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Dictionary of Vexillology: Appendix VIII

Crosses in Heraldry

Last modified: 2015-05-26 by rob raeside
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The following terms may be encountered when referring to a cross in a flag, or banner of arms, or heraldic flag of some other description.

Cross Botonny (or Bottonny or Bottonnée)

The heraldic term for a cross that does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but whose ends are formed by three discs – a trefoil or treflee cross (see also ‘cross 2)’, ‘disc’ and ‘trefoil’).

botonny cross example St. Maurice, Italy Massonnens, Switzerland
From left: Example; Flag of the Order of St Maurice, Italy (fotw); Flag of Massonnens, Switzerland (fotw)

Cross-Cantonée (or Cantoned)

The heraldic term for a cross which may or may not extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but which has four further crosses (or other charges) arranged around it – a cross cantoned (see also ‘canton 3)’, ‘cross 1)’, ‘cross pattée’ and ‘cross potent’)

example example Tianeti, Georgia Kingdom of Jerusalem national flag of Georgia
From left: Crosses-Cantonée examples; Flag of Tianeti, Georgia (fotw); The Kingdom of Jerusalem c1200 (CS); National Flag of Georgia (fotw)

Please note as may be seen in the illustrations above, various types of cross can be used to make up a cross cantonée, and that a Jerusalem Cross (constructed of a cross-potent and four Greek crosses or of five crosses-potent) is one specific type.


Cross-clechée

The heraldic term for a cross that does not generally extend to the edges of a shield, flag, panel or flag, but whose arms are in the form of (usually irregular) lozenges or fusils – a cross-lozengy or cross-fusilly (see also ‘cross 2)’, ‘fusil’ and ‘lozenge’).

example example arms - Mogilany, Poland flag - Mogilany, Poland
from left: Examples (2); Arms and Flag of Mogilany, Poland (Jarig Bakker)


Cross-Counterchanged

The heraldic term for a cross that generally extends to the edges of a shield, panel, banner of arms or flag, and which is divided along its horizontal and vertical centre-line with the tinctures of the field and cross usually (but not exclusively) alternating in adjacent quarters - a counterchanged cross - but compare with cross gyronny (see also ‘counterchanged’, ‘cross 2)’, ‘dominican cross’, ‘quarter 2)’ and ‘tincture’).

Arms - Zapresic, Croatia Flag - Zapresic, Croatia Kreis, Switzerland Kreis, Switzerland Flag - Zaprešić, Croatia
Flag and Arms of Zaprešić, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Kreis Davos, Switzerland (fotw); Flag and Arms of Tursko, Czech Republic (fotw)

Notes
a)
A cross whose centre is obscured by a charge (as illustrated below) could be described as either a cross-counterchanged or a cross gyronny, however, the term ‘cross quartered’ has now come into use - see ‘cross quartered’.

Flag - Palomares del Río, Spain
Flag of Palomares del Río, Spain (Klaus-Michael Schneider)

b) A cross that is divided only along either its horizontal or vertical centre-line is properly blazoned using a full description – for example, “per fess argent and azure a cross-couped counterchanged" or “per pale argent and gules a Maltese Cross counterchanged” as shown below.

Zurrieq, Malta Villars-Sainte-Croix, Switzerland
Flag of Zurrieq, Malta (fotw): Flag of Villars-Sainte-Croix, Switzerland (fotw)


Cross Counter-Quartered

1) See ‘cross counter-changed’ in ‘appendix 8’.
2) The term that may also be used when the centre of a cross of this general type is obscured as illustrated below.- see ‘cross gyronny’ in ‘appendix 8’.

Arms - Zapresic, Croatia Flag - Zapresic, Croatia Flag - Palomares del Río, Spain
Flag and Arms of Zaprešić, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Palomares del Río, Spain (Klaus-Michael Schneider)

Cross-Couped

A heraldic term sometimes used when a cross (either plain or decorated) does not extend to edges of a shield, banner of arms or flag (see also ‘couped 2)’ and ‘Greek cross’).

Please note that, unless referring to a plain cross, this term is always accompanied by a further description, for example a “cross crosslet couped” as shown in the following definition.

cross-couped example cross-couped example
Example; Putative Flag of Constantine the Great c325AD (fotw)


Cross Crosslet

The heraldic term for a cross which does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag canton or panel, but whose arms have a short transverse bar inserted (see also ‘cross 2)’).

botonny cross example Echt-Susteren, Netherlands Slupca, Poland Slupca, Poland
Example; Flag of Echt-Susteren, The Netherlands (fotw); Arms and Flag of Slupca, Poland (fotw)


Cross-Fitchy

The heraldic term for a cross which does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, and which may have plain or decorated ends, but whose vertical arm comes to a point at its base (see also ‘cross 2)’ and ‘cross of Santiago’).

cross-fitchy example cross-fitchy example Bernissart, Belgium Avinyó, Spain
Flag of Bernissart, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Avinyó, Spain (fotw)

Please note that, unless referring to a plain cross, this term is always accompanied by a further description, for example a “cross crosslet fitchy”.


Cross Fleury (or Flory, Floretty or Fleuronny)

The heraldic term for a cross which does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but whose ends are formed by fleur-de-lis – a fleur-de-lis or fleury cross, avis cross, or cross of calatrava (see also ‘avis cross’, ‘cross 2)’, ‘Dominican cross’, ‘cross of Calatrava’, ‘fleur-de-lis’ and ’fleury’)

example Order of Avis, Portugal Guriezo, Spain Portuguese Legion c1928 – 1974
From left: Example; Suggested Flag of the Avis Order, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Almagro, Spain (fotw); Flag of Guriezo, Spain (fotw); Flag of The Portuguese Legion c1928 – 1974 (fotw)


Cross Gringolée

See ‘snakehead cross’.


Cross Gyronny

The heraldic term for a cross that may or may not extend to the edges of a shield, flag or panel, but is composed of two tinctures meeting at the centre point and alternating either side of the vertical and horizontal meridians (thus giving it a three-dimensional appearance) – a gyronny cross - see ‘gyronny’ and compare with ‘cross counterchanged’ in ‘appendix VIII’ (also ‘Dominican cross’, ‘faceted’ and ‘tincture’).

Example; Flag of Kreis Safien, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Studnice, Czech Republic (fotw)

Notes
a)
Unless describing a plain cross throughout, this term should always be accompanied by a further description, for example a “cross fleury gyronny couped”.
b) A cross whose centre is obscured by a charge (as illustrated below) could be described as either a cross gyronny or a cross-counterchanged, however, the term ‘cross quartered’ has now come into use - see ‘cross quartered’.


Flag of Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain (Klaus-Michael Schneider)


Cross Moline

The heraldic term for a cross which does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but whose ends are split into two curved pieces – an anchor or moline cross (see also ‘cross 2)’ and ‘snakehead cross’).


Flag of Annœullin, France (fotw)


Cross of Calvary (or Cross of Crucifixion)

The heraldic term for a cross that does not usually (although it may) extend to the edges of a shield, flag, panel or flag, but which is mounted on three steps.

Example Geraardsbergen, Belgium Fulleda. Spain
From left: Example; Flag of Geraardsbergen, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Fulleda. Spain (fotw)


Cross Pomel (Pomée, Pommetty or Pommelly)

The heraldic term for a cross which does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but whose arms finish in a roundel (see also ‘cross 2)’, ‘pommeled’ and ‘roundel 3))’  

example [Lagoa Portugal] [Lagoa Portugal] [Lagoa Portugal] 
Example (Parker); Flag of Lagoa, Portugal (Sérgio Horta); Arms and Flag of Santa Cruz, Portugal (Klaus-Michael Schneider)


Cross Pattée (or Patée, Patty or Paty)

The heraldic term for a cross that may or may not extend to the outer edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, whose arms are generally (but not exclusively) flat-ended but which is wider at its outer ends than it is in the centre. The arms can be straight-sided or curved throughout their length, or they can be straight-sided and parallel until being flared at their outer end – a cross formée, formé or formy, a pattée, patée, patty or Paty cross, a formée, formé or formy cross, or an iron, Hanseatic, Hansa, cavalier or cavalier’s cross – but see ‘Maltese cross’, ‘rounded cross’ (also ‘cross 2)’ and ‘Cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ’).

example [Wallis & Futuna] [Guernsey civil ensign] [Cr. Jensen houseflag]
From left: example; Flag of Wallis & Fortuna; Civil Ensign of Guernsey; House flag of Chr. Jensen, Denmark (fotw)


Cross Potent (or Potence)

The heraldic term for a cross which does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but whose arms terminate in a transverse bar – a cross potence, or potent, or a crutch or Teutonic Cross (see also ‘cross 2)’ and ‘cross-cantonée’ and ‘potent 2)’).

example Goumoëns-la-Ville, Switzerland
From left: Cross-Potent example; Flag of Goumoëns-la-Ville, Switzerland (fotw)


Cross-Potent Cantonée

See ‘Cross Potent’ and ‘Cross-Cantonée’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

example Goumoëns-la-Ville, Switzerland Goumoëns-la-Ville, Switzerland
Example; Flag and Arms of Niawier, The Netherlands


Cross Tau

The heraldic term for a cross that may or may not extend to the edges of a shield, flag, canton or panel, but in which the vertical arm does not extend above the horizontal thus creating a letter ‘T’ - a tau cross, Cross of St Anthony or Saint Anthony's Cross, and in some Christian denominations, also an Advent Cross.

example Lede, Belgium L’Albiol, Spain St Antönien-Ascharina, Switzerland
Flag of Lede, Belgium (fotw); Flag of L’Albiol, Spain (fotw); Flag of St Antönien-Ascharina, Switzerland (fotw)

Cross-Voided

The heraldic term for a cross that may or may not reach the edges of a shield, banner of arms or flag and may be either closed or open-ended, but from which the centre is removed so that the field may be seen through it (see also ‘cross of athletics’ and ‘voided’)

example Normand, France De Haan, Belgium
From left: example; Flag of the Mouvement Normand, France (fotw); Flag of De Haan, Belgium (fotw)

Notes
a)
Unless referring to a plain cross, this term is always accompanied by a further description, for example "a cross pattée voided".
b) This term is sometimes (incorrectly used to describe a Cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ as illustrated below – see ‘Cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ’.

example
A banner of the Order of the Knights of Christ (fotw)


Latin Cross

The heraldic term for a cross that does not usually extend to the edges of a shield, flag, panel or flag, but whose horizontal arm is shorter than its vertical and which is set above the centre line – a long cross (see also ‘Greek cross’ and ‘cross 2)’)

example flag - Budinšcina, Croatia arms - Budinšcina, Croatia Muzzle Loaders of Manitoba, Canada
From left: example; Flag and Arms of Budinšcina, Croatia (Fame); Flag of the Muzzle Loaders of Manitoba, Canada

Please note that, unless referring to a plain cross, this term should always accompanied by a further description, for example a “Latin cross treflee” as illustrated below.

arms - Negoslavci, Croatia flag - Negoslavci, Croatia
Arms and Flag of Negoslavci, Croatia (fotw)

Also please note that in vexillological terms a Latin cross throughout becomes an off-centred cross – see ‘off-centred cross 2)’ (also ‘throughout’).

Latin cross throughout
Flag of Thunstetten, Switzerland (fotw)


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