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Heraldic Design and Architechture

RIPON CATHEDRAL WINDOW . The tradition of adding coats of arms on cutlery, plates and other household items dates at least to the 14th Century. Many wills from the 14th Century list various household items emblazoned with the bequeather’s coat of arms.  Heraldry was also integrated into the field of Architecture from an early date.​Heraldic devices were frequently placed above doorways and upon outer walls of houses. In churches and cathedrals  saints were frequently seen holding shields on the walls. The heraldic engravings were found arches, altars, doorways, windows and stone benches. Very often the shields were blank so were not displayed as personal vanity but as part of the architectural style of the period.  . 14th CENTURY CHEST WITH...

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Heraldic Clothing, the Tabard

HERALDIC TABARD . Originally the Tabard was a loose fitting item of clothing popular with laborers and casual workers, similar to a modern day smock.  The nobility commandeered the Tabard and  made it their own by customizing it with the coat of arms embroidered on the front and back as well as on the sleeves. The Tabard extended to a little below the waist and had rounded or square sleeves which reached almost to the elbows. This basic Tabard design has been in use for the last 700 years and can be found worn by Heralds at official events to this day.​ Herald’s wore the royal coat of arms on their Tabard and this enabled them to be recognized from a...

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Heraldic Clothing, the Jupon

14th CENTURY HUNGARIAN JUPON . Eventually, as fashions changed the Cyclas was succeeded by the Jupon. The Jupon was a sleeveless surcoat that came down as far as the waist only. When the Jupon became popular the practise of embroidering coats of arms on clothes was at its most popular. This practise was best exemplified by Richard II, before his reign the surcoat in all its forms was mainly worn only by knights. But during Richard II’s reign everyone in his court were decked out in Jupon’s of varying extravagance, all bearing their coats of arms woven in silk and gold. The Jupon did not remain in fashion for very long and was soon superseded by the Tabard which has...

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Heraldic Clothing, the Cyclas

When, during the reign of Edward II, the surcoat was shortened to the waist but still remained flowing behind it became known as a Cyclas. It has been debated as to whether the Cyclas should be considered a strictly heraldic piece of clothing because although it was worn by nobles and displayed their coat of arms, these items of clothing were also worn by Ladies and common citizens. John Plantagenet who is entombed in Westminister Abbey since 1334 is wearing a cyclas in his tomb which reaches to his upper thigh in front and below his knees at the back. There are 2 knights from a similar time period on the front of Exeter Cathedral who are wearing the same...

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Heraldic Clothing

14th CENTURY SURCOATS . As early as the 12th Century it was customary for noblemen to wear a surcoat on top of their armor. Evidence of this can be found on the Seal of King John who reigned from 1189 to 1199. The purpose of the surcoat would have been to protect the knight from the elements. In images from the reign of Richard II Archers are shown wearing surcoats made from leather which they called Jacques. This was the origin for the modern word jacket. Over time knights began to embroider the family coat of arms on to the surcoats in silk as a means of identification, and to show their place in the hierarchy of society at the time....

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