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WE come now from points, the first part in our partition of Accidents of an Eschocheon, to the second part, which is Abatements. An Abatement is an accidentall mark annexed to Coate-armour, denoting some ungentleman-like, dishonourable, or disloiall demeanour, qualitie, or staine, in the Bearer, whereby the dignitie of the Coate-armour is greatly abased.


Abatement what.

Abatements doe consist in

{ Diminution.
{ Reversing.

Diminution is a blemishing or defacing of some particular point or points of the Eschocheon, by reason of the imposition of some stainand colour thereupon. Note that all these markes of diminution in the Eschocheons nex following, must be evermore of some one of the stainand colours, viz. Tawney or Murrey, and must in no wise be of Metall, neither must they be Charged in any case, for so should they be additions of worship.

Diminution what.

Note the Tinctures of Diminutions

These are placed on

{ the Middle,
{ Some other part of the Eschocheon.

Such as are placed in the Middle are expressed in these next two Eschocheons following, whereof the first is a Delfe, as in this example.

shield bearing a delf (retouched) He beareth Argent a Delfe Tennè; to him that revoketh his owne Challenge (as we call it) eating his word, (saith Leigh) is this Abatement given in token therof. Note, that whensoever you shall finde two or moe of them in one Eschocheon, you shall not reckon of them as signes of Abatement, but of Honour; and in like manner, if either they bee of Metall, or Charged upon; and so is it also in some other Abatements, which either by their number or colours, doe change their quality and become Charges of perfect bearing.

A Delfe for revocation of challenge.


shield reversed He beareth Or, an Eschocheon reversed, Sanguine. This is that other abatement that occupieth the middle point of the Eschocheon, and is given unto him that discourteously intreateth either Maid or Widow against their will; or to such a one as flieth from his Soverignes Banner: hee shall beare his Armes after this sort, untill such time as hee have done some valiant exploit, worthy to be noted, by the Heralds; upon whose true report, it may please the Soveraigne to restore him to his former Bearing; which admission must bee done in no lesse private Assembly then in the Mustering of a Campe.

Escocheon reversed for deflowering either maid or widow, &c.

Such Diminutions as are placed upon some other part of the Eschocheon,

Doe occupy

{ One point alone,
{ More then one.

That which occupieth one alone, is called a Dexter point parted, an example whereof you may see in this next Escocheon.

point dexter parted (retouched) He beareth Argent, a point Dexter parted, Tennè: this Diminution is due unto him that overmuch boasteth himselfe of his Martiall acts. If a man doe performe any praiseworthy Action, the selfe deede will sufficiently commend him though he hold his peace; and therefore Seneca lib. 2. de beneficiis, doth reprehend this kind of vaine boasting; Res loquatur (saith hee) nobis tacentibus, Let our deedes speake, let our tongues be silent: or if wee will needes have verball praise, let us seeke it by the direction of that wise King, Laudet te alius, & non os tuum, aliena labia, non lingua tua, Let another man bee thy Trumpeter, and not thine owne mouth. For indeed, that marke wherwith Judicious Virgil bradneth Dranecs, doth seldome deceive, Lingua melior, sed frigida bello dextera, Whose tongue is quickest to speake, his arme in fight is weake. And albeit a man bee truly valiant in deedes of Armes, yet Laus in ore proprio sordescit, It is ungentlemanlike to boast of it. Plutarch writes of young Marius, that his talke and gesture was so stout, that he got the name of Martis filius, the sonne of Mars; but when it came to the proofe, he was so farre from what he seemed, that he gained a new name of Veneris filius, the sonne of Venus.

Point dexter parted for too much boasting.

Virg. AEneid. lib.12.

Such Diminutions as doe occupie more then one point of the Eschocheon,

doe comprehend,

{ Foure points,
{ Lesse then foure.

That diminution of the former sort, is this which you see in this Escocheon, and is due to him that is slothfull in the Warres.

point in point (retouched) Hee beareth Or, a Point in Point, Sanguine. Heerein you may see in part how necessary it is to know the Points of the Escocheon before expressed, pag. 34. inasmuch as this one Abatement compriseth these foure Points, viz. the Honour, together with the dexter and sinister, and the exact base points. For it is very manifest, that the one of these Arch lines hath his beginning from the dexter, and the other from the sinister base points, and doe meete in an acute Angle in the Honour point, answering perpendicularly to the precise base point. In former ages this vice was chastised by another kind of punishment, saith Cassaneus, Quando Miles se malè gesserit in bello, potest Judex scutum suum perforari facere, ut hoc exemplo alii Milites in prælio sint fortiores: If a Souldier demeane himselfe not well in fight, the Judge Martiall may cause his Escocheon to be pierced, to teach others by this chastisement, to be more valorous. But contrariwise it is honourable for a man of Armes, to have blowes appeare in his Buckler, given by his foes; as is memorable in our ancient Countriman Scæva (the principall man who taught Julius Cæsar the way to conquere Britaine) whose valour Cæsar hath eternized with this acknowledgment, that it was he alone, who saved the fortification against Pompey at Dyrrachium, where Cæsar perused his Buckler, and found 230.holes pierced in it. And therfore because the dastard dares not come so neere the Enemy to beare his strokes on his shield, hee must be contented to take this piercing of some of his own side in Armes.

Point in point for sloth in warre.

Those Diminutions that doe comprehend fewer then foure,

Are either, of

{ Three,
{ Two.

Such are said to comprehend three points, whose lines doe bound so manie within their limits, as in example.

That diminution of the former sort, is this which you see in this Escocheon, and is due to him that is slothfull in the Warres.

point champaine (retouched) He beareth Or, a Point Champaine, Tennè. This is the first of those Diminutions that doe comprehend three points, and is formed of one Arch line, which taketh his beginning from the Dexter base (and including the middlemost) & endeth in the Sinister base point. This is due unto him that killeth his Prisoner, (humbly submitting himselfe) with his owne hands, though in extreme neede it is allowed by the Law of Armes, rather to kill, then to hazard himselfe to bee slaine; Alwaies (saith Sir John Froysard) by right of Armes a man ought to grieve his Enemy, and good company of Armes is mercy to knights and Souldiers.

Point Champaine for killing of a Prisoner.


plain point (retouched) Hee beareth Or, a plaine point, Sanguine. This Abatement comprehendeth the same points that the last precedent doth, but differeth from the same heerein, that the former is framed of an Arch-line, and this of a Right line. This Abatement is due to him that telleth lies, or other false tales, to his Soveraigne. For if light eare incline to light lips, harme ensueth; and warre is then easily begunne but hardly alaid againe, when misreport and light credence meete together.

Point plaine for lying.

gore sinister Hee beareth Argent, a Goare Sinister, Tennè. This Abatement consisteth of two Arch lines drawne from the Sinister Chiefe, and bottome of the Escocheon, and meeting in a sharpe Angle in the Fesse point. This is the third and last of the Abatements that occupieth three points of the Escocheon, and is due to him that is a Coward to his enemy. For wee must conceive that Goares and likewise Gussets are things in use among women, especially Semsters, and therefore are fit notes of cowards, and womanish dispositions. But as for the Dexter Goare, wee must otherwise esteeme of it; for (saith Leigh) though it be of Stainand colour, yet it is exempted out of the number of Abatements, and it is a good Coate for a Gentlewoman; many of which sex are so farre from the staine of Cowardize, as they will not turne their Backs to men of greatest valour; but like the valiant Penthesilea, Audetque viris concurrere virgo, The Damsell faire dares meete the stoutest man; saith Virg. I. Æneid. But if there bee both Dexter and Sinister (saith hee) it is too bad to bee borne; for although it bee Charged, yet doth it dishonour the thing that is thereupon.

A gore for Cowardice.


That Abatement that conprehendeth onely two points of the Escocheon is called a Gusset, and is formed of a Traverse line drawne either from the Dexter or Sinister Chiefe point of the Escocheon tending to the Honour point, and descending from thence perpendicularly to the extreme base parts of the Escocheon; as in this next example appeareth, wherein are expressed both the Dexter and Sinister Gores.


two gussets He beareth Argent, 2.Gussets Sanguine. In Abating (saith Leigh) there is but one Gusset: and he that is too much devoted to the smocke, shall weare the Gusset on the right side; but he that committeth Idolatrie to Bacchus, the Gusset on the left side shall bee his reward. If he be faultie in both, then he shall beare both, as in the Escocheon present. Such a Coat as this I finde borne by the name of Coningham, saving that the Field is Sable, and the Gussets Argent, and therefore not to be taken to bee of this kinde, according to the rule touching the Delfe, pag.36.


Gusset for Lust.
Gusset for drunkennes.

Hitherto of such Abatements as doe abase the estimation of the Coat-armour whereunto they are annexed, in some parts or points of them only, being the first sort of Abatements, whereof we promised to speake.

Now followeth the last, and worst of all the rest, which is a Coat-armour reversed. Reversing is a preposterous manner of location of a Coat-armour, by turning of the whole Escocheon upside downe, contrary to the usuall forme of bearing, after this manner.

Reversed Coats for Treason.
Reversing what.

reversed coat of arms He beareth light blew, 4.Mollets yellow, 2.in the Fesse, and as many in the Cheefe. This forme of bearing is peculiar to a Traitor: such a one (saith Leigh) was hee that owed these Armes, whose name was Sir Armerie of Pavie, a Lombard-borne, an unworthy Captaine of Calice, and Traitor to King Edward the Third, in selling the same to Sir Geffrey Charney for 20000.Crownes. To this kinde of bearing is this forme of Blazon (beginning at the Base first) peculiar, and to no other, in respect that as this Escocheon standeth, the Base Point is the highest part thereof. By this inglorious subversion of the Escocheon, the dignitie thereof is not blemished only in some points, as the former, but is essentially annihilated in the whole. In all other Crimes, though Capitall, the punishment transcendeth not the person of the Offender, Quia nullum delictum patris innocenti filio pæna est (saith Cassaneus:) The innocent sonne shall not beare the punishment of the fathers offense. But in this which we call Crimen Læsæ Majestatis, or High Treason, (being an offense so horrible and detestable before God and Man) it is farre otherwise: for heerein as well the children of the Offenders, as the Traitors themselves, shall participate of the heavie vengeance due to so great an impietie, athough not in that deepe measure that the father doth: and that by the imitation of the divine Justice; that so men might be deterred, not only from the actuall committing, but also from the confederation and concealment of an offense so highly displeasing God, and abhorring Nature. For when a fact is committed or intended against the person of him that swaieth the Soveraigne State (wherein he representeth the Image of the divine government) it is not so much offensive against the person of the Prince, as it is against the Majestie of the Eternall God, whose Image he beareth. And the welfare of the Subjects depending on the safety of the Soveraigne, the danger intended to the one, hath in it a guilt of endammaging the lives of millions.

Crimen Læsæ Majestatis.

See Num.16.

As touching persons convicted of High Treason in the Justice of the Law of Armes, for the further coertion of so hainous a fact as Treason is, and for a further punishment both of the Traitor & of his whole Progenie; it is to be observed, that if a Gentleman of Coat-armour hath issue divers Sons, and committeth Treason, he hath forfaited his Coat-armour for ever, neither may his issue beare the same, Quia eorum memoria destrui debet, For that the memorie of them may utterly be extinguished. For sithence it is held they may be lawfully killed seeing they are said to be enemies to the King and People, much more is it lawfull to prohibit to their Heires, together with the inheritence, their Armes also, and stile of Gentrie: insomuch as some are of opinion, that the sonne loseth Jura Sepulchrorum, the rights and ceremonies of Buriall accustomed to Gentrie. And of Marcus Manlius (who was condemned of Treason against the Roman State) we finde a Law, that none should ever beare that name. A noble example whereof we saw of late on the instrument of that divellish Parricide on the late puissant King of France, for the obliterating of the name and memory of such a villaine out of that Kingdome.

Punishment of Treason by the Law of Armes.
Reversing what.

Finally, if such an one were invested with any honourable dignitie, the Lawes adjudge not onely his Coat-armour to be razed, and his Shield reversed, but also his speare trunked, his spurres hewen from his heeles, his horse docked, his sword to be broken upon his helme, his Crest divided, his Statues pulled downe, his bloud corrupted, and his body to death, (nisi speciali Regis Rescripto intervenerit gratia, without the Kings especiall pardon) his Familie at an end, his possessions taken away, and (for a greater terrour) given to some other Family, whose profitable service to the King and State may better deserve it. So loathsome is this offense to Nobilitie, that she cannot suffer the Markes of him that hath offended in so high a degree, to possesse any place with her Ensignes; but that the same shall be without all reverence, defaced, and spurned into some base place: so that by such his degradation, he receiveth farre greater shame and ignominie, then ever hee received honour by his advancement; according to the old Proverbe,

Heinousness of Treason.

Turpius eiicitur, quàm non admittitur hospes:

Foorth to be turn'd is greater shame,
Then if a man in never came.

The end of the first Section.

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