Line (heraldry)

Line (heraldry)


A chief enarched indented throughout in the arms of Sawbridgeworth


A fess wavy in the arms of Welwyn Hatfield


A chief embattled in the arms of Letchworth


The lines of partition used to divide and vary fields and charges in heraldry are by default straight, but may have many different shapes. (Care must sometimes be taken to distinguish these types of lines from the extremely unusual and non-traditional use of lines as charges, [] and to distinguish these shapes from actual charges, such as "a mount [or triple mount] in base," or, particularly in German heraldry, different kinds of embattled from castle walls.) The most common include the following:

*"indented:" with small zigzags like a saw's edge.
*"dancetty:" like "indented", but with opposing points staggered so that the band's width is constant, and usually of fewer points; in early days no distinction was drawn between this and indented. (A fess dancetty is often called a dance.)
*"dentilly:" a modern invention, similar to "indented", but with one of the sides of the points perpendicular and the other angled.
*"rayonné": as indented, but with curved instead of straight lines.
*"wavy" (rarely called "undy"): like a sine curve.
*"engrailed:" a series of half-circles, with the lobes pointing towards the chief or dexter as a line of division, or towards the interior of an ordinary.
*"invected:" the reverse of engrailed.
*"nebuly:" a series of mushroom shapes, representing stylized clouds; formerly not always distinct from "wavy".
*"potenty:" like a row of capital T's ("potent" means a crutch).
*"embattled:" topped with a row of small squares, like a battlement.
**When a fess is embattled, only the topmost edge is altered. If both edges are to be embattled, the term "embattled-counter-embattled" (or "counter-embattled," as in the arms of Sir Cecil Denniston Burney) is used. In this case the lines are parallel. If gaps face gaps, the term "bretessé" is used. There is at least one emblazonment suggesting that the orle is only embattled on its outer edge.
**"embattled grady:" has one small square atop another. [] James Parker says that "double-embattled" may be the same as this.
*"raguly:" as with embattled, but slanted instead of orthogonal, like the stumps of limbs protruding from a tree-trunk.
*"dovetailed:" as the name implies; unlike embattled, gaps face gaps.

Exotic line shapes

The arms of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals contain an example of "indented acute," a form of indented with higher peaks. [cite web|title="College of Arms Newsletter No.17, June 2008|url=|accessdate=2008-07-13]

The number of peaks in indented is almost never specified, but an exception is the arms of Arthur D. Stairs: "Per bend sinister indented of six steps Gules and Sable", and Westville, Natal, South Africa bears "Sable, issuant from behind a fence of spears in base Argent, a fig tree in leaf Or; on a chief indented of four points to base, also Or, three lion's faces Sable".

In South Africa there are a number of examples of "dancetty inverted". While the number of peaks in dancetty are three unless otherwise specified, the arms of Wagland show "dancetty of two points" [] and the arms of Baz Manning show an (identical in appearance) "dancetty of two full points upwards" [] . The arms of the Matroosberg Transitional Representative Council in South Africa give an example of "dancetty... in the shape of a letter W". The arms of the French department of Côtes d'Armor show "émanché," which would be equivalent to the English "per fess dancetty of two full points upwards." The arms of Baron Griffiths of Fforestfach are "Paly of four Vert and Argent per fess enhanced indented of two points upwards each point double barbed throughout issuing in base a pile double barbed throughout all counterchanged". [] The arms of Alaric John Martin Woodrow show an example of "barry dancetty each point double barbed". [] The [ arms of the Free State] in South Africa show "a chief dancetty, the peaks terminating in merlons," and so might be called a combination of dancetty and embattled; a similar hybrid can be seen in the arms of the Agricultural Gymnasium. Hoerskool Hangklip provide an example of "dancetty with points flattened", and Blouberg of "dancetty the peaks couped." [] It is difficult to know whether to characterise the "wall-like extremity with five merlons and four embrasures" in the arms of the Kurgan Oblast in Russia as a divided field or a charge. []

The wavy chief in the arms of Lord Nelson was blazoned as "undulated". []

The field of the arms of the 40th Finance Battalion of the United States Army is blazoned as parted "per fess wavy (in the manner of a Taeguk)". [] The chief in the arms of "Professor S.W. Haines" is "wavy of one crest and depressed in the centre of one point". []

In "wavy crested" the waves appear like pointed breakers. []

The arms of James Hill show an example of barrulets "wavy crested to the sinister on the upper edge". [] There are examples of even great complexity and specificity in the "wavy" line, such as the arms of "Baron Nolan... [which include] three 'bars wavy couped composed of two troughs and a wave invected of one point on the upper edge and engrailed of one point on the lower edge'" [] .

The arms of Liverpool Hope University include "a Cross engrailed of one point on each limb". []

The arms of the Pretoria Philatelic Society show a "chief engrailed and couped", [] having the appearance of the edge of a perforated postage stamp.

The arms of Kutlwanong Dorp in South Africa provide an example both of the specification of the number of lobes in invected, and those lobes being "trefly."

The arms of Laerskool Bosveld in South Africa have a field "Per chevron embowed trefly, Azure and Argent".

Specification of the number of "undulations" in nebuly can be seen by [ Jochen Wilke] 's roundel, with ten. (It is uncommon for lines of partition to modify a charge other than an ordinary.)

The arms of Schellenberg, in Liechtenstein, provide an example of embattled "with three battlements." [] The bordure in the arms of Boissy l'Aillerie, in Val d'Oise, France, has nine battlements (and the bordure is also masoned and contains doorlike openings).

A very unusual occurrence of embattled occurs in the arms of the 136th Military Police Battalion of the United States Army: "Sable, a fesse enhanced and embattled Or, overall a magnifying glass palewise rim Argent (Silver Gray), the glass surmounting and enlarging the middle crenel between two merlons, the handle Gules edged of the second bearing a mullet Argent." []

The arms of the 2nd Baron Kirkwood, David Kirkwood, show two chevronels "round embattled" (the merlons are rounded rather than squares). [ The arms of Anders Daae] show "battled embattled". There are also examples of "embattled pointed" [] and "embattled in the form of mine dumps".

James Parker cites the arms of Christopher Draisfield: "Gules, a chevron raguly of two bastons couped at the top argent."

The arms of Zodwa Special School for Severely Mentally Handicapped Children show a chevron dovetailed, the peak ensigned with a potent issuant".

Some examples also exist of "urdy," where the line is in the shapes of the upside-down and rightside-up "shields" of vair (this is to be distinguished from "couped urdy", in which the couping takes a pointed form [] ). The arms of Winfried Paul Reinhold Steinhagen are "Per chevron, the peak in the form of a merlon round urdy of four, Gules and Or, in chief a horse forcene and a goat clymant respecting one another, Argent, and in base a bull's head Sable armed Argent; a chief per fess in the form of a wall with three watchtowers, Azure and Argent, the latter charged with a strand of barbed wire throughout, Sable". The "unusual, if not unique" arms of Lourens Du Toit are "Per fess of three pallets urdy Sable and Or". []

The arms of Ernest John Altobello show a chevronel with the upper edge "grady" (this is identical in appearance to indented) "and ensigned of a tower Argent".

The arms of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons [] have a bordure emblazoned "dentate," although this appears to be quite similar to dovetailed.

The rare line "bevilled" modifies the bendlets in [ arms of Thomas Roy Barnes] . This lightning-bolt type of line with one zigzag is to be distinguished from "angled", in which the line takes a 90-degree upwards turn before another 90-degree turn, continuing parallel and in the same direction from the old line. There is a South African example of "bevilled to sinister", and a bend "double bevilled" can be seen in the arms of Philip Kushlick School.

A line "nowed" contains a semicircular protuberance in the middle.

The arms of Léopold-Henri Amyot [] show "per fess ogivy"; this is based on the "ogive" or French for "pointed arch."

A line "trefly" shows protuberances in the form of trefoils.

The arms of St. Paul's Cathedral in Regina, Saskatchewan contain a bordure "its inner line looping in foils of poplar of the field within the bordure at each angle and at regular intervals between". []

The arms of Carmichael show a fess "wreathy," which may or may not be strictly speaking a line of partition, but it does modify the fess; the coat is not blazoned as a "wreath in fess". James Parker calls this "tortilly."

The 20th century saw some innovations in lines of partition. "Erablé", a series of alternating upside-down and rightside-up maple-leaves, is a typically Canadian line of partition, though the College of Arms in London has used it in a few grants (but compare the cross "nowy erablé" in the arms of Katherina Fahlman Selinger Schaaf. [] A Finnish line of partition, invented by Kaj Cajander and called "kuusikoro," which is called "fir-tree" in Britain, and which the Canadian Heraldic Authority coined the term "sapine" to blazon, resembles fir trees; in the arms of Guy Selvester [] this is called "sapinage". A line resembling fir twigs, and so called in British blazon, is called "sapinagy" in Canada, and "havukoro" in Finland. [] ) Other 20th-century examples of lines, or things akin to lines, include the 1990 grant to Albersdorf-Prebuch, also in Austria, in which the upper line of the fess takes the form of fruit, the bottom of vine-leaves. (It is debatable what the distinction is between such lines, and examples such as the [ arms] of Bierbaum am Auersbach, a town in Styria, in which three pears grow from a pall.)

The South African Bureau of Heraldry has developed the line of partition "serpentine", which is rather like wavy, but with only one "wave"; the serpentine in the arms of the Mtubatuba Primary School is defined as "dexter to chief and sinister to base". (Similar is the German "im Schlangenschnitt" (snake-wise).) It has also developed the uniquely South-African lines of division (which can also form the ends of a charge) "nowy of a Cape Town gable" (now called just "nowy gabled"), [] and "nowy of an Indian cupola." Similarly, the fess line in the arms of the Council for Social and Associated Workers is "nowy of a trimount inverted", the fess in the arms of Mossel Bay is "nowy of two Karoo gable houses", the chief in the arms of the Lenasia South-East Management Committee is "nowy of an Indian cupola", the chief in the arms of the Genealogical Society of South Africa is "double nowy gably" and that of Frederick Brownell is "gably of three". [] The arms of the Reyneke Bond (i.e. Reyneke Family Association) are "Per fess, in each flank double nowy fitchy to base, Azure and Or, a lion rampant per fess of the second and Gules, a chief Or". The plain chief identifies these as the arms of a family association. The arms of Itsokolele, South Africa include "a chief double fitchy inverted".

"Broad fitchy couped" is a line of South-African origin similar in appearance to a mine-dump. []

Chiefs, fesses and palar dividing lines are sometimes seen "arched" and "double-arched" (and there is an example of triple-arched), though there is some debate as to whether or not these are lines of partition. That arched can be combined with partition lines can be seen from the [ arms] of South Lanarkshire in Scotland. Arched can also be "reversed".

A shield horizontally and vertically divided into red (upper left and lower right) and silver with sawedged lines would be blazoned: "Quarterly indented gules and argent."

Chevrons can be topped with a fleur-de-lys, and ordinaries with a non-straight border (particularly if they are dancetty or engrailed) can have the points topped with demi fleurs-de-lys. In some reference works flory-counter-flory (and flory) is treated like a line of partition, even though strictly speaking it is not. (Flory is sometimes varied with other shapes than the fleur-de-lys, when it is blazoned as "flory of". [] )

In Scotland lines of partition are often used to modify a bordure to difference the arms of a cadet from the chief of the house.


* "Burke's Peerage and Baronetage," 105th edition.

ee also

*Variations of ordinaries
*Finnish heraldry

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Heraldry — The German Hyghalmen Roll was made in the late fifteenth century and illustrates the German practice of repeating themes from the arms in the crest. (See Roll of arms) Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning …   Wikipedia

  • heraldry — heraldist, n. /her euhl dree/, n., pl. heraldries. 1. the science of armorial bearings. 2. the art of blazoning armorial bearings, of settling the rights of persons to bear arms or to use certain bearings, of tracing and recording genealogies, of …   Universalium

  • Heraldry Society of Scotland — The Heraldry Society of Scotland was founded in 1977 with the objective of promoting the study of heraldry and encouraging its correct use in Scotland and overseas. The Society encourages people to join whether they have their own Arms, intend to …   Wikipedia

  • Ordinary (heraldry) — Shield Field Supporter Supporter Motto (Scotland) Cres …   Wikipedia

  • Metropolitan line — Metropolitan Colour on map Magenta Year opened 1863 Line type Sub Surface Rolling stock A Stock and S Stock 8 carriages pe …   Wikipedia

  • partition line — Heraldry. a plain or figured edge between two adjacent areas of an escutcheon, between an ordinary and the field of an escutcheon, or between two adjacent ordinaries. Also called boundary line. [1710 20] * * * …   Universalium

  • partition line — Heraldry. a plain or figured edge between two adjacent areas of an escutcheon, between an ordinary and the field of an escutcheon, or between two adjacent ordinaries. Also called boundary line. [1710 20] …   Useful english dictionary

  • South African heraldry — has thrived for more than 350 years, inheriting European (especially Dutch and British) heraldic traditions. Arms are borne by individuals, official bodies, local authorities, military units, and by a wide variety of organisations. South Africa… …   Wikipedia

  • Quartering (heraldry) — Quartering in heraldry is a method of joining several different coats of arms together in one shield by dividing the shield into equal parts and placing different coats of arms in each division.Typically, a quartering consists of a division into… …   Wikipedia

  • Charge (heraldry) — For a more comprehensive list, see List of heraldic charges. Shield Field Supporter Supporter Motto (Scotland) …   Wikipedia