The Malan Coat of Arms has several forms floating around various websites today. What follows is an attempt to catalog different versions. As the first of many articles in our Family Wiki Project (a current working title of “The Malan Family Encyclopedia”), we encourage family members to sign up for an account and contribute to the content, adding pictures and cataloging their use.
Originally, the Malan Coat of Arms consisted simply of a red (gules) fess on which there was a silver (argent) castle with two towers:
Later, the shield was divided and the upper fess remained as originally with a gold (or) fess, which we refer to as the Waldensian Coat of Arms. With the addition of three green (vert) hills (mounts) to the gold (or) fess, we have the basis for the first coat of arms used by the French branch of the Malans.
Mark of Nobility
In 1248 A.D., King Louis IX (aka St. Louis) of France embarked on a crusade to Palestine, as was popular at the time. Eighty miles outside of Jerusalem, a battle broke out during which some number of Malans distinguished themselves in battle that Louis IX granted them they place three golden lilies — the Fleur-de-lis — on a royal blue band on their shields.
Thereby, the Malans were granted the rank of noblemen. The shield — and indeed in many other places, including the seal shown below — shows the year this was granted our family: 1250 A.D.
Further evidence of this is in the silver caul in the open position with five bars over the face, resting atop the Malan shield. We see evidence of this as far back as the end of the 15th century and was a distinguishing feature as heraldry allowed further distinguishing marks over the years.
The below seal (sigil) was used for validating correspondence and bears many similarities to the coat of arms descriptions, including the three Fleur-de-lis and year of nobility, 1250 spread across either side of the lower ribbon. The seal is titled “Sigil: Malan de Mérindol” or in essence: Seal of the Mérindol Malans (Mérindol, France).
Coat of Arms Reconstruction
Though no known shield or family crest survived, the Mérindol Sigil gives us a clue as to how the heraldry was laid out, even if it seems to conflict somewhat with the strict rules of heraldry.
It is important to note that mimicking a particular styling is not essential but the elements are. One such reconstruction using only the official colors of heraldry (with some slight liberties taken in shading as they can appear quite stark on a web page) is found below:
For those family members interested in reproducing their own versions of the family coat of arms, we are working on making elements available in vector format so they can be made into high quality prints on banners, plaques, letterhead and t-shirts.
Strictly speaking, heraldry consists of very basic colors. The following are used in the Malan Coat of Arms:
|gules||RED||Top fess, castle portal (ribbon)|
|argent||SILVER||Castle, caul (horse?)|
|or||GOLD||Bottom fess, Fleur-de-lis (ribbon, crown)|
When impossible to reproduce color, such as is the case with an engraved seal, colors are represented by the following standard patterns: