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Crest of DRAYTON.
Crest of DRAYTON.

Head, (fr. tête): as will have been noticed, the heads of beasts, birds, and fishes are very frequently represented by themselves, being couped, or erased; but it has been thought well to group under one article the various forms of the human head as they appear in heraldic design, and it has been observed they are very frequent in the arms of Welsh families. It may be said generally that, unless otherwise specified, the human head(as well as heads of beasts) should be drawn in profile. In English arms the heads are usually blazoned proper; in French arms the tincture is usually named, i.e. carnation. The following are the representative types of these charges, of which it is thought well to give examples. Besides men's heads proper, which are generally represented as those of old men with hair(fr. chevelée), and bearded(fr. barbée), and young men's heads(see example under mascle), we find various heads specified, as of Englishmen, of Saxons, of Princes, of Saracens(as in the crest of DRAYTON), of Turks, of Moors, or blackamoors and negroes, of the gypsy or Egyptian, and finally of savages' heads. In one case a bald head is given. There seem to be no very defined rules for drawing the respective heads, much being left to the ingenuity of the artist; still in many of the arms as exhibited in sculpture or in glass the heads are very characteristic.


Azure, three broad arrows or, two and one feathered argent; on a chief of the second as many men's heads couped sidefaced proper--WATTES, Somerset.

Gules, a chevron ermine between three Englishmen's heads in profile proper--LLOYD, co. Denbigh.

[Similar arms seems to be borne by Abp. WILLIAMS of York, and Bp. GRIFFITH of S.Asaph.]

Gules, a chevron between three Saxon's heads in profile, the two in chief couped and one in base erased argent--GRIFFITH.

Ermine, three prince's heads crowned and mantled proper couped at the breast--ENFANTLEROY.

Gules, a chevron between three Saracen's heads couped at the shoulders argent--SARES, Middlesex.

Gules, a Saracen's head erased proper hair and beard or, round the temples a fillet nowed argent and azure; on a chief or three roses gules--HUGHES, Bp. of S.Asaph, 1573-1600.

Vert, a chevron gules between three Turk's heads couped proper turbaned or--SMITH, granted 1623.

D'azur, à trois têtes de Turcs de carnation, le turban parti et tortillé d'or et de gueules--BELO, Manche.

Argent, three moor's heads couped at the shoulders proper filleted or and gules--TANNER, Bp. of S.Asaph, 1732-35.

Or, on a fesse between three Moor's heads erased sable as many crescents argent--BLACKMORE.

Or, a blackamoor's head couped sable--BINNS.

Or, a cross gules between four blackamoor's heads affrontee, couped at the shoulders proper, wreathed about the temples gold--JUXON, Bp. of London, 1633; Abp. of Cant. 1660-63.

Per fesse argent and sable, a pale counterchanged three negro's heads proper--GERARD.

Per fesse gules and argent, three Egyptian's heads counterchanged--ASHPOOLE.

On a wreath a cubit arm erect grasping a dagger, enfiled with a gypsy's head couped proper--Crest of MACLELLAN, Lord Kircudbright.

Azure, a bird's leg couped at the thigh or, conjoined to a savage's head argent, hair sable--PETRE.

Vert, a lion rampant or; on a chief argent a man's head couped at the neck and bald proper between ducal coronets of the second--MULTADY, Ireland.

Gules, a chevron argent between three St.Paul's heads proper--PAULSWORTH, or PILSWORTH.

Crest of Arms of HILTON.
Crest of Arms of HILTON.
Head of S.John the Baptist.
Head of S.John the Baptist.

Amongst peculiar examples may be named Moses' head and the head of John the Baptist in a charger. The former, however, is borne only as a crest, that is to say, by the family of HILTON, and the engraving is taken from the carving on the eastern front of Hilton Castle, Durham. The latter appears as the crest of the London Company of TALLOWCHANDLERS, adopted, no doubt, in consequence of S.John the Baptist being chosen as their patron Saint; it is also borne by the town of Ayr in Scotland(see the arms given under Lamb). Again, a peculiar head appears as the crest of Sir Sandich de TRANE, knight-founder of the Garter(that is to say one of the first knights of the order); it is blazoned sometimes as a Satyr's head, and the device appears also in a coat of arms. Other fanciful heads occur as crests, e.g. a Fiend's head(blazoned also 'Satan's head'), i.e. a men's head with ears like a dragon's wings, and a Whittal's head, said to be a man's head with short horns, and called by Anstis 'the head of Midas, with asses' ears.'

The head of Moses proper, with two rays or horns or--Crest borne by HILTON. [The arms are argent, two bars azure.]

On a wreath a demi angel issuing from clouds, proper, vested azure, wings expanded or, crined of the last; on his head a cap; thereon a cross patée of the third, holding a dish argent, glorified or; therein the head of S.John the Baptist proper--TALLOW-CHANDLERS' Company, London. [Arms and crest granted, Sept. 24, 1463.]

Argent, on a bend sable, three satyr's heads couped at the shoulders of the first, horned or--WHEYWELL.

Sable, three Midas's heads erased argent, crowned or--JAY.

Of Women's heads there are also several varieties. As a rule they are drawn with dishevelled hair. The maidens' heads are drawn as the head and shoulders of a woman affronty, couped below the breasts, her hair dishevelled, and usually wreathed with a garland of roses; sometimes also crowned with an eastern crown. The term bust is also sometimes used in English, but more frequently in French blazon. The term lady's head is also found, as also nun's head, the last being generally veiled.

Azure, a fesse or, in chief three women's heads couped at the breasts proper and crined of the second; in base a leopard's face of the last--SUGDON.

Sable, a fesse enhanced argent; in chief three nun's heads couped at the shoulders proper, vested of the second, crowned or; in base an ox passing a ford proper--S.FRIDESWIDE'S PRIORY, Oxford, afterwards the arms of the Bishoprick of OXFORD.

Azure, on a chevron argent between three maiden's heads of the second, crined or, three lilies slipped gules; on a chief of the third a cross tau sable between two roses of the fourth--TAYLOR, Bp. of Lincoln, 1532-54.

Azure, three lady's heads in fesse between as many fleurs-de-lis or--COLLARD.

Argent, a chevron sable between three nun's heads veiled couped at the shoulders proper--DAVENEY, Norfolk.

Argent, on a bend between six billets gules three veiled nun's heads couped bendwise of the first--WEDNISSON.

Gules, a maiden's head proper crined or--MAYDENSTUN, Bp. of Worcester, 1314-17.

Gules, three bars ermine; on a canton argent a maiden's head proper--BARETTI, India.

.... A quadrangular castle surmounted with another, over the battlements the bust of a queen, her hair dishevelled and(ducally) crowned .... --Seal of Corporation of QUEENBOROUGH, Kent.

D'azur, a trois bustes de reine de carnation couronnées à l'antique d'or--GRANDMONT, Comtat-Venaissin.

Infants', and children's, and boys' heads are also found named, frequently with a snake twisted around the neck.


Argent, a boy's head proper, crined or, couped below the shoulders, vested gules, garnished gold--BOYMAN.

Gules, three boy's heads couped argent crined or--INFANT.

Sable, three infant's heads couped at the shoulders proper crined or--BONYFANT.

Sable, a fesse or between three children's heads couped at the shoulders proper; about each neck a snake vert--APJOHN, Surrey.

Sable, a chevron argent between three children's heads couped at the shoulders proper crined or; about each neck a snake vert--VAUGHAN.

The Seraph's head is said to be represented as the head of an infant with six wings, two above it in saltire, two below it in saltire, and one on each side, but so far as has been observed no example occurs. Death's heads are but rarely borne(see under Bones).

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