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Pile, (fr. pile): an ordinary which has been supposed to represent a stake used in construction of a military bridge, but may well have had its origin like the pale, fesse, or bend in the constructive details of the shield. As will be seen, there are various forms of the name, and it is subjected also to difference in outline. The charge is found frequently in the old rolls of arms.


Or, a pile gules--CHANDOS, Baron Chandos. [Summoned to Parliament, 1337.]

Rauf de BASSETT, d'or a trois pales de goulz, ung quartre de ermyne--Roll, temp. HEN. III.

Guy de BRIAN, d'azur a trois piles d'or--Ibid.

Sire Rauf BASSET, de or a iij peus de goules e un quarter de ermyne--Roll, temp. ED. II.

Sire Johan MAUDUT, de goules a iij peuz daunces de or--Ibid.

Sire William GERNOUN, d'argent, a iij peus undes de goulys--Ibid.

Sire Robert de FORNEUS, de argent a un pel engrele de sable--Ibid.

Sire Johan de CHAUNDOS, de argent a un peel de goules e un label de azure--Ibid.

Monsire Rafe BASSET, port d'argent a trois piles gules a une quarter d'ermine--Roll, temp. ED. III.

Monsire Edward SHANDOS, argent a une pile gules une labell asure--Ibid.


According to the somewhat arbitrary rules of later heralds, a single pile uncharged should occupy one third of the breadth of the chief, but if charged it may be double that width. Piles are to be drawn in a perpendicular position, with the points downwards, reaching to, or nearly to, the base point, unless otherwise directed; but they are to be found in bend and in fesse, and it is not uncommon to designate some point in the edge of the shield from which they should start, and one at which they should end, unless they are to be drawn throughout. The blazon in consequently often very intricate, as will be seen from the examples. If the pile is simply reversed, i.e. with the point upwards, it is blazoned as transposed. When a pile is pierced it is said that a lozenge shape is intended.

Sir Guy de BRYAN.
Sir Guy de BRYAN.

Argent, two piles sable--HULSE, Cheshire.

Ermine, two piles in point[i.e. meeting in or near the middle base point] sable--HOLLES, co. Lincoln.

Or, three piles[meeting] in point azure--Sir Guy de BRYAN, (ob. 1390).

Or, three piles azure--Reginald BRIAN, Bp. of S.David's, 1350; of Worcester, 1353-61.

Sable, three piles in point azure; on a chief gules a lion passant gardant or--John HACKET, Bp. of Lichfield, 1661-70.

Azure, a pile issuing from the base in bend sinister or--KAGG.

Argent, a pile between two others reversed[or three piles, one issuing from the chief between two others transposed sable--HULLES, Cheshire and Berkshire. [Another branch of the family from one before named.]

Argent, three piles; two issuant from the chief and one from the base gules, each charged with an antique crown or--GRANT, Bishops Waltham, co. Hants.

Sable, a chevron ermine between three piles--CATER, London.

Argent, out of the dexter base side a pile flected and reflected sable--BOIS.

Azure, a pile wavy in bend[otherwise issuing bendwise from the dexter chief] or--ALDAM, Kent and Sussex.

Argent, a fesse wavy azure; in chief three piles issuing from the chief gules--BLAMSCHILL.

Argent, three piles[rather a triple pile, or a pile triple pointed] flory at the points, issuing from the sinister base bendwise sable--WROTON.

Or, a pile masoned in bend triple flory sable WROTON. [Another branch.]

Or, a triple pile flory in bend sable[i.e. issuing from the dexter chief]--NORTON.

Gules, three piles issuing out of the sinister side argent; on a chief of the last a crescent azure between two ermine spots--HENDERSON, Fordell, Scotland.

Argent, three piles issuing from the dexter side throughout gules; on a chief of the first a crescent between two ermine spots sable--HENDERSON.

Sable, three piles fesswise argent; on a chief gules a crescent between two ermine spots or, and in the centre a rose for difference--HENDERSON, co. Chester.

Or, on a fesse, between three fleurs-de-lis azure, as many bezants; a pierced pile in chief--SAINTHILL, co. Devon.


The term in pile and per pile are both used: the former in reference to a number of charges, six at least, being arranged in the shape of a pile, though with so few, the formula of 'three, two, and one,' really amounts to the same thing; the latter involves the shield being divided into three parts by the two lines being drawn pilewise.

Sable, six swallows in pile argent--John ARUNDEL, Bp. of Lichfield, 1496; of Exeter, 1502-4.

Azure, ten torteaux in pile; a pile of three points azure--Gervais BABINGTON, Bp. of Llandaff, 1591; Exeter, 1595; Worcester, 1597-1610.

Barry of six or and sable per pile[otherwise a pile] counterchanged--William ENGHAM.

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