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Marshalling of Arms

If the shield you are blazoning is divided and displays two or more distinct armorials, then you are blazoning a marshalling of arms. These armorials fall into three basic categories:

1. Shields with two sections, divided vertically.

  • Example 1a, a shield divided verically into two section, showing the marshalling of the arms of a husband and wife.
    Example 1a

  • These often represent the arms of a husband and wife (baron and femme, in heraldic terms) as in Example 1a.

  • color shield (1b)
    Example 1b

  • A vertical division is also used to marshall the arms of a bishop or clergyman, combining the religious arms of the position held with the individual's family arms, as in Example 1b.

2. Shields with four sections, divided quarterly (i.e., both vertically and horizontally.

  • color shield (ex. 2)
    Example 2

  • Such shields display two, three, or four distinct armorials. The armorial displayed in the upper left corner is always the most important one.

3. Shields with six or more sections, displaying five or more distinct armorials.

  • color shield (ex. 3)
    Example 3

  • Such shields can very precisely represent the genealogy of an individual by the placement of the various armorials. Unfortunately, they are not always drawn carefully enough to do so.