Search: in
Jessant-de-lys in Encyclopedia Encyclopedia
  Tutorials     Encyclopedia     Videos     Books     Software     DVDs  


A leopard's face jessant-de-lys, showing the standard form with fleur-de-lys erect Jessant-de-lys is a heraldic term denoting a fleur-de-lys issuing out of any object.[1] It is most frequently seen in conjunction with a leopard's face, meaning in heraldic language the face of a lion.



A leopard's face jessant-de-lys, shown in the unusual form with the fleur-de-lys reversed Charles Boutell op.cit. [2] has described the charge thus: "a leopard's face affront e, resting upon a fleur-de-lys, and having the lower part of the flower issuing from the animal's mouth". This appears to describe a fleur-de-lis erect. The fleur-de-lys is on occasion shown reversed, perhaps as an heraldic difference, or simply in error.[3]


escutcheon]] 3 fleurs de lys The earliest use of a leopard's face jessant-de-lys was in the last quarter of the 13th. century, by the Norman family of Cantilupe, borne as a group of three ("Cantilupe modern"). (N.B. plural is correctly "3 leopard's faces" not "3 leopards' faces"). J.R. Planch [4] proposed the Cantilupe jessant-de-lys arms to have been differences of their earlier arms of three fleurs-de-lys, which might be referred to as "Cantilupe ancient", which were used between about 1215 and 1280. Boutell however tentatively suggests them to be the result of a rare compounding of two separate coats of arms, resulting from a marriage to an heiress, akin to dimidiation.[5] This seems unlikely and he gives no genealogical data to support such marriage having occurred. Evidence of the use of "Cantilupe ancient" last appears in the Camden roll of arms, c.1280. for Johan de Cauntelo They are earlier listed as Gules, 3 fleurs de lys or for Sir George de Cantilupe(d.1273) in the Charles's Roll,[6] St. George's Roll,[7] and in the Camden Roll.[8] The arms of William II de Cantilupe(d.1254) are listed even earlier in the Glover's Roll as: Gules, 3 fleurs de lys or.[9] The earliest record of the arms of "Cantilupe ancient" is in the seal of William I de Cantilupe(d.1239). John Nichols in his History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester[10] records a deed dated 1215 relating to William I de Cantilupe's manor of Brentingby, Leicestershire, on which the seal is three fleurs-de-lys circumscribed.

Earliest use

Seal of Bishop Thomas de Cantilupe. Legend: TOMAS DEI GRATIA HEREFORDENSIS EP(ISCOPU)S (Thomas by the grace of God Bishop of Hereford). The arms of Cantilupe ancient are displayed on each side of the bishop: 3 fleurs-de-lys. Hereford Cathedral Archives 6460 Arms of the See of Hereford: Gules, 3 leopard's faces jessant-de-lys or reversed St Thomas Cantilupe(d.1282), Bishop of Hereford, granted his personal arms, the Cantilupe arms reversed (i.e. upside down) for difference to the see of Hereford, and the arms are still used by the Bishop of Hereford today. The episcopal seal of St Thomas still shows however the arms of "Cantilupe ancient" in the form of two groups of three fleurs-de-lys either side of a figure of the standing bishop. This suggests that the ancient arms were still in use at the start of his episcopal reign in 1275, when the seal would have been made. The modern arms were certainly in use in 1300, but by a cadet branch of the Cantilupe family (which had died out in the main line in 1273 on the death of Sir George de Cantilupe) in the form of another William de Cantilupe, who used a fess for difference, as recorded in the Caerlaverock Roll, which was a record of participants at the siege of Caerlaverock Castle in 1300. His arms are recorded as Gules, a fess vair between 3 leopard's faces jessant-de-lys or.[11] The Cantilupe family granted their arms, with differences, to many of their feudal tenants, as arms of patronage, which have taken the form of "Cantilupe modern". Examples are in the 13th. c. to Hubard of Ipsley, Warwickshire,[12] to John Woodforde of Brentingby(fl.1316), Leicestershire [13] and possibly to Denys of Siston, Gloucestershire, formerly from Glamorgan, in connection with Candleston Castle.[14] From the latter family the arms were apparently borrowed by the unrelated family of Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, from whom the unrelated family of Alfred Lord Tennyson, poet laureate, again borrowed, probably as their family names signify "Dennis's son".

Modern usage

The true Cantilupe modern arms are borne today only by the See of Hereford and the Earl De La Warr, whose lesser title is Viscount Cantelupe, both titles created in 1761 for the West family, distant descendants of the ancient Cantilupe family. The second quarter of the De La Warr coat of arms is blazoned thus: Azure, 3 leopard's faces reversed jessant-de-lys or[15]


  • Boutell, Charles. Heraldry Modern and Popular, London, 1863
  • Planch J.R., The Pursuivant of Arms, or, Heraldry Founded upon Facts, London, 1873, (first published 1852) p. 103-4


  1. Boutell (1863), p.81
  2. Boutell (1863), p.61
  3. Although Boutell describes it with the fleur-de-lys erect, he depicts it reversed, without comment
  4. Planch J.R., The Pursuivant of Arms, or, Heraldry Founded upon Facts, 1852, p.103-4
  5. Boutell, op. cit. p.177
  6. Charles's Roll, part 2, no. 60, drawn by Planche, p.134
  7. St George's Roll, part 3, E246
  8. Camden Roll, D107
  9. Glover's Roll, part 1, B27
  10. Nichols, John. The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, 4 vols. c.1800, quoted by
  11. Roll of Caerlaverock, K69
  12. Victoria County History, Warks., vol.3, 1945, pp.123-126
  14. Clark G.T. Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae: Being the Genealogies of the Older Families of the Lordship of Morgan and Glamorgan; The Advenae, Dennis, pp.381-2
  15. Debrett's Peerage 1968, pp.333-334

Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

Search for Jessant-de-lys in Tutorials
Search for Jessant-de-lys in Encyclopedia
Search for Jessant-de-lys in Videos
Search for Jessant-de-lys in Books
Search for Jessant-de-lys in Software
Search for Jessant-de-lys in DVDs
Search for Jessant-de-lys in Store


Jessant-de-lys in Encyclopedia
Jessant-de-lys top Jessant-de-lys

Home - Add TutorGig to Your Site - Disclaimer

©2011-2013 All Rights Reserved. Privacy Statement