The Development of Heraldry part 6

The first regent to make extensive use of Heraldry, both on and off the battlefield was Edward I (1239-1307). In his twenties he joined a rebellion against his father, led by Simon de Montfort, but soon switched sides. He then spent many years traveling on the Crusades and did not return  until 1274, after his father’s  death. The early years of Edward's reign were relatively peaceful, but by 1277 he was at war with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Wales. In 1282, Edward took by right of conquest the title "Prince of Wales" that the current heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, still holds.

Meanwhile, the Scots allied themselves with the French, who attacked Edward's possessions in Gascony. Edward went to war in France in 1294, but lost. He put down another uprising in Wales, then sent his army against the Scots, who surrendered in 1296. The Stone of Scone, where Scottish kings had been crowned for centuries, was taken to Westminster Abbey and encased in a carved oak throne still used as the British coronation chair.

But in 1297, the Scots rebelled again, this time led by the William Wallace of Braveheart fame. The Scottish wars, including the Siege of Caerlaverock and the battle at the River Cree, seemed to end in 1306, when Braveheart was beheaded. However in an astonishing turnabout, on 10 February 1306, Robert de Bruce, earl of Carrick, who had been supporting the English, murdered John Comyn of Badenoch [whom Edward had set on the Scottish throne] and, a month later, was crowned king at Scone. Edward was on his way to a battle with Bruce when he died in 1307, aged 66.

Beside him, in all these battles, Edward I would have had a herald, naming the enemy, finding upon the field Simon de Montfort  Gules, a lion rampant with a forked tail argent, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd  Quarterly or and gules, four lions rampant guardant counterchanged, or Robert the Bruce Argent, a saltire and a chief gules.

The first heralds to be mentioned, beginning in the 1170's, were mere announcers at tournaments, for years grouped in the royal payrolls along with minstrels, trumpeters, and harpers. As the use of Heraldry spread, the importance of it as a science became more widely recognized. As the number of knights grew and the importance of heraldry as a means of keeping friend and foe straight increased, heralds rose in stature to be considered ambassadors and great men in their own right.

Edward V

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