Fylfot, [suggested to be a corruption of A.-S. fÃer-fÃ³te(for fyÃ°er fote) four-footed, in allusion to the four limbs]: an ancient figure to which different mystic meanings have been applied. All that can be said as to the occurrence in England is that it possibly was introduced from the East as a novel device; for a similar form is said to have been known in India and China long before the Christian era. It is called in the Sanskrit ‘swastica,’ and is found used as a symbol by the Buddhists. It is curious that the same kind of device appear in the Catacombs, and at the same time it is found on a coin of Ethelred, King of Northumbria, in the ninth century. It is probably similar to the ornament which is mentioned by Anastasius as embroidered on sacred vestments during the eighth and ninth centuries in Rome under the name of gammadion, which was so-called on account of the shape resembling four Greek capital Gammas united at the base. There is no reason to suppose that all these are derived from a common source, as such a device as this would readily suggest itself, just as the Greek pattern is frequent on work of all ages. It was on account of its supposed mystical meaning perhaps introduced into mediæval vestments, belts, &c.; and though several instances of this use are found on brasses, only one instance occurs on coats of arms, namely, in those of CHAMBERLAYNE.
One instance only of the name also has been observed in any MS. or book anterior to the eighteenth century, namely in the directions given by Francis Frosmere, c. 1480, apparently to designate his monogram F.F. (See MS. Lansdowne, No. 874.)
Argent, a chevron between three fylfots gules–Leonard CHAMBERLAYNE, Yorkshire[so drawn in MS. Harleian, 1394, pt. 129, fol. 9=fol. 349 of MS.]
[N.B. In Harl. MS. 1415 this coat seems to be tricked with what are meant distinctly for three escallops.]