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Jenkins, Samantha E. Reign, E. The usual authorities for Royal armorials are great seals and coins, but the books which belonged to our sovereigns supply an equally fine and equally accurate collection. Every change of bearings, supporters, mottoes or badges is duly represented, and there are very few old private libraries in England which have not some Royal books [Pg 3] upon their shelves. These books have either been given away by the sovereigns themselves, or acquired as official perquisites.
With regard to the identification of coats-of-arms or crests on books, this is a process of exhaustion, and it will be found easiest to begin with accessories, if there are any.
These accessories are found either as augmentations on the shield or additions outside it, and by their help it is often easy to narrow down the limits within which the owner must come. By the help of coronets it is possible to fix the exact rank of the owner, and this alone, together with the date of the book, ought to make the identification easy, by help of a Peerage of the same date.
The decorations which surround a shield are often of great use; the coat-of-arms and coronet of an Earl, for instance, may be easily identified, but there may nevertheless be three or four persons who succeeded each other rapidly, and bore the same coat, to whom the book may have belonged. But round such a coat perhaps there is the Garter, or the collar of the Bath, or the insignia of some other order, and this will very likely decide which Earl was the actual owner.
The date of the printing of a book is of some use, if everything else fails, but it must be understood that as a rule it only means that the binding belonged to somebody at a later date. Even that is not quite certain, because [Pg 4] old stamped bindings have too often been transferred to newer books.
About the Author
Such a transfer would be evident to a binder, but it may well deceive any one else. The large majority of the stamps illustrated herewith are in the British Museum, but I have included a few in private ownership, and to these owners my sincere thanks are due for their kindness in allowing me to copy the various coats. I have in every case mentioned this private ownership, and where such mention is not found the book from which the drawing has been made is in the British Museum, either in the Department of Printed Books or in the Department of Manuscripts.
Heraldry is of military origin, but its decorative side, and the various exact rules which govern it, were probably brought into use during the Middle Ages, in connection with the frequent Tournaments which were governed by strict rules. The ceremonies to be followed at the Tournaments were very closely laid down; heralds as well as their assistants of all sorts came into much prominence, and personal insignia acquired an importance they have never had since.
Even now there are a few signs of ancient personal heraldry existing in our army; crests and tartans of private families may be found among the Highland regiments, but the modern tendency, especially since the late war in South Africa, has been to abolish such peculiarities. To Blazon is to describe the different divisions and [Pg 5] bearings on a coat-of-arms in proper sequence and in heraldic language, so that an heraldic artist can, from the description, draw and colour the coat correctly. The colours of shields and bearings ought to be given in every case, either of blazon or illustration; but as this is not always convenient, two methods of indicating colours have been adopted.
The first is known as Trick, and in this manner colours were marked until the seventeenth century. In Trick the colours or tinctures are indicated by letters, and they are described in Gerard Legh's Accedens of Armory , London, , as follows:—. The letters are put either in the spaces or on the charges to which they refer, or they may be found in the margin with a directing line drawn to the proper place. Several other methods of indicating colour by means of black and white lines laid in certain directions have been tried, but they have all failed to stand the test of time except that invented by an Italian Jesuit Father, Silvestro Petra Sancta, who lived in the seventeenth century.
His method is figured and described in a [Pg 6] book he wrote and illustrated on Italian coats-of-arms. It is a very useful book, because the coats are arranged according to the devices upon them. It is in fact an illustrated ordinary of Italian arms, Tesserae Gentilitiae , Romae, These are still the commonest colours, but a few more have been added since; they are, however, rarely used. Besides the metals and the colours a few furs are used in heraldry; the two most usual of these are Ermine and Vair.
Ermine is white and shows little conventional [Pg 7] spots on it, which represent the black tips of the tails of the same animal. Vair is supposed to represent little grey squirrel skins spread out and arranged touching each other. It is coloured blue and white. The heraldic lines, dots, and furs should be learnt, as they must be understood and are continually met with in heraldic works of late date.
An heraldic heiress is a lady whose father is armigerous but leaves no son. In such a case the lady's coat, if she married, would be shown on an escutcheon of Pretence placed in the centre of her husband's coat, and may be shown as a quartering on the coats-of-arms of her children. Marshalling is the manner and method of conjoining divers arms upon one shield according to heraldic precedent and usage; it is an exact process. The marshalling of the many family coats which may be inherited through marriages with heraldic heiresses is often a very elaborate and difficult matter.
The rules, however, for such marshalling are well known and logical. A very good summary of this important part of a herald's duty can be found in Mr. Fox Davies's Art of Heraldry , in the chapter on Marshalling. A coat-of-arms is, however, sometimes found with many quarterings which only show the successive alliances, but in such a case the facts should always be stated.
In default of such explanation the existence of the proper heraldic heiress rights must always be presumed. When a man quarters the coat-of-arms of an ancestral heiress, he has also the right to use the crest belonging to it. The right of bearing a crest, although not allowed to ladies, seems to be latent in them, as it can be inherited through them, if heiresses, by their male descendants.
But in ordinary English usage it is usual [Pg 9] only to use one crest, except in the case of an assumption by Royal Licence of an additional surname, coat-of-arms, and crest. In German heraldry such quartered coats are usually accompanied by all their respective crests, which are placed along the top of the coat in an arched line, each on its proper helmet, and all facing inwards.
Distinctive personal marks on English shields are few; the commonest is the Ulster hand which is used as an augmentation by Baronets. The rank of Baronet, which is hereditary, was instituted by James I. By the original Statutes of the Order, Baronets in order to qualify for the rank had to maintain "thirty soldiers three years at eightpence a day in the Province of Ulster in Ireland.
The claim was allowed, and so the successful chieftain became the first king of Ulster and the ancestor of the succeeding kings. The Ulster hand, either with or without its silver [Pg 10] shield, usually shows either on the honour point in the centre of a shield, in the dexter chief, or in the centre chief, but there is no definite rule as to its position. In a similar hereditary rank was instituted for Nova Scotia in North America, but since all Baronets have been "of the United Kingdom. John of Jerusalem, Guillim says that they may wear "their Paternal coat armour insigned with this cross on the chief of their Paternal Coat.
Memorandum Books, 1771
John at the Siege of Acre in the thirteenth century, and, the Grand Master being slain, put on his dress and demeaned himself so gallantly that he was asked to allow the Order to adopt his coat-of-arms. Gules, a cross argent embellished alternately in each of the principal angles with a Lion guardant and a Unicorn, both passant or," as a chief on their coat-of-arms. Knights of other Orders and Knights Bachelors do not, as such, use any augmentations on their shields.
Several forms of marks of cadency are given in the Book of St.
In an old window at St. The Royal Family all use labels as cadency marks, distinguished by charges upon them, or by the number of points, differences which are all specially granted, the eldest son always wearing a plain silver label of three points. English coronets seem to have followed a definite line of development, but they were not actually settled as to their respective designs until the time of Charles II.
At first coronets of rank were only circlets of metal, then on this circlet were put balls or "pearls" as in the portrait of King Alfred on the Dowgate Hill brooch, or the coronet of a Baron or Viscount , then the pearls were [Pg 13] ornamentally tripled, and this trefoil soon turned into a leaf form e. These forms became fixed in the time of Henry VII.
While fully appreciating the fact that the forms of modern coronets only date from the time of Charles II.