaves, as the name implies, and, as a rule, with the centre pierced.

(Fr. quartefeuille): a charge the design of which may have been derived from some four-leaved flower, but more probably produced in the course of the ordinary workman's craft. It should be drawn pierced, unless described as blind.

(Note - some may be familiar with the "trefoil" plant - e.g. "bird's foot trefoil". It may help understanding "quatrefoil" and "cinquefoil" if one thinks of a "trefoil" as being a "three-leaved quatrefoil or quatrefoil").
gules (Fr. gueules): the heraldic name of the tincture red. The term is probably derived from the Arabic gule, a red rose, just as the azure was derived from a word in the same language, signifying a blue stone. The word was, not doubt, introduced by the Crusaders. Heralds have, however, guessed it to be derived from the Latin gula, which in old French is found as gueule, i.e. the "red throat of an animal." Others, again, have tried to find the origin in the Hebrew word gulade, which signifies red cloth.
Black background, with a silver chevron between three gold crossed crosses, and as many (3) red cinquefoils (or quatrefoils).

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