Fess

In heraldry, a fess or fesse (from Middle English fesse, from Old French, from Latin fascia, "band")[1] is a charge on a coat of arms (or flag) that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the centre of the shield.[2] Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by a fess or other ordinary, ranging from one-fifth to one-third. The Oxford Guide to Heraldry states that earlier writers including Leigh, Holme, and Guillim favour one-third, while later writers such as Edmondson favour one-fifth "on the grounds that a bend, pale, or chevron occupying one-third of the field makes the coat look clumsy and disagreeable."[3] A fess is likely to be shown narrower if it is uncharged, that is, if it does not have other charges placed on it, and/or if it is to be shown with charges above and below it; and shown wider if charged. The fess or bar, termed fasce in French heraldry, should not be confused with fasces.

"Argent a fess gules"

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