Heraldry as decoration

Spanish flag and coat of armsThe uses of Heraldry as a form of decoration are many. Banners, flags and pennants were all used in the older days of Heraldry and the house flag lived on long after these early days. There are many countries that use either the Coat of Arms of the land or at least some of the colors of the Arms for the flag. Spain, for example, has the royal arms contained within its national flag, see image above. Firearms often have Coats of Arms engraved on them, in the case of pistols the engraving is usually on the butt of the gun. In the case of some 17th century pistols which can be quite valuable, the Coat of Arms marking is often used in determining the ownership and value of the gun. Heraldic china is also a popular part of heraldic collections. Many distinguished families had their Coats of Arms on Worcester or Stafford china and much of this still exists today.

Two other instances of Heraldry in the public domain are inn signs and the use of royal arms. The royal arms are frequently displayed in old churches where they were placed at the time of the Reformation as a sign of the royal supremacy over the church. A fine example of this can be found at St. Etheldreda’s church in Holborn, London, image below. The church was bought by the Roman Catholic Church and the royal arms were removed from the church into the precincts as a sign that the Roman Church is under the rule of the Pope and does not acknowledge royal supremecy. St. Etheldreda’s also has a fascinating collection of heraldic engravings, placed there by one of the officers of the College of Arms, Edward Bellasis, they illustrate the history of his family.

St. Etheldra's church

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