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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.

Historical Heraldry

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.

Family Seal

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).

This original seal would have been impressed (typically using hot wax) and has been colorized (by @steve) to emphasize the similarities in the Malan Coat of Arms.

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:

The horse, sometimes colorized brown or white, may have been silver (argent) as there was no brown officially used in heraldry. However, descriptions include a “natural” colored horse, which means its addition could have been meant to be another shade outside of the heraldic. Of course, horses come in all sorts of colors other than brown!

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.

Color Standards

Strictly speaking, heraldry consists of very basic colors. The following are used in the Malan Coat of Arms:

NameEquivalentElements (ancillaries)
gulesREDTop fess, castle portal (ribbon)
argentSILVERCastle, caul (horse?)
orGOLDBottom fess, Fleur-de-lis (ribbon, crown)
vertGREENHills
azureBLUECenter fess

When impossible to reproduce color, such as is the case with an engraved seal, colors are represented by the following standard patterns:

A careful study of the Mérindol Sigil confirms most of the currently accepted colors in use
1 Comment
  1. Author
    Traek Malan 2 months ago

    Please let me know if you have any corrections. Most people don’t have an account on the new WordPress site so I’m happy to take your corrections, additions, etc. However, if you’d like to have the ability to edit and even create new articles, please feel free to sign up for an account at https://malan.family/register

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