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The Subordinates or Ordinaries

A Sub-Ordinary which surrounds the field, is of equal breadth, and takes up one fifth part of it, and is generally assumed, or granted as a difference; charged border's may allude to maternal descent, when borne Componee to illegitimacy. If a coat containing a Border, is impaled with another coat, it extends only to the line of impalement. If a Border is charged with bezants, plates, billets, or pellets, it is termed a Bordure Bezantee, Platee, Billetee, and Pellettee; all other charges must be named with their tinctures. When a border is plain it is thus blazoned; Sa. a bordure ar. The Border is subject to all the different forms of lines belonging to the Ordinaries

Parker says: this bearing, which is reckoned among the sub-ordinaries, occupies one-fifth of the field. It is generally used as the mark of a younger branch of a family. Charged bordures in ancient armoury are supposed to allude to maternal descent. In some cases they are possibly augmentations. It is, however, evident from the bordure being sometimes the only charge in a coat, that it is a distinct and original bearing.

In summary: the Bordure may be used as a mark of difference, an augmentation, or simply a design element.

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