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   The Honourable Ordinaries & Their Diminutives

The Bend Sinister

1/5th of the Shield,

1/3rd when charged

The Scarpe

1/2th of the

Bend Sinister

The Batune,

or Baton 1/8th

of the Bend

The Chamfrein:

armour for the horse’s head

The Barrulet is generally borne dividedly, and borne by couples or pairs, and referred to as 'Bars Gemel'. A Bar Gemel is 2 Barrulets, 2 Bars Gemel is 4 Burrulets etc...

The Bar

1/5 of the


The Closet

½ of the


The Barrulet

1/4 of the


This word Fesse is a French word, and signifies the Loins of a man. This Honourable Ordinary has been anciently taken for Baltheum militare, or Cingulum honoris, Belts or Girdles of honour: because it divides the Field into two equal parts, itself occupying the middle between both; even as the Girdle environs the middle part of a man, and rests upon his Loins...so it is said. The Fesse has no diminutives.

The Fesse

1/3 of the


The ancient form of Chevron showed the 'spire' or top of the Chevron almost touching the top of the shield. The Couple Close is generally shown in pairs only.

The Chevron

1/5th of the Shield,

1/3rd when charged

The Chevronel

one half of the


The Couple Close

1/4 of the


The Cross has no diminutives. The Cross (green) shown to the left was the ancient form of this bearing. It is taken to be the true shape of the Patible, whereupon our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ suffered. Its style was changed by Heraldic artists to better accommodate the placement of charges.

The Cross

1/5th of the Shield,

1/3rd when charged

The Saltire: here is a quote from John Guillim, one of our most famous heralds, from his book entitled A DISPLAY OF HERALDRIE (1610) 'this was made of the height of a man, and was driven full of Pinnes; the use whereof was to scale the walles therewith, to which end the Pinnes served commodiously. In those daies (saith he) the walles of Townes were but low, as appeareth by the walles of Rome, which Remus easily leaped over: and the walles of Winchester, which were overlooked by Colebrand...'

The Saltire 1/5th of the Shield, 1/3rd when charged

The Subordinates or Ordinaries
Besides the Honourable Ordinaries and their Diminutives, there are other heraldic figures called Subordinate Ordinaries, or Ordinaries only. There are 14 in Number:

The Pile

The Canton

The Quarter

The Gyron

The Inescutcheon

The Fusil

The Lozenge

The Bordure

The Mascle

The Fret

The Rustre

The Billet

The Orle

The Tressure


What follows is a brief

description of these

Ordinaries, how they

came about, and

an image for your reference.

Note: Flanches are to include Flasques, and Voiders

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