Meanings of the elements
found in the DeWitt Coat of Arms
There are 4 main parts to a Coat of Arms
The SHIELD -
The shield is the central element of all arms, and is also called
a "field". It is within this field that symbols (called
figures) constructing a blazon are placed to represent the bearer's
genealogical connection. Figures of many types may be used, ranging
from simple color blocks, to animals, plants, or manufactured goods.
Some such figures were chosen by a noble, commemorating a deed or
honor or speciality for which he had become known.
Elements found in the DeWitt Shield ---
ARGENT, SILVER OR WHITE; peace and sincerity.
BLUE OR AZURE; bright blue, the colour of an eastern sky,
derived from the Arabic 'lazura'; denotes truth and loyalty.
CHEVRON; (the argent colored sharp angle on the shield)
Supposed by some writers to have been adopted from the bow of
a war saddle, which rose high in front. Also thought to represent
the house gable and was used as a sign of strong protection. It
was also awarded to those who had achieved a notable enterprise.
TREFOIL; A three-leaved figure usually slipped at the
base and symbolic of perpetuity.
DOVE; Loving constancy and peace; with an olive branch
in its bill, good tidings
The CREST -
The crest is the topmost element in armorials, (above the shield)
is a representation of figures that battle leaders once used to
identify their person. Animal heads or other parts, hands, daggers,
and such are common in crest, as they were in earliest times when
the symbol might have actually been mounted atop a warrior's battle
Elements found in the DeWitt crest ---
WINGS: Swiftness and protection
HAND: sincerity, faith, and judgement
ARROW: An ancient and honourable symbol sometimes referred
to as the emblem of affliction; martial readiness.
The HELMET -
The helmet is essential, along with the shield, to form armorials,
and signifies stature of the arms bearer. There are four distinctions;
Helmets of the king (used in arms only by the king), a nobleman,
a knight, and a gentleman. Though drawing style may differ somewhat,
every armorial helmet will conform to these general characteristics.
The DeWitt Helmet as seen signifies a gentleman's helmet
as it faces to our left at a slight angle.
Besides the above items, we often see a decorative strip placed
between the helmet and topmost coronet (when present) or between
shield and crest. This is called a Wreath Bandeau (sometimes called
torse), representing two rolls of silk or leather, wound together
and forming a padding between items.
The MANTLE -
The mantling (or lambrequin) is a protective cloth affixed to the
helmet and, in a coat of arms, is is depicted as flowing from beneath
the crest, sometimes terminating in tassels and scalloped, dagged,
or even slashed in a stylized form. In early times, when arms and
armament were hung in line at jousts (for display, and to identify
the participants), it was necessary to protect againts rain and
rust. Thus, squires draped heavy cloth above these items, in a decorative
manner. At night, or in case of rain, this drape was let down, to
cover and protect the itmes on display. Later, as arms were illustrated
for books or records, mantling was also depicted...usually as organic-looking
swirls that we see in our times.