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Page vi. Burke's General Armory

Page vi. Burke's General Armory

Vi HERALDRY. The word Heraldry is derived from the German "heer", a host an army -and "held" a champion; and the term blason by which the science is denoted in French English Italian, and German, has most probably its origin in the German word Blazen " to blow the horn." Whenever a new knight appeared at. a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet and as the competitors attended with closed vizors it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called Heraldry and as tile announcement was accompanied with sound of trumpet, it was termed " blazoning tile arms." The Germans transmitting the word to the French, it reached us after the Norman Conquest. At first, armorial bearings were probably like surnames, assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure; and, as his object would be to distinguish himself and his followers from others his cognizance would be respected by the rest, either out of an innate courtesy or a feeling of natural justice disposing men to recognize the right of first occupation, or really from a positive sense of the inconvenience of being identified or confounded with those to whom no common tie united them. Where, however, remoteness of stations kept soldiers aloof, and extensive boundaries, and different classes of enemies from without, subdivided the force of a kingdom into many distinct bands and armies, opportunities of comparing and ascertaining what ensigns had been already appropriated would be lust, and it well might happen, even in the same country that various families might be found unconsciously using the same a I'll) s It has long been a matter of' doubt when the bearing of costs of arms first became hereditary. The Norman tiles engraved in Mr. Henniker's letter to tile Society of Antiquaries, were supposed to have fixed the date at the period of tile Norman Conquest, but Mr. Montague very ably argues that it is not at all clear that these tiles were of the same antiquity as " the Abbaye aux Hommes at Caen," in which they were found; indeed he seems to prove quite the contrary. Certain it is that it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. In the History of Battell Abbey, Richard Lucy, Chief Justice temp. Henry It., is reported to have blamed a mean subject for carrying a private seal, when that pertained, as ho said, to the King and Nobility alone. Under Edward L, seals of some sort were so general, that the Statute of Exon ordained the coroner's jury to certify with their respective signets, and in the following reign they became very common, so that not only such as bore arms used to seal, but others fashioned signets, taking the letters of their own names, flowers, knots, birds, beasts, &e. It was afterwards enacted by statute, that every freeholder should have his proper seal of arms ; and he was either to appeal- at the head court of the shire, or send his attorney with the said seal, and those who omitted this duty were amerced or fined. The earliest Heraldic document that has been handed down to us is a Row. OF Arms, made between the years 1240 and 1245. It contains the names and arms of the Barons and Knights of the reign of Henry Ill., and affords incontrovertible evidence of the fact that Heraldry was at that time reduced to a science. It is curious, too, as indicating the changes that have taken place between a period approximating so nearly to its origin and the present; and invaluable, as offering contemporary testimony of the exact bearings of the ancestors of some of our most distinguished families. This important manuscript as well as three other similar collections, " The Siege of Carlaverock," " A Roll of Arms, temp. Edward IL," and " A Roll of Arms, temp. Edward III.", were published by the late Sir Harris Nicolas, accompanied by prefatory remarks and occasional notes. " The SIEGE OF Carlaverock " is a poem descriptive of the Banners of the Peers and Knights of the English army who were present at the siege of Carlaverock Castle in Scotland, in February, 1301. The ROLL OF Arms of the time of Edward IL, made between the years 1308 and 1814, in divided into counties, and comprises the names and arms of about eleven

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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