Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander" The word, in its most general sense, encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and heraldic badges.
Historically, it has been variously described as "the shorthand of history" and "the floral border in the garden of history". The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel helmets. Eventually a formal system of rules developed into ever more complex forms of heraldry.
Though the practice of heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world still make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. Heraldic societies exist to promote education and understanding about the subject.
- Canada: Canadian Heraldic Authority
- England, Wales, etc.: The College of Arms
- Ireland: Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland
- Scotland Court of the Lord Lyon
- South Africa: South African Bureau of Heraldry
- France: Conseil Français d'Héraldique
- France: Société Française d'Héraldique et de Sigillographie
- United States: The American College of Heraldry
- United States: American Heraldry Society
- United States: The Augustan Society
- See related project: Heraldic Visitations of England and Wales
- Stowe Armorial. The Stowe Armorial is the centrepiece of the Gothic Library at Stowe, commissioned by George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham. It shows the 719 quarterings of the Temple, Nugent, Brydges, Chandos and Grenville families, including ten variations of the English Royal arms, the arms of Spencer, De Clare, Valence, Mowbray, Mortimer and De Grey.
Heraldic fraud may either mean, to falsely claim the right to a coat of arm you don't have the right to or to falsely claim someone else has that right and thereby selling heraldic art to him which he has no right to. Both can be seen as a kind of fraud and an infringement on intellectual property rights.
According to the Law of Arms in most heraldic jurisdictions, usage of a pre-existing coat of arms must be predicated on some form of relation. Typically, inheritance of arms flows through the male line though in many traditions, it may flow through the female line as well.
Source: Wikipedia: Heraldic Fraud
In heraldry, a bucket shop is a company that will sell a coat of arms associated with the customer's surname, regardless of whether the customer can actually claim a relation to the original armiger. Bucket shops may work from a database of surnames and shields sourced from manuscripts, armorials and various journals.
"And when we too on earth are known / But by our 'scutcheons 'graved in stone, / Still in the kingdom without end / May our pursuit of arms extend / To mystic forms and figures bright / With hues unknown to mortal sight-- / The banners of celestial hosts / Streaming o'er radiant seas and coasts. / Any may we learn each several sign / Of the seraphic orders nine, / And know by pinion, robe and star / Which thrones, which powers, which virtues are; / And see the wingèd Man on Zion / Guardant, with Eagle, Ox and Lion; / And at the last, by royal grace, / In all its glory dare to face / The achievement of the Heavenly King, / And hear the herald angels sing. -- C. W. Scott-Giles, Motley Heraldry (1962).
- Bogus Heraldry. The Genealogical Magazine, Volume 5. Elliot Stock., 1902