image008Only the head of a family has the right to inherit unchanged the entire paternal arms; junior branches of the family difference their arms by changing certain tinctures, or by substituting charges, as three mullets for three billets.


The coat of arms is a full display of the armorial bearings of a family, usually on an escutcheon (shield). Medieval knights wore their coat of arms over their armor embroidered on a tabard.


The crest is the most ancient of armorial bearings. It was worn by the warrior chiefs of Greek and Roman antiquity, and served not only as a mark of rank but also as a conspicuous emblem in battle, around which soldiers might rally. In heraldry the crest is represented attached to the top of the helmet; its base is surrounded by a wreath, a circlet of twisted ribbons tinctured of the principal metal and color of the shield.


The motto, originally the war cry of the bearer, is now a phrase or sentence alluding to the family, the arms, or the crest. It is placed in a scroll above the crest or below the shield.


The mantle originally was a representation of the piece of cloth that protected the helmet from the heat of the sun. It became more decorative and was usually shown in the principal colors of the shield.


On the Lawless coat of arms:


image005The Chief or shield represents dominion, authority, wisdom or achievement in battle.




image006The Wheat Sheaf/Garb represents plentifulness or achievement of hope.
InĀ IrelandĀ the Garb often represented the fertility of a particular area. Saint Kieran blessed the corn crop so the symbol was sometimes used as a mark of respect to him.


The Gules (Red) represents Warrior, Martyr, or Military Strength.


image007The Helmet represents wise defense.




image004The Indented Line represents fire.

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