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Potent: this was the name anciently given to a crutch, or walking staff. Thus Chaucer, in his description of 'Elde,' that is, old age, says,--

    "So olde she was, that she ne went      A fote, but it were by potent."     

In English blazon the term Pilgrim's crutch, q.v., is more frequently used than crutch, but in some French arms the word potent seems to be used in this sense, or perhaps for a tau cross.

Argent, three bars gules; over all a crutch in bend sinister or--Gilbertson Priory at MALTON, co. York.

D'or, à trois potences de gueules--MARCHALACH, Bretagne.

Potent counter-potent.
Potent counter-potent.

1. The term is most frequently used in connection with the Cross, where the four arms end in a crutch-like form. See Cross potent, §31.

2. But it also gives its name to one of the heraldic furs, composed of any metal and colour; this is, however, usually blazoned Potent counter-potent. See writers call it Vairy cuppy, Vairy tassy, and Meirré, and there is every reason to believe that it is nothing but an accidental variety of Vair, q.v., with fanciful names given to it.

Potent counter potent, argent and sable, a bend gules--MANCHESTER, co. Stafford.

Potent counter potent, gules and argent, a chevron or--AMOS or AMES.

Azure, a chevron potent counter potent or and gules between three ewers with handles of the second--BUREAU.

3. The term Potent is also applied to the edge of an ordinary or to a line of division, though the latter but rarely.

Azure, a bend argent between four cotises potent or--SANXER.

Azure, a bend argent two cotises potent on the upper side or--CHAMPAGNE.

Argent, on a plain bend between two cotises potent on the outer edge sable, a tilting spear of the first--CARMICHAEL[afterwards COULTHART].

Gules, a tower between three cinquefoils argent, within a bordure potent ermine--HAMILTON.

Ermine, a chief potent quarterly or and gules--PECKHAM.

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