And yet, there is nothing borne in Arms, but that it hath his proper and apt signification.

– From Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p83

Ferne goes on to argue that arms do, or should, reflect the reason that they were granted to the first bearer. While there is usually some relationship between the arms and the person or entity that bears them, the symbolism is usually not particularly complex. A beehive is more likely to represent a family history of keeping bees or a pun on the last name than more esoteric concepts like “industry” or “cohesion.”

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