Section 6: Ordinaries and Subordinaries

Heraldry for Non-Heralds

Section 6: Ordinaries and Subordinaries

In the last section, we covered the field, and while I'd love to see more field-only armory, I can see that you're looking for more. So let's look at the most basic of charges, the ordinaries.

As a reminder, charges must adhere to the Rule of Tincture. They can be divided the same way as the fields (see previous section) or left plain.

There are eight ordinaries in heraldry. They are:

Pale Chevron
Fess Cross
Bend Saltire
Bend sinister Pall

Apart from the ordinaries, there is a separate set of charges known as subordinaries. These charges are also known as peripheral charges, as they stay away from the center of the shield. They are:

Chief Gyron
Base Bordure
Tierce Orle
Quarter Gore
Canton Flaunches

Ordinaries and subordinaries make up a substantial part of period heraldry. If you wanted a super-easy-to-sew, period device, you'd be hard pressed to do better than taking a field and an ordinary, and nothing else. If, however, you're still looking for more, you'll find it on the next page.

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This is not an official publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. nor does it seek to delineate SCA policies. The views expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the SCA, its officers, members, or affiliates. All contents ©2009-2013, Kevin Rhodes. Please contact the author before reproduction.