Cross Potent

Cross of Jerusalem.
Cross of Jerusalem.

§31. Cross potent, written sometimes potence(fr. potencée): so called because its arms terminate in potents(q.v.), or like crutches. It is also called a Jerusalem cross, from its occurrence in the insignia of the kingdom of JERUSALEM, established by the Crusaders, the crosses being supposed by some writers to symbolize the five wounds of Christ.

Sable, a cross potent or--ALLEN, Finchley, Middlesex.

Sable, a cross potence argent--APRICE, Wales.

Argent, a cross potent between four plain crosslets or--arms of JERUSALEM.

Cross of S.Chad.
Cross of S.Chad.

It is observable that in this coat metal is placed, contrary to the general rule, upon metal, a peculiarity which in this case is said to bear allusion to Ps. lxviii. 15.

A singular variety of the cross potent is called sometimes the Cross of S.Chad, because it occurs in the insignia of the episcopal see of LICHFIELD AND COVENTRY, of which S.Chad was the first Bishop.

Per pale gules and argent, a cross potent quadrat in the centre(or nowy quadrat) per pale of the last and or, between four crosses pattée, those on the dexter side silver, those on the sinister side gold. (See of LICHFIELD and COVENTRY.)

The above arms are, however, sometimes blazoned as--

Per pale gules and argent, a cross potent quadrat between four crosses formy all counterchanged.

Some other curious varieties of the cross potent occur. When engrailed the term applies only to the inner edges, the outer edges remaining plain. When crossed, it is meant that each arm is crossed by another piece half-way between the potent and the centre, and seems to the equivalent of what is called by some writers a cross gemelle, though, as is so frequent, no examples are adduced of the use of the term. In one case the term batune is said by Papworth to be applied to a cross potent; but we have little doubt the word is botoné, i.e. §14, where from another Harleian MS. gives BRERLEGH as bearing such a cross.


Azure, a cross fitchée or--Coat ascribed, in the sixteenth century, to King ETHELDRED.

Azure, a cross potent engrailed or--BRENCHESLEY.

Argent, a cross potent crossed sable--CROWCHER.

Gules, a cross potent crossed or--CHEDERTON.

Quarterly, first and fourth, gules, a crosslet potence or; second and third argent, a chevron between three crampirons gules--CHADDERTON, Bp. of Chester, 1579; Bp. of Lincoln, 1595-1608.

Argent, a cross batune(i.e. potent) gules--PRERLEY, Harl. MS. 1407.

The most remarkable, however, is what Palliot and others call a Cross potence repotencée, drawn with the potents starting off at different angles, and said to be borne by the family of SQUARCIAFICHI. The potent rebated of Edmondson appears to be the Fylfot(q.v.).

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