Arms of Villahermosa, Spain


Granted 1993; in use since 1444

Blazon: Gules three escallops or

The town was apparently part of Montiel until 1444, when Infante Henry of Aragon incorporated the town and granted it arms. Given that Henry was also the Grand Master of the Order of Santiago (St. James), it’s not too much of a stretch to figure out where the escallops come from. This is pretty straightforward, and I don’t have too much to say, so I’ll also take this opportunity to point out that the above arrangement of charges is the default for three charges. Arrangements of charges usually take the shape of ordinaries; three charges in a horizontal line across the center of the shield would be in chief, three in a vertical line would be in pale, etc. (“In saltire” and “in cross” require at least four charges; you can’t really make those shapes with just three.) For larger numbers of charges, the blazon might specify how many should be placed on each horizontal line (e.g. “2, 2, 1, 2” is distinct from “2, 2, 2, 1”). This arrangement could be blazoned as “three escallops in pile” or “three escallops 2 and 1,” but in this case, it’s not necessary to be more specific.

From The Blazon of Gentrieby Sir John Ferne (1586), p202

Blazon: Per quarterly argent and azure a fess and bordure counterchanged

“If any man would see, a coat well counterchanged in his mutable colors, he shall look on this: but in truth, it hath no name.”

From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p200

Blazon: Per bend crenellé points pointed one in the other* argent and azure, four crescents interlaced counterchanged

*Crenellé was more generally used as a synonym for embattled. The partition line shown here is not common in English heraldry, nor is the accompanying language.

From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p198-199

Blazon: Per saltire or on a bend azure a bendlet gules and of the second three palets argent

“This kind of partition is diversely blazed… the ancients called it Gyronny of four parts. The French blazoners call it, quarterly in bend, of such and such colors.”

Unusual Patterns

From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p190

These two coats represent patterns that do not appear, to the best of my knowledge, on any actual coats of arms. According to Ferne, they are exclusively French, but the only place they reliably occur is in heraldic texts.

Left: Argent, papelloné gules. Some sources translate “papelloné” as “feathered,” but since it is probably related to the French word for “butterfly,” it seems to refer to the scaled pattern of their wings.

Right: Or, mouchetté de gules, a plain cross in base sable. “Mouchetté” is slightly more gruesome; the term simply means “flecked” in French, but Ferne specifies that it is meant to represent “pieces of flesh torn off.” As far as I am aware, Ferne is the only heraldic writer to reference this pattern.

Diapering in Ferne

From The Blazon of Gentrie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p189

The above is Ferne’s rendering of diapering, which he insists is a vital difference that must be noted in blazon rather than a method of further ornamenting the shield. The blazon he gives for the above coat is “gules, diapered argent, four fleurs-de-lis azure.” I can find no other source that claims diapering should be noted in the blazon, though he cites a “Bara” for his rule.