The chevron and all its variations is a popular coat-of-arms element for many surnames, Irish and otherwise. It usually splits a coat-of-arms from right to left in the form of an inverted v, or a roof-top. We see the chevron in modern use as military stripes (in this smaller version its proper name is chevronel), and in that case it shares the old meaning of protection or faithful service. In older use, it could also symbolize someone who built an important building–a church or fortress. Usually, a chevron is earned by a notable accomplishment of some kind.
You can find the chevron in almost any color, either as a solid block like in the image on the right, or as a background for other symbols.
Some Irish family coat-of-arms that feature a solid chevron include Wheeler, Tierney, Palmer, Morley, Hewitt, Carson, Abbott, Carmody, and French.
Variations on the solid block chevron, include McDermott and Freeman, which have chevrons as backgrounds for crosses laid along their lengths, or Garvey and Ashe with double chevrons. Cody has a triple chevron and White’s chevron is engrailed, which means a lacy edge with outward-facing points, a line variation signifying land or earth. Other chevrons may have edges that look like a castle or fortress top (embattled), like shark teeth (indented), like flower petals (invecked), wavy (undée), or like little mushrooms (nebulée). Like the engrailed border, all the line variations signify something. We’ll talk more about heraldic lines in another blog post.
Happy halloween everyone!