What is heraldry?

  •  Symbols have been used to identify family, tribe, and nation for thousands of years.
  • Heraldry appears to have begun in Europe in the twelfth century. It spread rapidly, first among the major and minor nobility, and later among the clergy, merchants and tradesmen.
  • The chief purpose is identification, so it was used on shields, banners and to mark fixed and portable property.
  • It was used on seals to authenticate documents.
  • Initially there was no control over the adoption or use of arms.
  • In England and in Scotland, the most senior heralds, the Kings Of Arms, were delegated Royal authority to be the sole legitimate sources of arms.