I quite often receive enquiries from readers who can't follow or translate a blazon and this morning I received an enquiry about the arms of Edward Osborne from a reader who had found a reference to his armorial bearings in Genealogical Memoirs of the Extinct Family of Chester of Chicheley, Their Ancestors and Descendants.
The enquiry went thus:
I am having trouble understanding what is meant by the following description of the English coat of arms for Edward Osborne (1530 - 1592). It is described as... "argent two bars gules on a canton of the last, a cross of the first in chief, a crescent for difference". [reference Genealogical Memoirs of the Extinct Family of Chester of Chicheley, Their Ancestors and Descendants Robert Edmond Chester Waters - page 233]
There are several Osborne coats of arms, but this doesn't seem to match any.
Any help would be appreciated"
I'm not sure whether the enquirer placed some of the punctuation in the blazon correctly and it may well be that this fact alone didn't help. It may also have been the tradition of using "of the last" and "of the second" which often confounds the novice.
Here's my take on the blazon and the resultant emblazonment:
The Armorial Bearings of Edward Osborne (1530 - 1592).
Argent, two bars Gules on a canton of the Last a cross of the First in chief a crescent for difference.
Argent = silver or more commonly depicted as white. The first tincture is always that of the field of the shield.
two bars Gules = the two bars placed upon the shield and they are Gules (red).
on a canton of the Last = a canton of the last mentioned tincture which is Gules (red)
a cross of the First = a cross of the first mentioned tincture which is Argent (white)
in chief a crescent for difference = placed upon the shield in chief point is a crescent denoting a cadency mark for the second son. [It matters not what the tincture of the crescent is as long as it stands out]
Putting it all together the blazon can be emblazoned to produce these armorial bearings:
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