coat of arms.The use of armorial bearings spread rapidly thereafter through all grades of feudal rank above squire. Private assumption of arms became so common that Henry V forbade it, and on the chartering of the Heralds' College in 1483 the regulations pertaining to heraldry were placed in the hands of the Garter King-of-Arms. Arms were borne by families, corporations, guilds, religious houses, inns of court, colleges, boroughs and cities, and kingdoms. In the United States the seals and insignia of colleges, cities, and the like are examples of the persistence of the heraldic tradition. For methods and conventions of displaying armorial bearings, see blazonry .
See A. R. Wagner, Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages (2d ed. 1956) C. Boutell, Manual of Heraldry (1863 rev. ed. by J. P. Brooke-Little, 1970) S. Friar, The Dictionary of Heraldry (1987) T. Woodcock and J. Robinson, The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (1988).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Heraldry, Knighthood, and Chivalry
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