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Marshalling of Arms

If the shield you are blazoning is divided and displays two or more distinct armorials, then you are blazoning a marshalling of arms. These armorials fall into three basic categories:


Shields with two sections, divided vertically.

These often represent the arms of a husband and wife (baron and  femme,in heraldic terms) as in Example 1(a).

A vertical division is also used to marshall the arms of a bishop or clergyman, combining the religious arms of the position held with the individual's family arms, as in Example 1(b).

Example 1(a)

Example 1(b)


Shields with four sections, divided quarterly (i.e., both vertically and horizontally.

Such shields display two, three, or four distinct armorials. The armorial displayed in the upper left corner is always the most important one.

Example 2


Shields with six or more sections, displaying five or more distinct armorials.

Such shields can very precisely represent the genealogy of an individual by the placement of the various armorials. Unfortunately, they are not always drawn carefully enough to do so.

Example 3

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Page content last modified
05 May 2000