Pennon

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A pennon or pennant is one of the principal varieties of flags carried during the Middle Ages. Pennoncells and streamers or pendants are considered as minor varieties of this style of flag. The pennon is a flag resembling the guidon in shape, but only half the size. It does not contain any coat of arms, but only crest, mottos and heraldic and ornamental devices.

Pennon comes from the Latin penna meaning "a wing" or "a feather". It was sometimes pointed, but more generally forked or swallow-tailed at the end. In the 11th century, the pennon was generally square, one end being decorated with the addition of pointed tongues or streamers, somewhat similar to the oriflamme. During the reign of Henry III, the pennon acquired the distinctive swallow-tail, or the single-pointed shape. Another version of the single-pointed pennon was introduced in the 13th century. In shape this was a scalene triangle, obtained by cutting diagonally the vertically oblong banner.

The pennon was a purely personal ensign. It was essentially the flag of the knight bachelor, as apart from the knight banneret, carried by him on his lance, displaying his personal armorial bearings, and set out so that they stood in correct position when he couched his lance for charging. A manuscript of the 16th century (Hari. 2358) in the British Museum, which gives detailed particulars as to the size, shape and bearings of the standards, banners, pennons and pennoncells, says "a pennon must be two...
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