Blazon: Per quarterly, I or a holly branch proper fructed gules; II gules issuant from three bars wavy in base argent a castle proper between two serpents’ heads or respectant issuant from the sides of the shield; III vert on a bridge over water barry wavy in base argent and azure, two towers of the second, the dexter flying a flag of the last a saltire gules and the sinister supporting a ladder of the same; IV argent a cross of Santiago gules; overall in the fess point an escutcheon argent seven crowns 2, 2, 2, and 1 proper
The first quarter is evidently canting, acebo meaning “holly” in Spanish. The second and third quarters are apparently connected to the first lord of the town, Gaspar Ramírez de Vargas. I’m not entirely clear on whether they’re his family arms, or connected to him in some other way. (It’s unclear whether the snakes are related to The Mystery of the Snake Cauldrons, but probably not.) The seven crowns in the escutcheon are a reference to a mythical medieval battle that ostensibly took place at the nearby castle of Sicuendes, where seven counts were killed.
These arms are a classic example of canting arms – “la scala” is “ladder” in Italian, which is almost identical to the family name of Scaligeri or della Scala. The first recorded della Scala was a clothes merchant named in an 1180 document. The Scaligeri later ruled Verona from 1262 through 1387, when they were ousted after a few decades of fratricide and tyranny. However, they made numerous unsuccessful attempts to recover the city, proving half the truth in their family motto, Nec descendere nec morari (neither descending nor stopping).
From Historical Anecdotes of Heraldry and Chivalryby Susannah Dawson Dobson, p28 Arms of Lloyd of Milford in Cardiganshire, granted for taking a town by means of scaling the walls. Blazon: Sable a spearhead, point embrued, between three scaling ladders argent, on … Continue reading →