The Origins of Heraldry part 4

Lutrell psalter
When did the use of Heraldry begin in Europe? The adoption of Coats of Arms began in Western Europe in the 12th century. In the 12th century no daily journals were published and the few historians were monks who did not go out of their way to chronicle things unless they were of enormous national importance or were concerned with the affairs of the monastery. No one bothered to write about the origins of coats of arms, any more than anyone bothered to write about the changes in body armor from 1066 to 1455. We gather our information on subjects like these from incidental records such as the brasses in churches, the carvings on the tombs, the illustrations in stained glass windows, the illuminations in documents and books, the seals of the kings and nobility. In addition to these records we have the rolls of arms of the early heralds which date from about 1240.

An early example of this type of evidence is an illuminated miniature from the Luttrell Psalter circa 1340 ( image above) which shows the figures of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell with his wife and daughter-in-law. Sir Geoffrey’s arms are shown in several places in the drawing, these arms being described as ” azure a bend between six martlets argent” . Both of the ladies show the Luttrell arms on their gowns impaling ( meaning that the shield or coat of arms is divided down the middle with one coat of arms on the right side and the second on the left side) the arms of their own father’s families.
Christopher Columbus coat of arms

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