Talk:English heraldry

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B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.

C rating[edit]

I have rated this page C class on the basis it certainly fulfils these minimal considerations - a judgement on B class may be made in the future. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 17:40, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

There are several improvements that may still need to be made for this article to reach a solid B-class rating. Firstly, the lead section may need to be edited and lengthened, or rewritten, per WP:LEAD. The current lead section is rather short, with short, choppy sentences. The lead should also begin with a succinct yet sufficiently broad definition of the topic, and the current lead sentence may not be sufficiently broad in scope. The lead section should also introduce each subtopic of the article, so in this case it should briefly discuss the history, cadency, regulation, royal coat of arms, etc. of English heraldry.

There are also some missing inline citations that would well serve the article's verifiability. Some of these have been tagged, and I will tag a few more. The article's prose needs some more editing for style, grammar and punctuation. There are some contorted sentences such as this one: "Although many places have dropped such iconography, the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone, London, includes a rendering of the Virgin Mary, although this is never stated." The article's organisation is fair, but content may not sufficiently cover the topic. I think a section on terminology should be included somewhere early in the article. I also think personal achievements of arms (noble arms, burgher arms and peasant arms, if these all exist in England) merit their own section. I see the section Order of the Garter, but what about other royal orders? Puns are mentioned in a few places, but I see no discussion of canting arms. Also, I think the Cadency section could be expanded to cover the issue of Heredity of arms. Heralds over the years, and official statements from the College of Heraldry, have had quite a bit to say about the heritability of English arms.

This article mostly has good use of images, but with a few issues. The first image has some formatting problems, placing a large block of text to the left and disrupting to article's text. Perhaps this coat of arms should be discussed somewhere in the article's prose and the image displayed with a minimal caption. Is there a particular notability of the flags shown here File:Heraldry bayeux.jpg? In short, this is a small article on a big topic, so some gaps need to be covered to reach B-class. Some citations also need to be provided, and some work on layout would help. With all these improvements, however, it should be a good step toward eventual GA nomination. Good luck! Wilhelm_meis (talk) 01:54, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Canting is not a distinctively English practice, so why cover it here? —Tamfang (talk) 03:41, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
(Wilhelm_Meis, I hope you don't mind but I've added a couple of paragraph breaks to you (very helpful) answer so I can come back to it more easily.) English does lend itself quite well to canting, and so at least the word should be mentioned (I will correct this). As far as many of the citations go, they are the product of me not repeating the same citation at multiple points within the same paragraph (I tend to put one at the end that applies to a number of preceding sentences) - again I will check and correct. Some of the required cites fall within text almost verbatim taken from the mainarticle links, so you may wish to raise them futher on those pages (but I do understand other WP pages are not in themselves reliable). The Heraldry bayeux file is there to serve as a reliable illustration that there were such standards, the standards themselves aren't notable but I do feel it helps to illustrate the point about the period. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 20:58, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
In response to Tamfang, while canting is not exclusively English (and what in heraldry is?), it is used in English heraldry and therefor should be mentioned. Canting is even less distinctively Swedish, but it gets a brief mention in the S h article.
On the citations, I suspected this was the case with many of them, so it should be fairly easy to track most of them down. The problem with putting a citation at the end of the paragraph to serve the entire paragraph, is that other editors may add content in the middle of your paragraph, and this content may come from a different source, causing confusion as to what material came from which source - if they even bother to cite their addition. That is why I try to work cited material into one sentence if possible, or at least into one sentence that leads into the next, so they are unlikely to be separated. If you have something that comes almost verbatim from the main article, it should stand without a citation (so feel free to remove tags in this case), unless it was cited in the main article, in which case the citation should be replicated here.
On the images, I see that the Fair Use issues have all been worked out, and I wouldn't worry about the Bayeux Tapestry image itself, but the accompanying text needs to be expanded to explain its relevance. The caption on the first image needs work though. I think it should be incorporated into the article's prose to give it a better flow. I'm seeing some good work here, though, and I especially like Tamfang's table of grants of arms. Can we get access to the original source for this info? Wilhelm_meis (talk) 02:03, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Ordinaries are used in English heraldry and therefore should be mentioned? Tinctures are used in English heraldry and therefore should be mentioned? Etc etc. It's true that few practices are exclusive to one national tradition; that's not so much a reason to repeat other articles as a reason to question the article's usefulness. Offhand, since you ask, I can't think of much that's distinctively English – rather than British or Gallo-British – other than the cadency series, quartering of >4 (for ancestry rather than for fiefs as in Germany), and lamentable style in civic armory. Someone whose first language is other than English might have more ideas! —Tamfang (talk) 03:53, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we're getting a little carried away, since this is a B-class discussion, not a GA or FA discussion. But yes, I think tinctures and blazonry should be discussed here. That's not to say that the material of Tincture (heraldry) and Blazon should be replicated here, but I submit that there should be some discussion of how these pertain to English heraldry. Everything that makes English heraldry English should be discussed here, so if the English use crests differently than those on the continent, then it warrants discussion. As I said before, I think there are some gaps, but maybe I didn't make myself clear: I don't think everything heraldic needs a lengthy discussion, but I think everything that the English do differently than others warrants some mention. I do think the Heraldry by Country series does have some usefulness, as it describes the many national styles of heraldry that have existed with distinction for many years (in many cases, several centuries), and I think this does fit into what WP is about. So by all means, let's try to avoid repeating other articles and try to focus on what is distinctively English. Of course there will always be overlap with other countries, but we will move this article toward better coverage of its topic. Wilhelm_meis (talk) 21:55, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and Jarry, I don't have a problem with the Tennyson statement if it can be verified in a source. Wilhelm_meis (talk) 21:57, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I couldn't find one, and, thinking about it, it's probably more of my thought and I believed when I added it; besides, it adds very little (and there's a reference to romaniticism etc. in Dr pda's bit. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 17:51, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with File:Coat of Arms - City of Bath.jpg[edit]

The image File:Coat of Arms - City of Bath.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

The following images also have this problem:

Now removed from page. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 09:51, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --05:34, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

This has been corrected. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 14:36, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Royal Arms 1801–37[edit]

An image is captioned "Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, adopted 1837". I'm thinking of changing "adopted" to "as borne since" or some such, because it could be argued that this coat was adopted for the Kingdom in 1801 although the King bore it with a dynastic inescutcheon; indeed the movement of Hanover from a quarter to an inescutcheon was done to emphasize the unity of the new entity represented by the bigger shield. (It occurs to me that this in turn may have contributed to abandonment of the Capetian quarter: France was not part of the new UK either, but two inescutcheons would not do.) —Tamfang (talk) 05:50, 10 March 2009 (UTC)


Hi all,

Several months ago I started drafting an article on English heraldry, but I got sidetracked by a different topic. Since there seems to be some activity here I've uploaded what I have to User:Dr pda/English heraldry. This is just a "History" section, however the other section headings may give some ideas for organisation of, and/or what to include in, the article. Feel free to incorporate this as you wish; I don't have the time to work on it at the moment.

I do have a few comments about the article as it stands. I am a little concerned at the reliance on two works which are 100 years old. There are also a number of assertions which don't agree with my understanding of English heraldry.

  • It became distinct from Welsh heraldry and Scottish heraldry from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries—England, Wales and Scotland were independent countries at the time of the development of heraldry, so English heraldry did not become distinct from the Welsh or Scottish varieties; they developed independently
  • burgher arms of individuals in England—burgher arms are a concept foreign to English heraldry.
  • Royal orders in England, such as the Order of the Garter, also maintain notable heraldic bearings.—I realise the lead was recently updated to try to summarise the article, but this sentence is vague and confusing. The main heraldic connection of the orders of chivalry is the right to certain ornaments in one's acheivement of arms, i.e. encircling the shield with the circlet of the order, or the right to supporters.
  • I don't recall ever reading that heraldry is based on Greek and Roman designs. If anything, the ordinaries come from the pattern made by material reinforcing of the shield.
  • The fact that saints don't appear seems to be given undue emphasis. I belive, though I am not certain, that figures of any sort on the shield are rare in English heraldry, tough of course they appear as supporters, and occasionally in crests.
  • Ascribing meanings to particular charges should be done with caution.
  • What does it mean that the arms of the Earl of Warwick use almost all typical forms of heraldry in England?
  • The Bayeux tapestry is usually used as evidence that heraldry post-dated this period, since the shields depicted do not bear heraldic designs.
  • the high price results in applications mainly from Lords and Knights.[17] The reference for this is 'The College of arms website' (i.e. just plain text, not even a URL to the page) Such a statement requires a source. I don't believe this to be the case, though of course newly-created peers are likely to be well represented.
  • I don't think the table showing all of the Princes' and Princesses' arms is necessary, especially since they are contained in another article. (It takes up ~20% of the article on my screen!) One would be sufficient to give the idea, especially since they are all just the Royal arms with a label.
  • I also don't think the Order of the Garter needs to be singled out here. All the orders are pretty much the same, heraldically speaking. First level awards (KG, KT, Grand Crosses) get supporters and the right to encircle arms with the (collar and) circlet of the order. Second level awards (Knights Commander) get to encircle their arms with the circlet. Lower classes get to depict the badge. Most of the orders have a chapel where there are banners, crests and a record of past members' arms.
  • The statement in the last paragraph that Garter King of Arms was later changed to Garter Principal King of Arms is incorrect; Garter was given precedence of all English heralds when the office was created. Also, the statement He (for Knights are always men, except the Sovereign) is confusing; He apparently refers to Garter. Garter is not necessarily a member of the Order or a Knight (and the Order has admitted Ladies since 1987).

I hope these remarks and the draft are of some use. Dr pda (talk) 10:48, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the input, and the draft, which I will try to incorporate where possible. Most of what you say is correct, but I had reasons for these assertions, which may be useful in deciding the article's content:
  • It became distinct from Welsh heraldry and Scottish heraldry from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
What I meant was before this time, one could travel between the countries without noticing a difference in heraldic styles, where they existed. After there were, and continue to be, noticeable differences.
    • burgher arms of individuals in England - there was a definite problem up to the 15th century with the 'urban middle class' granting themselves arms, which was seen as a problem by the crown and the existing heraldic authorities. I will get a source if you wish.
  • Greco-roman, it is my belief that some design were influenced by this, but by all accounts it's overstated in the article. I will change it.
  • Saints is noted because of the contrast: to my knowlege, Saints are the most common humans 'on the continent' and so there lack is more notable than the lack of soldier/sailor/tinker/tailor etc. Maybe reworded?
  • With the Bayeux tapestry, I think it's a matter of opinion - for me, that represents the start of herladry, particularly the'use' part of identification on the battlefield. I think someone other than me might want to look at that.
  • The fact the College of arms is plain text is that it's a reference at the bottom - looking through the list of 'newly created arms' on the site, based on my assuption that those that are granted arms (by becoming a member of an order, say) do not need to pay (I may be wrong) of 6 (or 7 if my assumption is wrong) three are Lords or Knights. This is dangerously close to original research, however, so I will find a better source for this statement.
  • The problem with cutting down other Royal arms is that choosing which ones to include - but I will press ahead in doing this.
  • The Order of the Garter was only singled out because 1) there's more information on WP about it; 2) it's head is ex officio head of the College of Arms; 3) It's probably the most common to see in historical arms (inc. Sovereign's) - so my conclusion is that it should be prioritised, but there should be a more general section on orders, in which the Garter should be included.
  • First point: I may well be wrong.(ADDITION: It seems it is simply a difference in name: many books and Garter Principal King of Arms call it that; the College without the Principal, here) Secondly, He refers to the Garter Principal King of Arms - if it's unclear, someone else should reword it because I can't see what's wrong myself (not that that means there isn't anything unclear).
I don't think there is an over-reliance on those older works, because most of what they describe was historical even then; they were very well researched and acclaimed (not to mention the basis of many books between then and now). If anyone has additional sources add them :) (and I will try, but books by Boutell and Fox-Davies make up most of the authoritive heraldry section in my local library). Well, enough talking for now - Jarry1250 (t, c) 17:27, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Re English/Scottish/Welsh etc, there are two points here. 1) When it first developed heraldry was pretty uniform over most of Europe, and national styles subsequently developed. 2)The heraldry of the component nations of the United Kingdom is different because these were independent countries in the heyday of heraldry. I think you're getting at the first, whereas I was getting at the second. Both should probably be mentioned; currently this statement only appears in the lead, not in the body of the article, which is a no-no per WP:LEAD
  • I agree that there were lots of self-assumed arms both before and after the visitations. I don't think they were restricted to the urban middle class. The term 'burgher arms' is not normally used in reference to English heraldry (In fact the first paragraph of that article makes this assertion, though unfortunately unsourced). Perhaps this is because in English heraldry arms were not restricted to the nobility, but were allowed to gentlemen as well.
  • The saints bit should probably be reworded. The phrase Although England continues to be an officially Christian country should be dropped, as it implies that the failure to represent saints in heraldry is related to the current religious life of the country. In fact this feature of heraldic style would have developed when England was "more Christian" than today, and as we seem to agree is not restricted only to saints.
  • There are a number of theories on the origins of heraldry; this article should not place undue emphasis on one.
  • My point was not so much that the link was plain text (though most articles will give the full reference to a website in the notes, and indeed this is done for other websites in this article), but that the link given,, was only to the homepage of the site, not to a page which supports the claim being made. In fact the claim "high price results in applications mainly from Lords and Knights" is OR. Your assumption that "those that are granted arms (by becoming a member of an order, say) do not need to pay" is not borne out by anything I have ever read. Appointment to an order may give a person certain heraldic privileges (supporters etc), but they don't automatically get given arms; they have to apply for them if they want them and don't have them. In addition, the page you base your claim on has seven coats of arms covering a four year period. This is not an exhaustive record; I believe the number of coats of arms granted per year is of the order of 100, thus 7 out of 400 is too small a sample to be basing any conclusions on. Furthermore there is no indication on this page that cost is a factor.
  • Since the office's creation, Garter has always been the principal King of Arms. Sometimes the office is referred to as Garter Principal King of Arms, sometimes merely as Garter King of Arms. The office didn't later change. Secondly the phrase which was confusing was for Knights are always men, except the Sovereign. This phrase appears to be referring to Garter, and to justify the fact that a male pronoun is used. Garter King of Arms is an official of the Order of the Garter; he is not one of the 24 Companions of the Order, therefore he is not necessarily a knight at all. Also, even if he were to be one of the Companions, ladies have been eligible to be appointed such since 1987, so this wouldn't necessarily make the holder of the office of Garter male either. I think it would be best just to drop this clause.
  • Yes a lot of heraldry was historical even 100 years ago, but I remember reading that some of the theories of earlier heraldic writers are no longer regarded as correct. I think I was mainly concerned that some of the issues I originally noted were a result of relying on older sources, though looking at the article again this seems not so much to be the case. In terms of other references, have a look at the ones I used in my draft. Dr pda (talk) 10:51, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think's there's enough of an agreement here to change the article suitably (can't do it tonight, maybe tommorrow, or someoneelse can, obviously). - Jarry1250 (t, c) 17:46, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


User:Grandiose2 added a phrase:

The heraldic eagle, while common on the European continent and particularly in Germany, is rare in English heraldry, to the extent they were often associated with Germamic links.

This seems to mean: The eagle is so rare in English heraldry that it is likely to be understood as an allusion to Germany. There's a citation to Boutell (1914), p.72; I'd like to know exactly what it says, as the edition of 1978 (Brooke-Little) says nothing of the sort. —Tamfang (talk) 21:16, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

It's on page 92, not 72, and it says "the eagle appears in the earliest English Rolls and examples of Arms. The Royal bird, however, does not occur in English blazon so frequently as the Lion; and his appearance often denotes an alliance with German princes." Wilhelm_meis (talk) 04:55, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
That's what I read and led me to using it as a citation. I really wanted to simply confirm the first bit, but that wasn't stated clearly enough in the source. Thanks for correcting! :) Grandiose2 (me,talk,contribs) 09:51, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

what does it all mean[edit]

Like many countries' heraldry, there is a classical influence within English heraldry, such as designs originally on Greek and Roman pottery.

Like what? Can we drop this sentence?

Representations in person of Saints or other figure are very rare .... Although many places have dropped such iconography, the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone, London, includes a rendering of the Virgin Mary, although this is never stated. This is also the case in many other examples, particularly those depicting Christ, to remove religious complications.

This passage would be clearer if it stated how such charges are blazoned.

[Lions] are considered a symbol of the Sun and associated with life.

Source? —Tamfang (talk) 17:28, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

The first part I did have a source for, one of the Victorian magni opi, but I can't remember. It doesn't really add much, though, so it can go. The second I agree. The third's baseless guesswork. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 17:36, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
magna operaopus is a consonant-stem neuter, like corpus, genus, onus; early Latin would have opos, oposa. —Tamfang (talk) 17:55, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Should have checked that, but as you can tell from the brevity of my response, I was in a rush. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:09, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Royal Arms[edit]

there is a claim that they follow English traditions, when in many cases they do not. They have their own traditions, and princesses don't seem to impale their arms. (talk) 06:47, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Coat of arms of the British Royal Family[edit]

The table entitled "Children and grandchildren of the monarch in the male line" includes two people who are not descendants of the current monarch (The Duke of Gloucester & The Duke of Kent). (Similar comments apply to "Main article: Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom#Other variants".) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

"of a monarch", then. —Tamfang (talk) 02:20, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

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'English' Heraldry from Scottish Sources.

The Falkirk Roll and the Caerlavarock Poem are cited as sources of English heraldry, but Falkirk and Caerlavarock are in Scotland. so are presumably sources of Scottish, not English, heraldry. Barney Bruchstein (talk) 18:40, 24 April 2017 (UTC)