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Bar, (fr. fasce en divise; lat. fasciola): resembles the fess in form, but occupies about one-fifth of the field. Although practically a diminutive of the fess, it is not reckoned as such, but a distinct ordinary. It is seldom(and in such few cases there is a chief) borne singly, and consequently is not confined, like the fess, to the middle of the shield. It has two diminutives, the closet, which is half the bar, and the barrulet(fr. burèle), which is a quarter. As the bar occupies one-fifth of the field a greater number than four cannot be borne together. When three or four bars are borne in the same arms, they are, for the sake of proportion, drawn considerably narrower than one-fifth of the height of the field.


William MAUDYT,--d'argent a deus barres de goulz--Roll, temp. HENRY. III.

Richard de HARECOURT,--d'or a deux barres de goules--Ibid.

Sire Andreu le GRIMSTEDE, de goules a iij barres de veer--Roll, temp. ED. II.

Sire Wary MARTIN, de argent a ij barres de goules besantes de or--Ibid.

Monsire Hugh SEINTTLE, port d'asur a deux barres d'argent; au cheif de gules--Roll, temp. ED. II.

In bar, or barwise, signifies the horizontal arrangement of charges in two or more rows; the term in fesse being proper only when there is but one row, i.e. placed across the fess-point.

Bar-gemel, or gemelle; bars-gemels are bars voided, or closets placed in couples(they derive their name from the Latin gemellus, double, or fr. jumelles), and with the old writers the word gemelle was used for bar-gemel. But two bars-gemels are not always distinguishable from four bars, nor three bars-gemels from six barrulets, nor four bars-gemels from eight. For the odd number the term barrulet must be used. Palliot fancifully describes bars generally as immolés, and the expression 'bar and a-half' is found in one roll of arms.

Tremon de MENYLL,--d'azur a trois gemelles, et ung cheif d'or--Roll, temp. HEN. III.

Roand le Connestable de RICHEMUND, de goules a ung cheif d'or, a deus gemeus de l'un en l'autre d'or--Ibid.

Sire Wauter de HONTERCOMBE, de ermyne, a ij barres gymeles de goules--Roll, temp. EDW. II.

Azure, a bar and a-half argent, in the sinister quarter a garb or--SCHEFFELD(Glovers ordinary).

And sometimes it appears that each bar of a bar-gemel was counted as a gemelle.


Argent, three bars-gemels sable--ERCALL.

Sr Thom's de RICHMOND port de gules le chef d'or ov quatre gemeus d'or--Harl. MS. 6589.

Argent, three bars-gemels gules--BARRY, Earl of Barrymore, Ireland.

Gules, three bars-gemels and a canton ermine--BARDWELL.

Bars like the fesse may be embattled, dancetty, nebuly, wavy, &c., and a shield may be divided per bar and per base bar, q.v.


Ermine, three bars wavy gules--LACY.

[In Roll, temp. Edw. II. Sir Johan de LACY, oundee de gules et de ermine].

Argent, two bars embattled ermine--BURNBY, co. Devon.

Argent, two bars counter embattled gules--JAMES, co. Essex.

Gules, two bars dancetty or--SAMLER.

Argent, two bars nebuly sable, a bend or--POWER, co. Surrey, 1601.

Azure, two bars wavy or--Sir Walter de la POOLE.

N.B. In French heraldic works the word barre is used as equivalent to a bend sinister, and this is supposed in many cases to be a mark of bastardy, Hence the expression is often found of a bar sinister, meaning a bend sinister. The modern French equivalent for the bar, fasce en divise, means that it is a fesse of half its ordinary width. See also under Barbel.

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