Arms of Aldea del Rey, Spain

Aldea del Rey

Granted 1968; in use since the 16th century

Blazon: Argent a cross of Calatrava gules between two keys in base pilewise sable

The arms of the town probably derive from its role as the residence of the clavero of the Order of Calatrava. This role was responsible for keeping the keys of the Order’s stronghold in the castle of Calatrava la Nueva.

There are a lot of things I really like about these arms, starting with the simple but striking design. Points for symmetry, sticking to the law of tincture, using a unique positioning of the keys, and minimal use of color. Extra points for having the charges tie into the area’s history; it’s much more subtle than canting arms, which (to me at least) makes it more interesting. And finally, extra bonus points for teaching me something neat about the structure of the Order of Calatrava.


Arms of Carlo Barberini

Carlo Barberini


Blazon: Azure three bees volant or, on a point in chief gules a poleaxe in pale surmounted by two keys in saltire argent

The addition of the point in chief came with Carlo Barberini’s appointment to the position of Gonfalonier of the Church (likely around 1623, when Pope Urban VIII was elected). This position gave the bearer the right to use the papal keys and the umbraculum on his personal coat of arms. It is possible that the poleaxe in this depiction ought to be an umbraculum.

Oh, Barberinis. You can fudge the blazon enough to pretend they’re really bees, and you can add all the Papal regalia you want, but your coat of arms still very possibly started out as horseflies. Personally, I’m never going to forget.

Arms of Congleton Town Council, England

Granted 1967

Blazon: Sable on water in base barry wavy argent and azure, between two conger eels hauriant a tun of the second, thereupon a lion statant guardant or

Crest: On a wreath of the colors a demi-bear muzzled proper with the chain reflexed over the back and supporting a garb or

Mantling: Azure lined argent

Supporters: On the dexter a wolf rampant argent, on the sinister a lion rampant purpre armed and langued or, each gorged with a chain pendant therefrom two keys in saltire of the last

Motto: Sit tibi sancta cohors comitum (To thee be the band of comrades dedicated)