Crosses Paty, Patonce and Formy

By Hugh Stanford London, F.S.A., F.H.S. Norfolk Herald Extraordinary Coat of Arms No. 33&34, January & April 1958


The term cross patonce in the 13th century indicated that the ends of the cross terminated in three prongs somewhat like a paw, and patonce was perhaps derived from patte=paw. Confusingly at the same time there arose the similar term of cross paty  which perhaps derived from the Old French patu, meaning the base of a cup ( the word itself derived from the latin patens meaning opening or spreading)  used to describe a cross diverging at the ends but with a flat end. An alternative label for the latter type of cross is formy ie “shapely”. Because of the similarity of the words paty and patonce heraldists over the centuries have frequently conflated the two terms. This led to Oswald Barron’s suggestion that the term cross patonce be abandoned. Here Norfolk Herald elucidates the full history of the usage of these terms, and makes the counter suggestion that the usage of cross paty should be abandoned!  The Editor would contend that rather than abandon any historic terminology we simply need to understand past confusion and take it into account when interpreting old texts.

From the early eighteenth to the early twentieth century a cross with more or less widely splayed arms ending in three lobes, Fig. 1, was called a cross patonce, while one with similarly splayed arms but with the ends cut off straight or nearly so, Fig. 2, was called pattee or sometimes formee.1 During those two hundred years that nomenclature was practically undisputed. But at the beginning of this century Oswald Barron rejected the term patonce and pronounced that the true medieval name of Fig. 1 was cross paty, and that Fig. 2 was a cross formy. Barron’s contention was accepted by such distinguished armorists as Sir W. St. J. Hope,  D.L. Galbreath, S. M. Collins, E. E. Dorling and, in a younger generation, by Mr. Wagner. I too for many years followed Barron’s use of paty, even quoting it in a note ” Paty and Formy ” contributed to The Coat of Arms in July 1955 (iij. 285). Since then however it has been borne in on me more and more forcibly that this twofold use of paty has led and must inevitably lead to uncertainty and confusion.2 Moreover, thanks mainly to Mr. Wagner’s Catalogue of English Medieval Rolls of Arms, much new evidence has been brought to light since Barron wrote, and in particular researches recently undertaken in connection with the projected new editions of Glover’s and Walford’s Rolls have shown that the medieval use of paty was by no means so simple and straightforward as is  suggested by Barron’s article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and by Hope’s Grammar of English Heraldry, I therefore propose in this paper first to examine the English use of the terms paty or pattee, patonce and formy chronologically, then to discuss their etymology, and finally to consider their use in France. But first I must express my indebtedness to Dr. Paul Adam-Even, the outstanding French authority on medieval armory, who, besides helping in other ways, has generously furnished and commented on the bulk of the material for the French portion of this essay, much of this being drawn from manuscript sources not accessible in England.

Fig. 1 Cross Patonce (a) after the arms of the Earl of Aumale in Westminster Abbey, 13th century. (b) after the seal of William de Vesci, c. 1230. (c) after the seal of William, Earl of Aumale c. 1240. (d) after the seal of William de Latimer 1301.

Neither Matthew Paris nor the original, 1253, version of Glover’s Roll uses paty or any term resembling it, although the latter roll includes three families who are known from other evidence to have borne a cross patonce. In one case, Forz Earl of Aumale (I.13), the charge is called a cross with no distinguishing adjective. For Vesci (I.76) it is called a cross furchee. And in the third case, Lexington (I.155) it is blazoned furchee au kanee.2a

In the second version of Glover’s Roll, that which was printed by Nicolas and Armytage, and which was the only one known to Barron, these three crosses are blazoned respectively pate (II. 13), patonce (II.76) and furchee au kanee (II. 151). It must however be borne in mind that this second version is a fourteenth-century recension made c. 1310 and with the language adapted to the usage of that day. It is therefore no evidence for the use of either pate or patonce in the thirteenth century.3 As for the Lexington blazon the 1310 editor was evidently unable to interpret the old term and therefore left it unchanged. I revert to this at the end of this paper.

So far as I have been able to find the earliest appearance of the term paty as applied to a cross is c. 1275 in Walford’s Roll where it is used twice, once in the coat of Rafe Bassett, pale d’or e de goulles a une croys de sable patee en le cantelles (II.92), and once in blazoning the Toulouse cross, Le Counte de Tolosa de  goules a un croyz d’or pale, et perse a une bordure d’or (II.41). In both cases the term is repeated unchanged in the early fourteenth century recension which was printed by Walford in Archaeologia in 1864. Of these two examples the Bassett cross was in fact patonce,4 but the Toulouse cross was normally drawn as Fig. 3a, a pattern which modern French heralds blazon clechée, vidée et pommettée, and which is by no means the same as the cross patonce although the spreading arms are common to both.5

Fig. 2. Cross Formy : (a) after Johannes de Bado Aureo, c.1394. (b) after Peter Le Neve's Book fo. 6b, c. 1490. (c) after the seal of William, Marquess of Berkely, d. 1492 (d) after Guillim's Display of Heraldry, 1660, p. 80.

Paty appears next to blazon the cross patonce in the Falkirk Roll of 1298, where it is used twice in the arms of Latimer (62, 107; cf Fig. 1d).6 It is also used in that roll in the arms of Benstead whose cross is blazoned perce et patee et botonee (87); unfortunately it has not been possible to find any evidence showing how the Benstead cross was drawn;7 the blazon resembles that of the Toulouse cross in Walford’s Roll, but it may have been drawn more like that of Melton which is called patee, percee et botonee in the Ashmolean Roll (284) and drawn in Cooke’s Ordinary as Fig. 4. Paty is used again for the cross patonce in the Galloway Roll of 1300 (171, 175, 183), and in every other blazoned roll except Holland’s down to the end of the fourteenth century. But it was also used from time to time to blazon the formy cross, as for example in the Parliamentary Roll c. 1312   where the crosslets of Berkeley (64,901) and Dene (753), which were regularly drawn as formy, are blazoned patees, and in Cotgrave’s Ordinary c. 1340 where Reresby’s formy crosses are called pateis (367).8 It is also used in the Second Dunstable (5) and Boroughbridge (41) Rolls in the phrases pate e florette and pate flurette to blazon a formy cross flory at the ends, the cross od les boutz florettez of some other rolls. It seems therefore that from the last quarter of the thirteenth to the end of the fourteenth century paty was used for any cross with splayed arms whether the ends were lobed (patonce), straight (formy) or pointed (clechy), but of these three varieties the cross patonce was commonest in England.

Fig. 3. Toulouse Cross ; (a) normal pattern, after Matthew Paris (MS. Nero D. v, fo. 170), c. 1245. (b) after the seal of Count Raymond VII, 1228. (c) after the Armorial du Héraut Berry, c. 1450. Fig. 4. Arms of Melton, after Cooke's Ordinary, c. 1340.

In the fifteenth century the fashion changed. Paty was still used to blazon the cross patonce in Thomas Jenyns’ Book,9 and in the Heralds’ Tract which was probably written in the reign of Henry VI.10 That however is exceptional. Other rolls and tractates tend to reserve paty for the formy cross or, if they do use it for the cross patonce, to qualify it by adding fleurettee, though this last term is more often used alone. So the Rouen Roll c. 1410 calls the Berkeley crosslets pates but draws them as crosses formy, while the same roll calls Latimer’s cross patonce (416) a crois reverse. This term reverse has not been found elsewhere, and in the early or mid-fifteenth-century blazoned version of St. George’s Roll the cross patonce is called either fleuretee, patee fleuretee or floure. It must however be added that in two cases, Siward (221) and Pavely (506), the thirteenth-century painted version of this roll draws the cross fleuretee as a cross flory-at-the-ends, a use which goes back to the thirteenth century, e.g. in the Galloway Roll. There is no example of a formy cross in St. George’s Roll, but Bowyer’s Book c. 1445 calls the cross formy fitchy of Cadwallader pate fiche, and both that and Atkynson’s Roll, also temp. Hen. VI, blazon the Berkely crosslets formy, Bowyer calling the cross patonce in the arms of St. Edward the Confessor floret.

There can be no doubt but that this change of nomenclature was inspired by the “doctors”, the teachers of heraldry and writers of textbooks, but even among these there is no unanimity.  The Heralds’ Tract, as we have seen, still uses paty as equivalent to patonce. Johannes de Bado Aureo c. 1394 and his followers Nicholas Upton c. 1440 and The Boke of St. Albans 1486 use paty for the formy cross, crux patens Gallice crois paty; they ignore the cross patonce, but give instead a crux florida Gallice croix flourte, which is drawn as Fig. 5.11 The Boke of St. Albans also includes a crux florida patens, crois patee flouretee or cross patent flurri, which on one page (c. iiij) is drawn like the flory cross, Fig. 5, and on another (d j.) like Fig. 6.12

Fig. 5. Cross Flory, after Johannes de Bado Aureo. Fig. 6. Cross Clechy, called Crux florida patens in The Boke of St. Albans.

In contrast to the de Bado Aureo school, Strangways’ Book (MS. Harl. 2259) c. 1450, and the other tractates of that group include both the patonce and the flory cross, blazoning these forme florett (Fig. 7) and pleyne florett (Fig. 8) respectively. They also distinguish between the cross forme with widely splayed arms as in Fig. 9 and the cross pate in which the spread is less pronounced, Fig. 10. Portcullis’s Book (MS. Harl. 521), which also dates from the middle of the fifteenth-century, follows de Bado Aureo in calling the formy and flory crosses pate and flurte respectively, but it also includes a cross patonce, Fig. 8a, which it calls flore, and it gives the name forme to a pattern, Fig. 11, which has been found nowhere else. 

For the early- and mid-sixteenth century my information is regrettably meagre, but I note that Thomas Wall, Garter 1534-6, whose Great Alphabet (College of Arms MS.L.i) has both blazon and picture, still uses paty for the cross patonce. The formy cross he sometimes blazons paty and sometimes formy. In such sixteenth-century grants of arms as have come to my notice the formy cross is so blazoned by Norroy Carlill in 1506 and by Garter Wriothesley in 1525 and 1527,but in 1559 Clarenceux Hervey calls it pate. I have not observed any grant of a cross patonce in this century.

Fig. 7. Cross Forme florett, after Strangways' Book, fo. 29 Fig. 8. Cross Pleyne florett after Strangways' Book, (a) fo.29b ; (b) fo.43.
Fig. 9. Cross Forme, after Strangways' Book fo. 29. Fig. 10. Cross pate, ibid. Fig. 11. Cross Forme, after Portcullis's Book, fo. 56. Fig. 12, Cross Patonce after Gerard Legh (1591, fo. 34).

According to the O.E.D. the term patonce first occurs in 1562 in Gerard Legh’s Accedence of Armorie. But, as we have already seen (p. 359), it was apparently used c. 1310 in the second version of Glover’s Roll. By itself, seeing that the 1310 version is only known from a copy by the eponymous Robert Glover,12a that occurrence might have been regarded as merely Glover’s emendation of furchee or some other, perhaps illegible, term. That idea is however put out of court by the re-appearance of patonce at the end of the century. In his account of Richard II’s Irish expedition in 1397 Froissart makes his informant, Henry Cristède, say that the king abandoned the English leopards and lilies and took the arms of St. Edward the Confessor, “qui est une croix potencée d’or et gueules a quatre blans coulons [colombes] ou champ de l’escu”12b That description is clearly faulty, for the arms of St. Edward are well known to have been Azure (not Gules), a cross patonce gold between 4 or 5 doves or martlets also gold (not white).12c With two  such mistakes in the tincturing one need not scruple to reject the reading potencée or potentée. Whether Froissart misunderstood Cristède or whether later copyists perverted the, to them, unknown term patonce into the familiar potencée is immaterial. There can be no doubt but that Cristède blazoned the cross patonce. That was Dr. Adam-Even’s conclusion when he drew my attention to the passage, and I am confident that it is correct. It is moreover corroborated by the fact that Lord Berners’ (1523-5) and Johnes’ (1803-5) translations blazon the cross respectively ” patent ” and ” patencé “.12d

Apart from those two passages I have not found the term patonce again until the latter half of the sixteenth century. It appears in Legh’s book, 12e and as a marginal note written in an Elizabethan hand against the coat of Banastre in Collingborne’s Book. It would therefore seem that the term patonce was used throughout the fourteenth century, but then fell into desuetude only to be rediscovered and revived by Legh and others.  Legh draws the cross patonce like Fig. 12, but most later writers call that flory or some such term. Legh does not use the term paty,13 but calls the formy cross formye, Fig. 9.

Guillim’s own additions and corrections, include patonce and flory crosses, Figs., 13, 14, both of which are so blazoned (pp. 92, 101). The formy cross is still called patee but it is recalled that Legh calls it formy, the use of patee being defended on the authority of Chassaneus, Bara and ” many of our blazoners “l4a In the fourth, fifth and sixth editions, 1660, 1664, 1679, the editor seems not to have known his own mind. On page 80 15 the formy cross, fig. 9, is again called patee

Fig. 13. Cross Patonce, after Guillim's Display, 1632, p.92. Fig. 14. Cross Floury, ibid, p.101.

but the Berkeley crosslets, which only differ in that the sides of the arms are straight instead of concave, Fig. 2d, are called formee. On p. 82 the editor reverts to patee for the formy cross with the same defence as in 1632. On p. 83 the patonce cross is drawn and blazoned as before, Fig. 13, but this is followed by a slightly different cut, Fig. 15, illustrating the arms of Ward, and that cross is blazoned patee with the following explanation: —

” I know some will quarrell at my blazoning this Crosse thus, and not either Flory or Patonce which they do weakly surmise to be two different bearings, whereas it is manifest by observations of old Seals, Monuments etc. that it was the Fancy or Error of the Painter or Carver to make the points expand open, or patere, or more erect … Now for calling it Patee which is a title given to a Crosse of another forme [i.e. formy] … there appear to me great reason to adhear to the opinion of Leigh, and not to expunge the word Formee quite, for what is said of that Cross may better fit this, extremitates ejus sunt patulae, his ends broad and opened, that Crosse being broad formed, but not opened.” In the 7th and last edition, which was published in 1724, the editor James Coats16 cuts out these somewhat laboured explanations, calling the formy cross patee and the patonce cross patonce and naming both Fig. 14 and Fig. 15 flory. With rare exceptions that nomenclature has been followed ever since, the Barronial school excepted, save that it has been recognized that if a distinction must be made between the patonce and flory crosses Fig. 15 should be termed patonce rather than flory.

The term formy, fourme, formeux or formee is used in both versions of Walford’s Roll to blazon the Hospitallers’ cross, which was at first drawn with slightly splayed arms like Fig. 10. That carries the term back to c. 1275, but apart from a single appearance in the Carlisle Roll of 1334 and another in Cotgrave’s Ordinary c. 1340, in both cases to blazon the Berkeley crosslets, the term has not been found again before the middle of the fifteenth century. It is not used by Johannes de Bado Aureo, Upton or The Boke of St. Albans, but it is used in tracts of the Strangways group as well as in Bowyer’s Book and other rolls of similar or later date.

The word formee is taken by Littré and the O.E.D. to be the past participle of the verb former, to shape, but it should rather be read as a variant of the old French formeus, Latin formosa, beautiful (cf. the English shapely). That is Dr. Adam-Even’s opinion and it is confirmed by the Carlisle Roll’s use of the spelling

Fig . 15. Cross Patee, ibid 1660, p 83

formeux. It must however be admitted that there is no obvious reason why either shaped or beautiful should denote that particular pattern, and Commander Messenger F.S.A. pointed out to me that in old French a chisel, fermoir, was called formoir or fourmoir, and that old chisels were shaped like the arms of a formy cross, so that the word might be interpreted as chisel-shaped. A measure of support for that derivation is moreover afforded by the use of the word in Portcullis’s Book where each segment of the cross forme (Fig. 11) recalls the side-view of a chisel. This is an ingenious suggestion, but the derivation from formosa seems the most probable.

As for patonce the O.E.D. holds its origin uncertain, but suggests that it is a mistaken use of the French potencée, potenty or crutch-ended.16a Another suggestion makes it a phonetic Englishing of the Latin patens, while a third would derive it from pattu, shaped like an open paw (patte). This last derivation would not be inapt to the shape of the cross patonce, but neither Dr. Adam-Even nor I find the idea any more convincing than the other suggestions. One can only conclude that the true derivation is still to seek.

The origin of paty or pattee  is hardly less obscure. As we have seen, the fifteenth-century English writers equated paty with the Latin patens, opening or spreading. Menestrier on the other hand defined the cross patee as one ” dont les extrémités s’élargissent en forme de patte étendue”, and that definition and the inferred derivation from patte, paw, were accepted by Littré and the O.E.D. as well as by Gourdon de Genouillac (Dictionnaire, 1853), Hope (Grammar… p. 89) and other armorists both French and English. That definition might indeed fit the cross patonce whose three lobes do in some measure suggest the toes of a paw, but it is quite inappropriate to the formy cross whether couped as in England or throughout as in France. In fact there can be little doubt but that patee is a variant of the old French patu, an adjective formed from the Low Latin pata, the foot or base of a cup.17 That is Dr. Adam-Even’s opinion, and I have no doubt but that he is right. It is confirmed by Spener who rejects patens and translates patée by pedata.17a

In France the formy cross is normally drawn throughout, and not couped as in England.18 Moreover both it and the cross patonce are much rarer than on this side of the Channel. In the Bigot Roll 19 for instance there is no example of either pattern, and in the Wijnbergen Roll c. 1265-85 20 there is no example of the cross patonce and only one of the formy cross, the arms of de Rouge, Fig. 16, while

Fig 16 : Cross Formy throughout. Arms of de Rougé, Wijnbergen Roll No 954, c.1280.

a mid-fifteenth-century French ordinary ” Le grand livre armorial” only lists four examples of the formy cross and two of the cross patonce.21 No doubt it is the rarity of these charges which explains why the term pate or patte did not find its way into French blazon for some time after it was adopted by English heralds, its earliest known appearance being c. 1305 in de Joinville’s Vie de St. Louis, where the arms of Jean d’Ibelin, Count of Jaffa, are blazoned ” d’or à une croix de gueles patée” (ed. Wailly p. 516). Both patterns are however found somewhat earlier under other names. So in the Armorial Chifflet-Prinet 22 the formy cross of de Rouge is blazoned eslargie (no. 142) and the cross patonce of de la Haie is eslargie par les bous (no. 107). This term eslargie or elargie also appears in the Armorial d’Urfé, c. 1440,23 and in ” Les enseigne¬ments du héraut Hongrie ” (ms. fr. 5242) where it is given as an alternative blazon for the cross patee.

Apart from its use by Joinville the earliest appearance of the term pate is in the Armorial du héraut Navarre c. 1370,24 where it occurs seven times, a distinction being apparently made between the cross patee, i.e. formy, as in the arms of the de Rouge, and the cross patée et pommelée or patonce as in the coats of de la Haie and Latimer. A similar distinction appears to be made in John Banyster’s Roll c. 1400, where de Rouge’s cross is patee and that of de la Haie is patée et pommée.25 In the Armorial d’Urfé on the other hand the distinction seems to be between eslargie for formy (e.g. de Rouge, 619) and pattee for patonce (e.g. de la Haie, 791). This last use is however exceptional. Roll after roll from the middle of the fifteenth century uses patee for the formy cross,26 and by the end of the sixteenth century that usage was firmly established,27 the term enhendée being invented to designate the cross patonce.

Although the term patonce is peculiar to English blazon, a charge resembling the cross patonce is found in France by the middle of the thirteenth century, e.g. on seals of Maurice de la Haie-Joulain in 1269 and Etienne de Menge in 1276.28 In medieval documents this cross is variously blazoned; eslargie par les bouts,29 patée pommelée, 30 boissiée 31 and pattée alaisée fourchée de iij pieces. 32 This last term, fourchée de iij pieces, is found also in the Traité du Jouvencel, and omitting de 3 pieces in the Traité de Paulmy,33 in which it is drawn like Figs. 17. and 18.

Figs. 17 and 18. A cross fourchée after medieval French writers.

The term enhendée has not been found in any medieval roll. It appears in the Traité du héraut Breton (ms. fr. 11464), which cannot be earlier than 1460, and it was used by Jean le Féron (fl. 1555). It is given in the 1611 edition of Guillim’s Display as the French equivalent of patonce, but the earliest printed French work which mentions it is Vulson de la Colombière’s Science Héroique in 1644 (p. 142 no. 56; 1669 ed. p. 148). Vulson gives it on the authority of a manuscript by Le Féron. He draws it as Fig. 18. Palliot draws the cross enhendée more like Fig. 17, and defines it as one ” qui a les branches terminées en façon de croix ancrées [anglice moline] et entre les deux crochets une pointe comme un fer de lance “,34 a definition which is substantially the same as that given by Baron,35 Boyer36 and others. It is to be noted that Palliot blazons the arms of Hirschfeld Abbey ” d’ar-gent a la Croix patriarchale au pied enhendé de gueules ” (loc: cit.), while Menestrier describes the same cross as having ” le pied enhendé, c’est a dire de deux refentes, tournées en croix ancrée, la pointe du milieu comme fourchée”. He derives enhendé from the Spanish enhendido, Fr. refendu, split.37

The term fourchée, Latin furcata, forked, has been used in several different senses. In English blazon from the middle of the fifteenth century it has been applied either to the moline or millrind cross or, more often, to a variant thereof in which the points are cut off as in Fig. 19.38 In medieval French blazon as we have seen, it was used for the cross patonce or something very similar, Figs. 17, 18.

Fig. 19. A cross fourchée after Strangways' Book, etc. Fig. 20. A cross fourchée after Vulson de la Colombière, etc.

Later French writers on the other hand drew the cross fourchée as Fig. 20; so for example Vulson de la Colombière (p. 136 no. 22), Palliot (p. 236) and Spener.39 Elvin calls this a cross fourchée of three points or a cross couped treble-fitchée (Pl. 9 Fig. 36), but it is doubtful whether the pattern has even been used in England.

There can be no doubt but that it is in the medieval French sense that Glover’s Roll uses furchee for the Vesci cross (p. 359 of last issue of The Coat of Arms). As for the Lexington cross, this has usually been drawn as a cross patonce, but Matthew Paris draws it as Fig. 21 (Cotton MS. Nero D.j, Fo. 170). This might  be described as a moline cross with a small point in the angle of the ends, and with that clue we may safely read the Glover’s Roll blazon furchee au kanee as fourchee avec une cane, cane being an old French word for tooth.40

Fig 21 :The cross patonce of Lexington after Matthew Paris.

To sum up this somewhat diffuse study we may say that in England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries any cross with splayed arms was called paty however the ends were shaped. The fifteenth century tended to reserve paty for the formy cross though that was also called formy. In that century paty was only occasionally used for the cross patonce, this being generally blazoned floretty. In the sixteenth century both formy and paty were used for the formy cross. Paty was still used by a few writers for the cross patonce, but by the middle of the century the term patonce had been introduced for this, the term floretty or flory being transferred to a variant thereof. The seventeenth century brought an attempt to revive the terms formy and paty for the formy and patonce crosses, but most writers preferred to call these pattee and patonce respectively, and thereafter that usage was practically universal until Barron’s intervention.

In France, though both crosses are found by the middle of the thirteenth century, the term patonce is unknown and formy is extremely rare. The term patée is first found about 1305, and from then until the present day it has regularly been used to blazon the formy cross. Save only in the mid-fifteenth century Armorial d’Urfé patée or pattée has never been used for the cross patonce unless qualified by the addition of pommelée, fourchée or some such adjective. Since the sixteenth century the normal French term for the cross patonce is enhendée.

In the light of the above facts one can only conclude that Barron’s attempt to banish the term patonce and to insist on calling the cross patonce a cross paty was not only a source of confusion and ill-judged from the practical standpoint, but was also ill-founded both historically and etymologically. On the other hand it is undeniable that in England (though not in France) medieval heralds used paty to blazon the cross patonce as well as the formy and clechy crosses. That being so the use of paty or pattee in its modern and French sense of formy is bound to lead to mistakes in interpreting medieval blazons. What then is a modern herald to do? How should these crosses be blazoned ? At the risk of offending nearly everyone, Barronians and moderns alike, I submit that the only safe course it to eschew the term paty or pattee completely, except in quotations, and to blazon the formy and patonce crosses by those terms. As for the flory cross (Fig. 5) it is clear that for the medieval herald this was indistinguishable from the cross patonce. Modern practice however regards it as a distinct variety. It may as well be called flory. There remains the cross od les bouts florettés, Fig. 22. Modern text-books generally call this fleurty or fleuretty and both those forms have medieval authority.

Fig. 22a and b. A cross flory-at-the-ends. These arc sometimes distinguished as respectively a cross couped and a cross corniced flory-at-the-ends. Fig. 22c. A cross formy flory-at-the-ends.

But they were also used for the cross patonce, and for my own part I prefer to say flory-at-the-ends which admits of no misunderstanding.

I am indebted to my friend Mr. G. E. Chambers F.S.A. for the drawings which illustrate this essay.



1. In medieval heraldry the ends of the formy cross were sometimes concave and sometimes convex, Figs. 2b, c. But these were only artist’s variants; usually the ends  were straight as in Fig. 2a. The pattern with straight-sided arms, Fig. 2d, is a  seventeenth century innovation.

2.To avoid this I shall hereinafter refer to the two patterns as patonce and formy respectively and shall eschew the term paty except in quotations.   2a. The term furchee will be considered in the French section below.

3.This use of patonce is considered at some length below.

4.Wyrley, The True Use of Arms, 1592 (1853 reprint p. 18); Dugdale, The Antient Usage o f bearing of Arms, 1682, p. 23.

5.The Armorial de Berry version, Fig. 3c, may well be a direct translation of such a blazon as that in John Banyster’s Roll, a French roll of c. 1400: L e Conte de Thoulouse parte de geulles a une croix d’or patee et vuydee et pommelee de xij pommes de mesmes (College of Arms M S . M.19, French Arms, fo. 160b).

6.It is used on the dorse of the Camden Roll for the Earl of Aumale, No. 142, but though the paintings on the recto date from c. 1280, the blazons on the dorse are an early fourteenth-century addition.

7.The so-called ” facsimile ” in Foster’s Feudal Arms is absurd and is obviously no more than Foster’s own attempt to interpret the blazon in the light of nineteenth-century terminology.

8.Of the 29 crosses which the Parliamentary Roll blazons patee 21 (representing 12 families, Latimer, Ward, Banbury, Colville, St. George, Samson, Oughtred Grendale, Goddard, Pulford, Banastre and Aton) were certainly patonce. Three (Berkeley twice and Dene) were formy. Three (Hotot, Peverel and Hoyland) were sometimes formy and sometimes patonce; and two Zefoul (Sesonghel ?) and Carlell were flory-at-the-ends. In the other three cases, Walton 1029, Cornwall 1034 and Reason 1070, it has not been determined how the crosses were drawn.

9.Mr. Wagner’s Catalogue dates the compilation of this roll c. 1410, but the earliest known copy. Add. M S . 40851, was executed c. 1445 and that may prove on further examination to be the date of compilation. The fact that this roll paints the formy crosses of Berkely and Reresby as patonce shows that the compiler borrowed from a blazoned roll and put his own interpretation on patee.

10.For a description of this and other tractates mentioned hereinunder see ” Some Medieval Treatises on English Heraldry “, Antiquaries Journal xxxiij, 1953, 169 sqq. As the tract and Thomas Jenyns’ Book have both blazon and picture there can be no doubt as to the sense in which they used the word paty.

11. This is hereinafter called a cross flory. Barron regarded it as an artist’s variant of the cross patonce, but it seems no less likely that it was derived from the cross od bouts florettes, Figs. 12 and 14. It may be mentioned that the seventeenth-century French writer, Segoing, regarded the crosses patonce. flory and flory-at-the-ends as unimportant variants of a single charge. Rather surprisingly he took the cross pommetée, alias trefly or botonny, to be another variant of the same cross.

12.In the fifteenth century (Portington’s Roll etc.) Fig. 6 was called a cross mately; later writers call it clechy (the modern French term) or urdy, or in Latin pungens.

12a. Subsequent study shews that the copy which Mr Wagner called II.B (CEMRA p. 6) is really a copy of version I and should be renumbered I.B. In any case it is in trick, without blazon.

12b. Ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove, xv. 180. Bouchon in his edition (1825), xiij. 251, writes potentée instead of potencée. In either case the word can only mean potent, crutch-ended. Kervyn de Lettenhove in his glossary merely refers to Littré where the term is so defined.

12c. Mid-thirteenth-century shield in Westminster Abbey; Fitzwilliam Roll 7; etc

12d. Shakespeare Head edition, 1928, II . iv. 1050; Johnes’ translation, 1844,   581. 12e. 1591 edit. fo. 34.

13.It must however be noted that i n the last edition of the Accedence, published in 1612, long after Legh’s death, the term patée is substituted for Legh’s patonce. Again in some notes on heraldic terminology inserted by Sir William Le Neve (Clarenceux 1635-61) at the back of Shirley’s Roll pate is used for both the patonce and the formy cross; these notes seem to have been taken from an earlier source.

14.John Bossewell, Workes of Armorie, 1572 and 1597; William Wyrley, The True Use of Armorie, 1592.

14a. Dr. C. E. Wright has kindly called my attention to British Museum M S . Add. 26680, which appears to be an early version of or notes for. Guillim’s Display.. It is entitled ” Elementarye Rudimentes of the Arte of Armorye ” and is said on the title-page to have been begun on October 9, 1595, in the forty-fourth year of the author’s age. O n fo. 4 is a letter of dedication to King James with Guillim’s autograph signature. This manuscript contains much that is not in the 1611 edition of the Display , but I have not studied it carefully enough to say whether or no it is the source of the additions and corrections in the second and third editions of that work. This manuscript calls the formy cross patee (ff. 52a, b). It does not seem to mention the flory cross, but it does include a cross patonce (fo. 53b) which is drawn more like a cross flory-at-the-ends (Fig. 22a below). It also includes a cross patye flourie (fo. 52), i.e. a cross formy, flory-at-the-ends, Fig. 22c below.

  1. The page numbers are those of the fourth and fifth editions. In 1679 the pages are 58, 60, 62 and 69 respectively.
  2. Author of A New Dictionary of Heraldry, 1725 and 1739.

16a. The converse of the Froissart perversion mentioned above.

  1. Ducange, Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis, 1887, vol 3+19(Glossaire français) s.v. patu. Cf. Godefroi: ” patté, qui a une large base ” and ” patu, qui a une patte, un pied”.

17a. Insignium Theoria, 1717, vol. I, p. 173, para, cxvj, and Fig . 5.

  1. If it is couped, alésée, French blason requires the fact to be stated. This however is not always done and Louvain Geliot ( Indice Armorial, 1635, P. 135 draws the croix patée as Fig . 2C above.
  2. ” Un Armorial français du milieu du xiii e siècle. Le role d’armes Bigot – 1254 ” , edited by Paul Adam-Even, Archives Héraldiques Suisses lxiii , 1949.
  3. ” Un Armorial français du milieu du xiii e siècle. L ‘ Armorial Wijnberegen” , edited by Paul Adam-Even and Leon Jéquier, Archives Héraldiques Suisses , 1951-4.
  4. MS. fr. 5931, ff. 25 sqq. The examples are: formy cross, de la Roche or Rougé and de Bonville in Brittany, and de Somain and de Savonnières in Anjou; cross patonce, de la Haie-Joulain and de Velourt. This and other manuscripts cited hereafter as ” ms. fr. ” are in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
  5. Besançon Town Library MS Chifflet 186, pp. 145-154, Published by Max Prinet as “Armorial de Francecomposé à la fin du xiiixe ou au commencement du xiv e siècle “, Le Moyen Age, second series, xxij , 1920, pp . 5-58. Dr Adam -Even has identified this as a fragment of a much longer roll, the ” Ost de Flandres “, which gives the arms of French soldiers who went to Flanders at the end of the thirteenth century.
  6. Ms. fr. 32753. This was formerly known as the Armorial du héraut Sicile. Only a few fragments have been printed.
  7. Edited by Douët d ‘Arcq as “Armorial de France de la fin du Quatorzième siècle” ( Cabinet Historique, v, vj, 1859-69). Corrected and completed by Paul Adam-Even in Nouvelle Révue héraldique, 1947, p. 49 sq.
  8. College of Arms MS M.19 French Arms, ff. 153b sqq. Actually de Rougé’s cross is blazoned patée et relaissée, i.e. alésée or couped, but in the Wijnbergen Roll it is drawn throughout, Fig16.
  9. L ‘Armorial Breton, ms. fr. 11464, p.69 ; Le Rituel des anciennes armoiries. ms. fr.24126, p.253, sqq . ; Le livre du héraut Orléans and Le Grand Livre Armorial, ms. fr. 5931, ff. 21 sqq. a n d 25 sqq. So too the tractates such as Les enseignements du héraut Hongrie and Traité du Jouvence l (mss. fr. 5242 and 24281.)
  10. So Jérome de Bara, Le Blason des Armories, 1581 and 1628; Jean Scohier, L’ Estat et Comportement des Armes 1597 and 1630; Charles Segoing, Trésor Héraldique, 1657; M. Vulson de la Colombière, La Science Héroique, 1644 and
  11. Douet d ‘Arcq, Sceaux del’ Empire 2346, 2686. The crosses are there blazoned respectively enhendée and pattée enhendée, the latter presumably having the arms widely splayed. Enhendée is referred to below.
  12. Armorial Chifflet-Prinet, no. 107, for de la Haie .
  13. Armorial … Navarre, 808, also for de la Haie .
  14. Armorial du héraut Vermandois, no 642, for de Menge. Boissiée — bossue,, humped. This is an early fourteenth-century roll blazoned at the beginning of the fifteenth.
  15. Le grand livre armorial for de l a Haie and de Velourt. In the latter case as there are three small crosses alaisée is omitted.
  16. Ms. Arsenal (Paris) 4800.
  17. La vraie et parfaite Science des Armoiries, 1660, p. 2 3 4 . Palliot took the term from Vulson. It is not in Geliot’s Indice Armorial (1635) from which he copied the greater part of his book.

35. L’Art héraldique, 1695 ed., p. 75 .

  1. The Great Theater of Honour and Nobility,1729,pp.23,88. Larousse’s explanation is similar.
  2. Veritable Art du blazon et l ‘Origine des Armoiries, 1671, p 325.. The word enhende is not in Godefroi or Littré, but the above definition is repeated in Larousse du xx s siècle.

38 . Eg. Strangways’ Book fo. 30 ; Elvin’s Dictionary of Heraldry, 1889, pl 9 no 35. Cf. Boyer op. cit. p.23 , note to para 30.

39 . Op. cit. I. p. 175 para. 122 and pl.5 .

  1. In the manuscripts the third letter of the last word could also be read as u, in which case the word would be kauec, i.e. coue or queue, tail. Dr. Adam-Even however considers kanee the more likely reading and that is my own feeling.