A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon (i.e., shield), surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of: shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation.
Heraldic designs came into general use among European nobility in the 12th century. Systematic, heritable heraldry had developed by the beginning of the 13th century. Exactly who had a right to use arms, by law or social convention, varied to some degree between countries. Early heraldic designs were personal, used by individual noblemen (who might also alter their chosen design over time). Arms become hereditary by the end of the 12th century, in England by King Richard I during the Third Crusade (1189–1192)
Burgher arms are used in Northern Italy in the second half of the 13th century, and in the Holy Roman Empire by the mid 14th century. In the late medieval period, use of arms spread to the clergy, to towns as civic identifiers, and to royally chartered organizations such as universities and trading companies. The arts of vexillology and heraldry are closely related.
The term coat of arms itself in origin refers to the surcoat with heraldic designs worn by combatants, especially in the knightly tournament, in Old French cote a armer. The sense is transferred to the heraldic design itself in Middle English, in the mid-14th century.
Despite no widespread regulation,heraldry has remained consistent across Europe, where tradition alone has governed the design and use of arms. Some nations, like England and Scotland, still maintain the same heraldic authorities which have traditionally granted and regulated arms for centuries and continue to do so in the present day. In England, for example, the granting of arms is and has been controlled by the College of Arms. Unlike seals and other general emblems, heraldic "achievements" have a formal description called a blazon, which uses vocabulary that allows for consistency in heraldic depictions. In the present day, coats of arms are still in use by a variety of institutions and individuals: for example, many European cities and universities have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used, and protect their use as trademarks. Many societies exist that also aid in the design and registration of personal arms.
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland, an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son; wives and daughters could also bear arms modified to indicate their relation to the current holder of the arms. Undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: usually a colour change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. One such charge is the label, which in British usage (outside the Royal Family) is now always the mark of an heir apparent or (in Scotland) an heir presumptive. Because of their importance in identification, particularly in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was strictly regulated; few countries continue in this today. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry". In time, the use of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, and other establishments.
The royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, or the Royal Arms for short, is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom. Variants of the Royal Arms are used by other members of the British royal family, by the British Government in connection with the administration and government of the country, and some courts and legislatures in a number of Commonwealth realms. In Scotland, there exists a separate version of the Royal Arms, a variant of which is used by the Scotland Office and the Judiciary. The arms in banner form serve as basis for the monarch's official flag, known as the Royal Standard.
David Charles Robert Manners, 11th Duke of Rutland
Coronet A Coronet of a DukeCrest On a Chapeau Gules turned up Ermine a Peacock in its pride proper Escutcheon Or two Bars Azure a Chief quarterly of the last and Gules, in the first and fourth, two Fleur-de-lis, and in the second and third, a Lion passant guardant, all Or Supporters On either side a Unicorn Argent armed, maned, tufted and unguled Or Motto Pour Y Parvenir ("So as to accomplish it")
Anthony Noel, 6th Earl if Gainsborough
Crest: A Buck at gaze Argent, attired Or. Supporters: On either side a Bull Argent, armed and unguled proper, gorged with a Naval Crown Azure, therefrom a Chain reflexed over the back Gold, and pendent from the crown an Escutcheon Azure, charged with an Anchor erect, encircled by a Wreath of Laurel Or. MottoTOUT BIEN OU RIEN
(All well or nothing)
Richard Bridgeman, 7th Earl of Bradford
Descendants: Richard Newport 1st Baron of Newport 1587-1651. Sable, ten Plates, four, three, two and one, on a Chief Argent, a Lion passant Ermines. Crest: A Demi-Lion rampant Argent, holding between the paws a Wreath of Laurel proper. Supporters: On either side a Lion guardant Gules pellettée.
NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE
(Neither rashly nor timidly)
HRH Prince Philip Mountbatten-Windsor, 3rd Duke of Edinburgh
Descendants: Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Heaven 1854 - 1921
Quarterly, First Or, semée of hearts Gules, three lions passant in pale Azure (For Denmark), Second Azure, a cross Argent (For Greece), Third Argent, two pallets Sable (For Battenberg or Mountbatten), Fourth Argent, upon a rock Proper a castle triple towered Sable, masoned Argent, windows, port, turret-caps and vanes Gules (For Edinburgh), the whole surrounded by the Garter; for a crest, upon a coronet of a son of the sovereign Proper, the royal helm Or, upon which issuant from a ducal coronet Or, a plume of five ostrich feathers alternately Sable and Argent; Mantling Or and ermine; for Supporters, dexter, a representation of Hercules girt about the loins with a lion skin, crowned with a chaplet of oak leaves, holding in the dexter hand a club Proper, sinister, a lion queue fourchée ducally crowned Or and gorged with a naval coronet Azure; Motto ’God Is My Help’.
Some title holders also choose to adopt their family coat of arms, or have a new coat of arms commissioned by the Collage of Arms.
Guy Charles Wynn Davies, 16th Lord of Duxford Descendants: Mervyn Davies (former king of Powys) 616 and the battle of Chester. After the exodus of the Romans in the 5th century A.D. Crest: Gules, on a bend argent a lions passant, sable. Motto: Heb Dduw heb ddim, Duw a digon. (Without God without anything, God is enough.)
If you have a desire for your own coat of Arms to be created, this can only be done by petitioning for Arms through the Collage of Arms, but be warned, you may need deep pockets, with most coats costing over £25,000. Arms and crests, badges and supporters, are granted by letters patent issued by the most senior heralds, the Kings of Arms. They act according to powers delegated to them by the Crown and all grants are therefore made under Crown authority.
The first step in applying for a grant of arms is to submit a petition, or memorial as it is called, to the Earl Marshal. This will be drafted by one of the officers of arms. There are no fixed criteria of eligibility for a grant of arms, but such things as awards or honours from the Crown, civil or military commissions, university degrees, professional qualifications, public and charitable services, and eminence or good standing in national or local life, are taken into account. When approaching a herald with a view to petitioning for a grant of arms it is desirable to submit a curriculum vitae.
When the memorial is submitted the fees due upon a grant of arms become payable. Such fees are laid down by Earl Marshal's Warrant. As of 1 January 2020 the fees payable upon a personal grant of arms and crest are £6,600, a similar grant to an impersonal but non-profit making body, £13,725, and to a commercial company, £20,450. When a grant of arms includes the grant of a badge or (to eligible grantees) supporters, or the exemplification of a standard, a further fee is payable. A special reduced fee (currently £7,925) has been introduced for parish, town and community councils, to cover the grant of arms alone, without crest. Those wishing to know further details of the fee structure should contact the Officer in Waiting.
When an officer of arms is the agent for a grant of arms he is remunerated for his work on the case, and related expenses, by a payment out of the fees a petitioner pays to the College.