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The Development of Heraldry, part 7

Originally, bearers of  coats of arms  were knights who could be called up for military duty. A knight’s rank was not readily apparent from his shield. In the reign of Edward I. the heraldry of these individuals does not appear to have been any different from that of their social superiors. King Edward's three lions passant guardant or on a field of gules (three gold lions, down on all fours on a red shield) was no more elaborate (or simple) than his enemy, William Wallace's gules, a lion rampant argent (red, with a white lion up on its hind legs), or Robert the Bruce's saltire and chief of gules on a field of argent (a white shield bearing a large...

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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...

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The Development of Heraldry part 5

Although true Heraldry “ the systematic use of hereditary devices centered on the shield” officially originated only in the second quarter of the 12th century, by the end of the middle ages there were approximately 800,000 coats of arms recorded, many more than even the most knowledgeable of herald could memorize. Heraldic devices served not only to identify a knight in battle but were also legal marks on seals, boundary markers on property etc. This vital material was recorded Heraldic armorials or rolls. In addition to the Rolls mentioned in the two previous posts there are another 17 of importance from this early period, all from Great Britain.The Rolls are Heralds Roll ( 1279), Dering Roll ( 1280), Camden Roll...

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