Armorial Bearings granted to Robert Lord alias Laward of London in 1510; College of Arms MS L10 folio 105b; copyright of the College of Arms, London. Used by permission.

Helms, Hinds and Cinquefoils

Animal crests.


Early forms of animal crests.


The Lord Hatchment remains one of the best pieces of evidence we have for understanding what design of the arms was intended in use in Connecticut. Putting aside for the moment the issue of on what image the artist based his painting, what can we discover about the painting itself that will confirm whether we are, in fact, seeing the same coat of arms described in 1946 by Kenneth Lord - displaying hinds, not horses?

A survey of 19th century armorial drawings [above], particularly crests, was made, with the following conclusions: Deer, including stags and hinds, are frequently represented with protruding tongues; horses are not. Horses, including unicorns, are invariably illustrated with flowing manes; deer are not. The tails of deer are sometimes of medium length and sometimes short and pointed, while the tails of horses are always long and flowing.

The bodies of deer are usually portrayed more slender and tapering than horses, but there is a wide range of variation. The legs and hooves of both are similar.

Is it possible that by the time this hatchment was created, believed to be in the mid-18th century, the Lord arms had been modified ["differenced"] to denote a younger son or another branch of the family? It would be reasonable to expect either the hind in the fesse to be changed to a horse, or the hind in the crest, cited by the Genealogical Society, might become a horse. It is more likely the crest would be changed than the arms. But it is unlikely both would be changed simultaneously, as suggested by the catalog description.

So it is reasonable to assume one of these two animals is still the "hind" associated with the family coat of arms. But whether we take the animal on the fesse as the original hind, or the animal in the crest as the hind, we see that the artist seems to interpret the faces of deer bluntly. Even the tiny hind in the wax seal has a more pointed face than the one shown here. If the artist can convert the sharp face of a deer into the blunt, horse-like face on the arms in the hatchment, we must assume the bluntness of the face of the animal in the crest on the hatchment derives also from an originally pointed face form. This is more certainly true if the artist actually modeled his painting after the seal itself.

There seems to be no valid reason, therefore, to conclude that this hatchment displays is anything but the coat of arms of the line of Thomas Lord of Connecticut, properly described as Kenneth Lord has described it above.

The helm in the hatchment.

The "helm" [helmet] warrants some discussion. We have not seen a fully executed "achievement" of the Lord family until now, except, of course, as presented in the tiny wax seal on Dorothy Lord's Will. There does not appear to be a clearly impressed helm on the seal. Yet if one compares the very rounded, golden helm portrayed on the hatchment with the wax seal, it is possible to attribute a set of rounded blobs of wax at the base of the crest as representing such a helmet.

The reconstruction presented by Kenneth Lord in 1946 includes a rounded helmet, but of an unrecognizable standard style and not nearly as beautiful and interesting as the one painted on the hatchment.

Some early helms.

Helmets represented on coats of arms were expressive of status, and their design indicated rank. There are several styles that approximate the one used on the Lord Hatchment, but none exactly. It is likely this helmet signifies a man of the fourth rank, below kings, dukes/earls/viscounts/barons, and knights.

The helmet of esquires, and private gentlemen were to be placed in profile, with the visor or beaver closed; to be of steel, but enriched with gold. These are drawn after various patterns however, the only point being that the visor should be closed, whence they are termed close helmets.

The armet.

It is perhaps interesting to note that the "armet" [left] with its rounded shape, laminated shoulder plates, and low, pointed visor perforated with round holes, most resembles the helmet carried on the Lord Hatchment, and is dated to the late fifteenth century.

The shield on the hatchment, more elaborate than that on the seal, still exhibits a sixteenth century style. While it may be tempting to date the hatchment by the shield design, or to suggest that an original image from that earlier period served as the model for this painting, it is likely the shield design was merely selected for artistic appeal.

The seal, recreated from the evidence.

Accepting this arrangement as true archeological evidence of the coat of arms of the line of Thomas Lord in Connecticut, we can transfer what we have learned here back onto our archeological study of the wax seal on Dorothy Lord's Will [above].

Having recorded carefully the intact portions of the seal as one would a damaged archeological site, the time had come to reconstruct the original whole as it would have been in 1669 by filling in the missing pieces. The research we have been conducting with the hatchment helped supply some guidance for reconstructing the crest, which, of all the parts of the seal, had the most missing and the fewest clues.

Assuming the crest to be, in fact, a "demi-hind issuant," [sometimes written "jessant" and signifying "emerging, springing forth"] and visualizing the helmet to have been similar to that in the hatchment, I was able to execute a drawing that closely resembles the design of the original seal.

The elements presented in the seal are three dimensional representations of elements we have already seen in the literature above.

The arms.

First, we have the "arms," presented on a shield of early design and typically used to present arms, even in modern displays. This shield differs slightly from that shown in Bishop in that the top corners do not flair out in the version used in the seal.

The shield is divided by a "fesse," as in all "Lord" arms. We cannot, of course, determine any of the colors intended here.

Varieties of cinquefoils.

The fesse lies between three "cinquefoils." These are five-petaled geometric forms [above, right] that may be derived from a stylized rose [above, left]. In some drawings, including the Lord Hatchment, these resemble roses, but in the seal they are just five-sided forms. Some of the "Lord" arms mentioned above indicate these cinquefoils are "pierced," i.e., have a hole in the center [above, far right]. One can imagine an original form of these, when they embellished actual shields, as cast metal emblems, nailed to the wooden shield through the central hole. In position, the cinquefoils in the seal are identical to all the Lord arms described in the literature and illustrated in the hatchment.

Pheons.

On the fesse are two "pheons." You will recall that some early "Lord" arms had three pheons on the fesse with no central animal, while others had two pheons with nothing in the middle. The "pheon" [above,left] is a version of the iron tip of the deadly 14th century English broad arrow [above,middle], a meter long wooden shaft tipped with a barbed iron arrowhead. Normally, when used in armorial portrayals, the pheon has serrated inside edges. It is, of course, impossible to represent such edges in the tiny seal, and the hatchment clearly does not present them. In the late 1600s, the mark of the broad arrow [above,right] was used to designate the property of the Crown and was stamped on all the equipment of the military. Again, one might imagine the original arms derived from actual arrow heads fastened to the wooden shield, and at least one source suggests arms containing pheons are some of the most ancient.

Between the pheons stands the "hind," or doe. The female of any animal is rarely used in a coat of arms, but in the case of deer, it does occur. The hind, when it does occur in the Lord arms, is variously described in the literature as "trippant" [below, left] and "passant" [below, center]. The normal leg positions of both these attitudes include one foreleg elevated as if in a stepping motion. Most of the engraved Lord arms that include the hind on the fesse indicate such a position. Yet clearly all four legs of the hind in the hatchment are firmly planted on the ground, and one can make out only three legs on the hind in the seal, and none is elevated.

Whether these three legs are the two back legs with a combined set of forelegs, or two forelegs with a combined set of back legs, they may correctly represent only the "statant" [standing] position [above, right]. Typically the positions of deer are in a class by themselves in armorial illustration. There are only two positions described in the literature that could apply. One is "trippant, or tripping, that is passant , but in a leisurely manner" and the other is "statant...which means that it is standing still, with all its feet touching the ground." Without variation, passant and trippant, particularly with deer, required one elevated foreleg. Only in one 19th century source did an animal described as "passant" stand with all its feet on the ground [below,left].

The position passant.

The "hind trippant" is certainly the most common pose for deer in heraldry and one would expect an engraver to be thoroughly familiar with it and capable of executing it well.

We might assume the change of the hind on the fesse from "passant" to "statant" was a differencing undertaken to set off a later branch of the family from the English "Lords." If this is so, both the hatchment and the seal [used in 1669] bear the same animal, so they must represent the same point in the evolution of the family arms, if not the same point chronologically.


Beast.

We have already dealt with the crest, which we can only assume, in the seal, to be exactly as exhibited on the hatchment. If we survey the variety of demi-beasts ["beast" being the generic term for any animal used in heraldry] we see others that mimic the orientation of the demi-hind in the "Lord" crest.


Mantling in an elaborate coat of arms.

In spite of the tiny scale and the acute damage, the wax seal clearly exhibits the "mantling" associated with a full achievement and with surprising detail and grace. As we stated earlier, this artistically rendered mantling, which can be seen on the hatchment, represents the cloth mantles worn by knights. While mantling, both painted and engraved, takes on as many variations as there are artists, [above] an early seal illustrated in the literature [below, right] carries mantling that bears a striking resemblance to that in the "Lord" seal. The similarity is so precise one might be tempted to suspect the same engraver at work.

An early seal showing the mantling.

Incredibly, in spite of the minute scale, we can make out in the Lord seal the distinctive "tassels" at the end of each segment of the mantling [below, left]. Such tassels [below, right] appear frequently in coats of arms [see,above].

Tassel on the seal.Tassel.

While in some instances they may signify rank, they are generally felt to be merely decorative.



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