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Dictionary of Vexillology: B (Bend - Birlinn)

Last modified: 2017-07-05 by rob raeside
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BEND
The heraldic term for a diagonal stripe which runs for the upper dexter to the lower sinister of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, and which (in strict heraldic usage) should occupy about one-third of the field when charged, and one-fifth when plain – but see ‘Appendix IX’ and ‘descending diagonal’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘in bend’, ‘per bend’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘triangular panel 2)’).

Bend Strasbourg Campania Campania
Example; Flag of Strasbourg, France (fotw); Arms and Flag of Campania, Italy (Wikipedia & fotw)


BEND ON (or BEND ONTO)
(v) A nautical term for securing two pieces of rope together as in attaching the hoistline of a flag to the halyard of a flag pole or mast (see ‘halyard’ and ‘hoistline’).

BEND SINISTER
The heraldic term for a diagonal stripe which runs for the lower dexter to the upper sinister of a shield, a banner or arms or any quartering thereof, and which (in strict heraldic usage) should occupy about one-third of the field when charged, and one-fifth when plain – but see ‘Appendix IX’ and ‘ascending diagonal’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘in bend sinister’, ‘per bend sinister’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘triangular panel 2)’).

Fire Brigade, Austria Franekeradeel Franekeradeel
Badge of the Fire Brigade, Austria (official website); Flag of Frankerandeel, The Netherlands (fotw); Arms of Oostdongeradeel, The Netherlands (CS)


BEND SINISTER WAVY
In heraldry see ‘bend’ (also ‘wavy’).

Lentegí, Spain Lentegí, Spain 
Arms and Flag of Probsteierhagen, Germany (Wikipedia & fotw)


BEND WAVY
In heraldry see ‘bend’ (also ‘wavy’).

Lentegí, Spain Lentegí, Spain
Arms and Flag of Lentegí, Spain (ICH & Klaus-Michael Schneider)


BENDLET and BENDLET SINISTER
The heraldic term for a diminutive of bend and bend sinister, nominally half the width of a bend but often much narrower, sometimes wavy and usually (but not invariably) appearing in numbers of two or more – see ‘bend’ and ‘bend sinister’ (also ‘bend’ and ‘bend sinister’ (also ‘bendlet wavy & bendlet sinister wavy’)

Grolley CH Grolley CH Südtondern DE Südtondern DE
Arms and Flag of Grolley, Switzerland (Wikipedia & fotw); Arms and Flag of Südtondern, Germany (fotw)


BENDLET WAVY and BENDLET SINISTER WAVY
In heraldry see ‘bendlet and bendlet sinister’ (also ‘wavy’). 

Breenbek DE Wesenberg DE
Flag of Bredenbek, Germany (fotw); Arms of Wesenberg, Germany (fotw)


BENDWISE (or BENDWISE SINISTER)
1) In traditional heraldry see ‘in bend’ and ‘in bend sinister’.
2) In some heraldic usage this term relates specifically to the axis of a charge or charges, rather than to its, or their position, on a shield, a banner of arms or a flag – but see ‘in bend’ and ‘in bend sinister’ as referenced above.

bendwise example bendwise example bendwise example bendwise example bendwise example Eiken CH Eiken CH
Flag and Arms of Haut Rhin, France (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag of Le Sentier, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Jondal, Norway (Wikipedia & fotw); Arms and Flag of Eiken, Switzerland (Wikipedia & fotw)


BENDY
1) The heraldic term for the division of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, into four or more usually (but not invariably) equal bends or bendlets, and running from the upper dexter to the lower sinister in alternating tinctures – but see ‘bend’ and ‘multi-stripe’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘tincture’).
2) See ‘wavy’.

bendy Šmarje pri Jelšah Šmarje pri Jelšah Molondin Molondin
Example; Flag and Arms of Šmarje pri Jelšah, Slovenia (fotw); Flag and Arms of Molondin, Switzerland (fotw & wiki)


BENDY SINISTER
The heraldic term for the division of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, into four or more usually (but not invariably) equal bends or bendlets, and running from the lower dexter to the upper sinister in alternating tinctures – but see ‘per bend sinister’ and ‘multi-stripe’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘tincture’).

bendy sinister Wasseramt  Trüllikon Trüllikon
Example; Flag of Wasseramt, Switzerland (fotw); Aarms and Flag of Trüllikon, Switzerland (Wikipedia & fotw)


BENT
In heraldry see ‘embowed’.

Fischbach Fischbach
Arms and Flag of Fischbach, Switzerland (Wikipedia & fotw)


BETHEL FLAG
The flag of the Bethel Union, a seaman’s missionary organization, and occasionally flown in the 19th Century by some British and US merchant vessels to indicate that a church service was taking place (see also ‘church pennant’ and ‘flying angel flag’).

[Bethel flag] [Bethel flag]


BETSY ROSS FLAG
A pattern of the stars and stripes whose canton carried thirteen five-pointed stars arranged in a circle, which according to legend was ordered by George Washington in 1776 and sewn by Betsy Ross of Philadelphia (see also ‘continental colours’, ‘eagle standard’, ‘Franklin flag’, ‘great star flags’, ‘old glory’, ‘quincunx’, ‘stars and stripes’ and ‘star-spangled banner’).

[Betsy Ross flag]
The Betsy Ross Pattern US National Flag (fotw)

Please note that the US flag had no official star pattern until 1818, at which time the 20-star flag (and all subsequent flags) had official patterns for military purposes. Since 1918 (the 48-star version), the flag has had an official pattern for all purposes, therefore, the type above is likely one of many patterns used during the period 1777-1795.


BEWPER (OR BEWPERS)
A 17th Century term, now obsolete, for bunting (see also ‘bunting 1)’).

BEZANT (OR BESANT)
The heraldic term for a particularly (but not exclusively) gold or yellow disc – a roundel or (see ‘hurt’, ‘roundel 3)’, ‘plates’ and ‘torteau’).

example Duke of Cornwall Harelbeke, Belgium Geuensee, Switzerland
From left: example; Standard of the Duke of Cornwall, UK (fotw); Flag of Harelbeke, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Geuensee, Switzerland (fotw)

Notes
a)
In strict English heraldic usage this term should only be employed when the charge described is gold/yellow (“or”) - see ‘tinctures’.
b)
The term, dating from the time of the Crusades, is derived from a gold coin of Byzantium.


BICOLOUR (BICOLOR or BI-COLOUR)
1) A flag of two even or uneven stripes or bands of colour (whether divided vertically, horizontally or diagonally) and whether defaced or plainbut see note below (also ‘ascending diagonal 2)’, ‘descending diagonal 2)’, ‘per fess’, ‘per bend’, ‘per bend sinister’, ‘per pale’, ‘deface’, ‘plain 2)’ and ‘stripe’).
2) An undefaced flag with two equal (vertical or horizontal) stripes or bands of colour – a simple bicolour (see also ‘undefaced’).

Bicolour [Poland] Bicolour [Haiti] Bicolour [Portugal] Bicolour [Rome] Bicolour [Sicily] Bicolour [Bhutan]
From left: National Flag of Poland (fotw); National flag of Haiti (fotw); National Flag of Portugal (fotw); Flag of Rome, Italy (fotw); Flag of Sicily (fotw); National Flag of Bhutan (fotw)

Please note that the division line on a bicolour may be described by using the vexillogical terms: horizontal or vertical, by 'descending diagonal' and 'ascending diagonal'; or by the corresponding heraldic terms (party/divided): 'per fess', 'per pale', 'per bend' and 'per bend sinister'.


BILLET
The heraldic term for a small rectangular charge usually (but not invariably) shown upright - but see ‘billetty’.

example Baarle-Nassau Tunes Tunes
Example; Flag of Baarle-Nassau, The Netherlands (fotw); Arms and Flag of Tunes, Portugal (fotw)


BILLETTY
The heraldic term sometimes used to describe a semé of billets – see ‘billet’ and ‘semé’.

Chastre, Belgium  Vodice, Slovenia  Franche-Comté, France Franche-Comté, France  Kampenhout, Belgium
Flag of Chastre, Belgium (fotw); Arms of Vodice, Slovenia (fotw); Flag and Arms of Franche-Comté; France (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag of Kampenhout, Belgium (fotw)


BIRLINN
In Scottish heraldry see ‘lymphad’.

birlinn birlinn
Badge and Flag of The Western Isles Council, Scotland


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