Heraldry — Norman Jones — March 17 2014.

Norman Jones has been inter­ested in her­aldry since a young age and even now in his eighties, he is still repro­du­cing coats of arms for com­mis­sions.  His talk covers briefly the many aspects of her­aldry.  As this is such a large and com­plex sub­ject, this report will just out­line the early stages of the sub­ject in this Country.

The ori­gins of her­aldry lie in the need to dis­tin­guish par­ti­cipants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel.  Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more com­plex forms of her­aldry.

Though the prac­tice of her­aldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world still make use of arms. Personal her­aldry, both leg­ally pro­tec­ted and law­fully assumed, has con­tin­ued to be used around the world.

At the time of the Norman Conquest , her­aldry in its essen­tial sense of an inher­it­able emblem had not yet been developed. The knights in the Bayeux Tapestry carry shields, but there appears to have been no system of hered­it­ary coats of arms. The seeds of her­aldic struc­ture in per­sonal iden­ti­fic­a­tion can be detec­ted in the account in a con­tem­por­ary chron­icle of Henry I of England, on the occa­sion of his knight­ing his son-in-law Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, in 1127. He placed to hang around his neck a shield painted with golden lions.

By the middle of the 12th cen­tury, coats of arms were being inher­ited by the chil­dren of armi­gers (per­sons entitled to use a coat of arms) across Europe. Between 1135 and 1155, seals rep­res­ent­ing the gen­er­al­ized figure of the owner attest to the gen­eral adop­tion of her­aldic devices in England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.  By the end of the cen­tury, her­aldry appears as the sole device on seals.  In England, the prac­tice of using marks of cadence arose to dis­tin­guish one son from another: the con­ven­tions became stand­ard­ized in about 1500.

The inter­na­tion­ally recog­nised author­ity on Heraldry is the College of Arms in London.