Heraldic Crécy, but where’s the green….?

by Dan Escott

We all love heraldry, so  here is a very colourful illustration by the renowned heraldic artist, Dan Escott. It shows the banners at the Battle of Crécy in 1346. The caption for the work is: “As you can see it is rather stylised but it shows very clearly the use of Heraldry for identification for a large number of men. Each knight shows his arms on his shield and on his banner and each has a crest on his helmet. So one can spot Courtenay, FitzAlan, Cobham, Latimer, Neville, even the Bishop of Durham….[you can also see] the arms Azure a bend or. As Crecy was fought in 1346 we can’t be sure whether we are looking at a Scrope or a Grosvenor, my money would be on Scrope.”

Well, I wouldn’t take bets on which one, that’s for sure. The Scrope/Grosvenor dispute {pingback} was certainly a cause célèbre that went on for a long time and split the nobility into two camps. The decision went to Scrope eventually, and Grosvenor “had to choose a new design for his shield. He assumed arms of Azure a Garb Or, the ancient arms of the Earls of Chester. (In the terminology of blazons, a “garb” is a wheatsheaf). The coat of arms is still used by his family’s descendant, the Dukes of Westminster.[6]

I must say that I prefer the wheatsheaf. But let’s face it, in the heat of battle it’s not a million miles away from the original (disputed) arms.

 Looking at the top illustration again it occurred to me that there is a dearth of green, which is definitely a heraldic colour. Why? I remember when green was considered unlucky, but that didn’t stop me from wearing it whenever I could. The more moss-green the better! If green was unlucky during the medieval period, would it really have been acceptable as a heraldic colour?

For the meaning of heraldic colours, try this link.


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