This cross is typically seen with four or five elongated lozenges, which look like diamonds, arrow heads or perhaps spear heads.
As a Christian cross, when there are five lozenges, they represent the five wounds that pierced Jesus on the cross. These wounds were made by nails in His hands and feet1 and the spearing of His side2.
Alternatively, they can represent the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with Christ in the centre (see also Evangelists' Cross)
As a heraldic cross, the lozenges (French: losangée) do not represent diamonds, arrow heads or spear heads (see Diamond Cross and Arrow Cross). When used in coats of arms, the lozenge is called fusil and there are two origins of this word:
- An old French word for 'fuse'. A fuse was used to ignite the gunpowder of a musket and the steel tinderbox was called a fuisil. Flintlock muskets became known as fusils and the soldiers armed with such muskets were called fusiliers.
- Another old French word is fuscan, which means 'spindle'.
This latter definition is used for the Fusilly Cross (French: Fuselée), and represents four or five spindles loaded with yarn. The original Fusilly Cross is believed to be from the coat of arms used by the Lord of Spindleston near Belford, Durham3, in the northeast of England. The hamlet of Spindleston (Spindleton or Spindlestone) was named from the wooden spindles made there.
When a fusil is void, i.e. just the outline, it is called a mascle and the adjective gives us the Mascly Cross.