PRIMER OF HERALDRY
Book-plate (arms) of
President Greorge Washington,
PRIMER OF HERALDRY
EDWARD S. HOLDEN, LL.D.
THE CENTURY CO.
Copyright, 1898, by
THE CENTURY Co.
THE DEVINNE PRESS
TO M M AND E H
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HERALDRY IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES ... 18
HERALDRY IN ARCHITECTURE . . . .23
HERALDRY IN LITERATURE AND HISTORY . . 24
THE COAT OF ARMS 27
HELMETS . .48
CROWNS AND CORONETS 51
ARMS OF KINGDOMS AND STATES 63
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE SEAL, ARMS, AND FLAG OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA 65
TITLES OF NOBILITY 68
ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD 72
SILVER PLATE 77
HEREDITARY PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES IN THE
UNITED STATES 78
How TO TRACE A PEDIGREE . . . .88
ANCIENT LINEAGE 90
INDEX TO HERALDIC TERMS 100
PLATES (FIGURES 1 TO 119) . . End of the look
IT is usual to commence American books
on heraldic and genealogic matters with a
half -apology for introducing such subjects
to the notice of the citizens of a republic.
The writer believes apologies to be entirely
unnecessary. Such topics deserve their
due share of attention (though it may not
be a large share) in a country which con-
tains millions of descendants of good fami-
lies of England and the Continent. General
George Washington inherited a coat of
arms from reputable English ancestors,
and used it on appropriate occasions. Ben-
jamin Franklin applied for and obtained a
grant of armorial bearings, and his motto
was, Exemplum adest ipse homo (" Conduct
marks the man "). Where two such Eepub-
licans led, Americans need not fear to
The writer began his heraldic studies as
a school-boy with Scott's novels and Frois-
sart's Chronicles. The present book has
been written at spare moments, as a relief
from very different work. The informa-
tion that it contains will help to solve many
enigmas in Architecture, Art, Literature,
and History (both European and colonial),
and will enable the reader to take an in-
timate pleasure in matters that otherwise
are merely puzzling and, at first sight, re-
pellent. Much of our mother-literature
(especially Shakspere, Scott, Tennyson,
etc.), and very much of foreign literature
(Ariosto, Tasso, Froissart, etc.), cannot be
intelligently read without a little learning
of the sort. Gothic Architecture tells no
story, and Painting often tells an incom-
plete one, without some rudiments of
heraldic knowledge. Half the point of
History is lost unless it is studied in its
details. To comprehend its details (espe-
cially in the period from the Crusades to the
French Eevolution) an accurate knowledge
of heraldry is a material aid. La Bruyere,
in his " Caracteres " (De la Ville), enumer-
ates the uses to which armorial bearings
were put in his day (1688). "They are
emblazoned everywhere," he says: "on
stained-glass windows, over the doors,
even on the locks, on coaches, and on
liveries." What was true in 1688 is also
true to-day. The seals of countries, prov-
inces, and states are heraldic ; so are their
flags. Coins and medals are stamped with
heraldic emblems; each government de-
partment or office has its seal ; cities, cor-
porations, colleges, universities, employ
seals and devices, as do societies and indi-
viduals. Heraldry is a doctrine which has
to do with all these things, and it is inter-
esting and advantageous to know something
of it. The visiting-cards of foreigners
counts, barons, Freiherren bear their coro-
nets, and the rank and title can be decided
at a glance. Note-paper is similarly marked,
and the sex and condition of the writer can
be discovered from the coat of arms.
As such devices are in every-day use in
this country, and still more in foreign
countries, it is worth while to understand
the universal rules according to which they
are employed, and not to make blunders
that may easily be avoided. Not to follow
these rules is simply to refuse to admit the
alphabet of the language which one is em-
ploying. For instance, no woman except
xii INTRODUCTORY NOTE
a queen may bear a crest. Let American
ladies remember this simple rule in order-
ing their book-plates and stationery. No
unmarried woman may bear arms on a
knight's shield. Since A.D. 1350 (except
on American letter-paper) such arms have
been borne on a lozenge (0).
The present little book treats of such
matters in a compact form and a simple
manner, and it is fully illustrated. Its
materials have been gathered from leisurely
and extensive reading, not only in English
but in continental heraldry; and some of
them, at least, will be new to most Ameri-
cans. It will serve as a primer for young
people, and as a handy book of reference
to their elders; and it should be espe-
cially useful to the members of the many
hereditary patriotic societies now formed,
and forming, throughout the country.
Special attention is here paid to such
organizations, and it is believed that a
perusal of this book will make the reader a
better, not a worse, American.
E. S. H.
NEW YORK, January,
A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
ARMS (or armorial bearings) are heredi-
tary heraldic devices, arranged according
to conventional rules, appertaining to and
honorably distinctive of individuals, cor-
porations, cities, countries, etc. They are
usually blazoned (painted in color) on a
shield, and surmounted by a helmet and
crest, and they may be accompanied by
supporters, mottos, and mantlings. An
achievement of arms is the aggregate of all
these devices as borne by a person; so
called because in old days the honor of
arms was achieved by knightly deeds.
Heraldry (or armory) is the body of doc-
trine (it used to be ranked as a science)
which prescribes the rules by which arms
A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
are composed ; in its widest scope it has to
do with honorary distinctions of all kinds.
The business of the herald, as Dr. Johnson
well says, " is to proclaim peace and to de-
nounce war; to be employed in martial
messages ; and to judge and examine coats
THE tribes of Israel had their distinctive
emblems Judah its lion. ^E schylus, He-
rodotus, and many ancient writers describe
the devices borne on the shields of warriors.
Such devices were more than mere orna-
ment, and partook of the nature of perso-
nal badges ; but they were not hereditary,
as armorial bearings are. Alexander the
Great distributed such special distinctions
among his generals, precisely as Napoleon
granted arms to his marshals. Trajan's
Column in Rome was erected in the years
A. D. $-117, and the shields of the Dacians
sculptured upon it are covered with em-
blems, as the sun, the moon, etc. Even
our Red Indian clans were distinguished by
totemic signs, and each individual warrior
had his personal cognizance. From remote
antiquity nations and tribes have employed
devices and insignia, which were often dis-
played on their standards, banners, etc.
The eagle of the Roman Empire is a famil-
iar example. The white horse was borne
by the Saxons from the earliest times, and
it is to-day the cognizance of the house of
Hanover ; it was the emblem used by Alfred
the Great (died 901). The kingdom of
Wessex bore a golden dragon. The wivern
was the emblem of the Vandals ; the raven
that of the Danes. The wolf was the em-
blem of the city of Rome ; the horse's head
that of Carthage ; the olive-branch and the
owl those of Athens. So far as is known,
these devices were not emblazoned on
shields ; but they were the forerunners of
true heraldic charges. Pope Benedict VIII
(1013) presented to the Emperor Henry II,
at his coronation, a globe surmounted by
a cross, as an emblem of the power of
the cross over the world. In later times
this became the symbol of imperial or
royal power among Christian nations (see
Such emblems among European nations
laid the foundation for true heraldry. The
A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
arms of the knight were borne upon his
shield, oftentimes repeated in his crest,
painted on his banner, sculptured on his
castle and on his tomb, and finally became
a precious inheritance to his descendants.
Here we have the marks of veritable arms
as distinguished from non-hereditary em-
blems. Emblems were personal badges,
and were not necessarily inherited. Arms
THE oldest of existing flags is that of
Denmark the Danebrog, which was cer-
tainly adopted in the thirteenth century.
Tradition says that in A. D. 1219, during a
combat with the heathen Esthonians, the
white cross of the Danish flag appeared in
the sky. It was adopted as a national em-
blem, and an order of knighthood founded,
which, under much-changed conditions,
still exists (the Order of the Danebrog).
The earliest banners were ecclesiastical.
The oriflamme of France was the flame-
colored banner of the Abbey of St. Denis,
which was carried before the army as a
sacred sign (A. D. 630). The banner of
England, St. George's cross (argent, a cross
gules), had a religious origin also.
PHAEAOH gave his seal to Joseph (G-en.
xli. 42), and Darius sealed the den of
lions with his own signet (Dan. vi. 17).
The seal of Haggai, son of Shebaniah (B. c.
700), has come down to us, and copies of
it can be bought for a trifle.
The seals of monarchs and great nobles
prove that during the twelfth century they
bore, as personal devices, true armorial
bearings. It was not until the return of
Richard the Lion-heart from Palestine
(1194) that the three lions passant gardant
became fixed as the arms of England (Fig.
78). Louis le Jeune of France seals with
a fleur-de-lis in 1180. During the Third
Crusade (1189) armorial bearings were
common, as they had been proved to be
useful by experience in war. The English
soldiers were distinguished by a white
cross sewed to their surcoats ; the French
bore a red, and the Flemings a green, cross.
A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
The nobles charged their shields with such
personal devices as pleased their fancy, or
as recalled the object of their mission. The
lion, the eagle, the cross, the scallop-shell
of the pilgrim, etc., became common. The
dragon, the wivern (emblem of the Van-
dals), Saracens' heads, etc., bespeak an
Eastern origin. The double-headed eagle
of the Holy Roman Empire was adopted
from an Asiatic device.
The early ecclesiastical seals were im-
pressed in the form of an elongated pointed
oval, the shape of a fish, in allusion to
the Greek initials of the sentence, Jesus
Christy the Son of God, the Saviour ixers.
As the early universities were ecclesiasti-
cal corporations, the seals of colleges often
take this form (see Johns Hopkins Uni-
versity, 1 Fig. 116). The seals of bishops
are, in general, of this form also.
1 The very beautiful seal of the Johns Hopkins Univer-
sity is reproduced here as a model of what such devices
should be. In the design for the seal, symbols of learn-
ing have been added (in the chief) to the well-known
arms of Maryland, which are those of Lord Baltimore
(Cecil Calvert), the first proprietor (1649). The Calvert
arms (in the quarters I and III) are "paly of six, or and
sable, a bend dexter counterchanged." Quarters II and
AKMS were granted by the greater nobles
to the Crusaders for gallant deeds, or they
were assumed at will. They were at first
merely individual cognizances, but they
became hereditary about the end of the
thirteenth century. A victorious knight
had the privilege of assuming the arms of
his vanquished enemy. The Carys of Car-
isbrook in Virginia bear the arms (argent,
on a bend sable, three roses of the field)
which their ancestor, in the reign of Henry
V, assumed from those of a Spanish knight
whom he overcame in a trial of arms. The
three feathers of the crest of the Prince of
Wales were once the badge of the King of
Bohemia, which, with his motto, Ich dien,
were assumed by Edward, Prince of Wales,
IV are for Crossland (derived by Lord Baltimore from his
grandmother, Alicia Crossland, an heiress), namely,
"quarterly argent and gules, a cross flory counter-
changed." The chief is azure, and it bears a terrestrial
globe or between two open books argent. The whole seal
presents an heraldic picture of a university devoted to
science (signified by the globe) and literature (the open
books), situated in the State of Maryland.
A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
after the battle of Cressy, where the king
was among the slain. The very earliest
Crusaders did not bear arms. The shields
of the French knights at Constantinople,
about 1100, are described by Anna Com-
nena as polished and plain.
The Bayeux tapestry, tradition says, was
embroidered by Matilda, wife of William
the Conqueror. At all events, it represents
the invasion of England by the Normans,
and contains the figures of more than six
hundred men, with horses, ships, banners,
etc., all worked in colors, with minute at-
tention to detail. Experts are agreed that
true armorial bearings are not found in this
work, which must have been subsequent to
1066. It was not until the last part of the
twelfth century that arms came into gen-
eral use. No coins bear arms until the
thirteenth century. The latest researches
indicate that armorial bearings originated
about the year 1150. Heraldic seals dated
1157, 1159, 1163, etc., are still extant in
It is reported that the tomb of Varmond,
in the Church of St. Emmeran at Eatisbon,
bears a shield parted per pale, charged with
a lion over all, and the date MX. It is
likely that the carving was done long after-
ward in this case, as in many others. The
earliest Pope of Eome who can be proved
to have borne arms is said to have been
Boniface VIII (1294-1303), though arms
are ascribed to nearly all the popes since
Lucius II (1144). The seal of Philip, Count
of Flanders (1164), bears a lion rampant,
which is still the cognizance of Flanders;
and this is one of the very earliest exam-
ples of an heraldic device. It is to be
noted that a seal, whose impression was
necessarily contemporaneous with the doc-
ument to which it was attached, is evidence
of the first importance. Coats of arms can
be cut upon monuments and tombs at any
time, and brasses set up whenever their
evidence is wanted.
1 For many years the Viscounts MacDuff claimed de-
scent from the ancient Earls of Fife ; and to substantiate
the claim an ancient monument (belonging to another
family) was removed to the Duff mausoleum, and the date
altered so as to read (in Arabic numerals!) 1404. A
family of Deardens constructed in Rochdale Church a
complete family chapel, with effigies, slabs, brasses, etc.,
all recording the lives and deaths of a line of sham ances-
tors, no one of whom ever existed ! The lions of England
cut on the monument of William the Conqueror at Caen,
10 A PKIMEE OF HERALDRY
Experts in heraldry are often asked to
" explain the meaning " of heraldic charges.
Is gules a noble color! Does the lion sig-
nify generous courage ! Does azure denote
justice, loyalty? argent, purity ! or, force,
constancy, riches! Is sable a sign of grief!
etc. The earliest arms were assumed by
individuals at will, or granted for specific
deeds; and in such cases there may once
have been a special meaning to the shield.
Retainers were granted arms resembling
those of their overlord. The branches of
a family differenced their coats with differ-
ent tinctures, etc. Many new coats were
granted to new men. In most cases there
was little "meaning" to the arms; and
where there was a significance, it was (usu-
ally) soon lost sight of. For example, the
arms of Arnold Linden, Comte d'Archot,
were or, three fleurs-de-lis sable ; and these
arms descended to his eldest son. The
second son assumed for arms, gules, three
fleurs-de-lis argent; the third son, argent,
three fleurs-de-lis gules; the fourth son, ar-
gent, three fleurs-de-lis sable ; the fifth son,
in 1642, were never borne by him. Seals impressed on
documents cannot be so readily counterfeited.
gules, three fleurs-de-lis or. If there were
any special significance to the tinctures of
the original arms, it was quickly lost in
those of the sons. In other families totally
different devices were employed by the vari-
In some cases the arms are rebus-like, and
spell the name : as the swallows (hirondelles)
in the arms of Arundel; the three towers
(tours) in the arms of Tours ; the golden lion
in the arms of Lyons ; the column in the
shield of Colonna; the hen (Henne) on a
mount (berg) for Henneberg ; etc. Here we
may say the arms have a meaning. The
Abbey of St. Denis has among its relics one
of the passion nails of the cross; and its
shield is charged with a passion nail, in al-
lusion to this precious possession. But in
general it may safely be said that coats of
arms have now no " meaning," in the usual
sense of the term.
As Americans have no central office (like
the Heralds' College in England) which has
authority over the granting and bearing of
arms, and as our governments take no offi-
cial notice of them (except when they are
borne as seals or trade-marks), it is impos-
12 A PEIMEE OF HEEALDEY
sible to lay down any rules in their regard
that shall be really authoritative. Good
taste and good usage must govern us here
In England, France, Germany, Austria
(and in the United States), there is no legal
obstacle to the assumption of armorial
bearings by any individual or corporation.
Any individual has the right to assume
and to bear a coat of arms. In most coun-
tries those who make use of arms (on seals,
carriages, etc.) are subject to an annual
tax ; and in Germany, etc., the law expressly
forbids any individual to bear a coat of
arms belonging to another person. 1 The
annual tax, and the law protecting each
person in the possession of his own coat,
1 The following is a translation of a part of a letter re-
ceived from the editor of the " German Herald " :
"It is lawful for every citizen to assume a coat of arms.
He may either bear a coat used by his ancestors, or he
may assume and use a coat according to his own pleasure.
It is, however, forbidden to assume a coat which is al-
ready in use by another family. A register of arms is
kept by the Heraldic Society of Berlin (Schillstrasse
No. 3), in which arms are entered without cost."
The same rule obtains in Austria and in most countries
of the Continent. If heraldry is to be a live science some
such provision must be adopted. Otherwise it becomes
serve to regulate the whole matter; 1 and
the tax is a very proper means of raising
The seals of corporations and the trade-
marks of individuals may be registered,
and governments take measures to insure
their exclusive use by those to whom they
appertain. Armorial bearings were always
strictly regulated in France, and during
the reign of Louis XIV they were subject
to a tax of twenty livres or forty if they
contained fleurs-de-lis. The Revolution in
1790 swept away arms ; but they were again
revived under Napoleon, whose heralds
devised new charges, pyramids, etc.,
that recalled his own wars, and not those
of the Crusades.
The Heralds' College was established in
England in 1483. Its business was to reg-
ister grants of arms, and to see that such
distinctions were not borne illegally. From
of antiquarian interest only. It is a practical fact that
arms continue to be used in democratic countries as well
as in monarchies. It is therefore only rational to recog-
nize and to reduce to some kind of orderly rule proceedings
that cannot be ignored or prevented.
1 The annual tax in England is one guinea, or two
guineas if the arms are borne on carriages.
14 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
1528 to 1704 its officials made periodic visi-
tations to the various counties, registering
genealogies, etc. It is still in existence,
though shorn of much of its power. Arms
are still granted by the college to any ap-
plicant for a moderate fee (ten pounds).
The Montjoie roi cParmes of France dates
from the thirteenth century ; and the office
of Lyon king-at-arms of Scotland was es-
tablished before 1371. The name " herald "
first occurs in 1152 in the imperial consti-
tutions of Frederick Barbarossa, though the
office is as old as warfare. Heralds were
the spokesmen for all the messages of the
king or commanding general.
During the fourteenth, fifteenth, six-
teenth, and seventeenth centuries the kings
of France ordered various heralds' visita-
tions, because the wrongful assumption of
nobility disturbed the incidence of taxes
(from many of which nobles were exempt).
The most thorough of these visitations was
made in 1666-74. It was then laid down
as a principle that those nobles who had
borne titles and arms continuously since
1560 were to be confirmed in their rights,
provided they still held their lands, while
those who had alienated their lands were
required to prove that they had borne their
titles since 1514. In 1714 proofs were re-
quired no further back than 1614. A prac-
tice dating back one hundred and fifty or
one hundred years was sufficient confir-
mation of a title, therefore, in monarchical
France. Those Americans whose ancestors
assumed arms in colonial days (as so many
did) may be glad to have this precedent to
The English idea of armorial bearings is
that they are given as property to an in-
dividual, and from him descend as property
to his children and their children. Hence
in England there is no such thing as the
arms of a, family, except as the sons, grand-
sons, etc. (not the brothers), of the grantee
constitute Ms particular family. The prac-
tice is quite different on the Continent. In
theory, every Englishman who bears a coat
of arms is noble. Nobiles sunt qui arma
gentilicia antecessorum suorum prof err e pos-
sunt. The arms of the bourgeois (citizen) are
not recognized unless they are registered
at the Heralds' College, when he becomes
(in strict theory) a petty noble. In Grer-
16 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
many, Austria, etc., arms are granted by
the emperor to the noble class; but citi-
zens may assume them, and are rather en-
couraged to do so. When a citizen assumes
arms they descend to his children.
If a new coat of arms is to be designed,
the following points, among others, should
be attended to, and in all cases the advice
of an expert should be sought. The shield,
helmet, mantling, crest, and the lettering
of the motto should all be designed in one
style (as of the fourteenth or fifteenth cen-
tury, etc.), and the models chosen from
good examples. The divisions of the shield
should be few, the charges simple; but
pains should be taken to make the arms in
fact new, and not a copy of those of an an-
cient family. What right has a new man
to bear the arms of the Howards or of
Hohenlohe ! The crest should also be sim-
ple, and it may well repeat the colors and
the forms of the principal charge of the
shield. The helmet should be in profile
when the arms are designed for a simple
gentleman. The mantling and the wreath
should repeat the colors of the shield. In
designing the helmet, the artist should re-
member that it was slipped over the head,
and that no part of it, therefore, should be
so small that this could not be done. The
helmets of many modern knights, as de-
picted in their coats of arms, could not
be put on even, much less worn. Coats
of arms for cities, corporations, etc., are
usually designed from the seal of the city,
It may be convenient to bring together
a few important dates. Arms were first
used by persons about A. D. 1150 ; on coins
in the thirteenth century. They came into
general use in the thirteenth century, and
at the end of this century they became
hereditary. The oldest grants of arms (in
Germany) date from 1401. Patents of
nobility were granted by the German em-
perors in the second half of the fourteenth
century ; in France as early as 1270. Some
cities had seals in the twelfth century, and
arms in the middle of the fourteenth.
Crests began to come into use (in England)
about 1300, and soon became general.
Mantlings first appeared (in England) with
Richard I (1189-99), and they were in gen-
eral use in the fourteenth century. Sup-
18 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
porters were used from about 1300. Badges
were worn in England before 1400.
HERALDRY IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
THE origin of heraldry must be referred
to the Crusaders, who brought its customs
with them on their return to their native
countries. In each country the art has
had a different development, so that Eng-
lish, French, and German heraldry have dis-
tinctive characters. In all countries the
essentials are the same, and in each one
heraldry has passed through three distinct
and well-marked periods.
In the first period (1150 to about 1200)
the shield alone bore the arms. There were
no crests. In the second period (1200 to
about 1500) the armorial bearings of the
warrior displayed the actual shield, hel-
met, crest, which were worn by him in
battle. This is the best period of heraldry,
naturally. Fig. 64 (after Albrecht Diirer)
may be taken as an example of it.
As the implements of war were perfected,
and especially as the use of gunpowder be-
came general and effective, the armor of
HERALDRY IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES 19
the knight was modified or laid aside. The
third period, that is, modern heraldry, com-
menced here. Since that epoch heraldry
has become a conventionalized art, and its
usefulness has been manifested in new
directions. A lively picture of the condi-
tions of warfare after the introduction of
gunpowder may be had by conceiving the
dismay and amazement of the incas of Peru
when opposed by the firearms of the con-
quistadors. An entirely new conception
of military skill and valor came in with the
harquebus and musket (1575). Gunpowder
was the great leveler of the sixteenth cen-
tury, as steam and electricity have been of
It may serve to throw light on the de-
velopment of heraldry in different coun-
tries if we compare it with architecture
with Gothic architecture, for example. We
have Gothic art exhibited in England, in
France, in Germany, but in each country
it has developed individual peculiarities.
Just as the facade of the cathedral at Eouen
is distinctively in the French style, just as
that of York is distinctively English, so
the style of a French or English coat of
20 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
arms is felt by one versed in such matters ;
and a sort of pleasure, akin to that derived
from good architecture, is to be had from
an armorial achievement which is well and
suitably composed. No one can mistake
a collection of Russian coats of arms for
French or English. Their national char-
acter is entirely obvious.
In a general way it may be said that Ger-
man heraldry best represents the spirit of
the middle ages, though a collection of Ger-
man coats seems to an English herald to lack
somewhat in imagination and variety. The
partitions of the German shield are simple,
colors and metals are well disposed, and the
charges are few. The crests are often elab-
orate and seem heavy. English and French
heraldry are much alike, though there are
characteristic differences. The use of marks
of cadency in France and England (to dis-
tinguish the eldest, the second, the third
son, etc.), and of helmets appropriate to
each rank, are consequences of the law of
primogeniture which prevailed in both
these countries. The eldest son must
needs have his privileges marked and
guarded. Azure (the royal color of the
HERALDRY IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES 21
Bourbons) predominates in French shields ;
vert in those of Holland (why!) ; gules (the
national color) in those of Poland. The
ermine, so frequently occurring in English
coats of arms, is doubtless a reminiscence
of the arms of Brittany (whose shield was
ermine). Italian heraldry has a style all its
own. Italian shields have a special shape
also. The symbol of the party of the
Guelfs (a, chief azure, with fleurs-de-lis)
and of that of the Ghibellines (the eagle-
displayed of the empire) are very common.
Spanish and Portuguese heraldry have
been much influenced by that of France,
though their national styles are plainly
marked. The fields are frequently parted
in three pieces, and the charges are nu-
merous and confused. Danish heraldry re-
sembles that of France and England, except
that rebus arms (armes parlantes), which
spell the name of the bearer, are more
common. Arms in Russia have a well-
marked style also. Japan was for centu-
ries under the regime of a feudal system,
and an elaborate emblematic armorial was
there developed, which is in use to-day.
Every noble Japanese family has its em-
22 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
blem, which is emblazoned on the dress and
The principal sources from which the
history of heraldry can be derived are
seals, coins, monuments, tombs, patents of
nobility, grants of land or arms, the visi-
tations and other records of the heralds,
records of tournaments, rolls of arms, por-
traits (which often bear the arms of the
sitter), coats of arms carved on the exterior
of buildings or in their interior decorations,
woven in tapestries, etc. Almost every
large library in the United States has a
section devoted to works on heraldry and
genealogy, and those who have read this
little book will find it a good introduction
to further explorations in this interesting
field. Excellent articles on heraldry are to
be found in many books of reference, and
the reader may well consult these after he
has mastered the principles here set forth.
Perhaps the best of them within the reach
of everybody are to be found in the Ency-
clopaedia Britannica, in Johnson's Encyclo-
pedia, and (under various heads) in the
Century Dictionary. Many of the excel-
lent cuts of this book are taken from the
HERALDRY IN ARCHITECTURE 23
latter work. In the cyclopedia of Cham-
bers (which gives great prominence to
Scottish matters) the reader will do well to
consult the articles on the chief Scottish
families, as Argyle, Bruce, Douglas, Lind-
say, Mar, Stewart, etc. The Almanach de
Gotha gives the genealogy, etc., of the
princely houses of Europe. There are simi-
lar works relating to the counts, the bar-
HERALDRY IN ARCHITECTURE
GOTHIC architecture can scarcely be ap-
preciated in its details without a consider-
able knowledge of heraldry. It was a uni-
versal custom to display the coat of arms
on buildings, tombs, monuments, windows,
etc. The same custom is wide-spread in
the United States, where the seals of the
States and departments are to be found on
many public buildings. The monuments
erected at Gettysburg display the State
seals, the badges of army-corps, etc., in a
very instructive fashion.
The new University Club in New York
is to display the arms of American colleges
on its facade. The new Library of Con-
24 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
gress, in Washington, contains (in the read-
ing-room) the arms of the States of the
Union in colored glass.
It is worth while to have some knowledge
of the pictorial language of heraldry in
order to derive the great pleasure which
comes through such a familiarity. An he-
raldic device, displayed in the right place
and in the right way, produces precisely the
kind of pleasure which a scholar feels from
an apposite quotation. 1
HERALDRY IN LITERATURE AND HISTORY
IF history is to be written at first hand,
original documents must be consulted, and
these cannot be properly understood with-
out a knowledge of heraldry, which enables
one to decipher the seals that they bear
1 For instance, the seal of Harvard College on the
eighteenth-century gateways to its grounds ; the Mapes
memorial gateway at the new Columbia University in
New York. But, on the other hand, what are these " eagles
with wings displayed cheeky n doing in front of the Boston
Public Library? They are a part of the arms of a noble
Roman family. They are certainly decorative ; but they
are as appropriate in that place as a door-plate "Beau-
champs " would be on Governor Winthrop's mansion no
more, no less.
HERALDRY IN LITERATURE AND HISTORY 25
and by which they are authenticated.
This is not only true of England and
Europe, but also of the colonial period in
America. All colonial papers were sealed
by either public or private signets, and the
seal employed will often fix the date of the
As heraldry was a part of daily life up
to very recent times, and a most essential
part from 1200 to 1700, it is naturally re-
flected in history and throughout literature.
Fully to understand what one reads, these
allusions must not be missed for want of a
little study. The history of trade is illus-
trated by the arms of the powerful London
companies (gilds), which received their
charters from 1327 onward ; and the seals
of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges con-
stitute a most interesting chapter in the
history of learned foundations.
The connection of families can often be
traced by their arms and in no other way ;
as Guillim says, in his " Heraldry " : " The
Shaws are known to be Mclntoshes by their
arms." The relation of the early Ameri-
can emigrants to the English (and Dutch,
French, etc.) families from whom they de-
26 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
scend is often to be fixed by arms or crests
engraved on silver plate, or by signet-rings,
etc. Comparatively little use was made of
arms in America during the century 1620-
1720. It was a period of stress, and dis-
tinctions of rank were more or less forgot-
ten. With acquired wealth came leisure
and a general desire to connect one's self
with the mother-country. From 1700 on-
ward more attention was paid to such mat-
ters, and arms were quite generally borne
by those who inherited them, or were as-
sumed by others who had acquired fortune.
The cemeteries of Boston, New York, New-
port, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Richmond,
etc., contain many gravestones engraved
with armorial bearings. A few date from
the seventeenth century; most are later
It is not possible to read the plays of
Shakspere, the poems of Chaucer, Spenser,
Tasso, Ariosto, Scott, Tennyson, and others,
with full understanding without some know-
ledge of heraldic rules and language.
Awake, awake, English nobility ! Cropped are
the flower-de-luces in your arms ! of England's
THE COAT OF AEMS 27
coat one half is cut away (SHAKSPERE, Henry
VI, Part I, act i, sc. 1),
refers to the lilies of France, which Edward
III had quartered with the lions of England.
Where is proud Scotland's royal shield,
The ruddy lion ramped in gold
(ScoTT, Marmion, Canto IV),
is one of the hundreds of allusions in Sir
Walter Scott's poems and tales to armorial
THE COAT OF AKMS
The Shield* Arms are generally borne
upon a shield to signify their military ori-
gin. The shape of the shield may be chosen
at will, but it is essential, in good heraldic
drawing, to have the style of the heraldic
achievement harmonious throughout. A
shield of the thirteenth century must not
be surmounted by a helmet of the sixteenth,
nor accompanied by a mantling of the sev-
enteenth. Too little attention is paid by
artists to this matter of style. The shield
was originally made of wood and covered
with leather (on which the arms were
28 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
stamped) or with parchment (on which
they were painted). Metal bands, fesse-
wise, palewise, bendwise, 1 etc., and bosses
were used to strengthen the shield; and
some of the ordinaries of heraldry have
probably been thence derived. A number
of ancient shields are still extant usually
in churches in Europe, or in museums. The
shield of Heinrich of Hesse (died 1298) is
still to be seen in Marburg, for example.
The pointed Norman shields (Figs. 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 54) are the most graceful in form,
and they are well suited to simple blazons.
The conventionalized shields (like Fig. 51)
are convenient for displaying charges, and
are here employed for that reason only;
but they are not suitable for seals, illumi-
nated drawings, etc. The proper proce-
dure is to select, from ancient drawings or
monuments, the forms for crest, mantling,
shield, and charges, and to reproduce them
all in one consistent style. The style of
any century may be chosen at will. Figs.
106-112 are instructive in this connection,
and especially Fig. 64.
The shape of the shield employed is more
1 That is, horizontal, vertical, inclined.
THE COAT OF ARMS
or less determined by the arrangement of
the bearings to be charged upon it, and
it is an essential of good design that the
charges should fill the entire shield. The
size of a charge has no relation to its sig-
nificance. The three lions of Fig. 78 have
The shield of a man, a warrior, the head
of a house, is, as has been said, a knight's
shield, and it is surmounted by his crest.
His wife, in English practice, may bear his
arms on his shield, but without the crest.
His daughters may bear their father's arms
on a lozenge ( ). The French practice is to
blazon the arms of all women on lozenge-
shaped or oval shields. The arms of na-
tions, of provinces, cities, etc., are borne on
a knight's shield. Monasteries, colleges,
and the like often employ a pointed oval as
a shield (see Fig. 116).
Parts of the Shield. In describing a shield
and its charges, it is always supposed to be
borne as in war. That is, the left-hand
side in Fig. 1 is called the dexter side, the
right hand the sinister. The upper third
of the shield is the chief. E, in Fig. 2, is
the fesse-pointj .Fthe nombril-point. Nom-
30 A PRIMEE OF HERALDRY
bril-points are not named in English her-
aldry, though they are used on the Conti-
nent. The whole surface of the shield is
called the field. It is necessary for the
reader to pay some attention to the defini-
tions of this section. They give the heraldic
alphabet, as it were, without which the bla-
zon of a shield cannot be read.
Division of the Shield (see Figs. 3, 4, 5, 6,
7). :The shield is seldom all of one color.
It is generally divided into parts. It is
parted per pale in Fig. 3 ; per fesse in Fig.
4; quartered in Fig. 5; parted per bend
(dexter) in Fig. 6 ; per saltire in Fig. 7. A
shield may be parted per bend sinister also.
If it is divided into any number of equal
parts with square corners, as six, eight,
twelve, sixteen parts, etc., it is said to be
quarterly of six, eight, etc. The lines of
division may not always be straight lines.
They may be a single smooth curve
(embowed), or composed of several curves
(unde), or edged like a saw (indented), or
like battlements (embattled), etc. (see Figs.
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).
Tinctures* The surface of the shield is
supposed to be covered, wholly or in part,
by either metals, furs, or colors.
THE COAT OF AEMS
The heraldic metals are two : gold, or;
silver, argent. If the shield is emblazoned
in colors, these are to be painted yellow
and white respectively. They may be
represented conventionally in black and
white, as in Fig. 18 and Figs. 1, 2, etc. (i. e.,
a plain shield signifies argent).
The principal heraldic colors are :
Red gules (see Figs. 19 and 23) ;
Blue azure (see Figs. 20 and 23) j
Black sable (see Figs. 21 and 23) ;
Green vert (see Figs. 22 and 23) ;
Purple purpure (see Fig. 23).
The latter color seldom occurs in English
coats of arms. In French heraldry vert is
called sinople, and flesh-color is called car-
nation. Fig. 23 also shows the conventional
method of depicting other colors (rarely
used), as tenne, sanguine, etc.
Of the heraldic furs, three are most com-
mon, viz. :
Ermine (see Fig. 24) ;
Fair 1 (see Fig. 25) ;
Potent (see Fig. 26).
1 Dr. Edward Everett Hale shrewdly surmises that
Cinderella's slippers were of fur=vair, and not of glass =
32 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
Other furs are shown in Figs. 27, 28, 29.
If new coats are to be devised, it is con-
venient to employ these rarely used furs,
especially as they lend themselves to effec-
The shield is wholly covered with these
metals, furs, and colors. Upon it are
" charged " certain devices, which are also
of metals, furs, and colors. A funda-
mental rule of blazoning is that metal
must not be superposed on metal, nor fur
on fur, nor color on color. A lion gules,
for example, must not be charged on a field
azure, nor a lion argent on a field or.
Color may be placed on metal or fur.
Metal " " " " color or fur.
Fur " " " " metal or color.
These rules have been universally fol-
lowed in modern times, especially in Eng-
land. There are many ancient coats,
however, that do not conform to the
rule. The arms of the kingdom of Jeru-
salem, for instance, consist of crosses or
charged on a field argent; the arms of the
Inquisition in Spain were sable, a cross
vert. Moreover, when a charge is blazoned
in its proper color the rule does not apply.
Azure, an oak-tree proper (i. e., vert), is an
A charge is any figure or device placed
upon a shield. In the nature of things
most shields must be distinguished by
charges. The arms of D'Albret were
originally a field gules without any other
thing, says Froissart, until "the French
king gave to his cousin-german, Sir Charles
d' Alb ret, for the augmentation of his honor,
two quarters of arms of France with flower-
de-luces." The arms of Brittany are ermine
and no more. But only a few shields can
be composed with simple tinctures and
The heralds have divided charges into
several classes. It is only necessary here
to distinguish two, namely, ordinaries and
The ordinaries are as follows : The chief,
which occupies the upper third of the field
(see Fig. 30). Its diminutive is the fillet
one fourth of the chief, and lying at its
34 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
base. Tlcispale is a vertical band, one third
of the width of the shield (see Fig. 14).
The pallet is one half of the pale. The
bend (dexter) is as in Fig. 31 when it bears
another charge (as a lion, an eagle, etc.), and
it then is one third the width of the shield
(see Figs. 12 and 51). If it bears no charge
it must be one fifth of this width. It has
several diminutives (see Fig. 33). The bend
sinister crosses the shield diagonally from
sinister to dexter. It is not the sign of
illegitimate birth. The baton is one fourth
the width of the bend. It is couped (cut off)
at its extremities, and is often used to mark
illegitimacy. The cadets of the house of
Bourbon bore the baton ; the illegitimate
sons the baton sinister (Fig. 34).
The fesse (Fig. 35) is one third the width
of the shield, and the bar (Fig. 35 bis), is
one fifth of this width. (The bar is borne in
groups of two, three, etc. The fesse is fixed
in position, while bars may be placed any- ;
where in the field. A " bar sinister " is an
impossible charge.) For various forms of
the fesse see Figs. 8, 9, 10, 11. The chevron
(Fig. 36) is formed of two bars conjoined
(see also Figs. 56 and 57). A chevronel is
a small chevron of half -width. In conti-
nental heraldry the bend, f esse, and chevron
are often arched or "bowed (as in the arms
of Saxony, for example). The saltire is a
St. Andrew's cross ; its form is shown in
Fig. 37. The cross of St. Patrick, Ireland,
is argent, a saltire gules ; the cross of St.
Andrew, Scotland, is azure, a saltire argent.
The Cross (see Fig. 38, which is the cross of
St. George, England, argent, a cross gules).
-There are very many forms of the cross.
When no special designation is given the
form of Fig. 38 is implied . Drawings of many
of the forms are given in Figs. 39, 40, 41, 42,
43, 44, 45, and 46. In Fig. 46 the Latin
cross (2) has its lower limb the longer. The
Greek cross is as in No. 7. The patriarchal
cross (5) is a cross with a short bar across
its upper limb. The cross of St. Anthony
(3) is like the Greek letter tau. The cross
potent (Jerusalem cross) is shown in No. 13.
The Maltese cross (10) (so called because it
was the cognizance of the Knights of Malta)
is well known. The cross crosslet (Fig. 39)
is a cross each of whose limbs is traversed
by a short bar. If the lower limb of a cross
is sharpened as if to fix it in the ground,
36 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
it is described as fitche. Such crosses were
set up by the Crusaders in their devotions
(see Fig. 45). Crosses and saltires may be
" voided," as in Fig. 37 bis.
The quarter is, as the name implies, one
fourth of the field (see Figs. 5, 51, 52, 57).
The canton is a little quarter occupying one
third of the chief, usually on the dexter side
(see Fig. 47). The gyron is half of a quar-
ter, bisected bendwise (see Fig. 48, where
the whole field is gyronny). The gyron is
said to have originated in Spanish heraldry.
The bordure is one fifth of the width of the
shield (see Fig. 49). It is frequently added
to a coat of arms, especially on the Con-
tinent, to distinguish an offshoot of a family
from the original stock ; or, as frequently,
in Spain, as an augmentation of honor.
The treasure is one fourth of the bordure,
In the arms of Scotland it is borne double,
and fleury -counter -fleury, i. e., with eight
fleurs-de-lis issuing from each tressure
(Fig. 50). These fleurs-de-lis are said to
allude to the early alliances of Scotland
The inescutcheon is a small shield borne
on the center of the field (Fig. 52). Bezants
small roundels of or (see Fig. 16 for
When a shield consists of more than one
tincture, the dividing-lines are described,
as to their direction, as in the titles to
Figs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 15, 16, 17, 61, 62, 63.
Fig. 15 is blazoned paly of six, because the
lines divide the shield into six parts and
lie in the direction of the pale. Fig. 61 is
blazoned barry of six, etc. A field cheeky
is divided like a chess-board (Fig. 62). The
Stewarts bear a fesse cheeky. They were
at first hereditary stewards of the Scottish
kings; and the checkered board was used
in making up accounts, it is said.
The foregoing gives an account of the
ordinaries and most of the subordinaries.
The reader should consult the titles to the
various figures in the plates at the end of
this book. See especially Figs. 58, 59, 60.
We have now to consider what figures may
be charged upon the field, or upon any one
of the ordinaries.
Common Charges* Any device may be
charged upon the field, animals, birds,
letters of the alphabet, weapons, etc., and
all such devices, except the ordmaries just
38 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
described, are called "common charges. 77
Each of these devices may be represented
in its native tints (when it is called proper),
or it may be displayed in any one of the
heraldic metals, furs, or colors. A lion
vert would be a zoological curiosity, but it
is a perfectly correct heraldic charge. The
forms of heraldic animals, etc., are highly
conventionalized also. For instance, an
heraldic lion is all mouth and paws; the
features which represent his ferocity and
strength are purposely exaggerated. A con-
ventional heraldic style has been evolved in
the course of centuries, which is not with-
out its excellences, and which gives plea-
sure to the expert. Fig. 64 is an admirable
example of medieval heraldic design (in
Germany), by Albrecht Diirer. It is a
combination of medieval design with Re-
Heraldic animals are described as to their
position in technical terms, as rampant,
sejant, etc. An examination of the figures
at the end of this book will convey a bet-
ter notion of the heraldic postures than
verbal descriptions. In German heraldry
it is indifferent in which direction the
charges face. In English they always face
to dexter, as has been said. If the arms of
man and wife are marshaled on two shields,
or on the same shield side by side (see Fig.
65), it is a fixed rule in Germany that the
charges must face toward each other, so
that the arms of the baron (dexter half of
the shield) are necessarily contourne, while
those of the femme (sinister half) face in
their natural direction. All English hel-
mets in profile must also face to the dex-
ter ; but it is not so in G-ermany. This rule
is carried so far that in G-erman heraldic
books it has been customary to make all
the charges and helmets face toward the
inner side of the pages ! This would not
be tolerated in English practice. A few of
the more important charges will be named.
Heraldic terms not given here maybe found
in the Century Dictionary.
The lion (see Figs. 33, 55, 67, 68, 69, 70,
71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78). The lion
was for several centuries the charge most
frequently used. In a roll of the time of
Edward II the arms of 918 bannerets are
given. Lions occur in 225 coats; and
eagles, a very frequent charge, in 43. It
40 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
has been the badge (cognizance) of England
since the time of Henry I (A. D. 1127). Lions
may be statant 1 (standing), passant (walk-
ing), passant gardant (walking with the full
face seen), rampant (as in Fig. 33), salient
(as in Fig. 70), sejant (seated), etc. Lions
are generally blazoned " armed and langued
gules," i. e., with claws and tongue (langue)
gules, unless the field is gules, in which case
the color is usually azure.
The stag (see Figs. 82, 83, 84, 85, 86). A
stag is not said to be passant, but trippant ;
not salient, but springing; not sejant, but
The eagle (see Figs. 87, 88). The eagle
is usually displayed, i. e., as in the arms of
the United States, Russia, etc. It is single-
headed in the arms of the United States,
ancient Eome, Germany, etc.; double-
headed for Russia, 2 Austria, the Holy
Roman Empire, 3 etc. The eagle of Mex-
ico, with the cactus, is derived from Aztec
1 These words are pronounced as they are spelled in
English, not as in Norman French.
2 The Czar of Russia assumed the double-headed eagle
as a cognizance, in 1470, on his marriage with the niece
of the last Byzantine emperor.
3 The double-headed eagle has been the cognizance
The boar (see Fig. 17).
The peacock is said to be " in his pride w
rhen the tail is spread.
The pelican is said to be " in her piety "
rhen in the nest feeding her young with
)lood from her breast. Other birds are
iown in Figs. 89, 90, 91.
The wings of birds, in pairs or single,
are very common in the crests of Ger-
man heraldry. A plume of (three) feathers
is the badge of the Prince of Wales. It
was assumed from that of the King of
Bohemia who was killed at the battle of
Cressy (1346), and has since been the cog-
nizance of the princes of Wales. Three
allerions (eagles without beaks or claws)
occur in the arms of Lorraine (alerion =
The martlet is a swallow with no beak and
no feet, and is frequently found in English
heraldry (see Fig. 89).
Fish. A fish is haurient when it is in
pale with the head upward. A dolphin
(dauphin) was the cognizance of the dau-
phins of France (see Fig. 92). It is usually
embowed (see also Figs. 93, 94).
since the beginning of the fifteenth century. Before that
time the emperor bore the eagle with a single head.
42 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
Wild men or savages are most frequently
met with as supporters.
Parts of the human body (a hand, an arm,
etc.) are often used as charges. The heart
(of Bruce) appears in the arms of Douglas
The dragon (see Fig. 79). The dragon is
an heraldic charge, either with or without
St. George (see the beautiful design on the
obverse of the gold sovereigns of the Eng-
lish currency). The cockatrice and wivern
are fabulous beasts of the same nature, and,
like the dragon, have heraldic forms all
their own (Figs. 80 and 81).
The sun usually appears "in his splen-
dor," i. e., front face, or with rays (as in
the seal of Bowdoin College, for example)
The moon is usually either crescent (Fig.
96) (a new moon with the horns pointing
upward), or increscent (horns to dexter), or
decrescent (horns to sinister). The three
crescents interlaced of Fig. 97 is a very old
design of religious origin.
Stars have six wavy points (see Fig. 98).
A five-pointed star is heraldically a mullet.
The mullet as a charge is often pierced, i. e. 9
ith a hole in the center, through which
ie tincture of the field shows.
Trees. The oak is most common, or the
>ts and branches. Trees appear in crests
tore frequently than as charges.
The fleur-de-luce (see Fig. 54). " France
icient " bore azure sprinkled with (many)
Les or, as in Fig. 54. " France modern "
>re azure, with three lilies only, arranged
" two and one," i. e., with two lilies in chief
and one in base. The fleurs-de-lis have
figured in the arms of France since Louis
VII (1179). Charles V (1364) first reduced
their number to three. They were early
introduced into English heraldry, and oc-
cur twenty times in the roll of Edward II.
Whatever may have been the origin of the
charge now called fleur-de-lis, it is certain
that it was not originally designed to rep-
resent a lily. It is a very old emblem.
The Empress Theodora (A. D. 527), for in-
stance, bears one in her crown.
The rose. The rose gules was the badge
of the house of Lancaster, the rose argent
of the house of York. A rose quarterly
argent and gules was the badge of Henry
VII, and is known as the Tudor rose.
44 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
The thistle is the emblem of Scotland.
The shamrock (quatrefoil) is the emblem
Several of the States of the Union have
formally adopted a flower as an emblem, as
follows : Alabama, the goldenrod ; Califor-
nia, the yellow poppy; Colorado, the co-
lumbine; Delaware, the peach-blossom;
Idaho, the syringa; Maine, the pine-cone
and tassel; Minnesota, the cypripedium;
Montana, the bitter-root; Nebraska, the
goldenrod ; New York, the rose ; Oklahoma,
the mistletoe ; Oregon, the goldenrod ; Utah,
the sego-lily; Vermont, the red clover;
Rhode Island and Wisconsin, the maple-
A garb (or gerbe) is a sheaf of wheat.
A mount vert (usually in the base of a
shield) is a green mound of earth out of
which other charges rise (as in the beauti-
ful and appropriate seal of the United States
Department of Agriculture) (see Fig. 118).
The broad-arrow is often found as a
charge. The master-general of the ord-
nance (1693) used this charge, which oc-
curred in his coat of arms, to mark cannon,
etc. Ever since that day it has been em-
ployed as a mark for government stores in
general at all British stations, and it is
as well known as the lions of England.
The castle appears in the arms of Castile
(gules, a castle or).
The ladder is found in Galileo's arms and
in the arms of the Scaligers of Verona.
The spear. The arms granted to Shak-
spere's father were or, on a bend sable, a
tilting-spear of the field (i. e., or).
The sword. The arms granted to Joan
of Arc were azure, a sword in pale, point
upward, supporting a royal crown, between
two fleurs-de-lis or (Fig. 32 shows a sword
When there is more than one charge on
a shield, it is necessary to specify the posi-
tion of each one. Three charges of one
kind (in English heraldry) are always ar-
ranged "two and one" unless otherwise
specified. In continental heraldry the ar-
rangement is always described.
Cadency* The arms of a father descend,
of right, to all his sons, each of whom may
in turn become the head of a family. In
early times the " differences " employed to
mark the various branches were obtained
46 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
by the use of bordures, by changing the
colors of the coat, etc. English practice
prescribes the following rules, which have
not been strictly followed, however: The
eldest son bears the paternal arms, " differ-
enced " by a label, i. e., by a sign like the
device in chief of Fig. 102. Here the fa-
ther's arms would be or, and the eldest son's
coat would be or, a label of three points ar-
gent. The second son differences Ms coat by
a crescent (Fig. 96), the third son by a mullet
(a five-pointed star), the fourth by a martlet
(Fig. 89), etc. The grandsons (during the
life of their grandfather) difference their
coats in the same manner. The second
son of the eldest son would place a cres-
cent upon his father's label, or "mark of
Englishmen entitled to bear arms
brought coats so differenced to America;
and marks of cadency labels, crescents,
etc. still remain on many American coats,
and have, in fact, now become a part of
the arms. They were not removed at the
death of the parent, as they should have
been. The arms of daughters are not
differenced in this manner, as they are in-
capable of founding a family. So long as
they are unmarried their arms are the same
as those of their father. If his arms are
differenced, theirs must be, of course. The
marks of cadency should be borne on the
crest and on the supporters, as well as on
the arms, in English heraldry, according to
RAs we have seen, the shield may be di-
ded in different ways by a few partition-
lines. The different parts may be of differ-
ent tinctures, and a comparatively small
number of charges may be superposed on
the shield in differing positions. These
are the elements from which armorial bear-
ings are built up, and they lend themselves
to a great variety of relatively simple com-
binations. It has been estimated that there
are at least two hundred thousand different
coats of arms known to-day. 1
It is by no means difficult to compose
an entirely new coat that shall be simple
and yet entirely distinct from any coat now
While the right of bearing arms was
1 The " Armorial Ge"ne"ral " of M. Eiestap (1861) alone
contains the coats of more than sixty thousand families.
48 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
formerly confined to the class of nobles,
merchants were permitted to adopt distinc-
tive devices, merchants' marks, which
were placed upon their merchandise. Such
marks, which are often mere monograms
or letters of the alphabet, are frequently
found in Polish coats of arms as charges.
Of printers' marks, the best known is that
of Aldus the dolphin and the anchor.
In modern times we find ancestral arms
put to practical use as trade-marks. The
Montebello champagne is marked with the
arms granted by Napoleon to Marshal
Lannes (vert, a naked sword in pale), and
there are many like instances.
ABOVE the shield, and solidly resting
upon it, is the helmet. It is full-faced
with bars, for kings, princes, and the
higher nobility ; full-faced, open, for baro-
nets and knights ; in profile, closed, for es-
quires and gentlemen in English practice,
and also in French. These rules do not
apply in Germany. Upon the helmet rests
the wreath, a twisted band (six twists) of
two tinctures. The principal metal of the
arms occupies the first, third, and fifth
twists (counting from the dexter), and the
principal color occupies the other twists.
For different forms of helmets see Figs.
106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 119, and 64.
CRESTS came into general use in the
thirteenth century, and are an essential
part of the arms. In German practice they
often repeat the charges on the shield, and
are very elaborate and of exaggerated size
-very much larger than the shield, in many
cases. The arms of the dukes of Mecklen-
burg are or, a bull's head sable, crowned
gules. Their crest is a fan or and gules,
supporting a peacock's tail, and between
the latter and the fan the shield is repeated.
This crest, with its helmet, must neces-
sarily be drawn very much larger than the
shield. Many German crests bear horns
in pairs, with or without additions. Wings
in pairs occur very frequently in German
heraldry as crests. In English practice
there is seldom a relation between the crest
and the charges of the shield.
50 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
The crest is in theory a badge, to be as-
sumed at will by an individual. In prac-
tice the crest, like the arms, usually remains
the same from father to son. In England
the crest is frequently displayed over a
wreath of the colors ; in Germany it is never
separated from the helmet, on which it must
rest solidly. German heralds make merry
over our English crests floating in the air.
In Germany all crests face as the helmet
faces. If this is in face, so must be the
crest; if in profile, the crest must also be
in profile. This rule does not obtain in
England, though it is the logical practice
(see Fig. 55, however, where it is carried
out; and compare Fig. 71). The German
helmet may be borne full face or in profile,
according to fancy. In England (and in
France) each rank has its appropriate
helmet. Moreover, a quartered coat (i. e.,
quarterings of various coats derived from
different families) in Germany always has
the right to at least two helmets and crests,
though they are not always borne. In Eng-
land it is not common to display more than
a single helmet and crest, even when the
CROWNS, CORONETS, AND SUPPORTERS 51
CROWNS AND CORONETS
THE helmet is often crowned, or the
crown may appear without the helmet.
Fig. 105 represents various crowns and
coronets, such as are engraved on the
visiting-cards of noblemen in continental
countries. The chapeau (a red cap turned
up ermine), the miter, the bishop's hat, etc.,
take the place of the helmet in appropriate
IN English heraldry supporters are used
only for the nobility and for a very few
other persons. No woman (except the
Queen and peeresses) is authorized to bear
her coat of arms with supporters. In
Germany the practice is entirely differ-
ent, and good authorities hold that any
person is free to assume supporters at will.
Usually the supporters have no relation to
the charges of the shield (the savages of
Prussia, the angels of ancient France, the
griffins of Austria, etc.) ; but occasionally
there is such a relation (the bears of Orsini,
the monks of Monaco, etc.).
52 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
BADGES were borne by nobles at least
as early as coats of arms, and they con-
tinued in common use in England down
to the times of Queen Elizabeth. The
planta genista (broom) of the Plant agenets,
the roses of York (white) and Lancaster
(red), the bear and ragged staff of Earl
Warwick, are well known :
The rampant bear chained to a ragged staff
This day I '11 wear aloft my burgonet
(SHAKSPERE, Henry VI, Part II, act v, sc. 1).
The Scottish clans still employ their
badges of heather (Buccleugh), ivy (Gor-
don), pine (MacG-regor), thistle (Stewart),
etc., to which their chiefs (only) add two
eagle's feathers. Badges are cognizances
the marks by which individuals are dis-
THE motto was anciently the cri-de-
gmrre (the war-cry) as well as the personal
motto of the noble. Froissart speaks of
the cry, arms, and name" as if this
rere the order of their importance; and
it is true that war-cries were not per-
dtted to the lesser nobles. Again, it is
>robable that the arms did in fact precede
ie family name in many cases. The de-
vice in the shield of the noble gave the
name to the family in some instances. The
swallow (hirondelle) in the arms of Arundel
was the origin of the family name. The
family name or motto is frequently im-
plied in the arms or crest (armes parlantes).
Thus Sir Thomas Lucy, Shakspere's enemy,
bore lucies (a fish, the pike) ; the Spurrs
bear spur-rowels; Wolff von Wolffthal
(Germany) a wolf in arms and crest ; the
dauphins of France a dolphin (dauphin) ;
etc. Hereditary surnames were not adopted
until the thirteenth, and were not common
till the fourteenth, century. The French
de (De la Roche, for example) shows
that many surnames arose from the
name of a property, etc. There were few
Americans bearing three names before
In old German heraldry mottos were not
employed. Bismarck's motto, In Trinitate
64 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
Rolur, is not hereditary. It was assumed
by the present prince when he received the
decoration of the Danebrog from the King
of Denmark. Dieu et mon droit, is the
motto of England ; Gott mit uns, of Prus-
sia; Plus ultra, of Spain ; Epluribus unum,
of the United States ; etc. F. E. E. T. (the
device of the house of Savoy) stands for
Fortitudo ejus Ehodum tenuit. The device
of the house of Austria the five vowels
may be interpreted, Austria Est Impe-
rare Orbi Universe; etc. The war-cry of
the Templars was Beauseant, in allusion
to their black-and-white flag. Beauseant
is Old French for a black-and-white
The motto of the coat of arms may be a
purely personal one as well as the war-cry.
Mme. de G-enlis, speaking of personal mot-
tos, well says : " Chaque personne, par sa
devise, revele un petit secret, ou prend une
sorte d'engagement." A few mottos may
be here set down as examples.
Aberdeen: Bon Accord (A. D. 1308).
The French Academy : A Vimmortalite.
Beauharnais : Autre ne sers.
Sara Bernhardt : Quand meme.
Douglas : Jamais arriere.
KNOTS AND BLAZONING 55
Erasmus (with a figure of the god Ter-
minus) : Credo nulli.
Louis XIV (with a sun in splendor l ) :
Mistral the poet (with a locust) : Le soleil
me fait chanter.
Peter the Great, in Holland, sealed with
a signet on which the device was a carpen-
ter's apprentice and the motto : Mon rang
est celui d'un ecolier, et fai besoin de maitres.
Mme. de Sevigne (with a swallow) : Le
froid me cJiasse.
Voltaire: Au fait.
KNOTS are a kind of personal badge (see
Fig. 101, which gives the principal forms
of heraldic knots).
BLAZONING 2 a coat of arms means its
accurate description in heraldic terms,
1 Charles V of France used the same device, according
2 Blazon (blazonry) is the doctrine according to which
arms are described and marshaled. The word is proba-
bly derived from the German blasen, to blow, in allusion
56 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
so that it can be understood or drawn out
from the description. The language of
the herald is technical and brief, and its
use cannot be learned except by practice
on many examples. Only the barest outline
of the art can be given here. In the first
place, the description (the blazon) must be
brief, and all tautology must be avoided.
Each charge must be mentioned in the
strict order of its importance (in the order
of its nearness to the surface of the shield,
for example). The first mention of a color
(or metal) must give its name, as gules,
azure, etc., and this name must not be re-
peated. If it is necessary to refer to the
color again, it is called "the first," "the
second," etc. Thus a silver field with a
green f esse, charged with two green crosses
above the fesse and one below it, and bear-
ing on the fesse itself three silver stars of
five points, would be blazoned: argent, a
fesse vert between three crosses of the sec-
ond, as many mullets of the first. This
blazon, and others like it, becomes very
to the trumpets of the heralds at tournaments, where the
name, arms, and lineage of the contending knights were
plain when we recollect the fundamental
rule that color must not be charged on
color, nor metal on metal. The silver
mullets must be on the fesse. If the stu-
dent will carefully read the titles to the
figures given in this book (especially Figs.
16, 17, 56, 57, 64, etc.) he will obtain some
insight into the rules of blazon.
A COAT OF ARMS is hereditary. Every
son inherits the paternal coat. If there
are no sons, all the daughters (heiresses)
inherit it, and can transmit it to their
children. When one marries the arms go
with the alliance. The husband has the
right to "marshal" her coat with his, and
their children inherit the new quartered
coat. The marshaling of such complex
coats has been performed in various ways
at different epochs. Anciently the hus-
band's coat was cut in two per pale (di-
midiated), and its dexter half formed the
dexter half of the new shield (A, Fig. 3),
while the sinister half (B in the same fig-
ure) was formed of the sinister half of the
heiress's coat. This arrangement was very
58 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
unsatisfactory, for obvious reasons. Parts
of three lions of the husband's coat might
be continued by parts of three ships of the
wife's, etc. The next process (about A. D.
1500) was to marshal by impalement. In
Fig. 65, A, is the whole of the husband's coat,
B, the whole of the wife's. The modern
fashion is as follows : The husband bears his
paternal arms (A) on a shield, and over the
shield an inescutcheon (a small shield cen-
trally placed, as in Fig. 52) bearing the arms
(B) of the heiress, his wife. Unless his
wife is in fact an heiress, he may not bear
her arms. The children of such a marriage
bear a quartered coat (see Fig. 5), with the
paternal arms in the first and fourth, the
maternal in the second and third, quarters,
thus . Should the issue of such a mar-
riage be an only daughter (heiress), she would
carry the quartered coat to her husband.
During his life he would bear his paternal
arms (C), with his wife's quartered coat on
an inescutcheon ; their children would bear
a coat of six quarters, and so on (see Figs.
51, 52, 57, for examples of quartered coats
of arms). Such is the English practice.
COATS OF ARMS
The custom in Germany and France (and
in Scotland) is far more rational.
Every ancestor and ancestress who has a
coat of arms is represented in the quarter-
ing. It would be well to adopt this rule in
America. The coat of the German Empire
contains a quarter for every province. The
arms of Castile and Leon are quarterly, I
and IV Castile (gules, a castle or), II and III
Leon (argent, a lion rampant gules), and so on.
In order to give the reader a little needed
practice, the blazons of a few simple coats
of arms are given below. If he will sketch
out for himself the divisions of the various
fields, and indicate the disposition of the
different charges, he will acquire consider-
able familiarity with the elements of the
subject, and will be prepared to attack
more complex cases.
Angouleme : France ancient (i. e., azure,
sprinkled with fleurs-de-lis or), a label of
three points gules.
Anjou : France modern (i.e. azure, three
fleurs-de-lis or), a bordure gules.
Aragon : paly of ten, argent and gules.
Arundell of Wardour: sable, six swal-
lows argent, 3, 2, 1.
60 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
Austria : gules, a f esse argent.
Sir Francis Bacon: gules, on a chief
argent, two mullets pierced sable (i. e., two
five-pointed black stars with white centers).
Baden : or, a bend gules.
Brandenburg : argent, an eagle displayed
Bruce : or, a saltire and chief gules.
Chateaubriant : gules, seme (sprinkled)
with fleurs-de-lis or (like Fig. 54).
Chaucer: per pale argent and gules, a
bend counterchanged (i. e., the dexter half
of the bend is gules; the sinister is argent).
For examples of counterchanging see Figs.
16, 17, and 116.
Croy : argent, three bars gules.
De Vogue: azure, a game-cock or, wat-
tled and armed gules (i. e., with red dew-
laps and spurs).
Douglas: argent, a human heart gules,
ensigned (i. e., crowned) with a royal crown
proper, on a chief azure, two stars of the
first (i.e., argent) (see Fig. 95 for a part of
Dukes of Orleans: France modern, a
John Evelyn: azure, a gryphon passant
COATS OF ARMS
and a chief or (i. e., both animal and chief
Flanders : or, a lion rampant sable, armed
Frontenac : azure, three eagles' gambs, 2, 1.
Greece : azure, a Greek cross argent.
Grenada : argent, a pomegranate proper.
Guienne : gules, a lion passant gardant or.
PHohenzollern : quarterly sable and argent.
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem : they
bore on a chief gules a cross argent.
London : argent, a cross gules, in dexter
chief a dagger, point up, proper.
Lords of the Isles: argent, a lymphad
(i. e., an ancient war-galley) sable.
Magdeburg : per f esse gules and argent,
a bordure counterchanged.
Knights of Malta : gules, a Maltese cross
Mar : azure, a bend between six crosses
crosslet fitche or.
Percy (ancient) : azure, a fesse engrailed
(i. e., with edges like Fig. 12) or.
Pola (city) : vert, a cross or.
Sardinia : argent, a cross gules, cantoned
by four Moors' heads (i. e., one in each
angle of the cross).
62 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
Shelley : sable, a fesse engrailed between
three whelks (i. e., shells) or.
Sir Philip Sidney: or, a pheon (i. e.,
Sleswick : or, two lions passant gardarit
in pale (i. e., one above the other) azure.
Stuart: or, a fesse cheeky argent and
Suabia : argent, an eagle displayed sable,
Thun and Taxis : azure, a badger proper
(a badger in German is Dachs, which is a
rebus for Taxis).
Tyrol : argent, an eagle displayed gules.
Ulster : or, a cross gules.
University of Bologna : gules, two keys
argent in saltire ; on a chief azure a closed
book, palewise, or.
University of Cambridge, England : gules,
on a cross ermine, between four lions of
England, a book of the first (arms first
used in 1580).
University of Heidelberg: sable, a lion
rampant or, crowned gules, holding in his
paws an open book.
University of Oxford: azure, between
three open crowns or an open book proper.
ARMS OF KINGDOMS AND STATES 63
Venice: azure, the winged lion of St.
Washington (George) : see the frontis-
Wellington (Duke of) : see Fig. 52.
AKMS OF KINGDOMS AND STATES
HERALDRY is closely allied with history in
the armorial bearings of kingdoms and
monarchs. The evidences of the alliances
of ruling kings, and even of their aspira-
tions, are, as it were, petrified in their coats
of arms. The gold noble (coin) of Edward
III of England displays his arms quarterly,
I and IV France ancient, II and III Eng-
land, and thus exhibits two interesting
facts : first, that Edward claimed the crown
of France as of right ; and, second, that he
gave France precedence over England.
And, in fact, the France which he claimed
(western France, from Nantes to the Pyre-
nees) was then a richer inheritance than his
island kingdom. The fleurs-de-lis on the
tressure (fleury-counter-fleury) surround-
ing the lion of Scotland (see Fig. 50)
mark the alliances of the Scottish and
64 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
French royal houses. The Guelf s, who had
claims on the throne of England (about
1300), bore the English arms diminished,
i. e., gules, two (not three) lions of England.
Their crest contains the white horse of the
old Saxons over a kingly crown. The seal
of Trinity College, Dublin (1591), bears the
name of Queen Elizabeth and the Tudor
rose (the badge of all the Tudors), but also
displays the portcullis, the badge of the
Beauforts, and thus exhibits a piece of
The present arms of England are well
known ; they are quarterly, I and IV gules,
three lions of England (or) in pale j 1 II Scot-
land (or, a lion rampant within a tressure
fleury-counter-fleury gules) ; III Ireland
(azure, a harp or, stringed argent). The
shield is surrounded with the collar of the
Garter, and surmounted by the royal crown.
The crest is a lion of England. The sup-
porters are a lion (for England) and a uni-
corn (for Scotland). The motto is Dieu et
The full coat of arms of a monarch con-
tains many quarterings to exhibit his many
i See Fig. 78.
ARMS OF THE UNITED STATES 65
alliances with princely houses. Whenever
the daughter of the Elector of Bavaria was
not in mourning it was a sign that "all
Europe was in good health" (court of
THE SEAL, ARMS, AND FLAG OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA
THE history of the great seal of the
United States is given in an official docu-
ment issued by the Department of State in
Fig. 113 is a copy of the seal now in use.
It is blazoned as follows : argent, six pallets
gules, a chief azure, 1 borne on the breast of
an American eagle displayed proper, hold-
ing in his dexter talon an olive-branch with
thirteen fruits, in his sinister a sheaf of as
many arrows, all proper; above his head a
sky azure, charged with as many mullets
of the field, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, environed with a
halo of rays or, and encircled with clouds
proper; in his beak a scroll of the last, with
the motto E pluribus unum.
1 The arms. It should be noticed that the outer edges
of the shield are argent; of our flag, gules. Notice also
that the stars are not borne on the shield.
66 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
The Congress of the United States
adopted a national flag June 14, 1777. In
the early days of the Revolutionary War
the different colonies made use of various
banners. The national flag adopted was
to have thirteen stripes (corresponding to
the thirteen original States), alternately
red and white (red stripes bordering the
field). The Union was to be blue, charged
with thirteen white stars. After various
slight changes, the flag remains as above,
except that the Union is now charged with
as many stars as there are States. When
a new State is admitted its star is added on
the Fourth of July next succeeding the date
of its entrance into the Union. Our flag,
in this form, was first displayed on July 4,
The flag does not exactly reproduce the
arms, it will be seen nor, of course, is
there any reason why it should do so.
Both flag and arms are strictly heraldic.
In the opinion of most persons, the flag of
the United States is used too freely, and
with too little respect, for advertising pur-
poses, as a trade-mark, etc. A movement
is on foot to regulate its use in such ways,
ARMS OF THE UNITED STATES 67
and several of the States of the Union are
considering laws to restrain its improper dis-
play. Such laws should be very carefully
drawn so as not to impose restrictions
that are merely vexatious. The more the
flag is displayed the better, provided al-
ways that it is done in a respectful man-
ner. The national coat of arms is used very
freely in England, Germany, Austria, etc.,
with excellent results.
Besides the great seal of the United
States, each of the executive departments
(State, Treasury, War, Navy, etc.) has its
seal ; and many of the bureaus (Bureau of
Navigation, Hydrographic Office, etc., in
the Navy, Engineer Department in the
Army, etc.) have adopted seals.
The Senate and House of Representa-
tives also have their seals. The seal of
the Treasury Department may be seen on
all our paper money, the arms of the United
States on our coins.
Each State of the Union has its great
seal. Those of the older States are often
very appropriate and well designed (as
those of Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, etc.). Many of the seals of
68 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
the newer States contravene all heraldic
rules, and are mere monstrosities (those of
Nevada, Kansas, Minnesota, etc.). They
were adopted in a stage of culture in
which such things were valued simply for
their legal use. From time to time real
improvements are introduced (by law), and
it is instructive to note that these are al-
ways returns to heraldic usage. Some of
the States have adopted State flags (Con-
necticut in 1897, for example) ; and a State
emblem, usually a flower, has also been
chosen in many instances. Most of our
cities have seals, a few of them being very
well designed. A very full account of
American official seals is given in Zieber's
" Heraldry in America."
TITLES OF NOBILITY
THE highest hereditary title that can be
held by a British subject is that of Duke.
The premier duke of England is Henry
Fitzalan Howard, Duke of Norfolk and
Earl of Surrey (1483), Earl of Arundel
(feudal title about 1139, confirmed 1433),
Earl of Norfolk (1644), Baron Fitzalan,
TITLES OF NOBILITY 69
Clun, and Oswaldestre (1627), Baron Mal-
travers (1330, by writ).
The premier duke of Scotland is Alfred
Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Duke of Ham-
ilton and Marquess of Clydesdale (1643)^
Marquess of Douglas (1633), Marquess of
Hamilton (1599), Earl of Selkirk (1646),
Earl of Lanark, Arran, and Cambridge
(1643), Earl of Angus (1389), Baron Ham-
ilton (1445), Baron Abernethy and Jed-
burgh Forest (1633), Baron Avon, Pol-
mont, Machanshire, and Innerdale (1643),
Baron Daer and Shortcleuch (1646), Duke
of Brandon and Baron Dutton (1712).
The premier duke of Ireland is Maurice
Fitzgerald, Duke of Leinster (1766), Mar-
quess of Kildare and Earl of Offaly (1761),
Earl of Kildare (1316), Baron of Offaly
(1205, by tenure). There are 22 English, 8
Scottish, and 2 Irish dukes.
The next hereditary rank is that of Mar-
quess. In 1896 there were 22 English, 4 Scot-
tish, and 10 Irish marquesses. Next in
order come the Earls (121 English, 44
Scottish, 62 Irish titles). The Earls are
followed by the Viscounts (29 of England,
5 of Scotland, 37 of Ireland). Then follow
70 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
the Barons (310 of England, 25 of Scotland,
65 of Ireland).
The oldest title of Baron is held by De
Courcy, Lord Kingsale, Baron Courcy,
Baron of Ringrone (an Irish title of 1181,
confirmed by patent in 1397, which was
preceded by an English barony by tenure,
from the Conquest, 1066).
The title of Baronet was created by James
I in order to fill his treasury for the con-
quest of Ireland. Any gentleman with an
estate of the annual value of one thousand
pounds, who would agree to maintain thirty
soldiers for three years in Ireland, might
receive the title; and the treasury issued
a receipt to him for the first year's pay of
the soldiery, at the rate of eightpence per
day. One of the most amusing of survivals
occurs in this connection. The baronets
of to-day are no longer obliged to maintain
the quota of soldiers ; but the treasury, to
preserve the ancient form of the warrant,
still issues to the newly created baronet of
1898 a receipt for the pay of thirty men for
one year !
The first baronet of England (1611) was
Sir Nicholas Bacon, father of Sir Francis,
TITLES OF NOBILITY 71
afterward Lord Bacon. A descendant still
holds the title as eleventh baronet. There
are 771 baronets of England and the United
Kingdom (1896), 91 baronets of Scotland,
64 of Ireland. A baronet is " Sir Nicholas
Bacon, Bart.," for example; his wife is
" Lady " Bacon.
All the foregoing dignities are hereditary,
and they are seldom conferred upon persons
who have not wealth to maintain them.
Personal honors are conferred upon indi-
viduals, for their lives only, by bestowing
the decorations of the various orders of
knighthood, as the Bath, etc. The Knight
is " Sir Nicholas Bacon, K. C. B." ; his wife
is " Lady " Bacon. The lowest distinction
is that of Knight Bachelor. It is conferred
by the sovereign in person, and is personal,
not hereditary. A Knight Bachelor is " Sir
Nicholas Bacon, KtJ 9 ; his wife is "Lady"
The nobility of Germany is divided into
different classes, as follows: (1) Herzog
(Duke) ; (2) Furst (Prince) (there are two
classes of princes: the higher, who are
addressed as Durchlaucht; the lower, who
are styled Fwrstliche Gnaderi); (3) Graf
72 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
(Count) ; (4) Freiherr (Baron) ; (5) nobles ;
and this class includes the Eitter (Knight).
In Austria the nobles are, in order, Her-
zog, Furst, Marquis, Graf, Conte, Baron
(Freiherr), Eitter, etc.
In France, Due, Prince, Marquis, Comte,
Vicomte, Baron, Chevalier.
In Italy, Duca, Principe, Marchese, Conte,
Viconte, Bar one, Nobile.
In Sweden, Graf, Baron, Adel (noble).
In Russia the order is, Princes, Counts,
Barons, and nobles.
One of the titles of the King of France
was " Most Christian King " ; the King of
Spain is " His Catholic Majesty " ; the King
of Hungary "His Apostolic Majesty."
Henry VIII of England received the title
of " Defender of the Faith." These titles
were conferred by the Pope.
OKDEKS OF KNIGHTHOOD
IN a small book like the present, written
for Americans, little need be said of the
orders of knighthood. At a diplomatic re-
ception at the White House, or at a ball in
London, the insignia of modern orders
(which are worn only with full dress) may
ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD 73
be seen. The Knight wears the jewel
(usually a cross) on the left breast of the
coat ; the Knight Commander wears it sus-
pended from a ribbon round the neck (en
sautoir) ; the higher officers wear a star on
the breast, with a wide ribbon over the
shoulder. In evening dress miniatures of
the orders are often worn at the buttonhole
of the coat. In morning costume a ribbon
or rosette may be worn, also at the button-
In former days Knights of St. John
(Knights of Malta) augmented their coats
of arms by a chief gules, charged with a
cross or; and the Knights of the Teutonic
Order bear its cross in their arms. For
the higher grades of an order of knight-
hood the collar of the order surrounds the
shield of the coat of arms, and is charged
with the motto of the order, as, Honi soit
qui mat y pense (" Shame to him who thinks
evil of it ") for the Garter. The lower grades
(commander, knight) suspend the cross be-
low the shield by the ribbon. In English
heraldry the helmet of the knight must be
in full face, not in profile.
The history of the ancient orders of chiv-
74 A PEIMER OF HERALDRY
airy the Golden Fleece (founded 1430), the
Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1048), the
Templars (1118-19), etc. may be found
in most books of reference. Some of
the more important orders are mentioned
below, with the dates of their foundation,
England* Order of the Garter (A. D. 1350).
This order, like those of the Thistle (1540)
and of St. Patrick (1783), is bestowed only
on princes and great nobles.
Order of the Bath (1399) G. C. B., K. C. B.,
C. B. It is given to both soldiers and
Order of St. Michael and St. George
G. C. M. G., K. C. M. G., C. M. G. It is usu-
ally conferred for services in the colonies,
except India, which has two orders of its
own, viz., the Star of India, and the Indian
Empire K. C. S. I., K. C. I. E., etc.
The Victoria Cross is not an order, prop-
erly speaking ; but it is a high distinction
for military valor.
France* The old orders of France were
swept away by the Revolution. A famous
order the Legion of Honor was instituted
by Napoleon I in 1802, and is still in exis-
ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD 75
tence. Its ribbon is red. Though very
freely given, it is highly prized. It is be-
stowed on civilians as well as soldiers.
Denmark. The Order of the Elephant
(1190) is one of the oldest in Europe, as
well as the Danish Order of the Danebrog
(1219). The former is given only to princes
Austria* Austria maintains an Order of
the Golden Fleece (1430), and many other
distinctions of the sort. The Order of the
Iron Crown (of Lombardy) was instituted
by Napoleon I in 1805, and has been
adopted by Austria.
Prussia. The Order of the Black Eagle
(1701) is the highest distinction in Prussia,
and its wearers are all of the higher nobil-
ity. The Bed Eagle (1705) and the Order
pour le Merite (1740) are given for civil
merit as well as for military service. The
Iron Cross is given for military valor alone.
Saxony. The kingdom of Saxony has
various orders, of which the Albert Order
(1850) is most often seen. The Saxon
duchies bestow the Ernestine Order (1690).
Both are given to civilians as well as
76 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
Belgium. The Order of Leopold (1832).
Greece.-The Order of the Redeemer (1829).
Italy. The Order of the Annunciation
(1362) is one of the most ancient of Europe,
and is bestowed on princes only. The
orders of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus (1434)
and of the Crown of Italy (1868) are given
for both military and civil merit. The
Pope bestows various orders also.
Portugal has several orders, of which
those of St. Benedict of Avis (1143), St.
James (1170), the Order of Christ (1317), the
Tower and Sword (1459), are very ancient
foundations, connected with the Crusades.
Spain also has several ancient orders:
Calatrava (about 1150), St. James (1170),
Alcantara (1156), Our Lady of Montesa
(1316), the Golden Fleece (1430).
Russia. The most famous order of Rus-
sia is the St. George (1769), which is be-
stowed only for the highest military ser-
vices. The orders of St. Vladimir (1782)
and St. Anne (1735) are often seen.
Venezuela. The only order maintained
on the South American continent is the
Order of the Liberator (Bolivar), which was
founded by Peru in 1825 (and subsequently
SILVER PLATE 77
dissolved), and adopted by Venezuela in
United States* The Cincinnati is a true
order, in which the honor descends to the
eldest son. It was instituted at the close
of the War of the Revolution (1783). Gen-
eral Washington was its first president.
The Medal of Honor, given by the United
States to its soldiers and sailors, is a true
decoration (see the section of this work on
patriotic societies, pages 83 and 86).
A VERY interesting chapter might be
written on the silver plate of colonial times
now in the possession of churches, corpora-
tions, and individuals. Much was brought
here from England and the Continent (and
this can usually be identified and dated by
the hall-marks). From early days there
were American silversmiths, of whom Paul
Revere (1735-1818), who made the night-
ride from Boston to Lexington (1775), is
perhaps the most famous. Pieces of silver-
ware are often marked with the initials of
married couples, thus w B A, which might
mean that the piece belonged to William
78 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
and Agnes Blake, for instance. Many of the
seventeenth-century pieces were engraved
with arms when they were brought from
England. In the eighteenth century it be-
came common for prosperous gentlemen in
the colonies to assume armorial bearings,
which were sometimes entirely new achieve-
ments, but more often were similar to those
of some branch of the family in the old
country (see Fig. 119, which represents a
piece of plate made in Boston before 1750).
HEREDITARY PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES IN THE
WITHIN the past few years there has
been a remarkable movement in the United
States, which has resulted in the formation
of many patriotic hereditary societies of
large membership, with chapters in every
State of the Union. Those only are eligi-
ble to membership who can prove their
descent from an ancestor of colonial or
Eevolutionary times, from an officer or
soldier or seaman of the various wars, from
a pilgrim in the May flower , an early Hugue-
not emigrant, etc. These societies bring
AMERICAN PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES 79
men (and women) of like traditions to-
gether, and organize them in an effective
way for action. The action contemplated
is patriotic never religious or related to
party politics. The general society from
its headquarters issues charters to branch
societies in the different States. Each
State society forms an organized group of
persons well known to each other, by name
at least, and often personally.
Certain of the societies have been very
active in preserving old monuments, build-
ings, landmarks, and historic documents,
or in erecting tablets and monuments at
historic places, or in marking the sites of
battles or the graves of Revolutionary sol-
diers. Others have founded prizes to be
given annually to school-children for essays
on events in American history. Others,
again, formally celebrate the nation's anni-
versaries. All of them foster patriotism and
historical research, and teach organization
the sinking of individual desire in a
common loyalty. There are probably too
many such organizations at present, and
more are forming. The weaker societies
will, however, die ; and those that remain
80 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
will represent some real aspiration of their
The exact significance of this remarkable
movement this return to mutuality from
individualism is not yet apparent. Some
of its results are already obvious. Thou-
sands of persons in sympathy with each
other have been organized. If their col-
lective action is needed, it can be com-
manded. In the case of a foreign war, for
example, the centers for defense, for hos-
pital service, etc., are already in existence. 1
The path of a military dictator in the
United States would never have been
strewn with roses, but such societies insure
the effective distribution of thorns. The
larger affairs of our States and cities will
undoubtedly be greatly influenced by the
union of good citizens, of like traditions
(and those excellent), for common and un-
selfish ends. Finally, the educative power
of such unions, where, as has been said,
loyalty to an abstraction is cultivated and
individualistic aims are discouraged, is im-
mensely important to our development as
1 The Greek-letter fraternities of colleges could also be
utilized in these ways.
AMERICAN PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES 81
a nation. They supply exactly what was
needed by the country at large, and more
especially by its younger and cruder por-
tions. In what follows a brief enumera-
tion of some of these societies will be made.
It must be remembered that many of them
count their membership by thousands. A
note directed to any of the secretaries-gen-
eral (whose addresses are here given) will
bring printed circulars in return, which
give more detailed information than can
be printed here. It is worth while for every
citizen who is eligible to make inquiries,
at any rate, and to determine whether it
is not desirable to join at least one of
Each of these societies and orders has a
seal (and often a flag) for the general so-
ciety, as well as seals for the separate State
chapters. A diploma is given to members,
and each member has a right to wear the
badge or decoration suspended from a rib-
bon of the society's color. A rosette of the
colors may be worn at the buttonhole of
the coat. The right to use such insignia
has been protected in many States by law,
and the United States has authorized its
82 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
officers and soldiers to wear the badges of
the military and naval orders. It is some-
times flippantly said that the right to wear
such insignia is the sole motive for joining
the societies. This judgment is entirely
superficial. The greatest satisfactions of
mankind have always been found in joint
action for unselfish ends. In their special
way these organizations foster a common
effort for ends that are thoroughly worthy.
As the entrance to such societies is
through descent from some ancestor, gen-
ealogy has been powerfully stimulated, and
thousands of family records have been
examined and summarized in print. Our
colonial and Eevolutionary history has
been studied in its details, which is the
only way to fully realize it. The men of
to-day have been connected with colonial
and Revolutionary times. The children of
the coming century will find their ancestral
records all prepared for them, and they will
be face to face with high standards of duty
A few of these societies are very exclu-
sive, and require high social standing of
their members as well as eligibility on
AMERICAN PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES 83
grounds of ancestry. The complaint has
been raised that such societies are too aris-
tocratic for a republic. The same charge
might lie against many exclusive social
or literary clubs. Such clubs and such
societies often perform a very useful part.
If they do not meet an actual want, they
will most assuredly die. If their preten-
sions are too great, they will be laughed out
of existence. The world is wide ; there is
room for us all. To allow full scope to all
individualities is the mark of a strong
The Society of Colonial Wars (instituted
1892) is open to the lineal male descendants
of civil or military officers, or of soldiers,
who served the colonies between May 13,
1607 (Jamestown), and April 19, 1775 (Lex-
ington). The address of the secretary-gen-
eral is 4 Warren street, New York city.
The Society of American Wars (founded in
1897) includes the lineal male descendants
of soldiers or civil officers from 1607 to
1783, and of officers of the War of 1812, of
the War with Mexico, and of the Civil War.
The recorder's address is 500 Eighth street,
South, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
84 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
The Order of the Founders and Patriots of
America (founded 1896) is open to any male
citizen of the United States who is lineally
descended in the male line of either parent
from an ancestor who settled in any of the
colonies between 1607 and 1657, and whose
intermediate ancestors adhered as patriots
to the cause of the colonists throughout the
War of the Revolution. Secretary-gener-
al's address, 101 West Eighty-ninth street,
New York city.
The Society of the Cincinnati (instituted
1783) is composed of descendants of officers
of the Revolutionary army, usually the
eldest male direct descendant. The address
of the secretary- general is 31 Nassau street,
New York city.
The Aztec Club (founded 1847) is open to
the descendants of officers of the army who
served in Mexico, usually the eldest male
direct descendant. The secretary's address
is War Department, Washington.
The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the
United States (founded 1865) is composed of
officers who served in the War of the Re-
bellion, and of their eldest direct male
lineal descendants. A letter addressed to
AMERICAN PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES 85
the recorder-in-chief, Philadelphia, Penn-
sylvania, will be delivered.
The Military Order of Foreign Wars of the
United States (instituted 1894) is composed
of officers who have served in such wars,
and of their lineal male descendants. Sec-
retary-general's address, 478 Classon Ave-
nue, Brooklyn, New York.
The Society of the War of 1812 (organized
1814) is composed of lineal male descen-
dants of soldiers or sailors of the War of
1812. General secretary's address, Grerman-
The Naval Order of the United States (in-
stituted 1890) is open to officers of the navy
who have served in war, and to their male
descendants, etc., and also to enlisted men
who have received a Medal of Honor from
the United States for bravery. Secretary's
address, Navy Department, Washington.
The Sons of the American Revolution (in-
stituted 1875) must prove their descent
from a Revolutionary ancestor. The Sons
of the Revolution (1876) is organized on the
same basis. It is expected that these two
large societies will soon be consolidated.
Secretary-general, S. A. E., 143 Chestnut
86 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
street, Newark, New Jersey. Secretary-
general, S. R., 146 Broadway, New York city.
The Holland Society (incorporated in 1775)
is composed of the direct male descendants
of Hollanders resident in America before
1675. Secretary's address, 346 Broadway,
New York city.
The Huguenot Society of America (organ-
ized 1883) admits descendants of Huguenots
who came to America before 1787. General
secretary's address, 105 East Twenty-second
street, New York city.
The Society of Colonial Dames of America
(organized 1891) is composed of women
descended from an ancestor who held an
office of importance in the colonies previous
to 1750. The secretary-general's address is
825 St. Paul street, Baltimore, Maryland.
There are various other societies for
women, of which the most important are
Daughters of the American Revolution (1890)
(1710 I street, Washington, D. C.), and
Daughters of the Revolution (1891) (128 West
Fifty-ninth street, New York city), etc.;
and there is also a society of Children of the
American Revolution (1895) (902 F street,
Washington, D. C.).
AMERICAN PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES 87
The Society of "Mayf lower " Descendants
(organized 1894) includes male and female
descendants of the passengers of the May-
flower (1620). General-secretary's address,
228 West Seventy-fifth street, New York
Medal of Honor Legion. The one decora-
tion that is given by the government of the
United States is the Medal of Honor, which
was authorized by acts of Congress of 1862
and 1863 to be awarded to officers and en-
listed men of the army for " gallantry in
action and soldier-like qualities during the
present insurrection." It has been bestowed
only for conspicuous services. For example,
the Twenty-seventh Eegiment of Maine
Infantry was present on the field where
the battle of Gettysburg was fought, and
its term of service had expired. The entire
regiment, to a man, volunteered to remain
on the field and to fight the battle ; and for
this gallant conduct a medal was awarded
to each officer and man. A Naval Medal
of Honor is also awarded by the government,
and it is highly prized. The United States
also authorizes its officers and men to wear
the decorations of those patriotic hereditary
88 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
societies which commemorate service in any
of the wars of the nation (not those of the
There are a number of other societies,
formed or forming, which are not men-
tioned here for lack of space.
HOW TO TRACE A PEDIGREE
CANDIDATES for membership in any of the
hereditary societies are required to furnish
a written pedigree showing their descent
from some ancestor in Revolutionary or
colonial times. For each person in the line
to be traced back there should be given (1)
the full name, (2) the date of birth, (3) the
date of marriage, (4) the date of death ; and
it is desirable to know for each male ances-
tor, (5) his place of residence, (6) his civil
or military service, etc.
These data should be obtained from liv-
ing persons for as many generations back
as is practicable. Documents in the posses-
sion of one's family may serve to carry the
pedigree further. Finally, recourse must
be had to town, county, and State records,
and to genealogical books and publications.
HOW TO TRACE A PEDIGREE 89
It will often be the simplest way to apply
lirect to some professional genealogist, 1
id to make an arrangement by which the
dssing links are to be looked np.
It is always more instructive and inter-
sting to do this work one's self among the
Family histories of a large library. Several
of the States (Massachusetts is a striking
example) have their colonial and Revolu-
tionary records admirably arranged, so that
the original documents (rosters, deeds, wills,
etc.), or copies of them, may be readily con-
sulted. All public libraries^ have many
works on genealogy, and the librarians are
prepared to give needed advice. A little
perseverance, and a little system in keeping
one's notes, will usually bring out what is
needed. After the data are obtained, it is
very necessary to arrange them in an or-
derly form. Whitmore's Ancestral Tablets
are well suited for such a purpose. These
general directions are all that need be given
here. The particular methods of research
and the special books to be consulted are
1 Addresses of such experts may be found on the ad-
vertising pages of the publications of genealogical and
historical or patriotic societies.
90 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
different for different States. It is the busi-
ness of the librarian or of the expert to put
one on the track, and it is not difficult to
follow it if one has access to the books.
THE Egyptians have possessed written
records for something like six thousand
years. There might conceivably be a pedi-
gree as long as this. A very little acquain-
tance with the history of dynasties or of
families shows that a proved descent of a
thousand years is a marvel, and that one
of two thousand is unknown in Europe.
This brings us to ask, What is ancient lin-
eage ! Mr. Samuel Pepys, who knew a little
of everything, was in conversation with the
Garter King-at-arms of his day (November
11, 1664), who "in discourse did say that
there was none of the families of princes in
Christendom that do derive themselves so
high as Julius Caesar, nor so far by a thou-
sand years, that can directly prove their
rise ; only some in G-ermany do derive them-
selves from the patrician families of Rome,
but that uncertainly ; and he did much in-
veigh against the writing of romances, that
ANCIENT LINEAGE 91
five hundred years hence being writ of
things in general true, the world will not
know which is true and which is false."
Since Pepys's time genealogy has become
an exact science, and precise data are
available. Among the barons of Great
Britain, Lord Kingsale can trace the pos-
session of his English lands to the Con-
quest, and Lord Wrottesley to within a
century of that time; Lord Sudeley in
France to the Counts of Yexin in the tenth
century, etc. The Danish sculptor Thor-
waldsen claimed a proved descent from
one of the Icelanders who returned from
the discovery of America (A. D. 1000), etc.
Mar was a powerful mormaership before
St. Columba came to Scotland (A. D. 563),
and its lord was one of the seven earls of
Scotland. The descent is proved from
1093, step by step. About A. D. 609 King
Ethelbert of Kent granted lands in Essex
to the church, on condition that the income
should go to old St. Paul's in London
(founded by St. Austin before 607), and
the same land is still held by the church.
This is the oldest tenure in England, and
probably in Europe.
92 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
All over the Orient, in Mohammedan
countries, one meets with descendants of
the Prophet (who was born in A.D. 570).
It is probable that there are many pre-
tenders to this honor ; but it is certain that
there are hundreds and hundreds of per-
sons whose claims are entirely authentic,
and whose descent is carefully registered
by the chief of the family, who has his seat
in Mecca. Such a lineage is ancient, beyond
a doubt. In China, where the tablets of an-
cestors are preserved in a family hall and
periodically honored, descent can be traced
for centuries without a break. The de-
scendants of Confucius (born B. c. 551) are
hereditary nobles to-day. Among the Jews,
too, especially the Jews of Spain and the
East, and in Venice, Bosnia, and Bulgaria,
genealogies of many centuries are common.
The Mikado of Japan was the religious head
of his nation as well as its ruler. The dig-
nity is hereditary, and has remained in one
family since the time of Nebuchadnezzar
(B. c. 660). Here is the most ancient lin-
eage known, though it includes adopted
sons. The present Emperor of Japan is
the one hundred and twenty-second of his
ANCIENT LINEAGE 93
line. There are few religions as old as this
Among Western nations, poverty extend-
ing over two or three generations, seems
effectively to extinguish family pride, ex-
cept, perhaps, in parts of Spain, where the
common laborer may have the ancient coat
of arms of his house built in among the
stones of his hovel. Certainly in England
and America poverty soon effaces all know-
ledge or interest of the sort.
Ancient lineage of the kind known to
Moslems is the rarest thing in our Western
world. Of the English barons in the House
of Lords (some five hundred in number)
there are less than a dozen whose baronies
date back to 1400, and the earliest is 1264.
The Moslem Seiyid goes eight centuries
further back, to the great-grandfather of
Mohammed (A. D. 472), or even, if we are to
believe the commentators, to Adnan (B.C.
122). There are less than a dozen English
peerages of the fifteenth century even.
The vast majority have been created since
1700 for services in war, on the bench, or
at the bar, or for landed power and influ-
ence. The same thing, in a less degree, is
94 A PEIMEE OF HERALDRY
true of the princely and ducal houses of the
Continent. There are comparatively few
of the German counts whose titles date back
to the sixteenth century. In 1863 the House
of Lords had not a single descendant of any
of the barons who were chosen to enforce
Magna Charta (1215), nor of any one who
fought against the French at Agincourt
The Almanach de Gotha is a trustworthy
guide to the genealogies of the princely
houses of Europe. The house of Hapsburg
springs from Gontran the Rich, 1 Count of
Altenburg, whose seat was in Switzerland,
A. D. 952. His descendants first became
Counts of Hapsburg, 1020 ; Kings of Ger-
many, 1273 ; Dukes of Austria, 1282 ; Kings
of the Romans and Emperors of Germany,
1519, etc. The ancestor of the Bourbons
was Robert the Strong, 1 Count of Anjou,
864 ; Count of Paris and Orleans, 866 ; his
son Eudes became King of France in 888.
The Bourbons of Spain date from 1700.
The house of Hohenzollern has its origin
in the marriage of Friedrich, Count of Zol-
1 Riches and strength have been the sources of power
and rank from time immemorial.
ANCIENT LINEAGE 95
lern (1192-1200), with the heiress of the
Counts of Nuremberg. It was not till 1411
that a branch of this house was called to
govern the mark of Brandenburg. In 1520
they were Dukes of Prussia, and assumed
the title of kings so late as 1701. It is in-
teresting to remark that the right to bear
the present crest of the Hohenzollerns (a
dog's head, quarterly argent and sable) was
purchased for a large sum of money in
Every one remembers the pleasing tale
of that Prince of Croy whose painting of
the deluge represented Noah bearing into
the ark a precious box labeled " Records of
the family of Croy " ; and yet this ancient
family appears " authentically " only in
1207. The family of the Chancellor of the
German Empire, Hohenlohe, has borne that
name since 1182, but is still more ancient.
The Metternichs date from 1350. The fa-
mous family of Montmorencyhas for "prob-
able origin" an ancestor in 1214; it is
tradition only that carries them back to
the Seigneur of St. Denis in 998. Talley-
rand dates from 1199; Harcourt appears
authentically in 1024; Bismarck in 1270;
96 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
the Rohans (by that name) in 1128 ; Broglie
in 1254; Gramont in 1381; Doria in 1335;
Borghese in 1450; La Rochefoucauld in
1019 ; Graham (Dukes of Montrose) in 1128 ;
Noailles in 1230; Poniatowski in 1142;
Choiseul in 1060 ; Radziwill in 1412 ; Riche-
lieu in 1596 ; Grosvenor (Dukes of West-
minster) in 1066; St. Maur (Dukes of
Somerset) in 1240 ; Corsini in 1170 ; Rocca
The Colonnas were a patrician family of
Rome, from which came, according to tradi-
tion, four popes of Rome between the years
300 and 884. Genealogically speaking, their
origin is not proved beyond 1100. The Or-
sini are descended from another patrician
family, from which issued, according to
tradition, two popes (A.D. 752 and 757).
The popes elected in 1191 and 1277 did cer-
tainly belong to this ancient and powerful
family, which traces its authentic origin to
a senator of Rome in 1190.
The foregoing are some of the oldest
names in Europe, specially selected out of
long lists that include hundreds of later
origin. The dates of the dukes of Napo-
leon's creation Ney, Murat, Lannes, Ber-
ANCIENT LINEAGE "^ 97
thier look very modern beside those of the
Montrnorencys and Turennes ; but they are
all in the lists for the same reason for
magnificent services rendered to their
The Almanach de Grotha has only room
for kings and princes; but a reference to
any book on the landed gentry (of England
or of the Tyrol, for example) would show
that long descents are by no means con-
fined to the peers, and that there are very
few really ancient lineages. If one is
allowed to count the stream of blood as it
runs through female as well as male ances-
tors, the list of long descents is much in-
creased by reckoning the marriages with the
daughters of kings. Count Albert de Mun,
the Catholic socialist, and leader of the
" Eight " in the French Assembly, descends
(through females) from Clovis the Great
(born A. D. 465), and from the grandfather
of Clovis, Merovseus, from whom the Mero-
vingian kings derive their name. Here is an
ancestry which puts that of the Bourbons
(who do not even go back to Charlemagne)
to shame, and it is, without doubt, the long-
est proved pedigree of the Western world.
98 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
If such descents in the female line are
counted, England and America possess
many long pedigrees, not a few of which
are derived from descents from the daugh-
ters of the Scottish kings, and may be
traced back to Kenneth I (died 860), or to
Kenneth's ancestor Fergus, who crossed
from Ireland to Britain in A. D. 503. Many
Irish pedigrees are portentously long, also.
It is practically impossible to trace de-
scents other than those of royal person-
ages further back than the eleventh cen-
tury, except in one special class of cases.
When funds have been left with religious
bodies for the saying of masses for the
souls of ancestors, it is sometimes possible
to connect them with their descendants.
It was not until the eleventh and twelfth
centuries, indeed, that an individual was
known by a surname. An individual
known by one name only is identified with
difficulty, except under very special cir-
cumstances. Consider how much labor
has been expended on the pedigree of
Shakspere or of Washington, and how
little, comparatively, has been learned.
In America there is an astonishing num-
ANCIENT LINEAGE 99
ber of families that can trace their descent
from the first emigrant, and comparatively
few which can prove their descent from an
English ancestor. The first settlers, espe-
cially of New England, kept excellent
records of all their public transactions.
Our public records have been, on the
whole, admirably preserved, and the gene-
alogical and patriotic societies throughout
the country, as well as the governments of
several States, have provided against their
loss by reprinting many of them. It is not
a little remarkable how easy it is to trace
the growth of a family from the seven-
teenth century down to the War of -the
Revolution; and as Americans in general
have a decided taste for genealogy, the re-
sult has been a vast library of such family
histories. Family pride of a perfectly
legitimate sort has thus been stimulated,
and this can never grow to be a dangerous
thing in a republic. In fact, it is an ad-
mirable lesson to learn to prize something
less tangible than stocks and bonds. More-
over, people in general have thus learned
that there are hundreds of families as good
as their own, and this is also an excellent
100 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
thing to realize. Tradition tells us that the
Laird of Macnab refused to acknowledge
his descent from Noah (" the Macnabs had a
boat of their own "), because he was used to
live in a small community without equals.
INDEX TO HERALDIC TERMS
THE titles to the separate figures in the
following plates contain nearly all heraldic
terms in common use. 1
Accompanied Fig. 56.
Adorsed Fig. 93.
Affronte . . Fig. 55.
Anchored cross Fig. 41.
At gaze Fig. 82.
At speed Fig. 83.
Augmentation Fig. 52.
Azure Fig. 20.
Bar Fig. 36.
Barry Fig. 61.
Base Fig. 1.
Baton Fig. 34.
1 For formal definitions of these terms the reader may
consult the Century Dictionary, in which they are given
with much fullness, or any of the other large dictionaries.
INDEX TO HERALDIC TERMS 101
Bend Fig. 31.
Bendlet Fig. 33.
Bendwise Fig. 32.
Billets Fig. 59.
Bird Fig. 91.
Bordure Fig. 49.
Bottony Fig. 42.
Budgets Fig. 99.
Caboshed Fig. 86.
Canton Fig. 47.
Cheeky ......... Fig. 62.
Chevron Fig. 36 bis.
Chief Fig. 30.
Cleehe Fig. 43.
Close Fig. 90.
Coats of arms .... Fig. 106 et seq.
Cockatrice Fig. 81.
Combatant Fig. 73.
Compony Fig. 49.
Couped Fig. 74.
Coupe Fig. 34.
Counterchanged .... Figs. 16, 17.
Counter-fleury Fig. 50.
Courant Fig. 84.
Crescent Fig. 96.
Crosses Fig. 46.
102 A PRIMER OF HEEALDEY
/.\ i f.-V, !.;.:' >'. - -
Cross bottony Fig. 42.
Cross cleche Fig. 43.
Cross crosslet Fig. 39.
Cross fitche Fig. 45.
Cross of St. George Fig. 38.
Cross patte . Fig. 44.
Cross raguly Fig. 40.
Crowns Figs. 103, 104, 105.
Dancette Fig. 9.
Debruised Fig. 33.
Demi-lion Fig. 75.
Descendent Fig. 88.
Displayed Fig. 87.
Dolphin Fig. 92.
Dormant Fig. 72.
Dove Fig. 90.
Dragon Fig. 79.
Eagle / . . Fig. 87.
Embattled Fig. 10.
Engrailed Fig. 12.
Ensigned Fig. 95.
Erased Fig. 74 bis.
Ermine Fig. 24.
Ermines Fig. 29.
Erminois Fig. 27.
Estoile Fig. 98.
INDEX TO HERALDIC TEEMS 103
Fesse Fig. 35.
Fish Fig. 94.
Fitche Fig. 45.
Flanched Fig. 58.
Fleurs-de-lis Fig. 54.
Fleury-counter-fleury .... Fig. 50.
Fusil Fig. 60.
At gaze Fig. 82.
Gules Fig. 19.
Gyronny Fig. 48.
Hart Fig. 82.
Haurient Fig. 92.
Heart Fig. 95.
Impaled Fig. 65.
Inescutcheon Fig. 52.
Interlaced Fig. 97.
Invected Fig. 13.
Issuant Fig. 76.
Knots Fig. 101.
Label Fig. 102.
Lion Fig. 67.
Manche Fig. 100.
Martlet Fig. 89.
Mound Fig. 66.
Murrey Fig. 23.
Naissant Fig. 77.
104 A PRIMER OF HERALDRY
Natant Fig. 94.
Nebule Fig. 11.
Nombril Fig. 2.
Or Fig. 18.
Pale Fig. 14.
Paly Fig. 15.
Paly bendy Fig. 63.
Party per bend Fig. 6.
Party per fesse Fig. 4.
Party per pale Fig. 3.
Party per saltire Fig. 7.
Passant regardant Fig. 68.
Patte Fig. 44.
Pean Fig. 28.
Potent Fig. 26.
Purpure Fig. 23.
Quarterly Figs. 5, 51, 52.
Rampant Figs. 33, 69.
Regardant Fig. 68.
Sable Fig. 21.
St. George's cross Fig. 38.
Salient Fig. 70.
Saltire . . Fig. 37.
Sanguine Fig. 23.
Seals Fig. 113 et seq.
Sejant Figs. 55, 71.
Silver plate Fig. 119.
INDEX TO HERALDIC TERMS 105
Sinople Fig. 22.
Sleeve Fig. 100.
At speed Fig. 83.
Stag Fig. 84.
Star Fig. 98.
Statant gardant Fig. 67.
Sun Fig. 53.
Sword Fig. 32.
Tenne Fig. 23.
Tinctures Fig. 23.
Tressure Fig. 50.
Trippant Fig. 85.
Unde Fig. 8.
Yair Fig. 25.
Yert Fig. 22.
Voided Fig. 37 bis.
Volant Fig. 91.
Water-budgets Fig. 99.
Wivern Fig. 80.
A = center;
B = chief ;
C = base.
E = fesse-point ;
F = nombril j
G = base-point.
Fig. 3. Fig. 4. Fig. 5. Fig. 6. Fig. 7.
Fig. 3, Party per pale ; Fig. 4, Party per fesse ;
Fig. 5, Quarterly ; Fig. 6, Party per bend (dexter) ;
Fig. 7, Party per saltire.
Fig. 8. Fig. 9. Fig. 10.
Fig. 8, Argent, a fesse unde gules; Fig. 9, Or, a
fesse dancette* sable; Fig. 10, Argent, a fesse em-
Fig. 11, Argent, a fesse nebule gules.
Fig. 12, Argent, a bend engrailed gules.
Fig. 13, Argent, a pale "invected" gnh-
Fig. 14. Fig. 15. Fig. 16.
Fig. 14, Argent, a pale azure.
Fig. 15. Paly of six, argent and gules.
Fig. 16, Per pale gules and argent, three roundels
coimterchanged, two and one.
Fig. 17. Fig. 18. Fig. 19.
Fig. 17, Per pale gules and or, a boar passant
Fig. 18, Or (gold).
Fig. 19, Gules (red).
Fig. 20, Azure (blue).
Fig. 21, &?e (black).
Fig. 22, Vert (or sinople} (green).
Fig. 23, The tinctures: a, or (gold); b, argent
(silver) ; c, gules (red) ; d, azure (blue) ; e, sable
(black) ; f, rert (green) ; g, purpurc (purple) ; h, san-
guine or murrey (blood-red); j, k, tenne or tcnney
Fig. 24, Ermine.
Fig. 25, Fair.
Fig. 26, Potent.
'''& '.'' -T- '."-'.
L 'at ^^tgJ 'li I' ' ^^
Fig. 27, Erminois.
Fig. 28, PetfH.
Fig. 29, Ermines.
Fig. 30. Fig. 31. Fig. 32.
Fig. 30, Argent, a chief #MZes.
Fig. 31, Argent, a bend (dexter) azure.
Fig. 32, A sword bendwise.
Fig. 33, A lion rampant "debruised " by a bendlet.
Fig. 34, Argent, a baton sinister, coupe, gules (the
mark of illegitimate descent).
Fig. 35, Argent, a fesse gules.
Fig. 36 bis.
Fig. 36, Argent, a bar gules.
Fig. 36 bis, Argent, a chevron gules.
Fig. 37, Argent, a saltire azure.
Fig. 37 bis.
Fig. 37 bis, Azure, a saltire voided argent.
Fig. 38, Argent, a cross gules (St. .George).
Fig. 39, A cross crosslet gules.
Fig. 40, A cross raguly.
Fig. 41, Anchored cross.
Fig. 42, A cross bottony or.
Fig. 43. Fig. 44.
Fig. 43, Argent, a cross cloche" vert.
Fig. 44, A cross patte fitche.
Fig. 45, Three crosses fitche gules.
( 3 AA
Fig. 46, Crosses: 1, Cross of Calvary; 2, Latin
cross ; 3, Tau-cross (like the Greek letter tau) ; 4,
Lorraine cross ; 5, Patriarchal cross ; 6, St. Andrew's
cross (a saltire) ; 7, St. George's cross = Greek cross ;
8, Papal cross ; 9, Cross nowy quadrant ; 10, Maltese
cross; 11, Cross fourche ; 12, Cross forme or patte;
13, Cross potent (the arms of Jerusalem) ; 14, Cross
Fig. 47, A canton dexter.
Fig. 48, Gyronny of eight, gules and argent.
Fig. 49, A bordure compony argent and gules.
Fig. 50, A double treasure fleury-counter-fleury.
Fig. 51, Quarterly : I and IV of the paternal an-
cestor ; II and III of allied families.
Fig. 52, Arms of the first Duke of Wellington,
with the augmentation of honor granted to him, viz.,
an inescutcheon of England.
Fig. 53, The sun in his splendor.
Fig. 54, A shield seme of fleurs-de-lis (arms of
Fig. 55, A lion sejant affronte (the royal crest of
Fig. 56. Fig. 57. Fig. 58.
Fig. 56, Gules, a chevron accompanied by three
crosses argent, two and one.
Fig. 57, Quarterly: I and IV argent, a chevron
gules; II and III gules, a cross argent.
Fig. 58, Or, flanched gules.
Fig. 59. Fig. 60. Fig. 61.
Fig. 59, Argent, in chief three billets azure.
Fig. 60, Argent, a fusil asure.
Fig. 61, Barry of six, argent and gules.
Fig. 62. Fig. 63.
Fig. 62, Cheeky azure and argent.
Fig. 63, Paly bendy argent and gules.
>^ S OFTHE
Fig. 64, Arms of De Berghes, from Albrecht Diirer's
original. ( " D'or au lion de gueules arme d'azur :
Cimier [crest] un coq d'or crete et bar "be de gueules.")
Fig. 65. Fig. 66.
Fig. 65, The arms of the wife (B, B) impaled with
those of the husband (A, A).
Fig. 66, The mound.
Fig. 67, A lion statant gardant.
Fig. 68, A lion passant regardant
Fig. 69, A lion rampant.
Fig. 70, A lion salient.
Fig. 71, A lion sejant.
Fig. 72, A lion dormant.
Fig" 73. Fig. 74. Fig. 74 bis.
Fig. 73, Two lions combatant.
Fig. 74, A lion's head couped.
Fig. 74 bis, A lion's head erased.
Fig. 75. Fig. 76. Fig. 77.
Fig. 75, A demi-lion.
Fig. 76, A lion issuant.
Fig. 77, Arycnt, out of a fesse gules a demi-lion nais-
Fig. 78, Three lions passant gardant in pale (the
escutcheon of England).
Fig. 79. Fig. 80.
Fig. 79, A dragon passant.
Fig. 80, A wivern.
Fig. 81, A cockatrice.
Fig. 82. Fig. 83.
Fig. 82, A hart at gaze.
Fig. 83, A hart at speed.
Fig. 84, A stag courant.
Fig. 85. Fig. 86.
Fig. 85, A stag trippant.
Fig. 86, A stag's head caboshed.
Fig. 87, An eagle displayed.
Fig. 89. Fig. 90.
An eagle descendent.
Fig. 89, A martlet.
Fig. 90, A dove close.
Fig. 91. Fig. 92.
Fig. 91, A bird volant.
Fig. 92, A dolphin haurient.
Fig. 93, Two dolphins adorsed.
Fig. 94. Fig. 95.
Fig. 94, A fish natant.
Fig 95, Argent, a heart gules, ensigned with
royal crown (part of the arms of Douglas).
Fig. 96, A crescent.
Fig. 97. Fig. 98. Fig. 100.
Fig. 97, Three crescents interlaced (device of
Diana of Poitiers).
Fig. 98, A star (estoile).
Fig. 100, The manche.
Fig. 99. Fig. 102.
Fig. 99, Two forms of water-budgets.
Fig. 102, Or, a label of three points argent.
Fig. 101, Knots : 1, Lacy knot ; 2, Dacre ; 3, Bowen ;
4, Wake (Ormond) ; 5, Stafford; 6, Knot of Savoy
(Order of the Annunciation) ; 7, Harrington (or true-
love) knot; 8, Bouchier; 9, Heneage knot.
Fig. 103, The royal crown of England.
Fig. 104: 1, The crown of Charlemagne; 2, The
Austrian crown; 3, The Eussian crown; 4, The
Fig. 106, Coat of arms (Germany), about A. D. 1300.
Fig. 107, Coat of arms (Germany), about A. D. 1350.
Fig. 108, Coat of arms (Germany), about A. D. 1400.
W OF THB
Fig. Ill, Coat of arms (Germany), about A. D. 1650.
Fig. 112, Coat of arms (Germany), about A. D. 1750.
Fig. 113, Great seal of the United States of
Fig. 114, Seal of the Astronomical Society of the
Fig. 115, Seal of the Smithsonian Institution.
Fig. 116, Seal of the Johns Hopkins University
(the quartered shield is that of Lord Baltimore).
Fig. 117, Seal of Harvard University.
Fig. 118, Seal of the United States Department of
Fig. 119, A piece of silver plate made in New Eng-
land about 1750.
14 DAY USE
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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY