GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-09 > 1031468469
From: James Dempster <>
Subject: Re: arms without knighthood?
Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 08:01:09 +0100
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On Sat, 07 Sep 2002 22:32:07 GMT, "D. Stussy"
>On Sat, 7 Sep 2002, Chris Phillips wrote:
>>> I don't think a knighthood is a prerequisite for the grant of a shield or
>>> coat of arms, and certainly not for those who are entitled to use the
>>Yes, I think that's quite correct. Knights certainly had the right to bear
>>coats of arms, but so did many others who were not knights.
A very quick look at source material will show this. XY, Miles or Sir
XY, Knight means that XY is a knight, XY, Scutifer or XY, Armiger
means that XY was armigerous but not a knight. It's also worth
remembering that in documents in English or Scots Sir XY without the
qualifier "Knight" *might* be a cleric. the qualifiers are useful but
their lack does not imply a lack of the dignity. Thus XY, Scutifer
implies that XY was armigerous (or believed himself to be so) whereas
a description of him as XY does not necessarily imply that he was not.
>Note also that this will depend on the country. Different countries had
>different rules regarding arms and who may use.
That's true, but generally arms in England have had connections with
higher status that are not always helpful. In mainland Europe there
was often acceptance of a broader group of people using arms.
Burgher arms are quite common, especially in the Low Countries and
there are even places (Pastoureau mentions Normandy and Flanders)
where peasants used arms.
Michel Pastoureau in "Heraldry, Its Origins & Meaning" gives the
following list for adoption of arms by various groups.
Women 1180 (sometimes earlier)
Patricians & Bourgeois c1220
Towns (end 12th century)
Civic & Religious Communities (late 13th & early 14th century).
Obviously this does not mean a uniform acceptance across Europe and
things will vary from place to place.
James Dempster ()
You know you've had a good night
when you wake up
and someone's outlining you in chalk.