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Discrepancies Observed in the Breakey Arms 

In reply to a critic, Barrister, and heraldic author, A. C. Fox-Davies replied “It is every man’s duty, when he sees a wrong, to try to put that wrong right” (Fox-Davies, 1970, p; xvi).  Consequently this author dares to proceed.

The most blatant discrepancy observed in the Breakey Arms is that of the incorrect use of metals.  Please note the three gold stars of eight points on the silver ground of the shield.  Was this meant to be an outstanding exception to the rule, such as the Arms of Jerusalem, or was it an heraldic impropriety?

The reader will also observe that no helmet appears in the Breakey achievement.  Since “a certain aversion for the heraldic helmet, seen as too militaristic, is found in many private and public circles…” (Neubecker, pp. 164-165), perhaps this accounts for its absence.  However, in the absence of the helmet, the next discrepancy is also rather glaring.  The crest is shown correctly placed on the wreath, but the wreath is not connected to the shield.  Pine notes: “The wreath is the means of fastening the crest to the helmet.  When an artist depicts a shield with the crest above it on the wreath but the latter not attached to the helmet, he is guilty of an heraldic solecism.  The crest cannot be airborne, as though independent of the rest of the achievement” (Pine, p. 31).  If a crest and wreath are shown without a helmet, the crest and wreath are then shown resting on the shield.

Let us turn our attention further to the wreath itself.  Perhaps the reader will wish to refer to the correspondence of Bert I. F. Breakey.

In studying the wreath found on each achievement as observed in figures one through five, the reader will note a difference in the wreath depicted in figure two.  The firm of whom Bert I. F. Breakey spoke was correct in questioning the authenticity of the arms because too many ‘twists’ appearing in the wreath or torse.  In the remaining figures, the wreath is depicted correctly.  “The wreath is conventionally shown with six twists alternating the colors of the shield” (Consumer Guide, p. 53);  “…the colors being the chief metal and chief tincture used in the arms, but a wreath may be of three colours.  The metal always comes first, and the number of twists depicted is six” (Franklyn, p. 39).[1]

The reader will recall that charges are objects placed upon the field of the shield.  Let us take into consideration the three stars of eight points.

Dr. Neubecker (pp. 47 & 141) reports a mullet is a “star, normally of five points drawn with straight lines, [which] derives from the molet or spur-rowel,” and further states that “stars are also used quite simply for counting.”  In contrast, Franklyn (p. 28) reports that a “five-pointed star shape is a ‘mullet’ but does not represent a star….If it represents anything at all, and is not merely a meaningless element of design, it represents a spur-rowel.…often pierced round, and sometimes has six, or more, points.”

In an attempt to clarify this point,  I  sought assistance from the  College of Heralds in London.   Thomas Woodcock (personal communication, 27 Jan 1982) replied:


An estoile has wavy rays and a mullet has straight ones and I

have seen mullets described as being of  both five and six points. I

have not seen a mullet ever blazoned as being of eight points and I should

certainly favour the term ‘a star of eight


[1] The wreath may be said to be a “wreath of the colours” (Franklyn, 1968).