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.......Curiosity Corner .......

THE YALE

Despite the intention of this regular feature on fabulous beasts being the education of our readers in respect of their appearance (to avoid the embarrassment of not recognising one on a chance meeting), we have to admit failure with the yale. We are quite unsure of its looks, apart, that is, from its horns which are unique. (Reports as to their size differ, the picture on the right having them much larger than the pictures below, but their ability to revolve, so that the beast can fight both forwards and backwards at once, is not disputed.)

yale rampant
There appear to be two principal schools of opinion, one known as the Bedford, one as the Beaufort. The arrival of the first yale in England was its appearance as a supporter of John, Duke of Bedford, a son of Henry IV who acted as Regent of France for the young Henry V. It was then reported as being like a gazelle in build, dark in colour, with a lion’s tail, a boar’s snout and tusks, and long, straight horns pointing the one forward and the other backward.
Beaufort yale The Beaufort yale was a supporter of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (whose daughter and heiress Margaret was the mother of Henry VII). Both John, Duke of Bedford and John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset were grandsons of John of Gaunt, the former by his first wife Blanche of Lancaster, the latter by his third wife Katherine Swynford.

The two yales, Bedford and Beaufort, share the swivelling horns and the tusks, but have little else in common. The Beaufort yale is a sturdier beast, likened by some to a buffalo, by others to a goat, but the yale on guard at the foot of Lady Margaret’s tomb in Westminster Abbey is more like a fawn. The Beaufort yale is always reported as white in colour, spotted with bezants, and its horns are usually said to be quite short and sickle-shaped.

In the picture above left the Beaufort yale is supporting a shield parted per pale Argent and Azure (the Beaufort livery colours) bearing the crowned portcullis badge of the Beauforts as used by the Tudors.
Yale pennon
The most recent sighting of a yale is that of the ensign of the principal villain in a series of novels by Bernard Cornwell, The Grail Quest, of which the first is titled Harlequin. Here it appears that the bezants have spread all over the body to turn it completely gold, but the horns pointing forward and back, and the goat’s feet, confirm it is a yale.

In respect of the feet it is worth noting that the yales on the roof of St George’s Chapel at Windsor have the rear paws of a lion ~ which may suggest to some that the yale is really the Hindu yali, known to avert the evil eye, which resembles a lion with horns.

martlet icon
The Martlet featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 1
gryphon icon
The Gryphon (or Griffin) featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 2
cockatrice icon
The Cockatrice (and Basilisk) featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 3
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The Dragon featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 4
The Raven featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 5
The Chimera featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 6
The Pegasus featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 7
The Harpy featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 8
The Kelpie featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 9
The Wyvern featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 10
The Phoenix featured in Curiosity Corner ~ 11
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© 2003 The Baronage Press and Pegasus Associates Ltd