The Development of Heraldry part 4

Wijnbergen rollThe Heraldic Rolls of the early middle ages were not confined to England only. Early examples of Heraldic Rolls from elsewhere in  Europe include The Wijnbergen Roll ( a Flemish roll dating from about 1280), The Codex Manesse ( A  Roll from the early 1300’s), and the Zurich Wappenrolle ( mid 1300’s).

The Wijnbergen Roll is the oldest known French heraldic manuscript. It was completed in 23 parts, the first, showing arms of the vassals of the Ile de France under Saint Louis, can be dated 1265-1270; the second, an armorial of the north of France, the Low Countries and Germany under Philippe III, is more difficult to date, but is a complement to the first, 1270-1285. The roll is entirely painted, with the text in French, containing a total of 1312 shields in the two parts. The Codex Manesse, image above, also known as  is a manuscript begun around 1300 and completed in 1340. The manuscript was produced in Zürich, at the request of the noble Manesse family. The Zurich Wappenrolle, image below, derives from the place where it is kept: the Burgerbibliothek (= citizens library) Zurich. Many of the coats of arms are from the area around Lake Constance it can be concluded that the roll was made there.

None of these rolls are official armorials, they were created by interested individuals, artisans, and professional heralds and were created at the request of patrons. All three rolls contained full color painted representations of the coat of arms, and copies of all three have been made over the centuries, with copies in various museums around the world today.



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