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Heraldry

HERALDRY

HERALDRY. "Heraldry" is a term that was coined in the late sixteenth century to designate the profession of the heralds of arms, a profession that originated in the twelfth century, reached the height of its prestige and influence in the fifteenth and sixteenth, declined slowly in the seventeenth, and reached its historical nadir in the eighteenth century. The heralds have been aptly described as the priesthood of the secular religion of chivalry. Their duties included a knowledge of the emblems, identity, ancestry, dignities, precedence, and deeds of all of the members of the nobility of their district or "march of arms" (usually corresponding to a large province or a small kingdom), and of the rituals to be observed not only in knightly sports, but in the investiture of new knights, barons, princes, and kings, and in all other forms of secular ritual involving members of the noble order, especially funerals. By the early fourteenth century, the heralds had come to be permanently attached to the households of kings and princes, and divided into the ascending grades of pursuivant, herald, and king of arms. Those of the last gradethe senior heralds of kings and sovereign princeshad also been given jurisdiction over particular marches. Between 1415 and about 1520, these marches were increasingly grouped into regnal or comparable jurisdictions under a "principal king of arms," usually attached to the corresponding order of knighthood (the Garter in England, St. Michael in France, the Golden Fleece in the Burgundian lands), and the heralds placed under the authority of a principal king might also be incorporated in a college under his presidency.

Of course, the field with which the heralds were most closely identified throughout their history was that concerned with the family of iconic emblems (two-dimensional identity signs) employed exclusively (in countries including those of Britain and Iberia) or primarily (in all other countries) by nobles and noble corporations. This field came to be known in English by 1489 as "armory," since the original and always essential species of emblem used in this waya formal design of fixed elements in fixed numbers, colors, attitudes, and arrangements most commonly displayed covering the surface of a shield (though also displayed on flags and surcoats)had been given the name "arms," and the other species that came gradually to be formally associated with it came to be referred to by 1567 as "armorial bearings." Persons and corporations endowed with arms were now called "armigers" and described as "armigerous."

Down to about 1350 the science of armory seems to have been passed on orally, but from about that date forward, armory came to be the subject of brief treatises, composed both by heralds and by "heraldists" learned in the lore of heraldry. Such works were very rare before 1390, but from about that date they were produced in growing numbers in a growing number of countries, and they increased significantly in length and sophistication after 1520. These treatises were at first aimed primarily at heralds, but from about 1450 they were aimed at an audience that also included noblemen of all ranks, lawyers, court officials, and artisans who might need to paint arms on shields and flags. From about 1410 the treatises on armory were joined in many manuscripts by similar treatises on other aspects of heraldry, which soon included the imagined historical origins of the heralds and their profession (placed on the field before Troy), the qualities and knowledge ideally required of the three ranks of herald, the rights and duties of the heralds in particular ceremonies, the ranks of the nobility and how they could be acquired, the current holders of each of the higher ranks of lordly status and their arms, and the like. The heralds who composed these works were at pains to promote the dignity of their office and mystery, and in order to assimilate the latter to the growing Renaissance interest in esoteric symbolism and allegory, either borrowed or invented a vast array of symbolic implications and associations for the figures and colors of existing arms, which previously had borne little or no symbolic meaning. These fantastic ideas were only finally put to rest in the later seventeenth century, when learned antiquarians demonstrated their falsity.

Although the arms remained central to the mystery of armory, from the later fifteenth century the heralds took a steadily growing interest in the other types of armorial bearingwhich included both secondary emblems and insignia (signs of nature, status, and rank)that had come to be formally associated with the arms in the compound emblem known in English by 1548 as the "armorial achievement." Distinct emblematic and insignial forms of achievement evolved in a largely separate fashion in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The former gradually attracted to it the more important emblems of the paraheraldic system that had emerged in the 1360s (livery colors, livery badges of several types, ciphers, mottoes, and combinations of the motto and badge now called "devices"), while the insignial form incorporated the more distinctive forms of headgear, staves, and collars introduced to indicate status and rank in both the ecclesiastical and nobiliary hierarchies. The period from 1500 to 1700 saw the full fusion of the insignial and emblematic types of achievement, the completion and generalization of national systems of coronets and a universal system of clerical hats, and the assignment of insignial significance to the form, metal, and orientation of the helmet. After about 1520, achievements increasingly displaced arms from their traditional places of display, including flags and the surcoats (or "tabards") of heralds.

Not surprisingly, both the conceptual design of armorial bearings and the artistic styles in which they were represented underwent considerable change during the course of the three centuries after 1480. The simple, generally dichromatic designs of classic armory gradually gave way to more complex, polychromatic designs involving numerous different forms of charge often set on partitions and geometrical subfields, the number of which multiplied steadily. The new forms of charge included many new monsters and figures drawn from both Christian and classical mythology. In keeping with the artistic trend of the period, all such figures were increasingly represented in natural forms and natural colors, and this contributed to the sharp decline in the standards of both design and representation characteristic of the period after 1660.

The armorial functions of the heralds in a number of countries (including those of the British Isles) were both increased and institutionalized in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in order to maintain some royal control over admission to the nobility. Royal or princely edicts forbidding non-armigers to assume new arms (the principal mark of nobiliary status in many countries) were followed by letters conferring on the kings of arms the right to register existing arms and to confer new arms and other bearings on those they deemed worthy, making them the gatekeepers of the noble order. The earliest letters patent making grants of this sort date from the middle years of the fifteenth century, and they become steadily more numerous over the next century or so, marking very clearly the upward social mobility characteristic of that period. At some point, the heralds of some of these countries were also ordered to make visitations of the houses of all those living nobly, and of all armigerous corporations, to determine their right to arms; in England the recorded visitations began in 1530 and continued to 1687. Both heraldry and armory followed very different paths in other countries, however. In France, for example, the heralds were never given the right to grant or record arms or establish rules for usage, and no comparable authority was established until 1615, when the office of Juge d'armes (Judge of Arms) was created outside the College of Heraldswhich as a result lost all connection to armory.

The value of armorial bearings in the eyes of all ranks of society throughout the Renaissance period is clear from the extent to which those who lacked them sought them and those who had them flaunted them. The period between about 1400 and 1650 was the heyday of heraldic display throughout Latin Europe, and both armorial and paraheraldic emblems were displayed by those who had them in every possible environment. Thereafter, the display of such emblems tended to become more restrained, but it remained important throughout the eighteenth century.

See also Aristocracy and Gentry.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dennis, Rodney. The Heraldic Imagination. London, 1975. An excellent introduction to the cultural world of the heralds.

Neubecker, Ottfried. Heraldry: Sources, Symbols, and Meaning. New York, 1976. The best general work on heraldry available in English.

Pastoureau, Michel. Traité d'heraldique. 3rd ed. Paris, 1997. The best scholarly introduction to heraldry from a Continental perspective.

Wagner, Sir Anthony. Heralds of England: A History of the Office and College of Arms. London, 1967. The only detailed history of the Office of Arms in England.

Woodcock, Thomas, and John Martin Robinson. The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. Oxford and New York, 2001. The best survey of English heraldic practice available.

D'A. J. D. Boulton

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heraldry

heraldry, system in which inherited symbols, or devices, called charges are displayed on a shield, or escutcheon, for the purpose of identifying individuals or families. In the Middle Ages the herald, often a tournament official, had to recognize men by their shields; thus he became an authority on personal and family insignia. As earlier functions of the herald grew obsolete, his chief duties became the devising, inscribing, and granting of armorial bearings. The use of personal and family insignia is ancient (it is mentioned by Homer), but heraldry proper is a feudal institution developed by noblemen using personal insignia on seals and shields that came to be transmitted to their families. It is thought to have originated in the late 12th cent., and to have been prevalent in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, and imported into England by the Normans. The crusades and tournaments which drew together knights from many countries caused heraldry to flourish in Western Europe and the Muslim world. The practice of embroidering family emblems on the surcoat, or tabard, worn over chain mail in the 13th cent. accounts for the term "coat of arms." The use of armorial bearings spread rapidly thereafter through all grades of feudal rank above squire. Private assumption of arms became so common that Henry V forbade it, and on the chartering of the Heralds' College in 1483 the regulations pertaining to heraldry were placed in the hands of the Garter King-of-Arms. Arms were borne by families, corporations, guilds, religious houses, inns of court, colleges, boroughs and cities, and kingdoms. In the United States the seals and insignia of colleges, cities, and the like are examples of the persistence of the heraldic tradition. For methods and conventions of displaying armorial bearings, see blazonry.

See A. R. Wagner, Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages (2d ed. 1956); C. Boutell, Manual of Heraldry (1863; rev. ed. by J. P. Brooke-Little, 1970); S. Friar, The Dictionary of Heraldry (1987); T. Woodcock and J. Robinson, The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (1988).

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heraldry

heraldry. The use of personal distinguishing marks on shields and banners seems to have developed in England and Scotland in the second half of the 12th cent. and in Wales in the 13th cent., initially as a way of telling men apart in battle and tournament. Such devices rapidly became consistent and hereditary, and were used in a wide range of contexts, such as seals, surcoats, architectural features, and stained glass. The original purpose of identification was never lost, but the bearing of arms developed a further, social significance in denoting those of noble or gentle birth and status; by the later Middle Ages merchants and men who had never seen military service had coats of arms. By the mid-13th cent. armorial bearings had developed complex systems of description—preserving the (by then) rather archaic forms of Anglo-Norman French—and of differencing (i.e. modification in design to denote a family or feudal relationship), cadency (i.e. to distinguish younger sons), and marshalling (i.e. combining arms, often as a result of marriage). Such a complicated and socially sensitive subject required increasing scrutiny; this was provided by heralds, who make their first official appearance in English royal records under Edward I. Their duties expanded and became more fully defined over the course of the next two centuries. The office of Lord Lyon in Scotland appears in 1318, and that of Garter king-of-arms in 1417, with the full incorporation of the College of Arms by Richard III in 1484. Tudor and Stuart heralds embarked upon visitations of counties ‘to remove all false arms’, and ‘to take note of descents’. Arms are still granted today by the College of Arms (for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland), and by Lord Lyon Court (for Scotland). See also genealogy.

Anne Curry

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heraldry

her·ald·ry / ˈherəldrē/ • n. the system by which coats of arms and other armorial bearings are devised, described, and regulated. ∎  armorial bearings or other heraldic symbols. ∎  colorful ceremony: all the pomp and heraldry provided a splendid pageant. DERIVATIVES: her·ald·ist / ˈherəldist/ n.

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heraldry

heraldrybeery, bleary, cheery, dearie, dreary, Dun Laoghaire, eerie, eyrie (US aerie), Kashmiri, leery, peri, praemunire, query, smeary, teary, theory, weary •Deirdre • incendiary • intermediary •subsidiary •auxiliary, ciliary, domiciliary •apiary • topiary • farriery • furriery •justiciary •bestiary, vestiary •breviary • aviary • hosiery •diary, enquiry, expiry, fiery, friary, inquiry, miry, priory, spiry, wiry •podiatry, psychiatry •dowry, floury, flowery, loury, showery, towery •brewery • jewellery (US jewelry) •curie, de jure, fioriture, fury, houri, Jewry, jury, Manipuri, Missouri, moory, Newry, tandoori, Urey •statuary • actuary • sanctuary •obituary • sumptuary • voluptuary •January • electuary • ossuary •mortuary •Bradbury, Cadbury •blackberry, hackberry •cranberry • waxberry •Barbary, barberry •Shaftesbury • raspberry •bayberry, blaeberry •Avebury • Aylesbury • Sainsbury •bilberry, tilbury •bribery •corroboree, jobbery, robbery, slobbery, snobbery •dogberry • Roddenberry • Fosbury •strawberry • Salisbury •crowberry, snowberry •chokeberry •Rosebery, Shrewsbury •blueberry, dewberry •Dewsbury • Bloomsbury • gooseberry •blubbery, rubbery, shrubbery •Sudbury • mulberry • huckleberry •Bunbury • husbandry • loganberry •Canterbury • Glastonbury •Burberry, turbary •hatchery • archery •lechery, treachery •stitchery, witchery •debauchery • butchery • camaraderie •cindery, tindery •industry • dromedary • lapidary •spidery • bindery • doddery •quandary • powdery • boundary •bouldery • embroidery •prudery, rudery •do-goodery • shuddery • thundery •prebendary • legendary • secondary •amphorae • wafery •midwifery, periphery •infantry • housewifery • spoofery •puffery • sulphury (US sulfury) •Calgary •beggary, Gregory •vagary •piggery, priggery, whiggery •brigandry • bigotry • allegory •vinegary • category • subcategory •hoggery, toggery •pettifoggery • demagoguery •roguery • sugary •buggery, skulduggery, snuggery, thuggery •Hungary • humbuggery •ironmongery • lingerie • treasury •usury • menagerie • pageantry •Marjorie • kedgeree • gingery •imagery • orangery • savagery •forgery • soldiery • drudgery •perjury, surgery •microsurgery •hackery, quackery, Thackeray, Zachary •mountebankery • knick-knackery •gimcrackery • peccary • grotesquerie •bakery, fakery, jacquerie •chickaree, chicory, hickory, Terpsichore, trickery •whiskery • apothecary •crockery, mockery, rockery •falconry • jiggery-pokery •cookery, crookery, rookery •brusquerie •puckery, succory •cuckoldry •calorie, gallery, Malory, salary, Valerie •saddlery • balladry • gallantry •kilocalorie • diablerie • chandlery •harlotry • celery • pedlary •exemplary •helotry, zealotry •nailery, raillery •Tuileries •ancillary, artillery, capillary, codicillary, distillery, fibrillary, fritillary, Hilary, maxillary, pillory •mamillary • tutelary • corollary •bardolatry, hagiolatry, iconolatry, idolatry •cajolery, drollery •foolery, tomfoolery •constabulary, vocabulary •scapulary • capitulary • formulary •scullery • jugglery • cutlery •chancellery • epistolary • burglary •mammary • fragmentary •passementerie • flimflammery •armory, armoury, gendarmerie •almonry •emery, memory •creamery • shimmery • primary •rosemary • yeomanry •parfumerie, perfumery •flummery, Montgomery, mummery, summary, summery •gossamery • customary • infirmary •cannery, granary, tannery •canonry •antennary, bimillenary, millenary, venery •tenantry • chicanery •beanery, bicentenary, catenary, centenary, deanery, greenery, machinery, plenary, scenery, senary, septenary •disciplinary, interdisciplinary •hymnary • missionary •ordinary, subordinary •valetudinary • imaginary • millinery •culinary • seminary • preliminary •luminary • urinary • veterinary •mercenary • sanguinary •binary, finery, pinery, quinary, vinery, winery •Connery • Conakry • ornery • joinery •buffoonery, poltroonery, sublunary, superlunary •gunnery, nunnery •consuetudinary • visionary •exclusionary • legionary • pulmonary •coronary • reactionary • expansionary •concessionary, confessionary, discretionary •confectionery, insurrectionary, lectionary •deflationary, inflationary, probationary, stationary, stationery •expeditionary, petitionary, prohibitionary, traditionary, transitionary •dictionary • cautionary •ablutionary, counter-revolutionary, devolutionary, elocutionary, evolutionary, revolutionary, substitutionary •functionary •diversionary, reversionary •fernery, quaternary, ternary •peppery • extempore • weaponry •apery, drapery, japery, napery, papery, vapoury (US vapory) •frippery, slippery •coppery, foppery •popery • dupery • trumpery •February • heraldry • knight-errantry •arbitrary • registrary • library •contrary • horary • supernumerary •itinerary • honorary • funerary •contemporary, extemporary, temporary •literary • brasserie • chancery •accessory, intercessory, pessary, possessory, tesserae •dispensary, incensory, ostensory, sensory, suspensory •tracery •pâtisserie, rotisserie •emissary • dimissory •commissary, promissory •janissary • necessary • derisory •glossary • responsory • sorcery •grocery • greengrocery •delusory, illusory •compulsory • vavasory • adversary •anniversary, bursary, cursory, mercery, nursery •haberdashery •evidentiary, penitentiary, plenipotentiary, residentiary •beneficiary, fishery, judiciary •noshery • gaucherie • fiduciary •luxury • tertiary •battery, cattery, chattery, flattery, tattery •factory, manufactory, olfactory, phylactery, refractory, satisfactory •artery, martyry, Tartary •mastery, plastery •directory, ex-directory, interjectory, rectory, refectory, trajectory •peremptory •alimentary, complementary, complimentary, documentary, elementary, parliamentary, rudimentary, sedimentary, supplementary, testamentary •investigatory •adulatory, aleatory, approbatory, celebratory, clarificatory, classificatory, commendatory, congratulatory, consecratory, denigratory, elevatory, gyratory, incantatory, incubatory, intimidatory, modificatory, participatory, placatory, pulsatory, purificatory, reificatory, revelatory, rotatory •natatory • elucidatory • castigatory •mitigatory • justificatory •imprecatory • equivocatory •flagellatory • execratory • innovatory •eatery, excretory •glittery, jittery, skittery, twittery •benedictory, contradictory, maledictory, valedictory, victory •printery, splintery •consistory, history, mystery •presbytery •inhibitory, prohibitory •hereditary • auditory • budgetary •military, paramilitary •solitary • cemetery • limitary •vomitory • dormitory • fumitory •interplanetary, planetary, sanitary •primogenitary • dignitary •admonitory, monitory •unitary • monetary • territory •secretary • undersecretary •plebiscitary • repository • baptistery •transitory •depositary, depository, expository, suppository •niterie •Godwottery, lottery, pottery, tottery •bottomry • watery • psaltery •coterie, notary, protonotary, rotary, votary •upholstery •bijouterie, charcuterie, circumlocutory •persecutory • statutory • salutary •executory •contributory, retributory, tributary •interlocutory •buttery, fluttery •introductory • adultery • effrontery •perfunctory • blustery • mediatory •retaliatory • conciliatory • expiatory •denunciatory, renunciatory •appreciatory, depreciatory •initiatory, propitiatory •dietary, proprietary •extenuatory •mandatary, mandatory •predatory • sedentary • laudatory •prefatory • offertory • negatory •obligatory •derogatory, interrogatory, supererogatory •nugatory •expurgatory, objurgatory, purgatory •precatory •explicatory, indicatory, vindicatory •confiscatory, piscatory •dedicatory • judicatory •qualificatory • pacificatory •supplicatory •communicatory, excommunicatory •masticatory • prognosticatory •invocatory • obfuscatory •revocatory • charlatanry •depilatory, dilatory, oscillatory •assimilatory • consolatory •voluntary • emasculatory •ejaculatory •ambulatory, circumambulatory, perambulatory •regulatory •articulatory, gesticulatory •manipulatory • copulatory •expostulatory • circulatory •amatory, declamatory, defamatory, exclamatory, inflammatory, proclamatory •crematory • segmentary •lachrymatory •commentary, promontory •informatory, reformatory •momentary •affirmatory, confirmatory •explanatory • damnatory •condemnatory •cosignatory, signatory •combinatory •discriminatory, eliminatory, incriminatory, recriminatory •comminatory • exterminatory •hallucinatory • procrastinatory •monastery • repertory •emancipatory • anticipatory •exculpatory, inculpatory •declaratory, preparatory •respiratory • perspiratory •vibratory •migratory, transmigratory •exploratory, laboratory, oratory •inauguratory • adjuratory •corroboratory • reverberatory •refrigeratory • compensatory •desultory • dysentery •exhortatory, hortatory •salutatory • gustatory • lavatory •inventory •conservatory, observatory •improvisatory •accusatory, excusatory •lathery •feathery, heathery, leathery •dithery, slithery •carvery •reverie, severy •Avery, bravery, knavery, quavery, Savery, savory, savoury, slavery, wavery •thievery •livery, quivery, shivery •silvery •ivory, salivary •ovary •discovery, recovery •servery • equerry • reliquary •antiquary • cassowary • stipendiary •colliery • pecuniary • chinoiserie •misery • wizardry • citizenry •advisory, provisory, revisory, supervisory •causerie, rosary

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