• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Hatchment (Her) A sort of panel, upon which the arms of a deceased person are temporarily displayed, -- usually on the walls of his dwelling. It is lozenge-shaped or square, but is hung cornerwise. It is used in England as a means of giving public notification of the death of the deceased, his or her rank, whether married, widower, widow, etc. Called also achievement. "His obscure funeral;
      No trophy, sword, or hatchment o'er his bones."
    • Hatchment A sword or other mark of the profession of arms; in general, a mark of dignity. "Let there be deducted, out of our main potation,
      Five marks in hatchments to adorn this thigh."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n hatchment In heraldry: An escutcheon or armorial shield granted in recognition of some distinguished achievement; an achievement (in sense 3).
    • n hatchment Especially — A funeral achievement; a square tablet set diagonally and bearing the arms of a deceased person, placed over a tomb or upon the exterior of the house in which the person dwelt. The surroundings of the shield of arms are so distinguished that the sex and condition of the deceased can be known: thus, an unmarried man has his shield and crest upon a black ground; an unmarried woman, a lozenge bearing her arms with a knot instead of a crest, also on a black ground. For married persons the shield is impaled (see impalement); and in case a widow or widower survives, that half of the shield or lozenge which bears the arms of the survivor carries them upon a white background, the half appropriated to the deceased having a black background. A bishop's arms, being impaled with those of his see, are relieved on a black background, those of the see having a white one. When a person is the last of his race, a skull is put above the shield or lozenge in the place of the crest. In the case of a member of the Order of the Garter who is a married man, or of his wife, two shields are displayed side by side, that on the dexter side having the knight's arms alone surrounded by the motto of the order, that on the sinister having the coats of husband and wife.
    • n hatchment Hence Any distinguishing mark, badge of honor, symbol, or the like, as the sword of a soldier.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Hatchment hach′ment the arms of a deceased person within a black lozenge-shaped frame, meant to be placed on the front of his house.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Corrupt. fr. achievement,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Corrupted from achievement.


In literature:

Four-square it stood, of an imposing frontage, and flanked on either side by family hatchments.
"The Dynamiter More New Arabian Nights" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Here and there a Hatchment, with the whole science of Heraldry in it, loomed down upon the street, like an Archbishop discoursing on Vanity.
"Little Dorrit" by Charles Dickens
Quartered in this dingy hatchment commemorative of Symond are the legal bearings of Mr. Vholes.
"Bleak House" by Charles Dickens
Hatchments were placed everywhere, where hatchments could be put.
"My Lady Ludlow" by Elizabeth Gaskell
Meantime I shall put up a pair of hatchments on my house-front, and you will of course do the same at your several seats.
"The American Claimant" by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
The Abbey Church was furnished with a magnificent screen, and many hatchments and heraldic tombstones.
"The History of Pendennis" by William Makepeace Thackeray
Hatchment and Atchievement, 266.
"Notes & Queries, Volume 2, May-December, 1850, Index" by Various
Why are hatchments put up in churches and on houses?
"Notes & Queries, No. 47, Saturday, September 21, 1850" by Various
The little fools seemed only born And hatched for nothing but a hatchment!
"The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood" by Thomas Hood
Shall thy hatchment, mouldering grimly in yon church amid the sands, Stay trouble from thy household?
"The Haunted Hour" by Various

In poetry:

Seest thou these hatchments? Knowest thou this blood
Nourished the heroes of Colonial days--
Sent to the dim and savage-haunted wood
Those sad-eyed Puritans with hymns of praise?
"On William Francis Bartlett" by Francis Bret Harte