Heraldry in Sweden Part 3

Uppland coat of arms

The earliest known achievements of arms in Sweden are those of two brothers, Sigtrygg and Lars Bengtsson, from 1219; the earliest example of Swedish civic heraldry is the city arms of Kalmarr, which originated as a city seal in 1247.  The seal used extensively in the Middle Ages, was instrumental in spreading heraldry to churches, local governments, and other institutions, and was the forerunner of the coat of arms in medieval Sweden. Armorial seals of noblewomen appeared in the 12th century, burghers and artisans began adopting arms in the 13th century, and even some peasants took arms in the 14th century. The House of Nobles was created in 1626 and  the nobility was divided into three classes; The Master classes: Counts and Viscounts, being members of the council and with hereditary titles; The Knights class (descendents of councilors before 1626) and the Svenne class (lower nobility). Each family had one vote and was represented by its head.

Linne coat of arms

Untitled nobility wore one barred helmet and a coronet for untitled nobility.The only difference between nobles and burghers arms is the exclusive use of the barred helmet with a necklace.King Gustav III recreated the older form of division in 1778. New knights were men of nobility who had received the rank of commander of one of the three orders of the state.However, this system lasted only a short period and was replaced in 1809 after a palace revolution resulted in the abdication of King Gustav IV. With the abdication came a new constitution in 1837 which proclaimed that only the head of the family was to be regarded as a nobleman. The descendents were regarded as commoners but had the right to bear the new arms granted but without symbols of rank. The family had of course its natural place at the house of nobility. The constitution did not affect the older nobility whose members are all regarded as nobles with full right to symbols of rank. The new 1837 constitution also abolished the privileges of the three classes although the titles were granted.

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