Here, you can find information on heraldry in different countries,
- The Heraldic Authority in that jurisdiction
- How to apply for a Grant of Arms in that country
- Sources of information (Rolls, etc) for that country
- Characteristics of heraldry in that country
Countries covered are:
Click on the country name to go to the appropriate information,
England, Wales, Northern Ireland
+ other Commonwealth Countries
English practice is fairly typical of western European practice,
and provides the basis for many examples cited on this website.
English practice is similar to traditional French practice, and
the terminology is based on Old French (and therefore sometimes
different from French heraldic terminology)
England - Heraldic Authority
The College of Arms is a royal corporation consisting of professional
officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern
Ireland and some Commonwealth realms (but not Canada
Officers are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated
authority to act on her behalf in all matters of heraldry, the granting
of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of
pedigrees. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom
the College is self-financed. The corporation is overseen by the
Earl Marshal, a hereditary office held by the Duke of Norfolk.
Founded by royal charter in 1484 by King Richard III, the College
is one of the remaining official heraldic authorities in Europe.
The College has had its home in the City of London since its foundation,
and has been at its present location on Queen Victoria Street since
The College of Arms also undertakes and consults on the planning
of many ceremonial occasions such as coronations, state funerals,
the annual Garter Service and the State Opening of Parliament. Heralds
of the College accompany the sovereign on many of these occasions.
The College comprises thirteen officers (often called heralds)::
- three Kings of Arms,
- six Heralds of Arms
- four Pursuivants of Arms.
There are also seven officers extraordinary who take part in ceremonial
occasions but are not part of the College.
More on the English
Officers of Arms >>>
The Arms of the College of Arms
English Officers of Arms
England - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
Arms and crests are granted by letters patent. The Crown delegates
its authority to issue such letters patent to the Kings of Arms.
Before they can act in each case they must first have a warrant
from the Earl Marshal agreeing to the granting of the arms. The
first step in applying for a grant of arms is to submit a petition,
or memorial as it is called, to the Earl Marshal. When the memorial
is submitted the fees due upon a grant of arms become payable.
Fees are laid down by Earl Marshal's Warrant. Those wishing to
know further details of the fee structure should contact the officer
in waiting at the College of Arms.
If the Earl Marshal approves a petition he will issue his Warrant
to the Kings of Arms allowing them to proceed with the grant. At
this stage the designing of the arms will begin. The Kings of Arms
have full discretion over the design of the armorial bearings they
grant, but the wishes of the applicant are taken into account as
fully as possible. The officer of arms who is acting for the petitioner
will discuss with him or her the allusions and references he or
she would like made in the design. The design must be proper heraldry
and be distinct from all previous arms on record at the College.
A sketch of the design proposed will be sent to the petitioner.
The form of the arms, once they are granted, will be governed not
by the painting of the arms on the letters patent, but by the verbal
description of them in the text, known as the blazon. The same arms
may be rendered perfectly correctly in an infinite number of artistic
Once the design has been agreed with the petitioner it is checked
against all previous arms on record to ensure it is distinct and
then submitted to the Kings of Arms for their approval. Assuming
that this is forthcoming, the vellum which will become the letters
patent is selected and the arms to be granted painted on to it by
a College of Arms artist. The text is engrossed by a scrivener,
it is signed and sealed by the Kings of Arms, and a copy of it painted
and scrivened into the official College registers. The letters patent
then become the property of the grantee.
Letters Patent granting arms and crest may also grant a badge and
exemplify a standard.
For more detail of the process click
For the College of Arms website & contact details click here
An English Grant of Arms
The arms granted (and a badge) are shown
on the left.
Acrooss the top are the arms of the Earl
Marshal, the Monarch, and the College of Arms
|Detail of an English Grant of Arms
England - Researching arms
The College of Arms is not supported by public funds. Access to
its records is therefore limited. The heralds will undertake searches
in the records on payment of professional fees, and if an enquirer
wishes to consult a particular manuscript appropriate arrangements
can be made.
Enquiries should be addressed in the first instance to any individual
herald or to the Officer in Waiting, College of Arms, Queen Victoria
Street, London EC4V 4BT
Details and pedigrees of important English families often appear
in local histories. Some British periodicals, such as Gentleman's
Magazine (1731-1907), provide biographical details. Academic libraries
are usually the best source for such publications.
Details about the pedigrees of armigerous ancestors of the 16th
and 17th centuries can be found in the manuscripts drawn up during
official surveys known as heraldic visitations.
Visitations were made the counties in England by the heralds whose
duty it was to see that arms were legally and correctly being used.
Printed versions often contain additions to the originals, and may
even continue pedigrees into the 19th century.
Heraldic Visitations, which began in England in 1529-1530, recorded
pedigrees as well as coats of arms. The last heraldic visitations
were in 1680s. Many families have have since then assumed arms to
which, they were not entitled.
Heraldry was recorded fully at visitations. Records would typically
include black and white drawings of the family arms, with tinctures
indicated (known as a trick of the arms). Quartered arms would be
shown, often with associated surname, and the accompanying pedigree
would show how the family acquired the quarters. Occasionally the
heralds would note evidence they had worked with. In the late 16th
and the 17th century each marriage would be illustrated by an impaled
shield of arms (as in surviving hatchments)
Visitation records have been published by the Harleian Society.
A number of University and genealogical libraries keep copies of
these publications. The descents of many armigerous families can
also be found in Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage and Burke's
Numerous mottoes are listed and identified (and foreign ones translated)
in C N Elvin, A Handbook of Mottoes (1860, revised edition 1971).
Reference works are available for the identification of arms. In
Armorials, coats of arms are blazoned in alphabetical
order of surname (civic, ecclesiastical and academic arms may also
be included), so if you know the individual's name you can find
their arms. An Ordinary is designed to help identify
the unknown bearer of a known coat of arms. In an ordinary, some
system is used to group the arms according to their appearance,
so that the family can be identified from a description of the arms.
Burke's General Armory and Papworth's Ordinary are still indispensable,
because of their sheer volume (but they contain much material which
is not based on primary evidence, and may be incorrect)
Some other Sources,
including Rolls of Arms and reproductions of Rolls of Arms
Anglo-Norman Armory and Anglo-Norman Armory Two.
These books discuss 13th Century Anglo-Norman heraldry. They are
written in English. The first contains a discussion of 13th C armory
with black & white photograph of the entire Herald's Roll
(Fitzwilliam version), along with explanatory text. The Herald's
Roll (Fitzwilliam version) contains roughly 700 coats of arms. Anglo-Norman
Armory Two is an ordinary with twenty-five rolls of arms compiled
from 1250 to 1315, covering 3000 coats of arms. Artwork in the second
volume is modern. The volumes are Cecil Humphery-Smith, Anglo-Norman
Armory (Family History, Canterbury, 1973, ISBN 0-9504879-2-9),
and Cecil Humphery-Smith, Anglo-Norman Armory Two (Institute
of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Canterbury, 1984, ISBN 0-9504879-8-8).
Dering Roll, c.1270, Dover. Lists knights of Kent &
Essex. British Library. Provenance: Sir Edward Dering (15981644),
Lt. of Dover Castle
Heralds' Roll, c.1280. College of Arms, MS B.29
Glover's Roll, c. 12401245 as dated by Sir Harris
Nicolas, 55 coats. British Museum Add MS 29796. Made by Robert Glover(d.1588),
Somerset Herald, in 1586 from a now lost roll of arms of the reign
of King Henry III (12161272). The arms are not drawn but only
blazoned. Planché states it to be the earliest source of
heraldic information and was the first to name it after Glover.
The Dering Roll, late 13th.c., the earliest surviving English
original roll of arms. 324 coats, painted. Parchment, 81/4"
wide by 8ft 8" long. British Library. Provenance: Sir Richard
The Bigot Roll, 1254, French. 300 coats. Bibliothèque
Nationale, Paris, fonds français no 18648 fo 32 39.
Walford's Roll, c.1275, 185 coats with blazons. British
Museum MS Harl 6589,f.12,12b.
The Chifflet-Prinet Roll, c. 12851298, 147 coats with
blasons. Bibliothèque Municipale, Besançon, Collection
Chifflet, MS 186, pp. 145154.
The Camden Roll, c.1280, 270 coats painted, 185 with blazons.
British Museum, Cotton Roll, 8.
St George's Roll, c.1285, 677 coats, painted. College of
Arms, London, MS Vincent 164 ff.121b.
Charles' Roll, c.1285, 486 coats, painted. Society of Antiquaries,
London, MS517 (Copy, c.15th.c.). Planché however names as
"Charles's Roll" a copy of a mid-13th.c. roll containing
nearly 700 coats drawn in pen & ink (i.e. "tricked")
by Nicholas Charles(d.1613), Lancaster Herald, in 1607 (British
Museum, Harley MS 6589). Charles stated that the original had been
lent to him by the Norroy King of Arms.
The Galloway Roll, 1300, 259 coats with blazons. College
of Arms, London, MS M.14, ff.16875 (copy by Sir Thomas Wriothesley,
Garter King of Arms, d1534).
The Falkirk Roll, c.1298, 115 coats with blazons. Lists
the knights with King Edward I at Battle of Falkirk(1298). Various
copies exist. The British Museum copy (MS Harl 6589, f.99b)
was formerly in the Treasury Chamber in Paris in 1576.
The Heralds' Roll, c.1280, 697 coats, painted. FitzWilliam
Museum, Cambridge MS297 (Copy, 15th.c.)
Roll of Caerlaverock or Poem of Caerlaverock, 1300, 110
poetry blazons, no images. Near contemporary copy, vellum: British
Museum, Cotton Caligula A XVIII, ff.23b30b. Two other copies
exist, made by Glover from a now lost different original source,
one at College of Arms, London, the other at the Office of the Ulster
King of Arms, Dublin. Made in 1300 by English heralds during Edward
I's siege of Caerlaverock Castle, Scotland. Text: see s:The Roll
of Caerlaverock/The Roll
The Lord Marshal's Roll, 1295, 565 coats, painted. Society
of Antiquaries, London, MS 664, vol.1, ff.1925. Collin's Roll
Collins' Roll, 1296, 598 coats, painted. Queen's College,
Oxford, MS 158, pp. 366402 (Copy c1640). College of Arms,
Stirling Roll, 1304, 102 coats. College of Arms, London
MS M.14, ff.269272 (Copy by Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Garter
King of Arms, d1534).
See also general
European sources >>>
The Dering Roll, late 13th.c.,
the earliest surviving English original roll of arms.
Extract from a Tudor Roll of arms (copying
the Stirling Roll)
attributed to Sir Thomas Wriothesley
Roll of Caerlaverock, 1300
England - Heraldic conventions
English practice is representative of the western European tradition,
but has a few distictive features:
In England, the granting of badges to armigers by the College of
Arms has become "commonplace" in recent years.
Mottos shown below the arms are normal - but serve to distinguish
the arms from Scottish ones, where the motto is shown above.
English crests are unique within the jurisdiction. The device that
appears above the helmet or chapeau in a full coat of arms, must
not duplicate a crest previously granted.
Hatchments were particularly common in England, which a a particularly
intricate system of encoding genealogical information.
Heraldic Inheritance by daughters.
All daughters inherit their father's arms - so if he dies leaving
no sons, they will all be heraldic heiresses.
A shield can be divided into four, sections or quarterings. In
recent times this generally occurs as the result of the marriage
of an armiger to an heraldic heiress. English heraldry puts no limit
on such divisions, which continue to be termed "quarterings"
no matter how many more are added.
A modern book of arms recorded during visitations
Scotland - Heraldic Authority
The Scottish heraldic executive is separate from that of the rest
of the United Kingdom. In Scotland trhe Heraldic Authority is the
Lord Lyon King of Arms,also known as "Lord Lyon" or even
more familiarly as "Lyon".
The earliest reference to the Lord Lyon, dates to the reign of
Robert the Bruce in 1318 within a century of the first known usage
of arms in Scotland. With respect to some of his functions he is
considered the successor of royal officials dating back to ancient
The earliest surviving examples of Scots heraldry are Stewart coats
of arms, preserved on seals from the second half of the 12th century
and the first half of the 13th. They show a fess chequy, which is
still a feature of 21st century Scots heraldry.
Lyon exercises general jurisdiction over all matters armorial in
Scotland and serves as a Judge of the Realm. He rules on questions
relating to family representation, pedigrees and genealogies. He
also supervises all state, royal and public ceremonies in Scotland.
He asserts the right to decide who is Head of the Clan or Chief
of the Family or Name
He has been assisted in recent times by a staff of three heralds
and pursuivants along with a Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records.
The present Lyon Clerk, Elizabeth Roads MVO, is also Snawdoun Herald,
the first woman to serve as an Officer of Arms in the United Kingdom.
Chapter 47 of an Act of 1672 (before the Act of Union) empowers
the Lord Lyon to grant arms to "vertuous [sic] and well deserving
persons." Scottish arms are officially described as 'Ensigns
of Nobility' and a patent of arms is a "Diploma of Nobility
". This is does not constitute membership of a peerage or any
title. It is a social distinction, and carries no legal privileges.
The regulation of Scottish heraldry differs considerably from the
system in England, and all persons using arms are required to register
or "matriculate" their right to arms in the Court of Lord
Armorial bearings are protected by law in Scotland much more conscientiously
than anywhere else in the world, and it is illegal to use arms there
unless they have been granted by Lord Lyon or matriculated in Lyon
Court. The wrongful assumption of arms in Scotland is punishable
by fine and imprisonment.!
Lord Lyon King of Arms, 1945 to 1969
Scotland - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
Lord Lyon King of Arms is empowered under Scottish law to grant
arms to virtuous and well-deserving persons. He interprets his jurisdiction
to include anyone domiciled in Scotland, as well as any person domiciled
in the United Kingdom or in an overseas realm of the Commonwealth
who is of scottish descent.
By virtue of his power to grant arms posthumously on petition of
a deceased persons heirs, Lyon can also grant arms to anyone
who can prove descent in the direct male line from someone living
within a previous Lyons jurisdiction.
In such cases arms are granted in memory of an ancestor; this route
usually requires that the arms also be matriculated for the applicants
own use - for an additional fee.
Any person who wishes to use Arms must petition for a Grant of
Arms or - if they can trace their ancestry back to an ancestor who
had a grant of Arms - a "matriculation" showing their
place within the family. When a grant, or matriculation, of Arms
is obtained, an illuminated parchment, narrating the pedigree as
proved, is supplied to the Petitioner, and a duplicate is recorded
in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland.
Anyone domiciled in Scotland, or those of Scottish ancestry domiciled
in the Commonwealth (excepting Canada and South Africa) which have
their own heraldic authorities, can apply to the Lord Lyon for a
grant of Arms. Those domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
should approach the College of Arms in London, while those domiciled
in the Republic of Ireland should approach the Chief Herald of Ireland
Foreign Countries. Arms are not generally granted to non-British
citizens (though those of Scottish ancestry can apply to the Lord
Lyon King of Arms for cadet matriculations, as above described).
Foreigners of Scottish descent can sometimes arrange for a cousin
living in Scotland, or in the Commonwealth, to receive Arms from
the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and thereafter themselves to obtain
a cadet matriculation.
The Court of the Lord Lyon,
H.M. New Register House,
Edinburgh EH1 3YT.
Tel: +044 (0)31 556 7255
A Scottish Grant of Arms
The Arms of the Lord Lyon
Scotland - Researching arms
No "Visitations" were made in Scotland, and the records
of grants and matriculations of arms commence only in 1672.
Shields of arms (but not crests) are all listed for the period
1672-1973 in Sir James Balfour Paul, An Ordinary of Arms
contained in the Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland
(2 vols. 1903 and 1977).
Scotland has no ancient rolls of arms as in England. Its earliest
document of any importance is the Armorial de Gelré 1369-1388
preserved in Brussels - a European manuscript with a section on
The Balliol Roll is a 14th C roll containing 36 Scottish
coats of arms, The explanatory text is in English and also includes
historical and genealogical information about the people in the
roll: Bruce A. McAndrew, The Balliol Roll (New England Historic
Genealogical Society, Boston, 2002, no ISBN).
Scots Roll is a Scottish roll from the 15th C with 114 coats
of arms. It includes color photographs and explanatory text in English:
Colin Campbell, The Scots Roll (The Heraldry Society of Scotland,
Scotland, 1995, ISBN 0 9525258 0 1).
The Lindsay of the Mount roll is a Scottish roll assembled
in 1542 by David Lindsay of the Mount, who shortly later became
Lyon King of Arms. A few coats were added later in the 16th C. It
contains over 400 coats of arms from all over Scotland (including
the Highlands), and was used as the starting point for the official
Scots heraldic registry that is still active today. This edition
is not a photofacsimile but is a heraldically accurate redrawing.
While this was a limited edition, it may be found in a number of
libraries in their non-circulating collections. Facsimile of an
ancient heraldic manuscript emblazoned by Sir David Lyndsay of the
Mount 1542, William Paterson, Edinburgh, 1878.
The Dunvegan Armorial is a Scottish roll from the end of
the 16th C. It contains a color photofacsimile of over 50 noble
coats of arms depicted in a full achievement (with crest and supporters.)
and over 200 "Gentleman's arms" (with the escutcheons
only.) The heraldic art quality of each portion of the Armorial
is high. In addition, it has an appendix giving color photofacsimiles
of various heraldic manuscripts' depictions of the achievements
of the Earls of Lennox, the MacLeods of Lewis, and MacLeod of that
Ilk. These give an opportunity to consider various heraldic art
styles in Scotland. The editors have provided significant explanatory
material in English, with particularly detailed historical information
about the owners of the noble coats of arms. This is a limited edition
volume. John and Eilean Malden, The Dunvegan Armorial (The Heraldry
Society of Scotland, 2006, ISBNs: 0-9525258-5-2 and 978-0-9525258-5-1.)
Two of the oldest and most important works on the subject of Scottish
heraldry are The Science of Herauldry by George Mackenzie
of Rosehaugh, published in 1680, and A System of Heraldry
by Alexander Nisbet, published in 1722.
Perhaps the most celebrated work of Scottish heraldry is the Public
Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland, known more simply
as the Public Register or the Lyon Register. It was created
under the authority of the Statute of 1672, which provided that
it should record all arms properly registered with the Lord Lyon.
The first volume was bound in 1677 and it has been maintained from
that time. It includes the work of Scotland's greatest heraldic
artists over nearly three and one-half centuries.
See also general
European sources >>>
Arms of David Sellar, LordLyon King of Arms
Arms of Robin Orr Blair, Lord Lyon King of
Scotland - Heraldic conventions
Heraldry in Scotland is broadly similar to heraldry in the rest
of western Europe. It does have some distinctive features.
In Scotland the Clan, the Family, and the Name have survived as
significant entities in the social organization of Scottish society.
As in the rest of western Europe, in Scottish heraldry there is
no such thing as a "family coat of arms". Junior members
of a family are assigned specific and relevant differences to the
armorial bearings of an ancestor.
The principal function of heraldry is to symbolise the identity
of the owner of the armorial bearings, but Scottish heraldry operates
under the proposition that all those who share the same surname
are related, however distantly. Consequently, where a coat of arms
for the head of a family already exists, new grants of arms to individuals
with the same surname will generally be variations on those arms.
"[T]he salient feature of Scottish heraldry is that, as compared
with England and other countries, the basic coats of arms are relatively
few in number, but numerous differenced versions of each basic shield
exist. The basic, or simple undifferenced arms and crest, are the
property, not of the 'family', but of the 'Chief' of each clan or
Scottish Heraldic Heirs
Depending on the terms of the original grant, armorial bearings
are succeeded to by the heir, who may be the heir male, the heir
female, or the heir by tailzie - an heir nominated within the blood
One of the distinctive features of Scottish heraldry is that the
scroll on which the motto is displayed is almost always positioned
above the crest in Scottish bearings.
In Scottish heraldry mottoes are considered a component of the
grant of arms and can be altered only by re-matriculating the arms.
(In English heraldry a motto is usually illustrated in the patent
of arms but not included in the blazon of armorial bearings. Consequently
it not part of the grant, and may be changed at will.)
Differencing & Cadency
Scottish employs distinctive ways to distinguish younger sons of
an armiger. English heraldry uses a series of small symbols, termed
brisures, for cadency, to differentiate between the senior representative
of an armigerous family and junior lines known as "cadet branches".
In Scotland, except for the line of the immediate heir, this function
is served by a series of bordures (borders) surrounding the shield
of varying, specified colors and designs, named the "Stodart"
In Scottish practice brisures function only as temporary house
marks of cadency used by children without formal authority of the
Lyon Office, until they establish houses of their own.
Heraldic badges are treated differently in Scottish heraldic practice
than in English armoury. A badge is "An armorial device, not
part of the coat of arms, but . . . available to an armigerous person
or corporation for the purpose of identification."
Badges often consist of no more than a charge from the shield of
arms, but some are emblems adopted for their hidden meaning or in
allusion to a name, title or office.
In Scottish heraldry the grant of badges is limited to individuals
who may be expected to have a significant body of adherents or supporters.
Generally badges are awarded only to peers, the baronage, clan chiefs
and chieftains and the older landed houses and only when the Lord
Lyon is satisfied that the grant of a badge is warranted on practical
Corporate bodies, such as local governments, schools, companies
or sports clubs may also obtain badges as a means for their members
to display their affiliation.
Scottish heraldry recognizes a unique form of badge, the crest
badge. For an armiger, this device is composed of his crest, encircled
by a plain circle on which is inscribed the individual's motto.
As a mark of allegiance to their chief, members of a clan are permitted
to wear a clansmen's badge, consisting of their chief's crest surrounded
by a strap and buckle device on which the chief's motto is inscribed.
In Scotland it is permissible, and not uncommon, for two or more
different families to bear the same crest.
As Scottish heraldry joins the crest and motto in the crest badge,
however, the combination of crest and motto should, in each case,
In traditional heraldic practice coats of arms pass through the
male line. Where a woman's father bears arms and, at his death,
there are no surviving sons or surviving children of sons, the woman
is an heraldic heiress and can transmit her father's arms to her
descendants. In Scotland, only the eldest surviving daughter transmits
her father's undifferenced arms to her offspring.
A shield can be divided into four, essentially equal, sections
or quarterings. In recent times this typically occurs as the result
of the marriage of an armiger to an heraldic heiress. Scottish practice
favours a simplicity of design and permits each quarter to itself
be quartered, but no more. A Scottish shield, therefore, is limited
to sixteen quarterings.
Arms of the Chief of Clan Johnstone
The Crest Badge of Clan Johnstone
cf the crest on the arms above
Derived mainly from heraldic traditions in France and the United
Kingdom, Canadian heraldry also incorporates distinctly Canadian
symbols, especially native flora and fauna, references to the First
Nations and other aboriginal peoples of Canada, and uniquely Canadian
elements such as the Canadian pale, derived from the Canadian flag.
A unique system of cadency is used for daughters inheriting arms,
and a special symbol for United Empire Loyalists.
In 1988, governance of both personal and corporate heraldry in
Canada was patriated from the heraldic authorities in England and
Scotland, with the formation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority,
which now has exclusive jurisdiction over granting awards of arms
Coats of arms are used throughout Canada by all levels of government,
in many cases including royal insignia as a mark of authority, as
in the recently granted arms of the House of Commons and the Senate,
and of Parliament as a combined body.
Use of armorial bearings is not limited to governmental bodies.
All citizens of Canada have the right to petition for an award of
arms, as do other entities including businesses and religious institutions.
The granting of arms is regarded as an honour from the monarch,
via the governor general, and thus are bestowed only on those whom
the Chief Herald has deemed worthy of receiving a grant of arms.
Canadian Heraldic Authority
On 4 June 1988, then-Governor General Jeanne Sauvé authorised
the creation of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, made possible by
letters patent signed by Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice of her
Canadian Privy Council, and presented by her son, Prince Edward.
As a result Canada became the first Commonwealth realm outside the
United Kingdom to have its own heraldic authority. Canada also provides
full equality to women in terms of inheriting and transmitting arms.
All armigers within Canada may file for trademark protection of
their grant of arms under the Trade-Marks Act.
The Canadian Heraldic Authority is responsible for the creation
of new coats of arms, flags and badges for Canadian citizens and
The Authority's principal objective is to ensure that all Canadians
who wish to use heraldry will have access to it. It also encourages
good heraldic practice in Canada by working to the highest standards
of the art form and by developing research and registration procedures
that are consistent with an international level of excellence.
The Canadian Heraldic Authority is headed by His Excellency the
Governor General and administered by several officers: the Herald
Chancellor (who is the Secretary to the Governor General), the Deputy
Herald Chancellor (who is the Deputy Secretary, Chancellery of Honours),
and the Chief Herald of Canada (Director of Heraldry and the senior
heraldic professional). They are supported by other officers: Saint-Laurent
Herald (Registrar and custodian of the Authority's seal), Fraser
Herald (the Authority's principal artist), and the other Heralds.
The Viceregal Warrant of 1994 assigned the arms, batons and badges
of office of the Herald Chancellor, Deputy Herald Chancellor, Chief
Herald of Canada, and Athabaska, Saint-Laurent and Fraser Heralds.
Subsequent Viceregal Warrants assigned badges of office to Saguenay,
Assiniboine, Miramichi, and Coppermine Heralds, Outaouais and Rideau
Heralds Emeritus, and Dauphin, Niagara, Cowichan, Albion, Capilano
and Rouge Heralds Extraordinary.
The Authority's major activities include: granting of new armorial
bearings (arms, flags and badges) and native symbols; registration
of recognized existing arms, flags and badges; approval of military
badges, flags and other insignia of the Canadian Forces; registration
of genealogical information related to the inheritance of arms;
provision of information on correct heraldic practices; provision
of information on heraldic artists who work in various media; and
development of, and involvement in, national and regional heraldic
ceremonies. These ceremonies, may involve the Governor General,
who personally presents the new coat of arms and signs the grant
With few exceptions, only documents the Governor General has personally
presented to corporate bodies bear his signature; others are signed
by officers of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Canada - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
Requests for new arms or registrations of existing arms take the
form of a "petition" addressed to the Chief Herald of
Canada, who must assess
and approve the request before a warrant for the grant can be signed
by the Herald Chancellor or the Deputy Herald Chancellor. A herald
then works with the petitioner to create a design, which is then
rendered artistically, in two separate stages, by an artist assigned
by the Authority. Completed grant or registration documents are
recorded in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada,
and the notice of the grant or registration is published in the
Among others, all members of the Privy Council are entitled to
supporters in their arms, as are the Speakers of the House of Commons
and the Senate, Companions of the Order of Canada, Commanders of
the Orders of Military Merit, Merit of the Police Forces, and of
the Royal Victorian Order.
Canadian Heraldic Practice
and First Nations symbolism
Due to the history of Canada, heraldry in the country has incorporated
aboriginal and First Nations symbols and elements. The Coat of Arms
of Nunavut, for example, (shown on the right) includes elements
such as an inukshuk, a qulliq, and an igloo, all of which are references
to the Inuit peoples who live in the area, while the arms of the
Canadian Heraldic Authority include ravens (the raven being a First
Nations symbol of creation and transformation).
Some Canadians bear their arms on a roundel rather than a shield,
apparently a reference to a drumhead.
In many systems of heraldry, the arms of each living person must
be unique. English heraldry has used armorial variants to distinguish
the arms of brothers from their father's arms and from each other
since the thirteenth century; this is now normally done by the system
of marks or brisures set up by the early Tudor herald John Writhe.
Canada adds a unique series of brisures for use by female children,
who inherit arms. As in other heraldic systems, these cadency marks
are not always used; in any case, when the heir succeeds (in Canada,
the first child, whether male or female, according to strict primogeniture),
the mark of cadency is removed and the heir uses the plain coat
Just to complicate matters the Canadian heraldic authorities will
often use Scottish style differences (such as bordures) for cadency,
and will fairly liberally swap charges or change the field.
Charges, ordinaries, and divisions of the field
The Canadian pale, a pale division amounting to half the entire
field, derived from the Canadian flag, is widely used in Canadian
Red maple leaves feature heavily: not only as charges but worked
into maple crowns and even maqntling. The term érablé,
referring to maple leaves, is often used in Canadian arms. For example
as a tressure érablé in the arms of the Monarchist
League of Canada, coronets érablé in the arms of Sudbury
and Canada's National History Society, and as a partition much like
engrailed or dancetty.
Canadian animals and birds, both real and imaginary, have also
been widely used in arms, including the mythical raven-bears in
the arms of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Status of Women
In both the English and the Scottish systems of heraldry, from
which the Canadian draws many of its practices, a woman does not
inherit or transmit arms unless she is an heraldic heiress, that
is, a daughter of an armiger who has no sons. In Canadian heraldry,
by contrast, women may inherit arms on an equal basis with their
Women in Canada may also transmit their arms to their heirs, regardless
of gender. This system of equality for men and women is a result
of provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which
guarantee, among other things, freedom from discrimination under
the law on the basis of sex.
Canadian women may also display their arms on a shield, though
many use more traditional ovals.
United Empire Loyalists
Those who are descended from the citizens loyal to the British
Crown who fled the United States during and shortly after the revolution
are known in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, and are entitled
to the use of special coronets within their arms, if arms are granted
There are two versions of the Loyalist coronet: the civil, which
is made up of alternating oak and maple leaves, and the military,
made up of maple leaves alternating with crossed swords; the latter
is reserved for use by the families of those who served in the British
military during the revolution. Proof of Loyalist heritage must
be provided to the Canadian Heraldic Authority before permission
is granted to use the coronet in arms. Unlike the common use of
coronets in heraldry, the Loyalist coronet denotes no rank of nobility
or royalty, but instead alludes to ancestral allegiance.
The Canadian Heraldic Authorities grant arms to abstract bodies
such as cathedrals (traditional practice is to grant arms to bishops
and to deans and chapters of the cathedral). Cathedrals show their
arms on a bishop's throne (the "cathedra" that makes a
church a cathedral church, with the bishop's arms inset into the
head of the cathedra.
The Canadian Authorities will generally accomadate the traditions
of an armiger's ancestors, whether Scottish, English, French or
The badge on the right belongs to a Rector of a University, but
looks exactly like a Scottish crest-badge.
The Coat of Arms of Cornwall, Ontario - clearly
referring to the arms of Cornwall in Enfgland
As in some East European countries, Canadian arms are no indication
of status or achievement. They are awarded to anyone or any organisation
willing to pay for them In practice, all manner of clubs and associations
are awarded coats of arms. On the right are the arms of a Canadian
golf club - an excellent example of arms that would be immediately
identifiable as bogus in one country, but not in another.
|These are the arms of a woman
Canada - Researching Arms
The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada contains
the heraldic emblems (or Armorial Bearings) that have been granted,
registered, approved or confirmed since the establishment of the
Canadian Heraldic Authority on June 4, 1988.
The online Register will eventually contain the basic information
and illustrations for all emblems recorded in the Public Register.
The heraldic emblems in the Register have, for the most part, been
created since 1988. Some were created before that date and have
subsequently been registered. All these heraldic emblems are to
be borne by the recipients and their direct descendants or heirs
To discover if someone in your family line bore a coat of arms
in the past, you would have to undertake genealogical research and
investigate armorial records in other state heraldic authorities
For Northern Ireland see England,
Wales & Norther Ireland >>>
For The Repoblic of Ireland see below
Ireland - Heraldic Authority
.The Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, sometimes incorrectly
called the Office of Arms, is the Republic of Ireland's authority
on all heraldic matters relating to Ireland and is located at the
National Library of Ireland. The office was constituted on 1 April
1943, taking over the records of the Ulster King of Arms, a crown
office dating from 1552.
It has jurisdiction over:
- All Irish citizens, male or female
- Persons normally resident in Ireland
- Persons living abroad who are of provable Irish descent in either
the paternal or maternal line
- Persons with significant links to Ireland
- Corporate bodies within Ireland and corporate bodies with significant
links to Ireland but based in countries with no heraldic authority.
Ireland - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
An application for a grant of arms should be made to the Chief
Herald, on a prescribed form, setting out, in the case of a personal
application, basic personal information and accompanied by supporting
certificates or other appropriate documents. For a grant of arms
to a corporate body or other entity, the application should include
information about the legal status (if any) of the organisation,
its structure, its activities and business, the length of time during
which it has operated and, if relevant, information about membership.
Where appropriate, a certified copy of the resolution of the Council,
Board, or other controlling body should be submitted.
If an application appears to be in order the matter is considered
in detail by a herald of arms who will consult with the applicant
about possible designs. A preliminary painting is then made for
the approval of the applicant who will also be shown a draft of
the Letters Patent. The final document is issued on vellum and includes
a hand-painted exemplification of the arms. The grant of arms is
recorded in the Register of Arms and is a matter of public record.
A grant of arms constitutes a license to use the arms, which allows
the grantee, according to the traditional formula, to display the
arms on shield or banner or otherwise according to the Laws
of Arms. The copyright in a grant of arms resides with the
Board of the National Library of Ireland.
A grant of arms does not confer any rank or title or have any effect
on the right of the person concerned to any property, real or personal.
A grant of arms made to an individual extends to his or her descendants
of the name, not to a family as such.
Forcurrent fees, contact the Office of the Chief Herald at email@example.com
Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland
An Irish Grant of Arms (In Irish & English)
Ireland - Researching arms
An Ulster King of Arms was first appointed in 1552, and records
of grants in Ireland exist from that date. Heraldic jurisdiction
over Northern Ireland was transferred to the College of Arms in
1943, the office of Ulster King of Arms being joined to that of
Norroy King of Arms. In the Republic of Ireland, an official Genealogical
Office was established in Dublin, with the Chief Herald of Ireland
at its head, and his authority is the primary one in Eire. Photocopies
of the old records of Ulster King of Arms are deposited in the College
of Arms, the originals being retained by the Chief Herald.
The Registers of the Chief Herald at the Genealogical Office, the
armorials and ordinaries of arms, the Funeral Entries, Lords
Entries and records of Knights Dubbed are all a useful source to
the historian or genealogist researching an armigerous family. These
documents, which derive from the functions of the Office, are consulted
regularly by staff of the Chief Heralds Office in the course
of their duties.
Roger O'Feralls Linea Antiqua is the most important source
for the genealogies of Gaelic families and also contains exemplifications
of arms. Other collections may be considered equally important to
the researcher and certain information from now lost sources previously
held in the Public Record Office is of particular value. For example,
the genealogical and historical information contained in the abstracts
from the Plea Rolls from the reign Henry III to that of Henry VI
are the most important source for Norman genealogy; the extracts
from the Pipe Rolls from the reign of Henry III to that of Edward
III contain similar information; for a later period (1536
1810) tabulated pedigrees contained in the abstracts of wills proved
at the prerogative court of the Archbishop of Armagh can be consulted.
The numerous other collections which have been acquired as sources
of genealogical information include Ecclesiastical Visitations,
a list of high sheriffs of counties, a roll of freemen of the City
of Dublin, lists of freeholders and a list of gentlemen attainted
by King James. A complete catalogue appears in A Guide to the Genealogical
Office published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission.
Access to the Genealogical Office manuscript collections is open
to all holders of a Readers' Ticket. See Access and Copying Facilities
and Catalogues & Databases.
The Office of the Chief Herald does not undertake genealogical
research or searches in the records of the office, on behalf of
members of the public. For advice on genealogical research in Ireland,
the Genealogy Advisory Service is available to all personal callers
to the Library. For more information about Family History Research
in the Library, and information on commissioning research by third
parties, please see http://www.nli.ie/en/heraldry-collections.aspx
The Dublin Armorial of Scottish Nobility dates from the
end of the 16th C. It contains a color photofacsimile of pages depicting
the marital coats of the various Kings of Scotland (Scotland to
dexter, the Queen's original arms to sinister). It also includes
over 50 noble coats of arms depicted in a full achievement (with
crest and supporters.) Of particular note are the achievements where
the arms are shown, not on an escutcheon, but on a tabard, with
the arms shown in full on the front, and half of the arms visible
on each sleeve. The heraldic art quality is high. It contains significant
explanatory information in English, with particularly detailed historical
information about the owners of the arms. This is a limited edition
volume. Leslie Hodgson, The Dublin Armorial of Scottish Nobility,
The Heraldry Society of Scotland, 2006, ISBNs: 0-9525258-4-4 and
See also general
European sources >>>
Irish Heraldic Practice
In English, achievements of arms are usually described (blazoned)
in a specialized jargon that uses derivatives of French terms. In
Irish achievements of arms are described in language which, while
formal and different from plain language, is not quite so opaque
to Irish speakers as Anglo-Norman terminology is to English speakers.
Germany and Switzerland
German & Swiss Heraldic Authority
There is no German or Swiss Heraldic Authority
Germany & Switzerland
Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
There is no -one to apply to!
Germany & Switzerland - Researching Arms
Here are some useful sources:
The Manesse Codex was written in Zurich in the first half
of the 14th C. It has 137 miniatures, each of which has a portrait
of one of the Minnesänger (poets) and (in most cases) his arms
and crest. The miniatures also give some lovely illustrations of
tournament scenes (including heraldic costume) and courtly love.
The reader should be aware that the manuscript includes tarnished
silver which can appear almost black, such as the "zwei silberne
(schwarz oxidierte)... Karpfen" in the arms of Wachsmut von
Künzigen (miniature #50). The miniatures can be found on line
in some web sites:
There have been a number of books written on the manuscript. One
in-print edition, which contains all the miniatures in color and
is the source of the quote about miniature #50, is: Ingo F. Walther
and Gisela Siebert, Codex Manesse (Insel Verlag, Frankfurt, 1988,
ISBN 3-458-14385-8). The explanatory text and blazons are in German.
Zuricher Wappenrolle is a 14th C Swiss/German roll of arms
known from later copies, with about 450 coats of arms and some additional
armory depicted on standards. A color facsimile with explanatory
text has been found on the Internet in the past, but at this current
May 2006 date is withdrawn and in revision, with the final version
not yet available - see the Laurel web site's educational page for
references (www.sca.org/heraldry/laurel). Print editions have also
been published, one (with black and white redrawings and explanatory
text in French) from Leopard d'Or.
Vigil Rabers Neustifter Wappenbuch is an armorial from the
16th C. containing a color photofacsimile of over 1500 coats of
arms, drawn in art styles ranging from excellent to adequate, depending
on the emblazon. Most are on the excellent side. Its author was
Vigil Raber, a true Renaissance man who was not only both a herald
and a painter but also an important figure in the history of the
theater. Vigil Raber was from South Tyrol, which is currently an
autonomous province of Italy, but culturally German in period. The
volume listed here contains introductory material and an armorial,
all in German. (Harwick W. Arch, Virgil Rabers Neustifter Wappenbuch
(Verlag A. Weger, Brixen, 2001, ISBN 88-85831-76-1).
Siebmacher's Wappenbuch is an armorial from 1605 covering
Germany and neighboring areas, including portions of Silesia. It
has 3400 coats of arms with associated crests. The edition described
here does not have blazons but it does have a name index. It has
been going in and out of print about every five years, with the
most recent edition in 1999, and is often available at a very low
price. The 1994 and 1989 editions are effectively identical to the
1999 edition: Johann Siebmachers Wappenbuch von 1605 (Harenburg
Komm., Dortmund, 1999, ISBN: 357210050X). These are photofacsimiles
of the printed black and white volume which were hand-colored at
See also general
European sources >>>
German Heraldic Practice
Distinctive features of German heraldry include
German crests feature the distictive and extensive use of horns.
Also multiple crests are used extensively and are arranged to point
into the centre.
The Rule of Tincture
German heraldry accomodates red charges on black backrounds.
Belgian Heraldic Authority
Belgians who are granted noble status as an honor from the King
concurrently receive a new grant of arms or have their previously
used arms recognized as noble by the Council of the Nobility (Conseil
Official recognition of non-noble arms is within the jurisdiction
of the three linguistic communities, French, Flemish (Dutch), and
German. Private assumption of arms is entirely legal, and arms that
have been openly used or published can be defended in the civil
courts against misappropriation.
Belgium - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
Private assumption of arms is legal, and arms that have been openly
used or published can be defended in the civil courts against misappropriation.
For more see Applying
for Arms in Belgium >>>
Private heraldry is not legislated. State heraldry and the heraldry
of the nobility is regulated by the High Council of Nobility.
Personal or family arms are freely assumable. They may be registered
and publicly documented through the following unofficial organizations,
though egistration does not provide legal protectio):
For more see Applying
for Arms in the Netherlands >>>
Researching Dutch Arms
Armorial de la Flandre Wallonne dit de La Marche de Lille
is a roll assembled between 1543-1544 what is now Northern France/southern
Belgium, but was at the time a part of Flanders. It includes a color
photofacsimile of 288 coats of arms (264 on shields, 24 on banners)
from the (heraldic administrative) Marche of Lille (which included
the towns of Lille, Douai and Orchies.) Useful discussions of the
heraldry in the book are provided in French. Armorial de la Flandre
Wallonne dit de La Marche de Lille, Francois Boniface, Sources Genealogiques
et Historiques des Provinces du Nord, ISBN 2-908976-72-2 2001. The
publisher's web site is http://126.96.36.199/sghpn/collection/armorial.jsp.
See also general
European sources >>>
French Heraldic Authority
There is no French Heraldic Authority for private individuals
France - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
There is no-one to apply to!
French law recognizes arms as a form of property and a cognizance
accessory to the family name to which they are indissolubly attached,.
There is currently no state role in granting, authorizing, or certifying
personal arms. In French law, a persons right to a particular
coat of arms and his ability to defend them against usurpation are
based on his establishing that he was using them by a date
For more see Assuming
Arms in France >>>
Researching French Arms
Armorial of Hozier. Charles René d'Hozier, son of
Pierre, helped him in his research, succeeded to him in the charged
of judge of arms and was named genealogist of the king. He published
the Grand Armorial of France established on order of Louis XIV in
1696, containing 120,000 coats of arms.
See also general
European sources >>>
French Heraldic Practice
Distinctive features of French heraldic practice are the use of
a specialised heraldic language (which is not the same as the specialised
form of French used in England) and the very limited use of hatchments.
Researching Italian Arms
Stemmario Trivulziano, Italian, c.14701480, 2,000
coats. Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan, Italy. Possibly the most renowned
of the Italian Renaissance armorials, probably a work by Gian Antonio
da Tradate, formerly the property of the Princes Trivulzio. This
codex dates back to the early years of the condottiere Francesco
I Sforza as Duke of Milan (145066). It blazons the ducal arms
and those of linked families such as Brandolini, Savelli, Colonna,
Orsini, Scaligeri, Este and Gonzaga. Also the arms of the German
Stemmi depicts heraldic art, which performs a function similar
to that of a roll of arms. This book describes 176 armorial bas
relief plaques in the courtyard of the Bargello museum in Florence,
Italy. The arms belonged to the individuals holding the position
of Podesta at the Bargello between 1313 and 1557. The heraldic art
is excellent, and often includes crests and supporters. For each
plaque, the book provides a black and white photograph, some information
about the Podesta, and the name of the artist (in Italian). The
book also has a scholarly introduction. The blazons are accurate
when describing the charges but may not be accurate for tincture,
as the pigments have mostly worn off the plaques. (In some cases,
the blazon in the book gives the same tincture for a charge and
the field or other charge on which it lies.) Unlike a roll of arms,
where all the artwork was done in a short period of time, these
plaques were roughly contemporary with the arms that they depict,
and thus they survey over 200 years of Tuscan heraldic art: Francesca
Fumi Cambi Gado, Stemmi (Firenze, 1993, no ISBN). The museum's web
site is http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/english/musei/bargello/.
Stemmario Trivulziano contains hundreds of arms from Milan
in the mid-15th C. The heraldry of Milan shows both German and Italian
influence. The book is a high quality color photofacsimile. Ed.
Carlo Maspoli, 2000, Casa Editrice Niccolo; Orsini de Marzo, ISBN
See also general
European sources >>>
Spain and Portugal
Spanish Heraldic Authority
Oversight of personal heraldry in Spain is entrusted to officials
known as cronistas de armas, or "chroniclers of arms."
Spain - Applying for Arms / Matriculation of Arms
Researching Spanish and Portuguese Arms
Libro de Armeria del Reino de Navarra is a 16th C Navarrese
roll containing over 700 coats of arms. It includes a color reproduction
of the roll with explanatory text in Spanish. One edition is from
1974: Faustino Menendez Pidal, Libro de Armería del Reino
de Navarra (Editorial La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca, Bilbao, 1974,
ISBN 84-248-0119-9). A new edition of the book appears to be on
sale from the government of Navarre, according to their Web site,
with a new second editor: Faustino Menendez Pidal and Juan José
Martinena Ruiz, Libro de Armería del Reino de Navarra (Gobierno
de Navarra. Dpto. de Educación y Cultura, 2002, ISBN 84-235-2166-4).
Livro da Nobreza e Perfeicam das Armas is a Portuguese roll
from the first half of the 16th C, including over 300 coats of arms.
It includes a color reproduction of the roll with explanatory text
in English and Portuguese. Livro da Nobreza e Perfeicam das Armas,
Introduction, notes etc. by Martim de Albuquerque and Joao Paulo
de Abreu e Lima, Acadamia Portuguesa da Historia, Lisbon 1987.
See also general
European sources >>>
Burke's General Armory: "The General Armory of England,
Scotland, Ireland and Wales; Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings
from the Earliest to the Present Time". By Sir Bernard Burke,
C.B., LL.D., Ulster King of Arms. London 1884. A listing of every
known armorial ever used in the British Isles.
Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, c. 12851300.
1,076 blasons. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS.français
2249 (Copy, 15th.c.)
Armorial Wijnbergen, French. Part 1, c.12651270; Part
2, c.12701285. 1,312 coats, painted. Royal Dutch Association
of Genealogy & Heraldry, The Hague.
Stepney Roll, 1308. Lists knights present at Stepney Tournament,
1308. Published in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, vol.
4, p. 63.
Dunstable Roll, 1334. Lists knights present at Dunstable
Tournament, 1334. Published in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica,
vol. 4, p. 389.
Calais Roll, 1346/7. 116 shields in brown ink, shaded &
lettered to denote tinctures. Made probably in late 16th.c. from
transcripts of accounts kept by Walter Wetewang, treasurer of the
household 13467 showing wages paid to participants at the
Siege of Calais. Extant only in form of about 20 16th. c. manuscripts.
Classed as spurious by Wagner (1950), but as one of the documentary
pillars of fourteenth-century military studies, by Ayton (1994).
Gelre Armorial, Dutch, c.13701414, 1,700 coats. Royal
Pan-European volumes Available in Reproduction
These volumes usually include significant amounts of heraldry from
France, Flanders, Gelderland, Burgundy, England, Wales, Scotland,
Germany and Switzerland. They also include material on heraldry
from elsewhere in Europe, such as Scandinavia, Italy, Ireland, the
Iberian peninsula, Silesia and Poland.
Most of these pan-European rolls reflected the international "tournament
Armorial Bellenville is a late 14th C armorial with about
1700 coats of arms and some crests. It covers much of Europe, and
it has a high degree of overlap with the armory in Armorial Gelre.
The older edition (still apparently in print) is a black and white
tricked redrawing that includes French explanatory text and an ordinary:
Léon Jéquier, Armorial Bellenville (Cahiers d'Heraldique
V) (Le Leopard d'Or, Paris, 1983, ISBN 2-86377-029-2). The newer
(limited) edition includes a color photograph volume and a scholarly
accompanying explanatory volume in French by M. Pastoureau and M.
Popoff. It is available from Editions du Gui.
Armorial Gelre includes armory from all over Europe and
has excellent heraldic art. This armorial was compiled between 1370
and 1414. It contains some 1700 coats of arms (and some crests)
from almost the entirety of Europe. The following edition has black
and white photographs and explanatory text in French: P. Adam-Even,
annotator, Gelre (Jan von Helmont, Leuven, 1992, ISBN 90-74318-03-7).
Grand Armorial Equestre de la Toison d'Or is a 15th C armorial
covering most of Europe, with a concentration on the continent.
It contains over 1000 coats of arms and some fine heraldic equestrian
figures. The quality of the heraldic art in this roll is very high.
There are two editions that are readily available. The older edition
is a black and white redrawing with explanatory text in English:
Rosemary Pinches and Anthony Wood, A European Armorial (Heraldry
Today, London, 1971, ISBN 0 900455 13 6). The newer (limited) edition
has a color photograph volume with an accompanying explanatory volume
in French: M. Pastoureau and M. Popoff, Grand armorial equestre
de la Toison d'Or (Editions du Gui, Paris, 2001).
L'armorial Le Breton is a collection of armorials from the
15th -16th C, which were bound together and in the possession of
Hector Le Breton, Montjoie King of Arms of France. It contains a
photofacsimile of over 900 coats of arms, many of which are French.
It also contains significant amounts of introductory material by
various authors, as well as a detailed armorial, providing not only
names and blazons, but historical information about the armigers.
All the explanatory text is in French. Emmanuel de Boos (and others),
L'Armorial Le Breton, (Somology éditions d'Art, Paris, 2004,
Traité d'Heraldique is not a facsimile roll of arms,
but an excellent discussion of heraldry (in French), with a particular
focus on heraldry from the 13th to 15th C. It addresses some questions
about frequency of use of charges and tinctures in various countries
by providing statistics. The illustrations include good black and
white photos and redrawings of period heraldry. This book appears
to have recently gone out of print but was widely available in bookstores
through 2001 and is still available new or used in some bookstores:
Michel Pastoureau, Traité d'Héraldique (second edition:
Picard, Paris 1993, ISBN 2-7084-0413-X; ISSN 0242-7249, later editions