Coat of Arms - Charges C



Charges | A | B | C | D - F | G - H | I - N | O - Q | R - S | T - Z |




A caltrap or galtrap, and sometimes a cheval trap, was an ancient military instrument with four points, arranged so that when it was thrown on the ground, it always landed on three of the four points, with the fourth pointing up. Caltraps were scattered in the path of an enemy to impede and endanger the horses. The emblem of the caltrap indicates a fierce warrior in battle.



The camel signifies temperance, patience and indefatigable perseverance. In ancient times it may have been used as a sign of royalty and dignity.



The medieval name for an ordinary giraffe was camelopard. It was a widely believed at that time that animals sometimes crossbred. It is likely that a crusader saw a giraffe for the first time and believed it to be a cross between a camel and a leopard. It is believed that the camelopard represented characteristics of both "parents", namely a valiant warrior that would patiently persevere to the end.



The camelopardel is like a camelopard with the addition of two long horns curved backwards. Similar to the camelopard, it is thought to represent a valiant warrior that patiently perseveres to the end with an added measure of strength and fierceness.



Represents light and life and spirituality.



The cannon is a symbol well bestowed on those who have dared their terrors in sieges and battles. See also GRENADES



The castle has often been granted to one who has faithfully held a castle for his sovereign, or who has captured one by force or stratagem. The castle symbolizes spiritual power and vigilance on the watch as well as home and safety. See also TOWER




A symbol of a great cat, or a cat-a-mountain, which refers to a wildcat, puma, or mountain lion. It signifies liberty, vigilance and courage. There is also a separate reference to a spotted cat. Cats are most common in Scottish or Irish arms.



The most common heraldic wheel is the Catherine-wheel. According to legend, St. Catherine of Alexandria publicly confessed to being a Christian at a feast held by the Roman emperor Maximus. When she refused to renounce her faith, she was beaten and imprisoned. An attempt was made to tear her apart on a spiked wheel, but it fell apart and she was unhurt. The Catherine-wheel is the emblem of one who is prepared to undergo great trials for the Christian faith. See also WHEEL



Centaurs are well known creatures that are half man and half horse. A centaur carrying a bow and arrow is called a sagittarius. Both the sagittarius and the centaur are quite common in heraldry. The centaur is a symbol of virility and one who has prevailed in the field of battle.



Chains are a symbolic representation of reward for acceptable and weighty service. Chains are often accompanied by crowns and collars or sometimes with a portcullis (castle gate). This would suggest that the owner of that symbol is chained by a sense of obligation to the people that he serves or rules. For this reason, chains and collars are also marks of honor for sheriffs and mayors, and formerly, for knights.



Indicates one in service to the sovereign.



Represents one who is adaptable to the surroundings and his circumstances.



A chaplet is a wreath without stems or ribbon, made of green oak, laurel or other leaves, with four roses. It is a symbol of fame. It is also known as the crown of joy and admiration.



Represents dignity, glory and honor. May also depict a missionary or the bearer of joyful news.

chess rook


A chess-rook, sometimes called a castle, may have been granted to those who had captured or defended castles. It may also have denoted one who was skillful in influencing others to act in a manner that he would find beneficial.



The chevron represents the roof of a house, derived from the French word 'chevron' meaning rafter. It signifies protection. The chevron was granted to those who had participated in some notable enterprise, had built churches or fortresses, or had accomplished some work requiring faithful service.



The chief is a broad band across the top one-third of the shield that stands for authority and domination of will. The chief has often been granted as a special reward for prudence and wisdom, as well as for successful command in war.



The chimera is a very odd looking creature with the head and breast of a woman, the forepaws of a lion, the body of a goat, the hind-legs of a griffin (the legs of a lion and claws of an eagle) and the tail of a dragon. It is similar to the sphinx. It is said to be cunning and to mislead its enemies because of the woman's head and breast, and then to attack with ferocity.



A 5-petaled flower. Represents hope and joy.



Also known as a rest, it is thought to represent a spear's rest, symbolizing one's preparedness for war.



The cloud, the symbol of the ethereal heights of heaven, represents mystery and the quality of higher truth.



As the herald of dawn, the cock is symbolic of the sun. It is also a bird of great courage in battle that will fight, if necessary, to the death. Therefore, it is an emblem of a hero, one who battles with perseverance and courage. The cock is also used as a Christian image of the resurrection.



The cockatrice is the king of serpents, with the head and legs of a cock, the wings of a dragon, and a scaly body, also like a dragon, that ends in a long barbed tail. It is sometimes referred to as a basilisk, of which legends say was produced from an egg laid by a nine-year-old cock, and hatched by a toad on a dunghill. Its breath and sight were so poisonous that they would kill all who came within range. Thus, the cockatrice is a potent symbol of terror to all beholders.



The cockfish is drawn very much as it sounds, with the head and upper-body of a cock terminating in the lower-body and tail of a fish. It is said to represent one who performed heroically in a battle at sea.



Columns symbolize fortitude and constancy. It also implies that its bearer supports others who are weaker. A serpent coiled round a column signifies wisdom with fortitude.



The comb is the common attribute of certain mythical female beings such as lamias, sirens, and mermaids, whose usual pose is with mirror and comb in hand. It may have sometimes been given to those who were said to have fought or resisted the temptations of such dangerous types. If a comb is shown alone, it more often refers to a wool-comb or the combs used in the textile industry and may represent one who toiled in that industry.



A cordon is the silver cord that encircles the arms of widows.Its institution has been attributed to Anne of Bretagne, widow of Charles VIII, King of France. The special symbol used is to distinguish the arms of widows from those of wives. Later on, knights would wear a cordon on their armour to signify lost comrades. On a Coat of Arms it is thought to represent an admonishment to live chastely and devoutly.

Cornish chough

Cornish Chough

Resembles a crow but has red legs, feet and beak. Represents one who is a strategist in battle, watchful for friends and divine providence.



Depicts thankfulness for the bounty of nature's gifts.



A cottice, cotise, or bendlet represents the scarf or shield suspender of a knight commander. It is said to signify defense or protection.



The crab is a symbol of great strength and power in gripping and holding. The claws of a lobster are also symbols of prodigious gripping and holding power in its bearer.



According to legend, cranes lived in a community where individual members took turns standing watch. The sentry crane held a stone in one claw so that if it dozed, the falling stone would wake the bird. The crane is a symbol of vigilance, justice and longevity, but nevertheless, there are instances where the crane is shown asleep with its head under its wing, still maintaining its 'vigilance,' as the stone is termed. It also represents close parental bond. See also STORK.



The crescent stands for one who has been "enlightened and honored by the gracious aspect of his sovereign." It is also borne as a symbol of the hope of greater glory. Crescents also represent the moon that lights the night sky for travelers, though it does not resemble the shape of a crescent moon very closely. In English arms it was also a mark of cadency signifying the second son.



The crocodile was a mysterious and legendary beast to most people in ancient times and it was a powerful emblem of fury and power. Crocodile is frequently interchanged with alligator.

crosier archbishop

Crosier - Archbishop's

Represents one who was a high official in the church or an Archbishop. See also STAFF and STAVES.

crosier shepherd's

Crosier - Shepherd's

Also know as a Pastoral crosier - It is the emblem of a shepherd's watchfulness over his flock. It also denotes Episcopal jurisdiction and authority. See also STAFF and STAVES.



A crow signifies a settled habitation and a quiet life. See also RAVEN



The crown is an emblem of victory, sovereignty, and empire. It is a visible sign of success, thus the term "crowning achievement," and its significance as the decoration of the ultimate level of rank and power, makes bearing the crown a great honor.

antique crown

Crown - Antique

The eastern or antique crown was believed to represent the crown worn by Oriental princes. Thus it was given to those had distinguished themselves in service in the East and it is also often born by merchants, the association being that they are like the magi.

celestial crown

Crown - Celestial

As with all crowns, the Celestial crown is an emblem of victory, sovereignty, and empire. Crowns are also sometimes symbols of God, as He is considered by some to be the "King of All."

civic crown

Crown - Civic

A chaplet of oak and acorns is called a civic crown. It is awarded to one who saved the life of a fellow citizen or has shown great patriotism in the defense of his native land.

imperial crown

Crown - Imperial

The royal or imperial crown is an emblem of empire and sovereignty.

mural crown

Crown - Mural

The mural crown is plain gold circlet of battlements on a narrow rim. It signifies one that first mounted the breach in the walls of a town or fortress. It would also apply to the defender of a fortress.

naval crown

Crown - Naval

The naval crown is gold and uniquely ornamented with alternating topsails and sterns of ancient galleys. It is awarded, in arms, to distinguished naval commanders or as a reward for service at sea.

crown of thorns

Crown of Thorns

Represents one who has suffered adversity.

triumphant crown

Crown - Triumphant

Similar to the chaplet but made of laurel leaves with no flowers, it is a symbol of triumph and fame. See also CHAPLET and LAUREL WREATH.

vallery crown

Crown - Vallary

A crown vallary (aka crown palisado) is the name of a crown with palisades on the rim forming the spikes of the crown. This can either look like the pickets of a fence, or like the silhouette of small houses side by side with every other one upside down. With the roof of each upside down one cut out of the metal. It is said that Roman Generals awarded the crown vallary to the one who entered the camp of the enemy first after breaking through their outworks.



In the heraldic tradition, the vase and similar vessels are considered symbols of fertility. The cup, whether covered or uncovered, can be representative of the chalice used in the communion of the Mass, as well as a symbol of faith. Also, it may represent the office of the king's butler.



Cushions on one's arms are considered marks of authority. They actually appear to be quite ancient symbols, especially in Scottish heraldry.

cypress tree

Cypress Tree

The cypress tree is the symbol of death and eternal life thereafter.