Chequy, Checky, Checquer-bearing, (fr. échiqueté, old fr. eschequeré): terms applied to a field or charge divided by perpendicular and horizontal lines, into small squares of metal and colour alternately. There should be at least twenty squares in the shield. If less, the number is named(as in the shield of TOLEDO, where there are 15). When only 9, with the French heralds the terms equipollé is applied.
This pattern is said by some to be derived from the game of chess, which if not originally introduced into Europe by the Crusaders was certainly revived by them. Others, however, with greater probably derived it from the Steward's or 'chequer' board. In the Exchequer of the kingdom, and the Chancellor of that department, the word is still retained; and the 'Checkers,' a frequent sign of small inns, with the board painted in squares on the outside, still hands down the tradition of the account board. It is not, however, impossible that this board gave the name to the game of chess played upon it.
While the number of pieces in the field must be, as already said, as least twenty, a fesse or other ordinary when blazoned chequy must contain three rows of squares, for if there be but one, the ordinary will be compony, and if but two, counter-compony. At the same time the field may have but two rows in chief of a fesse, for so the arms of Lord Clifford are represented in the glass windows at Dorchester, Hasely, &c.
Roger de CLIFFORD escheque d'or et d'azur ove ung fesse de goulz--Roll, temp. HEN. III.
Le Conte de GARENNE[i.e. Warren] escheque d'or et d'azur--Ibid.
Rauf le BOTELLIER de goules a ung fesse escheque d'argent et de sable et croiseletts d'or--Ibid.
Or, a fesse chequy argent and azure--STEWARD, Scotland.
Chequy of nine pieces or and azure--GENEVA.
Chequy of twelve, sable and argent--ST.BARBE, Somerset.
At the same time there are some peculiar forms which may be noted.
Chequy in perspective argent and sable--PROSPECT.
Chequy of lines palewise and chevronwise gules and or--SPOTWORTH.