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Due to the medieval belief that it was in perpetual flight, the martlet was used as a sign of cadency for the fourth son. The martlet symbolized hope and rebirth, as it was associated with the swallow. It also came to stand for fidelity, dilligence, maternal care and domestic contentment.


As the heraldic form of the swallow, the martlet is the mark of cadency for the fourth son and is often depicted without legs and feet. In this sense, the bird symbolizes advancement through one's own merit alone.


The swallow is a peaceful bird who is neither attacked nor preyed upon by larger predator birds. Swallows are usually welcome in and around human settlements because they control insect populations.


Swallows are associated with prophecy and they bring messages from afar. In Egyptian love poetry, the swallow tells of new love. The bird also brings news of the approaching spring, returning each year for the season.

martlet is also a symbol of promptness, domestic bliss and contentment, fidelity, maternal care, footlessness.