.....The shield is usually of metal, such as gold or silver, though the metal may be covered with fur. This covering was to keep the shield cooler in hot weather. One always places color on metal, or metal on color,never color on color.
.....The metals, colors, mantling, wreath and crest are described in a stylized bastard language (Franco-Italian in origin), which was understandable anywhere in Europe about the time of the Crusades. When drawn, the artist is thus directed by the stylized description on how to draw a coat-of-arms. If drawing in black and white, he denotes the colors by dots and stripes or checks, and these indications of color are also recognized throughout Europe. For instance, a blank shield is understood to be silver or argent. While one with random dots is recognized as gold, or or. On the decorations, horizontal stripes indicate blue (azure). Diagonal or vertical stripes would indicate some other color. Any decoration or animal in its natural color, is said to be "proper" - hence, in our case, the ram's head is often described as "proper". If the ram's head is neatly sliced off at the bottom, it is "coupe". If it is jagged at the bottom, it is said to be "erasee". If a term "attired" is used, it means the beast has horns.

Regarding the diamonds, or lozenges, on the "Bigelow" coat-of-arms: They are sometimes described simply as "three lozenges" or three in a row across the shield. In other descriptions, the specifications "two-over-one" is added. In Baguley Hall, Manchester, England, the Baguley (Bigelow) shield is displayed. It is also on the effigy of Sir Wm. Baguley and in both cases the lozenges are two-over-one.

The legal description, from some 650 years or more ago: Arms, Argent, three lozenges azure. Crest: a ram's head erased azure, charged with three lozenges and attired or. In summary: The shield is of silver, the three lozenges are of blue. The ram's head is of blue, lozenges on it's neck are of gold, as are the ram's horns. The wreath, under the crest, is of alternate twists of silver and blue. The helmet is of steel color and the mantle is of blue lined with silver. The ribbon is of silver.

Whether the Bigelow family are rightfully inheritors of the Baguley coat-of-arms, or johnny come lately imposters who adopted it in the last couple of centuries, is unsolved. It's use as a decoration, in the U.S., implies nothing other than a connection with the Baguley family. There is no custom forbidding its use as a decoration. In the United Kingdom, the use of heraldic designs falls under the rules of the country and is a different matter.

Suggested books: Mathew's, American Armory, 1906 edition, pp 34,57; Fairbairn's, Book of Crests, Vol. 1, p 29; Crozier's, General Armory, 1904 edition, p 22; Bolton's Armory; Encyclopedia of American Biongraphy, Vol. 32; any books by L.G. Pine, on Heraldry are very good; Visitation of Cheshire, 1580, by the Harleon Society, Plate 11,14 and page 148; History of the County of Palaline and City of Chester, by George Ormerod, London, 1819, 3 vol. folio.

This article was written by Loring Bigelow who also did the research. I merely transcribed it from a document provided by The Bigelow Society. The same is true for the following drawings.

The position of the helmet shows the rank of esquire or gentleman. It was granted in 1319. The drawing on the left is from an article my grandmother, Pearl (Hoff) Bigelow, clipped out of a newspaper in 1936.

Rod Bigelow (Roger Jon12 Bigelow)
Box 13  Chazy Lake
Dannemora, N.Y. 12929