Stain (heraldry)

In heraldry, a stain (sometimes termed stainand colour or staynard colour) is one of a few non-standard tinctures or colours (namely murrey, sanguine and tenné), which are only known to occur in post-medieval heraldry and are thought to denote a rebatement of honour. Almost none of these rebatements are found in fact of heraldic practice, however, and in British heraldry the stains find only exceptional use, other than for purposes of livery.[1]


Murrey (deriving from late Middle English, via Old French from Medieval Latin moratus, from morum 'mulberry') is mulberry-coloured, or reddish purple. The murrey colour used in coats of arms should be clearly darker than purpure and stand out from it, to approximately the same extent that sanguine is darker than Gules and tenné from brunatre.[2] A good comparison between the two tinctures could be obtained from comparing the murrey in the coat of arms of the University of Wales, with the lion purpure adorning the coat of arms of the Kingdom of León.


Sanguine (deriving from Middle English, from French sanguin(e) 'of blood', from Latin sanguineus 'of blood', from sanguis, sanguin- 'blood') is a brownish red, or blood-red colour. It is expected to be darker than Gules.[3]


Tenné (deriving mid-16th century from an obsolete French variant of Old French tane)[4] (sometimes termed tawny) is an orange-tawny colour, though orange may be considered distinct in continental European and African heraldic traditions. Called tanné in modern and actual French heraldry, it refers to the leather tanning process and to the color the finished product is said to have, hence the name tanné ('tanned'). Being the initial shade of brown available by itself in heraldry, it's hatching form naturally took the shape of red and green lines mixed together. Tenné is expected to be slightly darker than Gules, clearly darker than orange, but lighter than brunatre, sanguine, murrey & sable.


Historical examples

Flag of the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939)

See also


  1. Fox-Davies (1909), pp. 72-73.
  2. "murrey". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  3. "sanguine". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  4. "tenné". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  5. "Arms and Crest". University of Wales. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  6. Provisional Government of the Republic of Spain (in Spanish). Wikisource link to Decreto del Gobierno Provisional de la República de 27 de abril de 1931. Wikisource.


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