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The Elaboration of Coats of Arms

The practice of combining several Coats of Arms on one shield, known as “marshalling” arose from a desire to denote important marriage alliances. When a man married an heiress or co-heiress of an armorial family, he could incorporate her Arms permanently on his own shield, and transmit them to his descendents. He added not only her paternal Coat of Arms, but also any quarterings which may have accrued to it in the past. In this manner many present-day families carry in their Arms an heraldic record of a number of ancient families, their remote ancestors whose names have long since died out. An elaborately quartered shield is often far less artistic than a simple and less pretentious Coat of Arms;...

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