International Heraldry - National Differences

 

Here, you can find information on heraldry in different countries, specifically:

  • 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 or Scotland)

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 1555.

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 styles.

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 here >>>

For the College of Arms website & contact details click here 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 Landed Gentry.

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 (1598–1644), Lt. of Dover Castle

Heralds' Roll, c.1280. College of Arms, MS B.29

Glover's Roll, c. 1240–1245 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 (1216–1272). 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 Dering (1598–1644).

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. 1285–1298, 147 coats with blasons. Bibliothèque Municipale, Besançon, Collection Chifflet, MS 186, pp. 145–154.

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.1–21b.

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.168–75 (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.9–9b) 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.23b–30b. 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.19–25. Collin's Roll (Q)

Collins' Roll, 1296, 598 coats, painted. Queen's College, Oxford, MS 158, pp. 366–402 (Copy c1640). College of Arms, London

Stirling Roll, 1304, 102 coats. College of Arms, London MS M.14, ff.269–272 (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:

 

Badges

In England, the granting of badges to armigers by the College of Arms has become "commonplace" in recent years.

Mottos

Mottos shown below the arms are normal - but serve to distinguish the arms from Scottish ones, where the motto is shown above.

Crests

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

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.

Quarterings

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

 
 

 

For quality shields and medieval arms visit the website armorvenue.com.

 

Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

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 Celtic times.

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 Lyon.

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.!

 

Thomas-Innes-of-Learney
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 person’s heirs, Lyon can also grant arms to anyone who can prove descent in the direct male line from someone living within a previous Lyon’s jurisdiction.

In such cases arms are granted in memory of an ancestor; this route usually requires that the arms also be matriculated for the applicant’s 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 in Dublin.

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.

Contact address:

The Court of the Lord Lyon,
H.M. New Register House,
Edinburgh EH1 3YT.
Scotland

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 Scottish arms."

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 Arms

 

 
 

Scotland - Heraldic conventions

 

Heraldry in Scotland is broadly similar to heraldry in the rest of western Europe. It does have some distinctive features.

Clan Heraldry

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 house …."

 

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 relationship.

 

Motto Scrolls

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" system.

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.

 

Badges

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 grounds.

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.

 

Crest Badges

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.

 

Crests

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, be unique.

 

Heiresses

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.

 

Quarterings

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

 
 

Canada

 

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 in Canada.

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 corporate bodies.

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 document.

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 Canada Gazette.

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

 

Aboriginal 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.

   

 

 

Cadency

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 of arms.

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 heraldry,

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 brothers.

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 to them.

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.

 

Cathedrals
 

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.

   

 

 

Heraldic Traditions

The Canadian Authorities will generally accomadate the traditions of an armiger's ancestors, whether Scottish, English, French or First Nation.

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

 
 

 

Grants of Arms

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sons Daughters
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

These are the arms of a woman
Differenced Arms
   
   
   
   
 
   
   
 

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 only.

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 or archives.

 

 
 

Ireland

 

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 herald@nli.ie

Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland
Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

Tel. +353-1-6030311
Fax: +353-1-6621062

herald@nli.ie

 

 

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 Herald’s Office in the course of their duties.

Roger O'Ferall’s 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.

 

Genealogical Research

 

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 978-0-9525258-4-4.)

 

see http://www.nli.ie/en/heraldry-catalogues-and-databases.aspx

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.

Some examples:

  Gold   Silver  Blue    Red  Green    Purple  Black   Ermine  Fur  
Or Argent Azure Gules Vert Purpure Sable Ermine Vair  
Ór Airgead Gorm Dearg Uaine Corcra Dubh Eirmín Véir  
(órga) (airgidí)                

 

 

 

 
 

 

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 some date.

See also general European sources >>>

 

German Heraldic Practice

 

Distinctive features of German heraldry include

 

Crests

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 
 

Belgium

 

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 de Noblesse).

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 >>>

 

 

 

 
 

Netherlands/Flanders
(French-speaking/Walloon)

 

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

 

Heraldic Sources:

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://209.18.96.32/sghpn/collection/armorial.jsp.

See also general European sources >>>

 

 

 

 

 
 

France

 

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 person’s 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 certain.”

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.

 

 

 

 
 

Italy

 

 

Researching Italian Arms

 

Stemmario Trivulziano, Italian, c.1470–1480, 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 (1450–66). 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 merchant-bankers Fugger.

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 88-900452-0-5.

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 >>>

 

 

 

 
 

European Countries

 

 

British Isles

 

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.

 

Other

 

Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, c. 1285–1300. 1,076 blasons. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS.français 2249 (Copy, 15th.c.)

Armorial Wijnbergen, French. Part 1, c.1265–1270; Part 2, c.1270–1285. 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 1346–7 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.1370–1414, 1,700 coats. Royal Library, Belgium.

 

 

 

 
 

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 circuit".

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, ISBN 2-85056-792-2.)

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 now available).

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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