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Non-noble coat of arms in Europe

In Switzerland and the Low Countries there have been non-nobles or peasants with Coats of Arms since the Middle Ages. The word peasant in this case does not mean agricultural laborers but rather small freeholders, owners of small plots of land. In other words it refers to yeomanry in the correct use of that term. The caste structure that arose in Europe following the conquests of the  Germanic tribes resulted in leaders becoming the nobility and their followers becoming freeholders of yeomanry status. In most countries the yeomanry were recognized as belonging to the frank or free classes, although over time the upper and lower freeman divided, so that in the end the noble did not intermarry with the yeoman....

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