Medieval Rolls of Arms
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).
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).
Click for some extracts from the Grand Armorial Equestre
de la Toison d'Or
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
Livro do Armeiro-Mor is an illuminated manuscript dated
1509, created during the reign of King Manuel I, fourteenth king
of Portugal. The codex is an armorial designed by João do
Cró, Rei de Armas (John Cro, King of Arms). It is considered
one of the masterpieces of illuminated manuscripts preserved in
Click for some extracts from the Livro do Armeiro-mor
England and Wales
Anglo-Norman Armory and Anglo-Norman Armory Two discuss
13th C Anglo-Norman armory. They are written in English. The first
book contains a discussion of 13th C armory. It also contains a
black and 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 to twenty-five rolls of arms compiled from 1250
to 1315, covering 3000 coats of arms. The 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).
Germany and Switzerland
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
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://220.127.116.11/sghpn/collection/armorial.jsp.
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 the heading for Germany, for heraldic material from South
No specifically Polish documents yet listed, but you may wish to
reference the Silesia heading.
The Balliol Roll is a 14th C roll containing 36 Scottish
coats of arms, which was probably compiled by (or for) an Englishman.
A color photograph of the one-page roll is included. 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. The following edition is available from the publisher at
a bargain price, and 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.)
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
Spain and Portugal
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.