Armiger

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For the anti-radiation missile, see AGM Armiger. For the village in Essex, see Armigers, Essex.

In heraldry, an armiger is a person entitled to use a coat of arms (e.g., bear Arms, an "Armour-Bearer") either by hereditary right, grant, matriculation, or assumption of arms. Such a person is said to be armigerous.

Etymology[edit]

The Latin word armiger literally means "arms-bearer". In high and late medieval England, the word referred to an esquire attendant upon a knight, but bearing his own unique armorial device. [1]

Armiger was also used as a Latin cognomen, and is now found as a rare surname in English-speaking countries.

Modern period[edit]

Today, the term armiger is well-defined only within jurisdictions, such as Canada, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom, where heraldry is regulated by the state or a heraldic body, such as the College of Arms, the Court of the Lord Lyon or the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. A person can be so entitled either by proven (and typically agnatic) descent from a person with a right to bear a coat of arms, or by virtue of a grant of arms to himself. Sharing the family name of an armiger is insufficient.

Anyone may use any coat of arms in jurisdictions that lack regulated heraldry, such as the United States. In the Netherlands, titles of nobility are regulated by law but heraldry is not. In Sweden the nobility has had, since 1762, the prerogative to use an open helmet, while others use a closed helmet.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dictionary of Chivalry, Uden. Kestrel Books, Harmondsworth, 1968. ISBN 0-7226-5372-7

Further reading[edit]

  • Coss, Peter R. "Knights, esquires and the origins of social gradation in England." Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sixth Series, 5 (1995): 155-78.