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Heraldic Clothing, the Cyclas

When, during the reign of Edward II, the surcoat was shortened to the waist but still remained flowing behind it became known as a Cyclas. It has been debated as to whether the Cyclas should be considered a strictly heraldic piece of clothing because although it was worn by nobles and displayed their coat of arms, these items of clothing were also worn by Ladies and common citizens. John Plantagenet who is entombed in Westminister Abbey since 1334 is wearing a cyclas in his tomb which reaches to his upper thigh in front and below his knees at the back. There are 2 knights from a similar time period on the front of Exeter Cathedral who are wearing the same...

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Heraldic Clothing

14th CENTURY SURCOATS . As early as the 12th Century it was customary for noblemen to wear a surcoat on top of their armor. Evidence of this can be found on the Seal of King John who reigned from 1189 to 1199. The purpose of the surcoat would have been to protect the knight from the elements. In images from the reign of Richard II Archers are shown wearing surcoats made from leather which they called Jacques. This was the origin for the modern word jacket. Over time knights began to embroider the family coat of arms on to the surcoats in silk as a means of identification, and to show their place in the hierarchy of society at the time....

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How Arms were displayed

During the Middle Ages there was an eagerness to display ones coat of arms to show others that you were of noble birth and had been granted an achievement of arms. The coat of arms would be displayed in as many places as possible, inside ones home or castle, the walls outside the abode, in stained glass windows, carved in wood. Gravestones were frequently adorned with the deceased coat of arms intricately engraved thereon. Very often a persons coat of arms was discreetly painted in the corner of a painters portrait.There were various shapes used when recreating the shield from the coat of arms. The shape has no heraldic significance so this gave some latitude to artists rendering a reproduction...

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Heraldic Badges

In heraldry a badge is an emblem used as a mark of recognition by a person and are particularly found in the tradition of British heraldry.  Badges first came into vogue among British nobility and gentry in the fourteenth century. They originated in the court of King Edward III who reigned for fifty years from 1327 to 1377. Later in the Middle Ages nobles servants would wear the badge to show allegiance to their masters.Heraldry in the later Middle Ages was becoming very complicated due to excessive quarterings and the fashion of adding crests and various animals as supporters. Badges offered a way to simplify coat of arms and make it easier to identify particular noble families. These badges never...

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the Herald 8

SIR PHILLIP SYDNEY Even in death it was deemed importance to mark your status in society for the sixteenth century nobility. It was normal for the funeral of a noble to be organized by a herald. This was a good opportunity for herald's to supplement their income and this often caused dispute among the heralds as to who's turn it was to officiate at a particular funeral. Sir Phillip Sydney was given a state funeral, a rare honor.To this day ceremonies such as funerals and coronations are arranged by heralds under the direction of the earl marshal. This process began in the sixteenth century. Paintings of processions usually show the herald leading, bearing the coats of arms of the deceased....

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