Coat of Arms
Carruthers Coat of Arms
There is actually no such thing as a "family" coat of arms. Coats of Arms are registered to specific individuals. Under most heraldic rules, only first sons of first sons of the recipient of a coat of arms are permitted to bear their ancestor's arms. Younger sons may use a version of their father's coat of arms, but the rules of heraldry say that they must be changed, or "differenced", somewhat. If the bearer of a coat of arms (called an "Arminger") dies without male heirs, his daughter may combine her father's arms with her husband's arms. This process is called "impaling". These formal principles give us an idea of the rich, protective tradition which has surrounded heraldry through the ages. Recorded coats of arms can be found in Burke's General Armory.
There have been four coats of arms identified within the Carruthers family. The one referenced usually, originated within a branch, which no longer has first son male heirs. From Burke's General Armory, this coat of arms shown to the right is documented as follows:
Coats of Arms in General
Since the early 13th century, coats of arms have documented families for history. More than 500,000 coats of arms are being researched and studied now, 700 years later. The coat of arms originated as identification to tell one knight from another while they were covered from head to toe in armor. The colorful painted patterns were placed on the knight's shield, woven into cloth surcoats which were worn over the suit of armor and even place on coverings over their horse. As more designs were created, it became necessary to register or copyright these designs. Records were then kept that gave each knight exclusive rights to his arms. Records were then compiled listing the family name and an exact description of its coat of arms. These are called "armorials" or "blazons".
The word "heraldry" is associated with the coat of arms due to the role of the "herald" in recording the blazons, and comes from a common practice at a medieval sporting event. Tournaments were popular during the days of knighthood, and as each soldier was presented at a tournament, a herald sounded the trumpet, announced the knight's achievements, a described his arms.
Historically, different creatures of nature denoted certain characteristics, and various inanimate shapes implied certain traits or historical factors. For example, the chevron symbolized protection, and has often been placed on arms to tell others that its bearer achieved some noble feat. Some arms are an artistic interpretation of the bearer's name, e.g., Fisher arms include dolphins and other fish. Others tell about less tangible characteristics, e.g., "hope" is shown by a wheat garb or sheaf and "joy" is shown by garlands of flowers or a red rose. Crosses and religious symbols often meant that the knight was a veteran of the Crusades.
The first arms were simple, consisting only of a shield. The design included a horizontal or verticle band, star or half-moon, while later designs became more complex. Immediately above the shield is the helmet, whose style depends on the country and the status of the early bearer. Generally, the silver profile helmet is used because other specifics are hard to trace. The wreath or torce is mounted on top of the helmut. The crest was not included in the coat of arms until the 13th century. The crest, attached to the helmut, was the emblem that survived when the banner was destroyed and the shield shattered, as a rallying symbol ot the knight's courage. The lambrequin, or mantling, was once cloth that hung down from the helmut to cover the back of the neck. It meant that the bearer had been to battle. Standardized mantlings are often used to illustrate different coats of arms.
Some families have also passed down mottos through the ages. They may have been war cries, expressions of piety, hope or determination, or commemorate a deed or past occasion.
Here are the different parts of the coat of arms:
The shield, which is called the escutcheon.
The colors used in heraldry also provide information about the bearer. The tinctures used are divided into metals, colors and furs.
The metals used are gold and silver.Gold (or yellow) denotes valor, generosity, or perseverance.The colors used are red, blue, green, black and purple.
The charges on the field that you will find most often are the lion, the rose, the lily, the fleur-de-lis, and the geometrical figures divided into the ordinaries and the sub-ordinaries. The ordinaries in heraldry are believed to have originated from the bars of wood or iron that were used to strengthen or fasten the early shields. They would be painted to enrich the decoration on the field and eventually became a traditional component of the shield and the charges. The partition lines were used to separate the field and to border the ordinaries.
The 7 honorable ordinaries are the bend, the chevron, the chief, the cross, the fess, the pale and the saltire.