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  1. #1
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    Ind Coys reference. What were Blazons?

    Hopefully one of the rabble with more knowledge on dress can help answer a question on early regimental dress. The records of the Highland Independent Companies (later 43nd Black Watch) contain reference to the purchase of Bonnets, Plaids , shoes, Blazons over a 3 year period 1731 -34.

    Were Blazons some item of dress or were they some sort of small company flag which is the usual meaning of the word?

  2. #2
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    I really don't know Peter, but my thoughts do venture towards "flags".
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  4. #3
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    Peter - My guess is that the term "blazons" refers to a type of flag, such as camp colours (independent companies had no large "regimental" colours) or possibly pipe banners. Until the 1751 Royal Clothing Warrant forbad the practice, commanding officers were permitted to have their coat-of-arms (i.e., armorial blazon) depicted on their unit's colours and drums, and their field musicians (such as pipers and drummers) may have worn a uniform in the livery colours of their commander, rather than the usual "reversed" coloured uniform coats.

    "Blazons" is an obscure term that I've not seen with regard to 18th c. British uniforms. When I get home (I'm at work), I'll check my copy of Thomas Simes' "Universal Military Dictionary" of 1768 to see if the term is listed there. If it is not, one must keep in mind that the term may have been used (at least in Scotland) in the 1720's but passed out of use by the 1760's.

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    I think it might be the embroidered patches and insignia including that which is sewn onto regimental flags as well as uniforms. A blazon normally refers to the language of heraldry. An emblazonment would be the visually depiction of the heraldry.
    Mark Anthony Henderson
    Virtus et Victoria - Virtue and Victory
    "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams

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  7. #5
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    What the dictionaries say:-

    Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue
    Blason , n. Also: blasoune, -owne, -ane; blassoun, -one; blaisson.[ME. blasoun (c 1325), blason, OF. blason.] A shield or breastplate bearing a charge or coat of arms; the charge or coat of arms itself; a badge of office of this nature.

    Oxford English Dictionary
    s.v. blazon n.
    Sc. Law. The badge of office worn by a king's messenger on his arm.

    Alan

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  9. #6
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    From: The British Army: Its Origin, Progress, and Equipment, Volume 2:

    "The roll of Caerlaverlock gives the blazons of the banners of nearly 100 of the nobles and bannerets who were present at the siege with Edward I in 1300."

    The quote is from a section of the book headed 'Pennons and Guidons'.

    It can be seen at p.11 here:
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id...lazons&f=false

    A definition:
    Blazon: to depict (heraldic arms or the like) in proper form and color.
    Last edited by Bruce Scott; 29th October 15 at 03:18 PM.

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  11. #7
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    Thanks all. Seems to confirm my initial thoughts and the fact that this was not an item of dress despite being lumped in with items of clothing.

  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by neloon View Post
    What the dictionaries say:-

    Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue
    Blason , n. Also: blasoune, -owne, -ane; blassoun, -one; blaisson.[ME. blasoun (c 1325), blason, OF. blason.] A shield or breastplate bearing a charge or coat of arms; the charge or coat of arms itself; a badge of office of this nature.

    Oxford English Dictionary
    s.v. blazon n.
    Sc. Law. The badge of office worn by a king's messenger on his arm.

    Alan
    Humm, I wonder if the shield worn on the arm of the Queen's piper exhibit is a blazon? Not a very good picture, taken at Balmoral. From memory and I could be wrong, this badge of office used to be worn until fairly recently, say some 40 years ago? Mrs Jock is of the opinion that the "arm piece" ceased to be worn much earlier than my memory goes. She is probably right! Again I could be wrong, but does the modern day Queen's Piper have a smaller badge sewn onto the arm of his tunic with the same coat of arms?

    Last edited by Jock Scot; 30th October 15 at 12:55 AM. Reason: added something.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orvis View Post
    Peter - My guess is that the term "blazons" refers to a type of flag, such as camp colours (independent companies had no large "regimental" colours) or possibly pipe banners. Until the 1751 Royal Clothing Warrant forbad the practice, commanding officers were permitted to have their coat-of-arms (i.e., armorial blazon) depicted on their unit's colours and drums, and their field musicians (such as pipers and drummers) may have worn a uniform in the livery colours of their commander, rather than the usual "reversed" coloured uniform coats.

    "Blazons" is an obscure term that I've not seen with regard to 18th c. British uniforms. When I get home (I'm at work), I'll check my copy of Thomas Simes' "Universal Military Dictionary" of 1768 to see if the term is listed there. If it is not, one must keep in mind that the term may have been used (at least in Scotland) in the 1720's but passed out of use by the 1760's.
    All - I checked my copy of Simes' "Universal Military Dictionary of 1768 and no mention there of blazons. Again, I am of the opinion that in the 1720's, the term referred to the armorial blazon of the proprietary Independent Company Captain on his company's drums and camp colours.

    Jock, I hadn't thought of armorial sleeve badges for pipers, nor had I heard of them at that period, but it certainly is not beyond the realm of possibility since there is so little detailed knowledge about Highland uniforms at that early date. Perhaps physical evidence or detailed documentation will turn up!

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  15. #10
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    I came across another interesting reference in the early papers (Gen. Wade's I believe) relating badges. Dated May 1725: 'You are to send lists of the Company every four months.......... - the number of their badges to be put before each mans nameand when you have cause to change any of your men or to fill up vancancies you are to give the badge to the Man who succeeds'.

    From the description is reads as though these badges were some sort of insignia with a serial number, presumably metal. I would be surprised if they were a capbadge at that time so perhaps some sort of coat or even plaid brooch?

    Thoughts anyone?

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