How to blazon a flag being flown?

Total Posts:  967
Joined  03-12-2006
11 August 2015 20:58

Hello everyone!

A while ago I designed a new crest for myself, a tower Or, flying a swallow-tailed flag Vert. I just found a coat of arms with a somewhat similar idea for a crest, that of the British Indian Ocean Territory :

(From Wikipedia)


I was wondering what is the proper way to blazon a flag flying from a tower (or castle or ship or anything else for that matter)? Ensigned with…? Flying a flag (Tincture)? Also, is the color of the staff mentioned or not?


Finally, is there a specifically heraldic term for a swallow-tailed flag, as I’ve only seen the term in a vexillogical context.





(Hope this isn’t considered a personal arms design question, as I’m not a member at the moment)

Guy Power
Guy Power
Total Posts:  1576
Joined  05-01-2006
12 August 2015 12:48

From the Trinity College blazon:


Azure, a Bible closed, clasps to the dexter, between in chief, on a dexter a lion passant, on the sinister a harp, all or, and in base a castle with two towers domed, each surmounted by a banner flotant from the sides, argent, the dexter flag charged with a cross, the sinister with a saltire, gules.

Source Wiki






Alternatively, from Canada’s Public Register of Arms describing the 27th Regiment of Foot (Inniskilling) Colors:


Buff, in the fly a hurt inscribed INNISKILLING in letters Or, above a castle flying a flag Argent bearing a cross Gules, a canton of the Royal Union Flag 1707 inscribed XXVII Or




Michael F. McCartney
Michael F. McCartney
Total Posts:  3535
Joined  24-05-2004
12 August 2015 14:41

There may be other options, but of the two the Canadian version seems simpler (technically "flotant" is simpler, but not when you include trying to remember where you left your heraldic dictionary…) - we have enough jargon without looking for more!

Ships (galley, lymphad, etc) typically are just blazoned "flagged…" - that may not do for a castle because there are several ways / places that a flag might appear ,- above the tower, on a flagpole near the door, or on a horizontal or diagonal pole attached to the wall or extending from a window, all of which would need to be indicated in the blazon.