The S.C.A. College of Arms registers crosses of a number of types that were not used in period heraldry but are considered consistent with "period style". Conflict-checking for these must be done on an individual basis, and a great deal depends on visual comparisons.
More than half of the crosses registered in the S.C.A. that were not used in period heraldry are composed of other charges conjoined to, interlaced with, or overlapped by one another. In the interest of keeping these pages manageable in size, I've given those a page of their own. The rest are listed below.
These tables don't necessarily include every precedent related to any given type cross that was ever issued. I intentionally left out those that have been explicitly overruled and avoided including multiple precedents that state and re-state the same information, and it is always possible that I've missed a ruling here or there by accident. Please consult the precedents yourself if you need comprehensive information on everything that's ever been said about a particular cross.
The appearance here of any cross only means that it has been registered at some point in the past. It isn't a guarantee that it can still be registered. The College of Arms' standards change over time.
Please note: Under "rulings and precedents" in the tables below, the phrase "ordinary cross" is often used where the unmodified "cross" would be used in blazon, to avoid any confusion that might arise from a statement like, "A cross formy throughout is significantly different from a cross."
|type of cross||inspiration / period parallels||S.C.A.-style emblazon||rulings and precedents|
|alisée||There have been registrations of crosses (and one saltire) alisée, but the only precedents I've found related to them are on crosses alisée formy, which have been disallowed.|
|ankh / crux ansata||
Gules, three Latin crosses couped Or each conjoined at the chief to an annulet Or voided azure issuant from a trimount vert.
Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum AG 2760
||"The cross arrondi is not a period
heraldic cross; it is based on the symbols depicted on some of the
shields on the Bayeux Tapestry, so we cannot use our standards of
comparing two period styles of cross. Since we sometimes see period
examples of crosses drawn arrondi when they are intended to be plain
crosses throughout, we will not grant difference for a cross versus a
cross arrondi." (January,
"There is a step from period practice for the use of a cross arrondi." (June, 2016 LoAR)
Volume III of William Berry's 1828 Encyclopædia Heraldica, Plate XXXIII
|". . .[T]he cross barby is the outlawed symbol
of the white supremacist
movement in Hungary, similar to the use of the swastika/fylfot in Germany. . .." (May, 2011
"Any submitter wishing to register this charge after the December 2011 Laurel meeting must provide documentation that it is, in fact, a period charge." (May, 2011 LoAR)
a sketch of arms incorporating squared-off Bowen knots from William Fellow's 1530 heraldic visitation of Wales (Coll. Arms H 8, folio 22v)
Thomas Woodcock and John Martin Robinson's 1988 The Oxford Guide to Heraldry, Page 149
typical Bowen knot
drawn by Khevron Oktavii Tikhikovich Vorotnikov, used by his permission.
drawn by Khevron Oktavii Tikhikovich Vorotnikov, used by his permission.
"A Bowen cross is a Bowen knot rotated 45 degrees to be in
cross, with the loops straightened into straight lines and right angle
bends. It looks like five mascles
conjoined in cross." (August,
". . .in armory with a <charge> within a Bowen knot, the Bowen knot is the primary charge and the <charge> is secondary." (August, 2005 LoAR)
It's not a Bowen cross (or a Bowen knot) if it's got elliptical arms with pointed ends and lacks a gap in the center. (March, 2010 LoAR).
A Bowen cross is substantially different from a cross patonce (September, 2004 LoAR), a cross crosslet (October, 2006 LoAR), and a fret (December, 1995 LoAR), and significantly different from a cross formy (May, 1995 LoAR).
A Bowen cross and a Bowen knot are too similar to appear in
the same piece of armory. (August,
Note: There are also multiple registrations of Bowen knots crosswise, which differ from Bowen crosses only in that their loops aren't squared off.
"A true Celtic cross has the 'annulet' clearly conjoined with the limbs of the cross, not fretted with it." (November, 1989 LoAR)
"A Celtic cross is a specific type of cross, which has tapering arms. Adding an annulet to any particular type of cross does not automatically make it a Celtic cross." (January, 2010 LoAR)
A Celtic cross is a period artifact, and therefore the use of one on armory is not a step from period practice (December, 2008 LoAR). However, "Adding a roundel to an arbitrary type of cross to produce a Celtic cross of that type is a step from period practice." (November, 2008 LoAR) So is "forming a Celtic cross formy" (July, 2015 LoAR).
A Celtic cross is significantly different from a Celtic cross quarter-pierced (October,
1992 LoAR), an ankh (September,
2004 LoAR), a Cross of Calvary
2008 LoAR), a Latin cross formy (December,
2001 LoAR), and a cross crosslet
|Cross of Coldharbour||
A Cross of Coldharbour is ". . .a cross throughout, conjoined with an annulet centered thereon." (June, 1979 LoAR, as quoted in the Precedents of the S.C.A. College of Arms for the tenure of Karina of the Far West.)
|a cross ending in four pheons||Note: This cross has a great deal in common with a cross barby.|
"A cross estoile is a post-period charge. . .," and its use is a step from period practice. (June, 1996 LoAR)
Note: This charge is so far as I can tell indistinguishable from a mullet of four points, which is, in turn, not considered significantly different from a compass star for purposes of conflict checking. (June, 1995 LoAR)
"The cross gurgity appears to be an invention of period heralds, mentioned in tracts, but never seen in period heraldry. The same sort of curved ends can be seen, in mirror pairs, in the cross moline. Therefore, though this cross was never used in period heraldry, its use is only a step from period practice." (April, 2011LoAR)
|cross potent arched|
|cross potent rebated in annulo||"In plain terms, he wanted an ancient Indo-European sun disk, or fylfot, sometimes known as a swastika, a rounded version thereof. And there was great debate on all sides. It boiled town to this: nobody objected to the sun disk, and everybody objected to the word swastika, and so the blazon was carefully reworded. (KFW, 16 Jan 72 , p. 4)" (Precedents of the S.C.A. College of Arms, Volume I)|
|Cross of Saint Brigid||
"The question was raised in commentary regarding banning this cross, since it is an SCA invention and relies on its identifiability from the woven straw internal detailing. However, there are period charges that do just that, for instance moons in their plenitude, so we see no reason to ban this cross." (May, 1999 LoAR)
"There is no evidence that a cross of Saint Brigid was used in period, let alone in period heraldry. Therefore, the use of a cross of Saint Brigid is a step from period practice." (February, 2009 LoAR)
"[A] Cross of Saint Brigid throughout is not registerable. Counterchanging a cross of Saint Brigid hampers its identifiability; however, we are uncertain if such counterchanging is a bar to registration and decline to rule on the issue at this time." (September, 2006 LoAR)
|Cross of Samildanach||
menorah on the Arch of Titus (82 C.E.)
detail from a photo in the public domain
menorah in a medieval Hebrew Bible
Bod. MS Canon Or 94, folio 1r
"The blazon submitted was incomprehensible to anyone who had not seen the emblazon, so when we could not describe it we named it." (Heraldicon LoAR)
The Cross of Samildanach is explained in the online O&A as "four menorahs in cross".
||A crux stellata is significantly different from a cross crosslet fleury (July, 1996 LoAR).|
This page was written and is maintained by Coblaith Muimnech, who created and owns the copyright to all portions not attributed to others. You may print or electronically copy it for your own use or to pass on to others, provided you do not seek to profit from its distribution.
Click to visit Coblaith's homepage or the index to her heraldry articles.
You can see most of the illustrations above in their original contexts by clicking on them or on text in the notes below them. The cited manuscripts are as follows::
BSB Cod.icon. 273: a book of arms of the Venetian nobility
made in Italy in the 16th century, now in the collection of the
Bavarian State Library
BSB Cod. icon. 392 d: an armorial made in southern Germany in the first half of the 16th century, now in the collection of the Bavarian State Library
Bod. MS Canon Or 94: a Hebrew Bible made in Castile in the early 14th century, now in the collection of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University
Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum AG 2760: a roll of Swabian arms made in or near Zürich between 1330 and 1346, now in the collection of the Swiss National Museum