Family Crest Rings | Family Rings | Clan Rings June 12 2016

History of heraldry

Hearldy, Family Crest Rings

Heraldry refers to the study of armorial bearings. Another discipline related to heraldry is vaccinology. Armory is the most familiar branch of heraldry, it involves the design of heraldic achievement referred to as the coat of arms. The court of arms mostly consists of a helmet, crest, shield, supporters, banners, and badges. Heraldry in ancient times was strictly used by armies, but in modern days, it is used by public, private organizations and even several cases, heraldry is used to symbolize and signify heritage, aspirations and achievements.

Various pieces of evidence are available that shows that heraldry use started a long time ago. For instance, the Egyptian and Mesopotamia culture have evidence of the earliest use of heraldry. The use of emblems to represent the king’s palace is a vivid evidence. In addition, the Bible also cites evidence of heraldry. For instance, in the Book of Numbers, the children of Israel were commanded to assemble beneath the emblems.

Modern day heraldic language has gradually developed from the ancient form of heraldry. However, the modern heraldry can be perfectly be traced starting from the eleventh century. Comparatively, the Norman invasion of England in 1066 greatly provides evidence of shields of several designs and shapes. On a similar note, the French knights also used shields that were polished of metal. In England, Spain, France and Italy seals started to assume a heraldic character. A notable armorial seal is a charter granted by Philip 1, count of Flanders in the year 1164. Another notable example of the use of armory is on the tomb of Geoffrey Plantagenet. In his tomb, an enamel depicts him carrying a blue shield.

The origins of heraldry cannot be clearly traced. Nonetheless, it is associated at times with the crusader, these were military campaigners who were counting the spread of Islam in Europe and Jerusalem. Still it is an agreement that the large armies who had united to spread Christianity could have encouraged the adoption of armorial later years, the spread of armorial bearings and heraldry across Europe resulted in the formation of a new occupation. That of the herald, this occupation was a preserve of morally upright men who were slowly incorporated into the rulership class. In England, this occupation was equivalent to those men who had performed outstanding activities or roles in the society. These men were rewarded so as to encourage the public to uphold social values and also to serve as role models to the society.

With increased knowledge and importance of the arms, several people started to appreciate them. Most people used them as they were recognized with respect. Those who wore them were highly held in the society. The increased disputes concerning arms in England made Henry V to issue a his proclamation, he forbade all those individuals that had not borne arms from assuming them but only through inheritance and grant which was only given by the English crown.

The shield is the primary element of a heraldic achievement. The other elements are mostly designed for decorative purposes but the shield is the most important element of the heraldry. The shape, number or design of the shield is in most cases left to the discretion of the designer and it can be used to depict different meanings. For instance, a lozenge diamond –shaped escutcheon was mostly used to display the arms of women. Another distinctive quality of heraldry is the use of colors and patterns which are usually known as tinctures. In particular, they are of three categories, namely metals, colors, and furs.

The crest is made up of a pattern of colors or variation. There are several types of patterns, there is the horizontal pattern commonly referred to as blurry, it is paly. Other variations are chequy, gyronny, and chevron. The field of a shield just likes heraldic charges. The majority of courts of arms consists of division of the fields of two contrasting tinctures. They are generally considered divisions of a shield. In early days, bold rectilinear shapes were used on the shield so as to act as identification means. A charge is a figure that is placed on a heraldic shield, in most cases animals, objects, and geometric shapes are used as charges. The most frequent charges are the cross, the lion, the eagle .mostly the charge used is representative. For instance, most government institutions used lions as their charge, this is meant to show authority. Some institutions might use eagles to symbolize freedom such as the USA used the eagle to symbolize freedom.

Marshaling in heraldry is used to express inheritance, claims to property or the occupation of an office. In essence, to marshal means to combine two or more coats of arms in one shield. There are three methods of marshaling, they include; division, where the field is divided, quartering and the third method is in the escutcheon. The modern crest has evolved out of the three –dimensional figure that is usually placed on top of a knights’ helms as a mean of identification. In some traditions women were never allowed to display crests, however in the some heraldic jurisdiction women were freer and could display crest. For instance, the stall plate of Lady Marion Fraser showed her coat but had a helmet, crest, and motto. A motto is a collection of words that are intended to give a clear intention of a person or organization. A motto can be in any language and can be changed at will. A proper motto has to be written down. In heraldry, supporters are human creatures, animal figures or inanimate objects that are placed on the sides of the coat of arms and are symbolized as a source of support. 

On differencing and cadence concerning heraldry, it is assumed that since arms pass down to children from parents then, it is of necessity to distinguish the arms of siblings. Nonetheless, over the years, several adjustments have been incorporated and it depends on how a community defines its social structure.


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