Falcon, (fr. faucon), is found as an heraldic bearing as early as Edward the Second's reign, if not earlier, and with it it will be convenient to associate other birds of prey, such as the hawk and sparrow-hawk(fr. epervier), the goshawk(which has not been observed in French arms), the kite(fr. milan), of which the heads occur in one English coat of arms, and the merlion, of which the wings are mentioned(the emerillion being still a French term used for a species of falcon). The French names occur of gerfaut in the arms of LA VALETTE. Guyenne(old fr. girfauk), and the fauconnet in the arms of MOUCHET Franche Comté. A crowned falcon with a sceptre was the badge of ANNE BOLEYN, and was also afterwards adopted by her daughter, Queen ELIZABETH.
There are no conventional ways of representing the difference of the species of birds of prey in heraldic design, and they are frequently blazoned with the same descriptive terms as the applied to the eagle. They may be close, or preying(fr. empiétant), and this is also described as lolling, or trussing; they may be surgerant, or rising, overt, hovering, volant, &c.; also the wings are often described. When the beak and talons are of a different tincture, they are said to be armed of that tincture.
Sire Thomas de HANVILE, de azure a iij girfauks de or e une daunce[i.e. fesse dancetty] de or--Roll, temp. ED. II.
Sir Johan le FAUCONER, de argent a iij faucouns de goules--Ibid.
Argent, three sparrow-hawks close gules--HAYDOE, Lancaster.
Azure, a goshawk argent--MICHELGROVE.
Sable, three marlion's sinister wings displayed argent--ATCOMB, Devon.
Ermine, a milrind sable; on a chief azure, two marlion's wings or--MILLS, Kent.
Sable, a marlion's wing in fesse argent, between four crosses formy or, two and two--DYNE, Norfolk.
Azure, on a chevron or between three falcons close argent, three roses gules--Nicolas CLOSE, Bp. of Carlisle, 1450; of Lichfield, 1452.
Gules, a chevron between three falcons close argent--RIDLEY, Bp. of Rochester, 1547; of London, 1550-53.
Sable, a falcon rising overt or--Sir Nicolas PECHE.
Gules, a falcon rising, wings expanded argent--HOWELL, Bp. of Bristol, 1644-46.
Sable, a falcon hovering with bells proper over a castle with four towers argent--LANYON, Cornwall.
Or, a falcon surgerant azure beaked or--CARWED, Llwydiarth.
Gules, a hawk reguardant, trussing a bird all argent--GOODWIN.
Gules, a hare argent seized by a goshawk or--DENSKYN.
Sable, a falcon or preying on a duck argent; on a chief of the second a cross botonny gules--MADAN, or MADDEN, Wilts.
Azure, a hawk volant argent seizing a heron also volant or--FOURNIER.
But more especially a falcon, as also a hawk, is represented with the appurtenances which belong to the art of falconry, that is, it is blazoned frequently as belled(fr. grilleté) and jessed of such a tincture.
The bells(fr. grillets) are little hollow circular bells, of metal, having a slit on one side, and some hard substance within, which produces a jingling sound when they are shaken; this is attached to the hawk's legs by jesses(fr. jets), or thongs of leather. To the jesses, it is said, are attached the varvels, sometimes written vervels, or rings.
Sable, three hawk's bells or--BELLSCHAMBER.
Gules, a hawk's lure argent--WARRE.
Sable, a goshawk argent, armed, jessed and belled or--BOLTON.
Sable, two bendlets between three hawk's bells argent--BRADSHAW.
Gules, a lion passant ermine, between three hawk's lures argent--CHESTER, co. Gloucester.
Gules, on a fesse argent, a hawk's lure of the first; in chief a cinquefoil, and in base a hawk's leg, erased, jessed and belled of the second--SHANKE, co. Fife.
Argent, on a bend wavy sable an arm issuing from the sinister of the last; perched on a glove of the first a hawk or--HAWKERIDGE, co. Devon.
D'azur, au faucon d'argent chaperonné de gueules perché sur un tronc d'arbre d'or accompagné en chef de trois tiercefeuilles du même--FAUCON, Auvergne.
D'azur, à un faucon d'or grilleté d'argent empiétant une perdrix aussi d'or, becqueé et ongleé de gueules--VARLET, Bresse.
Argent, a fesse between three hawk's hoods gules--A quartering of KIRTON, Northampton.
D'argent à trois chaperons d'oiseaux liés de gueules--RAPOUEL, Ile de France.
Sable, a hawks standing on a perch argent, beaked and legged or--HAWKER, co. Wilts.
Sable, a goshawk perched on a stock argent, armed, belled and jessed or--WEELE, Devon.
Azure, on a chevron between three kite's heads erased or, three roses gules--John KITE, Bp. of Carlisle, 1521-37.
Argent, a chevron between three falcon's heads erased gules beaked or--CASSEY.
Argent, on a fesse gules three falcon's heads of the field--BAKER, Bp. of Bangor, 1723; Norwich, 1727-33.
[Two hawks proper are the supporters to the arms of ROSE of Kilravock.]