The Handbook to English Heraldry
by Charles Boutell
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"To describe ... emblazoned Shields." —MILTON




Author of "The Monumental Brasses of England," Editor and Part Author of "Arms and Armour in Antiquity and The Middle Ages," etc.


NEARLY FIVE HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS Drawn and Engraved on Wood by Mr. R. B. UTTING and Others


Thoroughly Revised with an Additional Chapter by A. C. FOX-DAVIES of Lincoln's Inn Barrister-At-Law


Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh



This standard work of reference has been revised throughout, and enlarged by the addition of an extra chapter on Peerage Dignities.


LINCOLN'S INN, November 1913.



In the revision of this well-known work I have held my hand, rather than the contrary, trying to bear always in mind that it was the hand-book of Mr. Charles Boutell and not a production of my own. My alterations have been concerned chiefly in bringing the volume up to date, anecessity imposed by the creation of new orders of knighthood, and change of Sovereign. Ihave certainly omitted a few remarks which I have thought might be the cause of leading students of the science astray: Ihave altered ambiguous wording to emphasise the real, and I have no doubt the originally intended meaning. But in many points which, being deductions, are naturally matters of opinion, Ihave left herein various expressions of Mr. Boutell's opinion, with which I can hardly say I personally altogether agree or would myself put forward. Ihold that it is no part of an editor's duty to air his own opinions under the protection or repute of another's name, and herein I have inserted nothing for which my own opinion is the only authority.


LINCOLN'S INN, June 1908.


This Volume, specially prepared for the use of students at an early period of their study of English Heraldry, commends itself also to those inquirers who may desire to obtain some general information on the same subject, without having any intention to devote to Heraldry much either of their time or of their serious regard.

The success, no less extraordinary than gratifying, of my larger work on Heraldry, led me to hope that a not less favourable reception might be extended to a simpler and much shorter essay, more decidedly elementary in its aim and character, and yet as far as possible within its limits complete. Such a treatise I have endeavoured to produce in this Volume.

Inseparably associated with the History of our Country, and more particularly when our national History becomes the Biography of eminent Englishmen, English Heraldry has the strongest claims upon the attention not only of all Historians, but also of all who desire to become familiar with their writings. In like manner, Heraldry may be studied with no less of advantage than of satisfaction by all Artists, whether Architects, Sculptors, Painters, or Engravers. Nor is it too much to assert that some knowledge of Heraldry, in consequence of its singular and comprehensive utility, ought to be estimated as a necessary element of a liberal education. In confirmation of my own views, Iam tempted to quote the following passage from M. GOURDON DE GENOUILLAC'S introduction to his excellent "Grammaire Hraldique," published at Paris:— "Le blason," says M. de Genouillac, "est une langue qui s'est conserve dans sa puret primitive depuis les sicles, langue dont la connaissance, est indispensable aux familles nobles, qui y trouvent un signe d'alliance ou de reconnaissance, aux numismates, aux antiquaires, aux archologues, enfin tous les artistes, gens de lettres, &c.; cependant cette langue est presque inconnue, et la plupart des personnes qui possedent le droit de porter des armoiries seraient fort en peine de les expliquer selon les termes techniques!" Heraldry, indeed, Ibelieve to be a study worthy to be universally regarded with affectionate respect, as it certainly is eminently qualified to inspire such a sentiment in every class of student.

In this spirit I have here treated the elements of the Heraldry of England, confident that, of those who may accompany me as far as I shall lead them, very many will not be content to stop where I shall take leave of them. Thus much I promise my companions—I will be to them a faithful guide. They may trust to my accuracy. Ihave made no statement, have adduced no example, nor have I exhibited any illustration, except upon authority. Imyself like and admire what is real and true in Heraldry; and it is by the attractiveness of truth and reality that I desire to win for Heraldry fresh friends, and to secure for it firm friendships.

It will be understood that from the authority, the practice, and the associations of the early Heraldry of the best and most artistic eras, Iseek to derive a Heraldry which we may rightly consider to be our own, and which we may transmit with honour to our successors. Ido not suggest the adoption, for present use, of an obsolete system. But, while I earnestly repudiate the acceptance and the maintenance amongst ourselves of a most degenerate substitute for a noble Science, Ido aspire to aid in restoring HERALDRY to its becoming rank, and consequently to its early popularity, now in our own times. This is to revive the fine old Heraldry of the past, to give to it a fresh animation, and to apply it under existing conditions to existing uses and requirements: not, to adjust ourselves to the circumstances of its first development, and to reproduce as copyists its original expressions. It is not by any means a necessary condition of a consistent revival of early Heraldry, that our revived Heraldry should admit no deviation from original usage or precedent. So long as we are thoroughly animated by the spirit of the early Heralds, we may lead our Heraldry onwards with the advance of time. It is for us, indeed, to prepare a Heraldry for the future, no less than to revive true Heraldry in the time now present. We may rightly modify, therefore, and adapt many things, in order to establish a true conformity between our Heraldry and the circumstances of our own era: for example, with advantage as well as propriety we may, in a great measure, substitute Badges for Crests; and we shall do well to adopt a style of drawing which will be perfectly heraldic, without being positively unnatural.

The greater number of my Illustrations have been engraved only in outline, with the twofold object of my being thus enabled to increase the number of the examples, and to adapt the engravings themselves to the reception of colour. It will be very desirable for students to blazon the illustrations, or the majority of them, in their proper tinctures: and those who are thoroughly in earnest will not fail to form their own collections of additional examples, which, as a matter of course, they will seek to obtain from original authorities. With the exception of a few examples, my Illustrations, considerably over 400, have all been executed expressly for this work; and they all have been engraved by Mr. R.B. UTTING. The chief exceptions are thirteen admirable woodcuts of Scottish Seals, all of them good illustrations of Heraldry south of the Tweed, originally engraved for Laing's noble quarto upon "The Ancient Seals of Scotland," published in Edinburgh. Scottish Heraldry, Imust add, as in any particulars of law and practice it may differ from our Heraldry on this side of the Tweed, Ihave left in the able hands of the Heralds of the North: at the same time, however, the Heraldry of which I have been treating has so much that is equally at home on either side of "the Border," that I have never hesitated to look for my examples and authorities to both the fair realms which now form one Great Britain.

C. B.








INTRODUCTORY— Early Popularity of Heraldry in England— Origin of English Heraldry; Definition; Characteristics; Development; Early Uses; Not connected with Earlier Systems— Ancient Heraldry— Past and Present Treatment of the Subject 1


EARLY HERALDIC AUTHORITIES— Seals; Monumental Effigies, &c.; Rolls of Arms, Official Heraldic Records, &c.— Earliest Heraldic Shields and Banners— Allusive Quality of Early Armory— Attributed Arms 10


The English Heraldry that is now in existence— First Debasement of Heraldry— Later Debasement— Revival of English Heraldry— Heraldic Art 20


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section I.— Language— Nomenclature— Style and Forms of Expression— Blazon— The Shield: its Parts, Points, Divisions, Dividing Lines, Varieties of Form, and Heraldic Treatment 29


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section II.— Tinctures: Metals, Colours, Furs— Varied Fields— Law of Tinctures— Counter-changing— Diaper— Disposition— Blazoning— Emblazoning in Tinctures 40


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section III.— The Ordinaries:— Chief: Fesse: Bar: Pale: Cross; its Heraldic Varieties: Bend: Saltire: Chevron: and Pile 49


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section IV.— The Subordinaries:— Canton or Quarter: Inescutcheon: Oile: Tressure: Bordure: Flanches: Lozenge, Mascle, Rustre: Fusil: Billet: Gyron: Frette— The Roundles 64


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section V.— Miscellaneous Charges:— Human Beings: Animals: Birds: Fish: Reptiles and Insects: Imaginary Beings: Natural Objects: Various Artificial Figures and Devices— Appropriate Descriptive Epithets 73


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section VI.— The Lion and the Eagle in Heraldry 83


GRAMMAR OF HERALDRY: Section VII.— Glossary of Titles, Names, and Terms 100


MARSHALLING:— Aggroupment: Combination: Quartering: Dimidiation: Impalement: Escutcheon of Pretence: Marshalling the Arms of Widowers, Widows, and others: Official Arms; and the Accessories of Shields 158


CADENCY:— Marks of Cadency are temporary, or permanent: the Label: the Bordure: the Bendlet, Barrulet, and Canton: Change of Tincture: Secondary Charges: Single Small Charges: Differences of Illegitimacy: Cadency of Crests, Badges, &c.: Modern Cadency 176


DIFFERENCING:— Differencing to denote Feudal Alliance or Dependency: Differencing without any Alliance— Augmentation— Abatement 194








FLAGS:— The Pennon: the Banner: the Standard: the Royal Standard: the "Union Jack": Ensigns: Military Standards and Colours: Blazoning: Hoisting and Displaying Flags 246


THE ROYAL HERALDRY OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND:— Shields of Arms of the Reigning Sovereigns of England, of Scotland, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: Crests: Supporters: Mottoes: Crowns: Banners: Armorial Insignia of the late Prince Consort; of the Prince and Princess of Wales; of the other Princes and Princesses 258


ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD AND INSIGNIA OF HONOUR:— Feudal Knighthood— Orders of Knighthood: Knights of St. John: Knights Templars: the Order of the Garter; of the Thistle; of St. Patrick; of the Bath; of St. Michael and St. George; of the Star of India— The Order of Merit— The Royal Victorian Order— The Imperial Service Order— The Victoria Cross— The Albert Medal— Naval and Military Medals— Foreign Insignia bestowed on British Subjects 273




The COLLEGE OF ARMS— The LYON OFFICE of Scotland— Grants of Arms— Tax on "Armorial Bearings," and on "Arms Found" 304


MISCELLANEOUS:— Coins— Seals— Heraldry in Architecture, in Monuments, in Illuminations, in Encaustic Tiles— Heraldic Personal Ornaments, and various Heraldic Decorations— Conclusion 316


PEERAGE DIGNITIES:— The Dignity of Earl— Of Baron— The Parliament of 1295— Landed Qualifications— Creation of the Title Duke of Cornwall— The Title of Marquis— The Premier Baron of England— The Peerage of Scotland— Scottish Remainders— Daughter Inherits in her own Right— Determination of an Abeyance— The Right to Create Peers of Ireland— Rights and Privileges of a Peeress— The Daughters of Peers— Anomalies of the English Scale of Precedence 327




1. Arms of St. George } 2. Arms of St. Edward } ix 3. Arms of St. Edmund } 4. Arms of Sir Walter Scott, of Abbotsford 1 5. Lance Flag, Bayeux Tapestry 6 6. Lance Flag, Bayeux Tapestry 6 7. Ancient Shield, from a Greek Vase 8 8. Ancient Shield, from a Greek Vase 8 9. Ancient Shield, from a Greek Vase 8 10. Ancient Shield, from a Greek Vase 8 11. Seal of Walter Innes 11 12. Seal of William Innes 11 13. Banner of Templars 14 14. Banner of Leicester 14 15. Shield of Brittany 14 16. Shield of Waldegrave 14 17. Shield of Fitz Warine 14 18. Shield of Whitworth 14 19. The Escarbuncle 15 20. Shield of Montacute 17 20A. Shield of Montacute 70 21. The Planta Genista 17 22. Arms assigned to William I. 18, 259 23. Arms assigned to the Saxon Princes 18 24. Shield of Prince John of Eltham 26 25. Badge of Richard II., Westminster Hall 27 26. Badge of Richard II., Westminster Hall 27 27. The Points of an Heraldic Shield 33 28. Shield divided per Pale 33 29. Shield divided per Fesse 33 30. Shield divided Quarterly 33 31. Shield divided per Bend 33 32. Shield divided per Bend Sinister 33 33. Shield divided per Saltire 33 34. Shield divided per Chevron 33 35. Shield divided per Tierce 33 36. Shield Quarterly of Eight 34 37. Compound Quartering 34 38. Border and Dividing Lines 35 39. Bowed Shield 36 40. Heraldic Shield 36 41. Heraldic Shield 36 42. Heraldic Shield 36 43. Heraldic Shield 37 44. Heraldic Shield 37 45. Modern Shield 37 46. Cartouche 37 47. Lozenge 37 48. Arms of Provence 38 49. Shield Couch 38 50. Symbolisation of Or 40 51. Symbolisation of Argent 40 52. Symbolisation of Azure 40 53. Symbolisation of Gules 40 54. Symbolisation of Sable 40 55. Symbolisation of Vert 40 56. Symbolisation of Purpure 40 57, 57A. Ermine 41, 42 58. Ermines 41 59. Erminois 41 60. Pean 41 61. Vair 41 62. Vair 41 63. Counter Vair 41 64. Potent 41 65. Counter Potent 41 66. Compone 43 67. Counter Compone 43 68. Arms of Earl de Warrenne 45 69. Arms of Jerusalem 44 70. Arms of Fenwick 44 71. A Chief 50 72. Arms of Le Botiler 50 73. Arms of De Brus 50 74. Arms of De Clintone 50 75. Arms of De Clintone 50 76. Arms of De Clifford 50 77. Arms of De Pateshulle 50 78. Arms of Le Vavasour 50 79. Arms of De Hemenhale 51 80. Arms of De Dageworthe 51 81. Arms of De Harecourt 51 82. Arms of Wake 51 83. Arms of De Huntercumbe 52 84. Arms of De la Mere 52 85. Arms of Fitzalan of Bedale 53 86. Arms of De Valence 53 87. Arms of Erskine 53 88. Arms of Grandison 53 89. Cross Fimbriated 54 90. Cross Pointed 54 91. Greek Cross 55 92. Latin Cross 55 93. Tau Cross 55 94. Cross Quadrate 55 95. Cross Patriarchal 55 96. Cross Lourche 55 97. Arms of De Molines 56 98. Arms of Bishop Anthony Bec 56 99. Arms of William de Vesci 56 100. Cross Fleurie 56 101. Cross Fleurette 56 102. Cross Pommee 56 103. Cross Botonee 57 104. Cross Crosslet 57 105. Cross Cleche 57 106. Cross Patee 57 107. Cross Maltese 57 108. Cross Potent 57 109. Cross Avellane 57 110. Cross Botone Fitche 57 111. Arms of Le Scrope 58 112. Arms of De Radclyffe 58 113. Arms of Le Boteler 58 114. Arms of De Bohun, Earl of Hereford 59 115. Arms of De Bohun (differenced) 59 116. Arms of De Montford 60 117. Arms of De Bray 60 118. Paly Bendy 60 119. Barry Bendy 60 120. Arms of St. Andrew 60 121. Arms of De Neville 60 122. Arms of De Neville 60 123. Arms of De Stafford 61 124. Arms of De Clare 61 125. Early Shield of De Clare 62 126. Arms of De Chandos 62 127. Arms of De Prian 62 128. Arms of De Passett 62 129. Arms of De Kyrkeby 65 130. Arms of Blundell 65 131. Arms of De Mortimer 66 132. Arms of Darcy 66 133. Arms of De Wyllers 66 134. Arms of De Balliol 66 135. Single Tressure Flory 67 136. Tressure Flory Counterflory 67 137. Double Tressure Flory 67 138. Arms of Scotland 67, 260 139. Arms of De Waltone 68 140. Arms of Richard, Earl of Cornwall 68 141. Flanche 69 142. Flasques 69 143. Mascle 69 144. Rustre 69 145. Arms of De Burgh, Earl of Kent 69 146. Arms of Deincourt 70 147. Arms of Campbell 70 148. A Frette 71 149. Arms of De Etchingham 71 150. Trellis Cloue 71 151. Bezant 72 152. Torteau 72 153. Fountain 72 154. Annulet 72 155. Shield of Douglas 74 156. Shield of Douglas 74 157. Shield of Douglas 74 158. Shield of Isle of Man 74 159. Shield of St. Alban's Abbey 75 160. Early Martlet 77 161. Martlet 77 162. Banner of De Barre 77 163. Dolphin 78 164. Arms of De Lucy 78 165. Escallop 78 166. A, B, C, Crescent, Increscent, Decrescent 80 167. At Gaze 81 168. Tripping 81 169. At Speed 81 170. Stag's Head Cabossed 85 171. Lion Rampant 85 172. Lion Rampant Guardant 85 173. Lion Passant 85 174. Lion Passant Guardant 85 175. Lion Statant 85 176. Lion Statant Guardant 85 177. Lion Couchant 86 178. Lion Sejant 86 179. Lion Dormant 86 180. Lion Salient 86 181. Lion Double queued 86 182. Lion Coward 86 183. Lion's Head 87 184. Lion's Face 87 185. Lion's Jambe 87 186. Demi Lion Rampant 87 187. Arms of England 87, 259 188. Arms of Richard I. 88 189. Arms of Prince John 88 190. Arms of Richard I. 88 191. Arms of Le Strange 89 192. Arms of Giffard 89 193. Arms of Mowbray 89 194. Arms of De Lacy 89 195. Arms of De Segrave 89 196. Arms of De Percy 90 197. Arms of De Longespe 90 198. Crest of Black Prince 91 199. Crest &c., Richard II. 91 200. Eagle Shield in Westminster Abbey 93 201. Imperial Eagle 93 202. Royal Eagle 93 203. Arms of Earl of Cornwall 94 204. Seal of Euphemia Leslie 94 205. Shield of Piers Gaveston 95 206. Arms of Montacute and Monthermer 95 207. A Vol 96 209. Arms of De la Mere 96 210. Shield at St. Albans 97 211. Austrian Eagle 97 212. German Imperial Eagle 98 213. German Eagle, wings erect 98 214. French Imperial Eagle 99 215. Badge of Ulster 101 216. Breys 104 217. Baron's Coronet 104 218. Water Bouget 106 219. Bourohier Knot 106 220. Bowen Knot 107 221. Caltrap 107 222. Castle 108 223. Celestial Crown 108 224. Chapeau of Estate 108 225. Arms of Saxony 108 226. Chess Rook 109 227. Cinquefoil 109 228. Clarions 109 229. Cockatrice 110 230. Collar of York 110 231. Collar of Lancaster 110 232. Crest Coronet 113 233. Crest Wreaths 113 234. Crown of H.M. The King 115, 266 235. Dacre Knot and Badges 115 236. Dragon 117 237. Duke's Coronet 117 238. Earl's Coronet 118 239. Eastern Crown 118 240. Electoral Bonnet 119 241. Arms of Byron 119 242. Estoile 120 243. Fer-de-Moline 121 244. Fermails 121 245. Fetter lock 122 246. Fleur de lys 122 247. Arms of France Ancient 122 248. Arms of France Modern 122 249. Arms of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster 123 250. Arms of Margaret, Queen of Edward I. 122 251. Seal of Margaret, Queen of Edward I. 123 252. Shield of Edward III., A.D. 1340 124, 260 253. Shield of Henry IV., about 1405 124, 260 254, 255. Fylfots 125 256. Shield of R. de Gorges 127 257. Hawk's Lure 128 258. Hawk's Bells and Jesses 128 259. Helm of the Sovereign 129 260. Helm of Princes and Nobles 129 261. Helm of Baronets and Knights 129 262. Helm of Esquires and Gentlemen 129 263. Helm of Esquires and Gentlemen 129 264. Heneage Knot 130 265. Arms of the Heralds College 130 266. Arms of Lyon Office 131 267. Jessant de lys 133 268, 269. Heraldic Keys 133 270. Hastings Badge 133 271, 272, 273. Labels 134 274. Lacy Knot 134 275. Lymphad 136 276. Arms of Hastings 136 277. Coronet of Marquess 137 278. Mullet 139 279. Mullet Pierced 139 280. Mural Crown 140 281. Naval Crown 140 282. Pourdon 141 283. Panache Crest of Edward Courtenay 142 284. Panache Crest of William le Latimer 142 285. Panache Crest of Edmund Mortimer 142 286. Pennon of D'Aubernoun 143 287. Pheon 143 288. Portcullis 143 289. Coronet of Prince of Wales 145 290. Coronet of King's Daughters and Younger Sons 145 291. Coronet of King's Grandchildren 145 292. Coronet of King's Cousins 145 293. Quatrefoil 146 294. The Ragged Staff Badge 146 295. Rebus of Abbot Kirton 148 296. Rebus of Bishop Peckyngton 148 297. Rebus of Sir John Peche 148 298, 299. Heraldic Roses 149 300. Rose en Soleil 149 301. Crest of Hamilton 150 302. Sixfoil 152 303. Arms of Shakespeare 151 304. Stafford Knot 152 305. Staple Padge 152 306. Arms of City of London 153 307. Tabard 154 308. Badge of James I. 154 309. Trefoil Slipped 155 310. Trumpet 155 311. Viscount's Coronet 156 312. Shield at St. Michael's Church, St. Albans 157 313. Wake Knot 157 314. Catherine Wheel 157 315. Wyvern 157 316. Seal of Margaret, Queen of Edward I. 160 317. Seal of Margaret Lady De Ros 161 318. Seal of Joan, Countess of Surrey 162 319. Seal of Mary, Countess of Pembroke 164 320. Seal of Matilda of Lancaster 164 321. Seal of Oliver de Bohun 165 322. Shield of Earl John de Dreux 165 323. Shield of Castile and Leon 166 324. Shield of Henry, Earl of Northumberland 167 325. Shield of Mayor of Winchelsea 168 326. Shield of De Valence and Claremont Nesle 168 327. Shield of Camoys and Mortimer 169 328. Shield of D'Aubigny and Scotland 170 329. Shield of Earl Richard Beauchamp 171 330. Four Diagrams illustrative of Marshalling 171-2 331-335. Diagrams illustrative of Marshalling 172 336. Shield of Eldest Sons of Edward I. and II. 178 337. Shield of Black Prince 178 338. Label of Lancaster 179 339. Label of Brittany 179 340. Label of York 179 341. Label of Clarence 180 342. Label of Henry and John of Lancaster 180 343. Label of Thomas of Lancaster 180 344. Shield of Holland, of Kent 181 345. Shield of Henry of Lancaster 182 346. Shield of Beauchamp of Elmely 183 347. Shield of Beauchamp at Carlaverock 183 348. Shield of Beauchamp of Warwick 184 349. Shield of Beauchamp of Bletshoe 184 350. Shield of Bishop Grandison 185 351. Seal of Bishop Le Despencer 185 352. Shield of Sir Fulk Fitz Warin 186 353. Shield of Thomas le Scrope 186 354. Crescent, for Difference 186 355. Mullet, for Difference 186 356. Shield of Lord Latimer 187 357. Shield of Neville 187 358. Shield of Sir Wm. de Brewys 187 359. Shield of Henry, Earl of Worcester 189 360. Shield of Beaufort, before 1397 189 361. Shield of Beaufort, after 1397 189 362. Shield of Charles, Earl of Worcester 190 363. Shield of Sir Roger de Clarendon 190 364. Arms of Radulphus de Arundel 190 365. Seal of William Fraser 193 366. Shield of Earl of Chester 195 367. Shield of Fitz Ralph 196 368. Shield of De Luterell 197 369. Shield of De Wadsley 197 370. Shield of De Wortley 198 371. Shield of De Mounteney 198 372. Shield of De Mounteney 198 373. Shield in St. Alban's Abbey 203 374. Shield of Howard, after Flodden 205 374A. Howard Augmentation 205 375. Fan-Crest, Richard I. 209 376. Fan-Crest, Henry de Perci 209 377. Fan-Crest, Henry de Laci 209 378. Seal of Alexander de Balliol 210 379. Helm, &c., Thomas, Earl of Lancaster 211 380. Helm, &c., Geoffrey Luterell 212 381. Seal, Sir Robert de Marny 212 382. Seal, William de Wyndesor 214 383. Crest, Sir R. Grey, K.G. 215 384. Helm, &c., Richard II. 216 385. Helm, &c., Sir Hugh Hastings 217 386. Crest-Wreath, Sir William Vernon 217 387. Crest-Wreath, Sir Robert Harcourt 217 388. Crest-Wreath, Effigy at Tewkesbury 217 389. Basinet and Crest-Wreath, Sir H. Stafford 218 390. Seal, Earl Robert Bruce 225 391. Seal, Sir Walter Hungerford 225 392. Seal, Sir Robert de Hungerford 226 393. Badge, Tau and Bell 227 394. Ostrich Feather Badge 231 395, 396. Three Ostrich Feathers, Peterborough 231 397. Ostrich Feather Badge, Ludlow 232 398. Ostrich Feather Badge, Deanery, Peterborough 232 399. Ostrich Feather Badge, St. Alban's Abbey 232 400. Ostrich Feather Badge, Exeter Cathedral 232 401. Shield "for Peace" of Black Prince 234 402. Ostrich Feather Badge, Seal of Henry IV. 235 403. Ostrich Feather Badge, Seal of Thomas, Duke of Gloster 235 404. Ostrich Feather Badge, Garter Plate of John Beaufort 235 405. Seal of Devorguilla Crawford 239 406. Seal of Margaret, Lady Hungerford 240 407. Seal of Earl Edmund de Mortimer 242 408. Seal of Robert Graham 243 409. Seal of Sir Wm. Lindsay 243 410. Seal of Sir John Drummond 244 411. Pennon 247 412. Pennon of Percy 247 413. Banners and Pennons 248 414. Seal of Earl John Holland 249 415. Standard of Sir H. de Stafford, K.G. 251 416. The Royal Standard 252 417. The First Union Jack 253 418. Banner of St. George 253 419. Banner of St. Andrew 253 420. The Second Union Jack 254 421. The Banner of St. Patrick 254 422. Red Ensign 255 423. Royal Arms of Stuart Sovereigns 261 424. Arms of Nassau 261 425. Diagram of Arms of William III. and Mary 261 426. Diagram of Arms of William III. alone 261 427. Diagram of Arms of Anne 262 428. Arms of Hanover 262 429, 430. Diagrams of Royal Arms 262, 263 431. Crest of England 264 432. Signet Ring of Queen Mary Stuart 265 433. Insignia of the Order of the Garter 277 434. "Lesser George" of the Garter 279 435. Jewel of the Thistle 281 436. Badge of St. Patrick 281 437. Badge of the Bath, Naval and Military 284 438. Badge of the Bath, Diplomatic and Civil 285 439. Badge of the Star of India 288 440. Victoria Cross 293 441. The Albert Medal 293 442. Seal of Lord Bardolf 318 443. Seal of William Mure 319 444. Seal of Thomas Monypeny 319 445. Seal of Richard Stuart 319 446. Seal of Earl Thomas de Beauchamp Frontispiece 447. Counter-Seal of the same 320 448. Seal of Earl Richard de Beauchamp Frontispiece 449. Seal of Sir Walter Scott, A.D. 1529 326 450. Insignia of the Order of the Thistle 280 451. Insignia of the Order of St. Patrick 282 452. Collar and Military Badge, Order of the Bath 283 453. Star of Knight Grand Cross (Civil) 285 454. Star of Knight Commander (Military) 285 455. Order of Merit 286 456. Collar and Insignia of Exalted Order of the Star of India 287 457. Star and Collar of the Order of St. Michael and St. George 289 458. Eminent Order of the Indian Empire 290 459. Badge of same 291 460. G.C.V.O. Star 291 461. K.C.V.O. Star 291 462. G.C.V.O. Badge 291 463. K.C.V.O. Badge 291 464. Distinguished Service Older 292 465. Imperial Service Order 292

NOTE.— Several illustrations used herewith in connection with the new Orders created of recent date are inserted by arrangement with the Editor of Debrett's "Peerage."




Early Popularity of Heraldry in England— Origin of English Heraldry; Definition; Characteristics; Developments; Early Uses; not connected with Earlier Systems— Ancient Heraldry— Past and Present Treatment of the Subject.

"What! Is it possible? not know the figures of Heraldry! Of what could your father be thinking?" —ROB ROY.

The sentiment unquestionably was his own which Sir Walter Scott made delightful Di Vernon express when, with indignant surprise, she asked Frank Osbaldistone of what his father could have been thinking, that he had been permitted to grow up without any knowledge of Heraldry. Sir Walter was right in his estimate of the high value of Heraldry as an element of education: and, in professing herself a votaress of the Herald's "gentle science," it was quite right in Di Vernon to suggest to other ladies that it would be well for them if Heraldry should find favour in their eyes also. The age of Rob Roy, however, was far from being in harmony with heraldic associations: nor was the author of "Waverley" himself permitted to accomplish more, than to lead the way to that revival of a popular sympathy with every expression of early Art, which now forms one of the most remarkable characteristics of our own era.

In the olden time, in England, the love of Heraldry, which was prevalent amongst all classes, was based upon an intelligent appreciation of its worthiness. Apart of the feudal system of the Middle Ages, and at once derived from the prevailing form of thought and feeling, and imparting to it a brilliant colouring peculiar to itself, Heraldry exercised a powerful influence upon the manners and habits of the people amongst whom it was in use. By our early ancestors, accordingly, as Mr. Montagu has so happily written, "little given to study of any kind, aknowledge of Heraldry was considered indispensable:" to them it was the "outward sign of the spirit of chivalry, the index, also, to a lengthened chronicle of doughty deeds." And this Heraldry grew up, spontaneously and naturally, out of the circumstances and requirements of those times. It came into existence, because it was needed for practical use; it was accepted and cherished, because it did much more than fulfil its avowed purpose. At first, simply useful to distinguish particular individuals, especially in war and at the tournament, English Heraldry soon became popular; and then, with no less rapidity, it rose to high honour and dignity.

From the circumstance that it first found its special use in direct connection with military equipments, knightly exercises, and the mle of actual battle, medival Heraldry has also been entitled ARMORY. Men wore the ensigns of Heraldry about their persons, embroidered upon the garments that partially covered their armour,—and so they called them Coats-of-Arms: they bore these same ensigns on their shields,—and they called them Shields-of-Arms: and in their Armorial Banners and Pennons they again displayed the very same insignia, floating in the wind high above their heads, from the shafts of their lances.

The Heraldry or Armory of England, an honourable and honoured member of the illustrious family of medival European Heraldry, may be defined as a symbolical and pictorial language, in which figures, devices, and colours are employed instead of letters. Each heraldic composition has its own definite and complete significance, conveyed through its direct connection with some particular individual, family, dignity, or office. Every such heraldic composition, also, is a true legal possession, held and maintained by an express right and title: and it is hereditary, like other real property, in accordance with certain laws and precedents of inheritance. But in this respect heraldic insignia are singular and unlike other property, inasmuch as it is a general rule that they cannot be alienated, exchanged, or transferred otherwise than by inheritance or other lawful succession. Exceptions to this rule, when they are observed occasionally to have occurred, show clearly their own exceptional character, and consequently they confirm the true authority of the rule itself. It will be understood, as a necessary quality of its hereditary nature, that the significance of an heraldic composition, while "definite and complete" in itself, admits of augmentation and expansion through its association with successive generations. Thus, the Royal Shield of EDWARDIII. is "complete" as the heraldic symbol of that great monarch, and of the realm under his rule: and yet this same shield, equally "complete" (with one simple modification) as the heraldic symbol of each successive Sovereign till the death of ELIZABETH, has its significance infinitely augmented and expanded through its hereditary association with all the Sovereigns of the Houses of Plantagenet and Tudor.

Until the concluding quarter of the twelfth century, the traces of the existence of Heraldry are faint and few in number. Early in the thirteenth century the new science began to establish itself firmly amongst our ancestors of that age; and it is certain that, as soon as its character and capabilities were in any degree understood aright, it grew speedily into favour; so that in the reign of HENRYIII. (A.D. 1216-1272) Heraldry in England had confirmed its own claims to be regarded as a Science, by being in possession of a system, and a classification of its own.

The Crusades, those extraordinary confederacies without a parallel in the history of civilised nations, were themselves so thoroughly a matter of religious chivalry, that it was only an inevitable result of their existence that they should give a powerful impulse to the establishment and development of Heraldry in its early days.

But Heraldry, from the time of its first appearance in England, was found to be valuable for other uses besides those which so intimately connected it with both real and imitative warfare, with the fierce life-and-death conflict of the battle-field, and with the scarcely less perilous struggle for honour and renown in the lists. Very soon after the Norman Conquest, in consequence of their presence being required to give validity to every species of legal document, SEALS became instruments of the greatest importance; and it was soon obvious that heraldic insignia, with a representation of the knightly shield upon which they were displayed, were exactly suited to satisfy every requirement of the seal-engraver. By such means Heraldry became interwoven as well with the peaceful concerns of everyday life, as with the display of martial splendour and the turmoil of war.

Many attempts have been made to set aside the opinion that the Heraldry of the Middle Ages in England was a fresh creation, aproduction of indigenous growth: and great is the ingenuity that has been brought into action to carry back the Heraldry of our own country from the commencement of the thirteenth century through the previous elementary stages of its existence, in order to trace its direct lineal descent from certain decorative and symbolical devices that were in use at much earlier periods. The careful and diligent researches, however, of the most learned Heralds have at present led them almost unanimously to reject all such theories as these, as speculative and uncertain. At the same time, it is an indisputable fact that, in all ages of the world, and amongst all races of men, some form of symbolical expression has been both in use and in favour. And it is equally true that this symbolism, whatever it may have been, has generally been found in some way associated with a military life and with the act of warfare. Soldiers, and particularly those in high command, have always delighted to adorn their shields with devices that sometimes were significant of their own condition or exploits, or sometimes had reference to their country, or even to their families; and, in like manner, it has been a universal custom to display similar devices and figures in military standards of all kinds. At the time of the Conquest, as is shown in the famous Bayeux Tapestry of the Conqueror's Consort, the shields and standards of both Normans and Anglo-Saxons were painted, and perhaps the latter were embroidered, with various figures and devices; but certainly without any heraldic significance or any personal associations being indicated by these figures and devices, which bear a general resemblance to the insignia of the Legions and Cohorts of Imperial Rome. Figures Nos. 5 and 6 give representations of the standards that are introduced into the Bayeux Tapestry. The same species of decoration, consisting chiefly of painted patterns, with discs, stars, crescents, and some other figures, continued in use in our own country until superseded by a true Heraldry; and may also be assumed to have prevailed in England in much earlier times.

In still more remote ages a more decided heraldic system was displayed upon signets, coins, shields, and standards. In this ancient Heraldry, if so it may be termed, occasionally the important and characteristic quality of hereditary association in certain devices is apparent. Thus, Virgil (neid, vii. 657) assigns to Aventinus "insigne paternum" upon his shield—his hereditary device, derived by him from his father. But these devices generally appear to have their significance in a greater or a less degree restricted, amongst the ancients, to certain particular incidents; consequently in all these examples there is nothing to show that the man who bore one device at one time, did not bear another device at another time.[1] For example, schylus, the Greek tragedian (B.C. 600), has recorded that Capaneus, when attacking the city of Thebes, bore on his shield the figure of a warrior carrying a lighted torch, with the motto, "I will fire the city!" But, on another occasion, we have reason to believe that the same Capaneus bore quite a different device, applicable to that other occasion; and this deprives these ancient devices, heraldic as they are in their general character, of that special personal association which true Heraldry requires and, indeed, implies. The beautiful painted vases, the works of Greek artists, that are discovered in such extraordinary numbers and in perfect preservation in some parts of Italy, constantly give most striking representations of the shields of ancient Greek warriors and other personages, with what appear heraldic devices displayed upon them. These shields illustrate, in a remarkable manner, both the appropriate significance of particular devices, and the usage then prevalent for a variety of devices to be borne on different occasions by the same individual. Shields upon vases in the collections in the Museum of the Louvre at Paris, and in the British Museum, where they are easy of access, contain a great variety of devices. The examples, Nos. 7, 8, 9, and 10, are from our own National Collections. No. 7, the shield black, the border and the pegasus red; No. 8, the shield black, and the two dolphins white; No. 9, the shield black, with a border adorned with red discs, the serpent white; No. 10, the shield black, with purple border, the three human legs conjoined white. The shields, Nos. 9 and 10, are both borne by the goddess ATHN (Minerva); and the remarkable device displayed on No. 10 is also found on the coins of ancient Sicily. Other similar shields display lions, horses, dogs, wild boars, fish, birds, clusters of leaves, chariots and chariot-wheels, votive tripods, serpents, scorpions, with many others, including occasional examples of human figures. In another collection I have seen an anchor and an Amazon's bow. Adevice differing from that in No. 10 only in having the conjoined limbs in armour, will be found in our own English Heraldry to be the armorial ensign of the Isle of Man.

[Footnote 1: In his "Hand-book of Engraved Gems," Mr. King maintains that "the devices on the signets of the ancients were both hereditary and unalterable, like our armorial bearings;" but, at the same time, he admits that the "armorial bearings," which appear "on the shields of the Grecian heroes in the most ancient pictures extant, the Vase-paintings," "seem to have been assumed at the caprice of the individual, like the knight's cognisances at tournaments in the days of chivalry, and not to have been hereditary." —"Hand-book," page 216. Almost immediately, however, Mr. King adds, that traditions exist which represent the mythic heroes bearing "engraved on their signets the same devices that decorated their shields." It would seem that the argument from such traditions would rather indicate the signet-devices to have been arbitrary, than the shield-devices to have been unalterable. While I readily admit the very interesting devices of antiquity to possess decided heraldic attributes, Icannot consider Mr. King to have shown that, as a general rule, they were held by the ancients themselves to have been either "unalterable" or "hereditary." Possibly, further light may be thrown upon the hereditary quality of ancient Heraldry: but, Icertainly do not expect to see any evidence adduced, which would establish a line of descent connecting the Medival Heraldry of England with any heraldic system of classic antiquity.]

This Heraldry of Antiquity is to be regarded as the predecessor, and not as the ancestor of the Heraldry of England. There may be much that is common to both; but, there is nothing to show the later system to have been a lineal descendant from the earlier. It would seem much more likely that Heraldry, when it had been evolved, adopted ready made the emblems of an older civilisation for its own purpose, often appropriating at the same time the symbolism attaching to the emblems. The Heraldry, therefore, that has flourished, declined, and now is in the act of reviving in our own country in almost the full vigour of its best days, Ishall treat as an independent science, proceeding from a single source, and from thence flowing onwards with varied fortunes, side by side with the chequered chronicles of England. In the course of its progress from the palmy days of EDWARDIII., it has had to encounter, in a degree without precedent or parallel, that most painful and mischievous of trials—the excessive admiration of injudicious friends. Hence, Heraldry was brought into disrepute, and even into contempt, by the very persons who loved it with a genuine but a most unwise love. In process of time, no nonsense appeared too extravagant, and no fable too wild, to be engrafted upon the grave dignity of the Herald's early science. Better times at length have succeeded. Heraldry now has friends and admirers, zealous as of old, whose zeal is guided aright by a sound judgment in alliance with a pure taste. Very much already has been accomplished to sweep away the amazing mass of absurdities and errors which had overwhelmed our English Heraldry, by such men as Nicholas, Nichols, Courthope, Seton, Planch, Walford, Montagu, and Lower: and the good work goes on and prospers, with the most cheering assurances of complete and triumphant success.



Seals: Monumental Effigies, &c.: Rolls of Arms, Official Heraldic Records, &c.— Earliest Heraldic Shields and Banners— Allusive Quality of Early Armory— Attributed Arms.

"Let us begin at the beginning." —PURSUIVANT OF ARMS.

At the head of the earliest existing authorities in English Heraldry are SEALS. To the fortunate circumstance of the legal importance attached to them we are indebted for the preservation of these equally interesting and valuable relics, in great variety and in very considerable numbers. The heraldic evidence of Seals is necessarily of the highest order. They are original works, possessing contemporaneous authority. Produced with peculiar care and approved by their first possessors, their original authenticity is confirmed by their continued use through successive generations.

Having been in use before the introduction and adoption of Heraldry in England, Seals enable us to compare the devices that preceded true Heraldry with the earliest that are truly heraldic: and thus they show that, in many instances, regular coats-of-arms were derived in their hereditary bearings from similar devices that had been adopted in the same families before the heraldic era. For example: the Seal of John Mundegumri, about A.D. 1175, bears a single fleur-de-lys, not placed upon a shield; and, accordingly, here is seen the origin of the three golden fleurs-de-lys, borne afterwards upon a blue shield by the descendants of this John, the Montgomeries, Earls of Eglintoun. Again: the Seal of Walter Innes, A.D. 1431, displays the shield of arms of his house—three blue mullets (stars generally of five rays) on a field of silver, No. 11; and these mullets may be traced to the single star, that appears on the Seal of William Innes, or De Ynays, No. 12, appended to his deed of homage to Edward I., in the year 1295. Ihave selected these examples from the "Catalogue of Scottish Seals," published by Mr. Laing, of Edinburgh, that I may be enabled here to refer in the highest terms of admiring commendation to that most excellent work. It is greatly to be desired that a corresponding publication should treat, with equal ability, of the Seals of England which, from the dawn of Heraldry, continue their admirable examples and illustrations throughout its career.

Monumental Effigies, Sepulchral Memorials, early Buildings, and early Stained Glass, frequently are rich in authoritative examples of "the figures of Heraldry." In addition to the various forms and combinations of heraldic composition, these works illustrate the early style of drawing in favour with Heralds during the great eras of medival Art, and they have preserved to us most useful and suggestive representations of various devices in their proper heraldic aspect. In many instances the Heraldry of early Monuments and Architecture possesses a peculiar value, arising from the circumstance of the shields of arms and other insignia having been sculptured in low relief or outlined in incised lines, and consequently these devices and compositions retain their original forms: and, in like manner, the original colouring of the Heraldry of Stained Glass remains safe from restoration or destruction, in consequence of the impossibility of re-paintingit.

The early written Literature of English Heraldry is calculated to throw but little light upon either its true character or its history. In addition, however, to the various and numerous official documents of the Heralds' College, several examples of one particular class of heraldic record have been preserved, the value of which cannot be too highly estimated. These are ROLLS OF ARMS—long, narrow strips of parchment, on which are written lists of the names and titles of certain personages, with full descriptions of their armorial insignia. The circumstances under which these Rolls were prepared are obviously not identical and for the most part unknown: but, the exact accuracy of their statements has been established beyond all question by careful and repeated comparison with Seals and other Monuments, and also with Documents which give only an indirect and yet not the less conclusive corroboration to the records of the Rolls of Arms themselves. The earliest of these Rolls at present known date about A.D. 1240 to 1245; and since in these earliest Rolls a very decided technical language is uniformly adopted, and the descriptions are all given in palpable accordance with fixed rules which must then have been well understood, we infer that by the end of the first half of the thirteenth century there was in existence a system for the regulation of such matters. Heraldry was perhaps recognised as a Science, with fixed terms and rules for describing heraldic devices and figures, and established laws to direct the granting, the assuming, and the bearing of arms.

The most interesting of these early heraldic Rolls records, in a metrical form, and in Norman-French, the siege and capture of the fortress of Carlaverock, on the Scottish border, by EDWARDI., in the year 1300. In addition to very curious descriptions of the muster of the Royal troops at Carlisle, their march northwards, and the incidents of the siege (which last have a strange resemblance to what Homer has recorded of incidents that took place during the siege of Troy), this Roll gives some graphic personal sketches of the princes, nobles, bannerets, and knights, whose banners and shields of arms are set forth in it with minute exactness. This Roll, as well as several others, has been published, with translations and very valuable notes.

In the Manuscript Collections of the British Museum also, and of other Libraries both public and private, and in the County Histories, and other works of a cognate character, there are many documents which contain various important records and illustrations of early English Heraldry.

In any references to authorities, that it may appear desirable for me to make in the course of this and the following chapters, Imust be as concise as possible. Adirect reference to Seals, Effigies, &c., will be necessary in each case: but, in referring to Rolls of Arms, it will be sufficient to denote the period of the authority in general terms. Accordingly, Ishall refer, not to each particular Roll, but collectively to those of each of the following reigns—HENRYIII., EDWARDI., EDWARDII., EDWARDIII., and RICHARDII.; and these references will severally be made thus,—(H.3), (E.1), (E.2), (E.3), and (R.2).

Amongst the earliest Shields and Banners of Arms, all of them remarkable for their simplicity, many are found to be without any device whatever, their distinction consisting simply in some peculiarity in the colouring. Such examples may be considered to have been derived from pre-heraldic times, and transmitted, without any change or addition, to later periods. The renowned Banner of the Knights Templars, by them called Beauseant, No. 13, is black above and white below, which is said to have denoted that, while fierce to their foes, they were gracious to their friends. An ancient Banner of the Earl of Leicester (H.3) is white and red, the division being made by a vertical indented line; No. 14. This design, however, was not the coat of arms of the earl. The Shield of the ducal House of Brittany, closely connected with the Royal Family of England, is simply of the fur ermine; No. 15. The Shield of Waldegrave is silver and red, as in No. 16: and that of Fitz Warine (H.3), also of silver and red, is treated as in No.17.

Some of the earliest of the simple devices of true Heraldry were evidently adopted from the structural formation (or from a structural strengthening) of the Shields, on which they were displayed. Thus, araised border, and bands of metal variously disposed in order to impart additional strength to a shield, with distinct colouring, would produce a series of heraldic compositions. Agood example occurs in the shield of an early Effigy at Whitworth, Durham, No. 18, in which the heads of the rivets or screws employed to fix the border on the shield, appear to have been made to assume the character of heraldic additions to the simple border and horizontal bands. Other primary devices of the same simple order, which in like manner may have had a structural origin, Ishall consider in detail in subsequent chapters. (See particularly ChapterVI.)

The central boss, at once an appropriate ornament of an early shield, and an important addition to its defensive qualities, when extended in the form of decorative metal-work, would readily suggest a variety of heraldic figures, and amongst others several beautiful modifications of a simple cruciform device which it might be made to assume. The figure called an escarbuncle, No. 19, is simply a shield-boss developed into decorative structural metal-work. This figure appears in the Temple Church, London, upon the shield of an Effigy, which Mr. J. Gough Nichols has shown to have been incorrectly attributed to Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex.

The greater number of the earliest devices that appear in English Heraldry were adopted for the express purpose of their having some allusive association, through a similarity of sound in their own names or descriptions with the names and titles or the territories of certain persons, dignities, and places. In exact accordance with the principles and aim of primitive medival Heraldry, and in perfect harmony with the sentiments and requirements of the age in which it grew up into a science, devices of this kind addressed themselves in very plain and expressive language to the men of their own era. In them they saw the kind of symbolical writing that they could remember, as well as understand. They also evidently liked the quaint style of suggestiveness that was a characteristic of these allusive devices: and, it is more than probable that there frequently lurked in them a humorous significance, which by no means tended to detract from their popularity. Devices of this same order have never ceased to be in favour with Heralds and lovers of Heraldry. They were used in the sixteenth century at least as commonly as in the thirteenth; but, as would be expected, in the later period they often became complicated, far-fetched, and extravagant.

This allusive quality, distinguished in English Heraldry as "canting," has commonly been misunderstood, and therefore incorrectly estimated, by modern writers, who have supposed it to be a fantastic conceit of the Heralds of a degenerate age. By writers such as these, accordingly, all "canting arms" (by French Heralds called "armes parlantes") have been absurdly assigned to a separate class, in their estimation having an inferior heraldic grade.

The prevalence of the allusive quality in early arms may be assumed to have been even more general than is now apparent, since so many of the original echoes and allusions have become obscured or altogether lost in the lapse of time, and through the changes that have taken place since the accession of HENRYIII. in the French language and in our own also. The use of the Latin language, again, in the Middle Ages led, at later periods, to translations of names; French names, too, were translated in the same manner into English equivalents: and, at other times, the sound of a Latin or a French (Anglo-Norman) name was transferred to an English representative having a somewhat similar sound, without the slightest reference to the original signification. Who, for example, in the name of MONTAGU now recognises instinctively the original allusion to a mountain with its sharply peaked crests, and so discerns the probable allusive origin of the sharp triple points of the devices on the old Montacute shield, No. 20? It is easy to see how much must have been unconsciously done, by such changes in names and their associations, to obliterate what once was clear, significant, and expressive. Imust be content here to give, simply by way of explanatory illustration, avery few examples of allusive arms; and, in so doing, it may be well for me to observe that the early Heralds of our country always employed the French language as it was spoken in their own times in England as well as in France. In the time of HENRYIII., Lucy has for his arms three lucies—fish now known as pike: Robert Quency has a quintefueil—a flower of five leaves: Thos. Corbett has two corbeaux—ravens: Swyneburne has "trois testes de senglier"—three heads of the wild boar, or swine: (E.2), Sir R. de Eschales has six escallopsshells: Sir G. de Trompintoun, of Trumpington, near Cambridge, has two trompes—trumpets: Sir J. Bordoun has three bourdons—pilgrim's staves: Sir G.Rossel has three roses: and Sir O. Heron has the same number of herons. So also, for the Spanish provinces Castile and Leon, acastle and a lion: for Falconer, afalcon: Butler, cups: Forester, bugle-horns: Arundel, hirondelles—swallows: Wingfield, wings: Shelley, shells: Pigot, pick-axes: Leveson, leaves: and Martel, martels—hammers. The Broom-plant with its seed-pods, in Latin Planta genista, No. 21, gave its name to the PLANTAGENET Dynasty. Ishall hereafter add several other curious examples of devices of this class, when treating of Badges, Rebuses, and Mottoes.

There is one class of early arms, which it is important that students of Armory should observe with especial care, lest they be led by them into unexpected errors. These are arms that were invented after Heraldry had been established, and then were assigned to personages of historical eminence who had lived and died before the true heraldic era. In the days in which every person of prominence bore heraldic arms, and when Heraldry had attained to high renown, it was natural enough to consider that suitable armorial devices and compositions should be assigned to the men of mark in earlier ages, both to distinguish them in accordance with the usage then prevalent, and to treat their memory with becoming honour. Such arms were also in a sense necessary to their descendants for the purposes of quartering. No proof can be shown that the arms said to have been borne by WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR are not of this order—made for him, that is, and attributed to him in after times, but of which he himself had no knowledge. These arms, No. 22, differ from the true Royal Insignia of England only in there being two, instead of three, lions displayed upon the shield. The arms of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, No. 2, were certainly devised long after his death, and they appear to have been suggested to the heralds of HENRYIII. by one of the Confessor's coins: the shield is blue, and the cross and five birds (martlets) are gold. In like manner, the arms attributed to the earlier Saxon Sovereigns of England, No. 23, agold cross upon blue, are really not earlier than the thirteenth century. The arms, No. 2, having been assigned to ST. EDWARD, apatron saint of medival England, were long regarded with peculiar reverence. Ihave placed them, drawn from a fine shield of the thirteenth century in Westminster Abbey, to take a part in forming a group at the head of my Preface, with the shields of the two other saintly Patrons of "old England," ST. GEORGE and ST. EDMUND, No. 1 and No. 3—a red cross on a silver shield, and three golden crowns upon a shield of blue.


The English Heraldry that is now in existence— First Debasement of Heraldry— Later Debasement— Revival of English Heraldry— Heraldic Art.

"Sans changer." —MOTTO OF STANLEY.

English Heraldry, as it exists amongst us in our own times, is the very same Heraldry that flourished under the kindly influences of the greatest of the Plantagenets, though perhaps modified in some details by changed circumstances. It is not of a new, but of the old, Heraldry of England that I am setting forth the elements. Our Heraldry has had to pass from good days to bad ones: and, having gone through the worst of bad days, the circle at length has revolved, so that we are witnessing the happy change of a vigorous heraldic revival. Heraldry already enjoys a very great popularity; and, without a doubt, it will become still more popular, in the degree that it is better and more generally understood. For its complete ultimate success, the present revival of true English Heraldry must mainly depend upon the manner in which we apply the lessons that may be learned by us, no less from the warnings of the recent evil days of the science, than from the example of the brilliant ones that preceded them long ago. Nor should we deal faithfully with our revived Heraldry, were we not to form a just estimate of whatever was imperfect in the best era of its early history, in order to apply to present improvement the lessons that thus also may be learned. It must be admitted that the Heralds and Heraldic writers of the 17th century, following the footsteps of some of their immediate predecessors, led the way towards the thorough debasement of their own science. Their example was not without effect upon those who followed them—men quite equal to the perpetration of whatever had not been already done to bring Heraldry into contempt. This was accomplished first, by gravely discoursing, in early heraldic language, upon the imaginary Heraldry of the patriarchal and antediluvian worthies: making a true coat of arms of Joseph's "coat of many colours," giving armorial ensigns to David and Gideon, to Samson and Joshua, to "that worthy gentilman Japheth," to Jubal and Tubal-Cain, and crowning the whole by declaring that our common progenitor, Adam, bore on his own red shield Eve's shield of silver, after the medival fashion that would denote his wife to have been an heiress!

Then there set in a flood of allegorical and fantastic absurdities, by which the fair domain of Heraldry was absolutely overwhelmed. Wild and strange speculations, in a truly vain philosophy, interwoven with distorted images of both the myths and the veritable records of classic antiquity, were either deduced from armorial blazonry, or set forth as the sources from whence it was developed. Fables and anecdotes, having reference to less remote eras, were produced in great variety and in copious abundance. The presence in blazon of animated beings of whatsoever kinds, whether real or fabulous, led to rambling disquisitions in the most ludicrously unnatural of imaginary Natural History. From every variety also of inanimate figure and device, the simplest no less than the more elaborate, after the same fashion some "moral" was sought to be extracted. The technical language, too, of the early Heralds, had its expressive simplicity travestied by a complicated jargon, replete with marvellous assertions, absurd doctrines, covert allusions devoid of consistent significance, quaint and yet trivial conceits, and bombastic rhapsodies. Even the nomenclature of the Tinctures was not exempt from a characteristic course of "treatment," two distinctive additional sets of titles for gold, silver, blue, red, &c., having been devised and substituted for those in general use (see Chapter V.); of these the one set was derived from the names of the Planets, and employed to emblazon the insignia of Sovereign Princes; and the other set, derived from the names of Jewels, was applied to the arms of Nobles. In the midst of all the rubbish, however, which they thus delighted to accumulate, there may generally be discovered in the works of writers of this class, here and there, references to earlier usages and illustrations of original principles which, in the extreme dearth of genuine early heraldic literature, are both interesting and of real value. Nor are these writings without their value, estimated from another point of view, as contemporaneous and unconscious commentaries upon the history of their own times. It must be added that, in more than a few instances, beneath the surface there lurks a vein of both political and personal allusion, of which the point and bearing now are altogether lost, or at the most are only open to conjecture and surmise. And, again, even in their most extravagant and frivolous lucubrations, the heraldic writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are not without touches of humour; as when Gerard Legh (A.D. 1562), discoursing of "beastes," remarks of the "Ramme" that in "aucthoritye he is a Duke, for hee hath the leadyng of multitudes and flockes of his own kynde;" and of the ass, "I could write much of this beaste, but that it might be thought it were to mine own glorie."

The adoption of additional quarterings for the purpose of display, and the introduction of more complicated compositions in the time of HENRYVIII., were speedily followed by the substitution of pictorial representations, often of a most frivolous and inconsistent character, and many of them altogether unintelligible without written explanations, instead of the simple, dignified, and expressive insignia of true Heraldry. For example, in the year 1760, agrant of arms was made to a Lincolnshire family named Tetlow, which, with thirteen other figures, includes the representation of a book duly clasped and ornamented, having on it a silver penny; while above the book rests a dove, holding in its beak a crow-quill! This was to commemorate one of the family having, with a crow-quill, actually achieved the exploit of writing the Lord's Prayer within the compass of a silver penny. Amongst the most objectionable of the arms of this class are those which were granted to distinguished naval and military officers—arms, that certainly ought to have conferred fresh honour on illustrious names, instead of inflicting dishonour upon Heraldry itself. Battles by sea and land, landscapes and sea views and fortified cities, flags of all kinds, with medals and ribbons, all of them intermixed with devices not quite so unheraldic, abound in these extravagant compositions. The arms of Lord Nelson, and still more recently those of General Lord Gough, may be specified as flagrant examples of this degenerate pictorial Heraldry. The Duke of Wellington happily escaped a similar infliction. It would be but too easy to enumerate other equally inconsistent and unheraldic compositions: but, Imust be content to refer only to the armorial shield granted to the great astronomer, Sir John Herschel, on which is displayed his forty-foot reflecting telescope, with all its apparatus! These, and all such violations of heraldic truth and consistency, though in some instances they are of very recent date, are now to be assigned to a closed chapter in the history of English Heraldry. But in considering them it must not be forgotten that this kind of grant was not confined to this country, but flourished to a still greater extent abroad.

In our present revival of English Heraldry, it is essential that we impress upon our minds a correct conception of the twofold character of all Heraldry—that it is a Science, and also that it is an Art. We have to vindicate the reputation of our Heraldry, as well in the one capacity as in the other. Of very noble heraldic Art we happily possess original examples in great numbers, which have been bequeathed to us, as a precious inheritance, from "the brave days of old." The style of Art that we see exemplified in these early authorities we may accept almost unreservedly as our own style; and we must aspire to sympathise heartily with their genuine heraldic feeling. In our representation, also, of almost all inanimate and natural objects in our own armorial compositions, as a general rule, we may trust confidently to the same good guidance. The early method of representation, indeed, must form the basis of our system of treatment; and, we may faithfully adhere to this rule, and yet occasionally we may find it to be desirable that the form and the accessories of some devices should be adapted to modern associations. In truth, it is not by merely copying the works of even the greatest of the early heraldic artists, that we are to become masters in heraldic Art. When the copies are good, copying is always valuable, as a branch of study; but, if it be our highest and only aim to reproduce the expressions of other men's thoughts, then copying is worse than worthless. What we have to do is to express our heraldic Art in the spirit of the early Heralds, to keep it in harmony with what, in the best of the early days, they would have accepted as the highest heraldic Art, and at the same time to show that our heraldic Art in very truth is our own.

The treatment of animate creatures in Heraldry requires a certain kind, and also a certain degree, of conventionalism. Here, as before, in the early Heralds we have excellent masters; but, here we must follow their teaching with more of reserve, and with cautious steps. We recognise the happy consistency of the conventionalism which they displayed in their representation of animate creatures, without any purpose to adopt it in the same degree with them. Had the early Heralds been more familiar with the living presence of the various creatures that they summoned to enter into their service, without a doubt they would have represented them with a much closer conformity to Nature. We must apply our better knowledge, as we may feel confident the early Heralds would have applied a similar knowledge had they been able to have acquired it. Heraldic animals of every kind—lions, eagles, dolphins, and all others—must be so far subjected to a conventional treatment, that they will not exhibit a strictly natural appearance: and, on the other hand, being carefully preserved from all exaggerated conventionalisms, they must approach as near to Nature as a definite conventional rendering of natural truth will admit. The lions of the early Heralds, spirited beasts always, generally show a decided disposition to exhibit their heraldic sympathies in excess. They have in them rather too much that is heraldic conventionalism, and not quite enough that is natural lion. And, with the first symptoms of decline in heraldic Art, the treatment of lions showed signs of a tendency to carry conventionalism to the utmost extravagance. The same remarks are applicable to eagles. It must be added, however, that truly admirable examples of heraldic animals occasionally may be found as late even as the commencement of the sixteenth century, as in the chantry of Abbot Ramryge, in the Abbey Church at St. Alban's, and in King's College Chapel at Cambridge. It must be our care to blend together the true attributes of the living lion and eagle, and those also of other living creatures, with the traditional peculiarities of their heraldic representatives. And we must extend the corresponding application of the same principles of treatment to imaginary beings and heraldic monsters, as they occur in our Heraldry. The shield, No. 24, of Prince JOHN OF ELTHAM, younger brother of EDWARDIII., finely sculptured with his effigy in alabaster, in Westminster Abbey (A.D. 1336), and in perfect preservation, gives us characteristic examples of lions of the best heraldic era, their frames, attenuated as they are, being perfect types of fierce elasticity. With this shield may be grouped others, having admirably suggestive examples of heraldic lions of a somewhat later date, which are preserved upon the monuments of EDWARDIII. and the BLACK PRINCE, severally at Westminster and Canterbury. Ishall refer to these fine shields again, and to other admirable examples with them, hereafter (Chapter IX.). The conventionalism in all these examples, however felicitous the manner in which it is treated in them, is very decidedly exaggerated. These examples, and others such as these, are not the less valuable to us because their teaching includes an illustration of the excesses that we must always be careful to avoid. Imay here observe, that on the subject of armorial Art I leave my examples (all of them selected from the most characteristic authorities, and engraved with scrupulous fidelity) for the most part to convey their own lessons and suggestions: my own suggestion to students being that, in such living creatures as they may represent in their compositions, while they are careful to preserve heraldic consistency and to express heraldic feeling, they exhibit beauty of form coupled with freedom of action and an appropriate expression. "Freedom of action" Iintend to imply more than such skilful drawing, as will impart to any particular creature the idea of free movement of frame and limb: it refers also to repeated representations of the same creature, under the same heraldic conditions of motive and attitude. And, here "freedom of action" implies those slight, yet significant, modifications of minor details which, without in the least degree affecting armorial truth, prevent even the semblance of monotonous reiteration. Thus, at Beverley, in the Percy Shrine in the Minster, upon a shield of England the three lions are all heraldically the same; but, there is nothing of sameness in them nevertheless, because in each one there is some little variety in the turn of the head, or in the placing of the paws, or in the sweep of the tail. And again, in Westminster Hall, the favourite badge of Richard II., awhite hart, chained, and in an attitude of rest, is repeated as many as eighty-three times; and all are equally consistent with heraldic truth and accuracy, without any one of them being an exact counterpart of any other. In Nos. 25 and 26 two examples are shown from this remarkable series of representations of this beautiful badge, each one different from the other, and yet both really the same.




The Language of Heraldry— The Nomenclature— Style and Forms of Expression— Blazon— The Shield: its Parts, Points, Divisions, Dividing Lines, Varieties of Form, and Heraldic Treatment.

"The shield hangs down on every breast." —LORD OF THE ISLES.

THE LANGUAGE OF HERALDRY.—The original language of English Heraldry was the Norman-French, which may also be designated Anglo-Norman, habitually spoken at the Court of England in the early heraldic era. After a while, amixed language succeeded, compounded of English and the original Norman-French; and this mixed language still continues in use.

NOMENCLATURE.—Like its language, the Nomenclature of English Heraldry is of a mixed character, in part technical and peculiar to itself, and in part the same that is in common use. Thus, many of the figures and devices of Heraldry have their peculiar heraldic names and titles, while still more bear their ordinary designations. Descriptive terms, whether expressed in English or in French (Anglo-Norman), are generally employed with a special heraldic intention and significance. In the earliest Roll of Arms known to be now in existence, which was compiled (as appears from internal evidence) between the years 1240 and 1245, the Nomenclature is the same that is found in Rolls and other heraldic documents of a later date. This fact of the existence of a definite Nomenclature at that time, proves that before the middle of the thirteenth century the Heraldry of England was subject to a systematic course of treatment, and had become established and recognised as a distinct and independent Science.

STYLE AND FORMS OF EXPRESSION.—With the Nomenclature, asettled Style and certain fixed technical Forms of Expression were introduced and accepted in the thirteenth century; and, since that period, the Style and Forms of Expression have undergone only such comparatively slight modifications as tended to render them both more complete and more consistent. As it was at the first, it still is the essence of heraldic language to be concise yet complete, expressive, and also abounding in suggestions. Not a syllable is expressed that is not absolutely necessary; not a syllable omitted, the absence of which might possibly lead to any doubt or uncertainty. In the more matured style, the repetition of any important word in the same sentence is scrupulously avoided; and, where it would be required, another form of expression is substituted in its stead. Much meaning also is left to be implied and understood, through inference, either based upon certain accepted rules and established heraldic usages for the arrangement of the words and clauses of a sentence, or derived from the natural qualities and characteristic conditions of certain figures and devices: but, nothing is ever left to be inferred when an uncertain inference might possibly be adopted, or that can be understood clearly and with certainty only by means of an explicit statement. Superfluous words and particles of all kinds are altogether omitted. Descriptive epithets follow the nouns to which they refer: as, ared cross is styled a cross gules. The general rules, by which the arrangement of the words in heraldic descriptive sentences is determined, will be found in the last subdivision of this chapter. Examples of heraldic Language, Nomenclature, Style and Forms of Expression, will be given in abundance throughout the following chapters and sections of this treatise. With these examples students will do well to familiarise themselves: then, let them prepare additional examples for that "practice," which (as Parker's "Glossary of Heraldry" says, p. 60) "alone will make perfect," by writing down correct descriptions of heraldic compositions from the compositions themselves; after which process they may advantageously reverse the order of their study, and make drawings of these same (or, if they prefer it, of some other) heraldic compositions from their own written descriptions of them.

When any heraldic description of a figure, device, or composition has been completed, astatement is made to signify the person, family, community, or realm whose armorial ensign it may be. This is done by simply writing the appropriate name, after the last word of the description; or, by prefixing the word "for" before the name when it is placed in the same position. Thus, adescription of the three lions of England is to be followed by the word—"ENGLAND"; or, by the formula—"for ENGLAND." If preferred, with equal consistency the arrangement may be reversed, and the Name, with or without the prefix "for," may precede the description: thus—"ENGLAND," or "For ENGLAND," three lions, &c. It is to be borne in remembrance, that armorial ensigns are personal inheritances, and—with the exception of Sovereign Princes—by comparison but very rarely relate to Titles and Dignities.

BLAZON, BLAZONING, BLAZONRY.—When a knight entered the lists at a tournament, his presence was announced by sound of trumpet or horn, after which the officers of arms, the official Heralds, declared his armorial insignia—they "blazoned" his Arms. This term, "to blazon," derived from the German word "blasen," signifying "to blow a blast on a horn" (or, as one eminent German Herald prefers, from the old German word "blaze" or "blasse," "a mark" or "sign"), in Heraldry really denotes either to describe any armorial figure, device, or composition in correct heraldic language; or to represent such figure, device, or composition accurately in form, position, arrangement, and colouring. But, as a matter of practical usage, pictorial representation is usually allied to the word "emblazon." The word "blazon" also, as a noun, may be employed with a general and comprehensive signification to denote "Heraldry."

THE SHIELD:—ITS PARTS, POINTS, AND DIVISIONS.—Their Shield, which the knights of the Middle Ages derived from the military usage of antiquity, and which contributed in so important a degree to their own defensive equipment, was considered by those armour-clad warriors to be peculiarly qualified to display their heraldic blazonry. And, in later times, when armour had ceased to be worn, and when shields no longer were actually used, aShield continued to be regarded as the most appropriate vehicle for the same display. The Shield, then, which with its armorial devices constitutes a Shield of Arms, always is considered to display its blazonry upon its face or external surface. This blazoned surface of his shield the bearer, when holding it before his person, presents (or would present, were he so to hold it) towards those who confront him. The right and the left sides of the person of the bearer of a Shield, consequently, are covered by the right and left (in heraldic language, the dexter and sinister) sides of his shield: and so, from this it follows that the dexter and sinister sides of a Shield of Arms are severally opposite to the left and the right hands of all observers. The Parts and Points of an heraldic Shield, which is also entitled an "Escutcheon," are thus distinguished:—

No. 27. A, The chief: B, The Base: C, The Dexter Side: D, The Sinister Side: E, The Dexter Chief: F, The Sinister Chief: G, The Middle Chief: H, The Dexter Base: I, The Sinister Base: K, The Middle Base:[2] L, The Honour Point: M, The Fesse Point.

[Footnote 2: This term is very seldom if ever used.]

In blazoning the Divisions of a Shield, the term "Per," signifying "in the direction of," is employed sometimes alone, and sometimes (having the same signification) preceded by the word "parted" or "party." The primary Divisions of a Shield are indicated in the following diagrams, Nos. 28-35:—

No. 28. Per Pale, or Parted per Pale, or Party per Pale.

No. 29. Per Fesse, or Parted per Fesse.

No. 30. (Nos. 28 and 29 together) Per Cross, or Quarterly (the latter is the more usual term).

No. 31. Per Bend. No. 32. Per Bend Sinister.

No. 33. (Nos. 31 and 32 together) Per Saltire.

No. 34. Per Chevron.

No. 35. Tierced in pale (divided into three equal divisions by two vertical lines), aform seldom met with in English Heraldry. Technically this in English Heraldry is simply the representation of a pale. (See No.87.)

To these divisions should strictly be added the further division gyronny (No. 147); but neither the term per nor parted per is ever employed in this connection. As will be seen, it is a combination of the forms shown in Nos. 30 and33.

A Shield may be further divided and subdivided, thus:—

It may be divided into any number of Quarterings by lines drawn per pale and per fesse, cutting each other, as in No. 36, which Shield is quarterly of eight: in like manner the Quarterings of any Shield, whatever their number (which need not be an even number), are blazoned as, quarterly of twelve, &c. This, to whatever extent the dividing of the Shield may be carried, is simple Quartering. Again: aquartered Shield may have one or more of its primary quarters, or every one of them, quartered: this, which is the subdivision of a part, the quartering of quarters, is compound Quartering: for example, in No. 37, the Shield is first divided into the four primary quarters, severally marked A, B, C, D; then, so far as the quarters A, B, Dare concerned, the "simple quartering" is subjected to the process of "compound quartering," and quarters A, Dare quarters quarterly, and B is a quarter quarterly of six, while C remains unaffected by the secondary process. The terms "quarterly quartering" and "quarterly quartered" are used to signify such secondary quartering as is exemplified in A, B, Dof No. 37. The four primary quarters (A, B, C, Dof No. 37) are distinguished as Grand Quarters: consequently, the quarter B of this example is the second grand quarter, quarterly of six. This term "Grand Quarter" may be employed to distinguish any primary quarter when any quarter in the Shield is "quarterly quartered."

DIVIDING and BORDER LINES, in addition to simple right lines and curves, assume the forms that are represented in the next diagram, No. 38:—

No. 38. A. Indented B. Dancett C. Wavy or Unde (2 varieties) D. Engrailed E. Invected or Invecked F. Embattled G. Raguly H. Nebuly (2 varieties) I. Dovetailed

Two others, less frequently met with, however, are rayonn and flory-counter-flory.

THE SHIELD: ITS VARIETIES OF FORM.—The front face of an heraldic Shield is generally flat; but sometimes the curved edges are made to appear as if they had been slightly rounded off. Some early Shields are represented as bowed—hollowed, that is, in order to cover more closely the person of the bearer, and consequently having a convex external contour, as in No. 39. In early examples of bowed Shields the whole of the armorial blazonry is sometimes displayed on the face of that portion of the Shield which is shown. Aridge, dividing them in pale, but not necessarily in any way acting as an heraldic dividing line, appears in many Shields, and particularly in those of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The large elongated Shields that have been entitled "kite-shaped," and which were in use in the days of RICHARDI. and amongst the Barons of Magna Charta, were superseded by the smaller "heater-shaped" Shield as early as the reign of HENRYIII. The most beautiful forms of this Shield are represented in Nos. 40, 41, and 42: of these, No. 40 has its curves described about the sides of an inverted equilateral triangle, and then they are prolonged by vertical lines towards the chief: in Nos. 41, 42, the sides curve from the chief to the base. The forms of Shields admit of various slight modifications, to adjust them to varying conditions. Towards the close of the fourteenth century the form of the Shield is found to undergo some singular changes: and, at later periods, changes in form of this kind became generally prevalent. Nos. 43, 44, exemplify such changes as these: they also show the curved notch that was cut in the dexter chief of the Shields of the same periods, to permit the lance to pass through it as the Shield hung down on the breast: aShield so pierced is said to be bouche. The Surface of the Shield, No. 43, which is in the Episcopal palace at Exeter, is wrought into a series of shallow hollows, which curve gracefully from the central ridge, some to the dexter, and others to the sinister. Such a Shield as this may be consistently used in our own Heraldry: but, since now we do not associate lances laid in rest with our heraldic Shields, it appears desirable that we should not draw our Shields bouche. In recent Heraldry the Shield has commonly been made to appear such an unsightly and un-heraldic deformity as is represented in No. 45. Instead of a true heraldic Shield also, arounded oval with a convex surface, called a cartouche, or cartouche shield, No. 46, is occasionally used for the display of armorial blazonry; or a circle is substituted for such an oval. These cartouches probably owe their origin to the usage of placing a Garter of the Order about a Shield (prevalent in the fifteenth century), and to a subsequent period, when we find the omission of the exact outline of the actual Shield. But their frequent appearance in Ecclesiastical Heraldry suggests that perhaps they were deliberately preferred to the purely military shield. ALozenge, No. 47, takes the place of a Shield to bear the arms of Ladies, with the exception of the Sovereign; this very inconvenient substitute for the heraldic Shield was introduced early in the fourteenth century.

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