Arthur Charles Fox-Davies.

Heraldic badges online

. (page 1 of 8)
Online LibraryArthur Charles Fox-DaviesHeraldic badges → online text (page 1 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Heraldic Badges










Photo. Spoo>ier.\

Fig. I.

A Beefeater (Tower of London) in his full-dress uniform, showing the
ancient method of wearing the badge.



OF Lincoln's inn, barrister-at-law

.-', ' '» '


jjj, J ••■•,' '

' > > J > , >> J * » 3






R 19J5 L







» » > J
1 > >>.



1. A Beefeater (Tower of London) In his full-dress uni-

form, showing the ancient method of wearing the
badge ....... Frontispiece


2. The Badge of England, from the Royal Warrant . 22

3. The Badge of Scotland, from the Royal Warrant . 22

4. The Badge of Ireland, from the Royal Warrant . . 22

5. The second Badge of Ireland, from the Royal War-

rant 22

6. The (floral) Badge of the United Kingdom, from the

Royal Warrant . . . . . . .22

7. The second Badge of the United Kingdom, from the

Royal Warrant . . . . . . .22

8. The Badge of Wales, from the Royal Warrant . . 22

9. The Badge of the Heir -Apparent to the British

Throne ........ 22

10. The Arms of William (Stafford-Howard), Earl of

Stafford, from the Patent of ExempHfication . . 38

1 1 . The Eighteen Stafford Badges, as exemplified in the

same document ...... 40 and 41

12. The Arms, Crest, and Badge of Thomas (de Mowbray),

Duke of Norfolk 46

13. The Seal of James II. for the Duchy of Lancaster,

showing the ostrich-feather badge .... 50

14. The "Shield for Peace" of the Black Prince . . 52

15. The famous Broom-cod (Planta genista) Badge, from

which the name of the dynasty was derived . . 52

16. The " Rose-en-solell," the favourite badge of King

Edward IV. ........ 52


List of Illustrations



17. A Badge of Henry VIII. and Queen Mary, being a

combination of the Tudor Rose and the Pome-
granate of Queen Katharine of Aragon, as depicted
on the Westminster Tournament Roll ... 52

18. The Star and Crescent Badge, used by King Richard I

and King John ......

19. The favourite badges of Henry VII., viz. {a) the

" Sun-burst " of Windsor, and the " Portcullis "

20. The " Ape's Clog," the badge of the Duke of Suffolk

21. The "Salet," a badge of Thomas (Howard), Duke of


22. The "Stafford Knot," a badge of the Lords Stafford

23. The "Wake Knot," sometimes called the "Ormonde


24. The " Bourchier Knot," the badge of that family

25. The "Heneage Knot," the badge of that family

26. The "Lacy Knot," the badge of that family

27. The "Harington Knot," the badge of that family

28. The "Suffolk Knot," the badge of John (De la Pole),

Duke of Suffolk, from MS. Ashmole, 1121, f. 105 56

29. The " Bowen Knot " .... . . 56

30. The Standard of Henry (Percy), 6th Earl of Northum-

berland ........

31. The Dacre Badge ......

32. The Badge of Daubeney of Cote

33. The Badge of Dodsley .....

34. A design from "Prince Arthur's Book," showing

badges, viz. the "Sun-burst," Fleur-de-lis, and
Ostrich Feather . . . . ' . -96

35. A design from "Prince Arthur's Book," showing the

following badges of King Edward IV., viz. the
" Rose-en-soleil," the Fleur-de-lis, the Sun in
Splendour, and the White Lion of March . .108




List of Illastrations


36. A design from "Prince Arthur's Book," showing the

cross of St. George, the Bohun swan, and the
Fleur-de-lis . . . . . . . .108

37. A design from "Prince Arthur's Book," showing badges

of King Henry VIL, viz. the Cross of St. George,
the "Tudor Rose,'' the "Dragon," the " Sun-burst,"
the Fleur-de-lis, the " Greyhound," and " Portcullis " 112

38. The King's Cypher . . . . . . .13^

39. Badge of Lord Hastings, being a combination of the

Hungerford "Sickle" and the Peverel "Garb" . 132

40. A badge of the Earls of Oxford . . . . .132

41. The *' Garde-bras," the badge of Ratcliff . . .132

42. The "Drag," the Badge of the Lords Stourton . . 132

43. A Cypher of Queen Victoria, from the Royal Warrant 132

44. A Cypher of Queen Victoria, from the Royal Warrant 132

45. A design from "Prince Arthur's Book," showing a

combination of two of the badges of Richard H.,

viz. the "White Hart" and the "Sun in Splendour" 136

46. A design from " Prince Arthur's Book," showing a

combination of badges, viz. the White Lion, the
Falcon, and the Fetterlock . . . . .160




Heraldic Badges

THE exact status of the badge in this
country, to which it is peculiar, has
been very much misunderstood.
This is probably due to the fact
that the evolution of the badge was gradual,
and that its importance increased unconsciously.
Badges formerly do not appear to have ever
been made the subjects of grants pure and
simple, though grants of standards were fre-
quent, and standards often had badges thereupon.
Apart from such grants of standards, however,
the instances which can be referred to as showing
the control, or even the attempted control, by the
Crown of the use of badges are very rare indeed
in times past. As a matter of fact, the Crown
seems almost to have purposely ignored them.

Badges are not, as we know them, found in
the earliest period of heraldry, unless we are to
presume their existence from early seals, many
of which show isolated charges taken from the
arms ; for if, in the cases where such single


Heraldic Badges

charges appear upon the seals, we are to accept
those seals as proofs of the contemporary exist-
ence of those devices as heraldic badges, we
should often be led into strange conclusions.

There is no doubt that these isolated devices,
which are met with constantly at an early period,
were not only parts of arms, but were in many
cases the origin of arms, which we find later in
the use of the descendants of the same families
as those which made use of the earlier form.
Devices possessing a more or less personal and
possessive character occur in many cases before
record can be traced of the arms into which
they subsequently developed. This will be
noticed in relation to the arms of Swinton, for
example. The earliest Swinton seal shows the
isolated charge of a boar's head, whilst the
developed coat of arms was a chevron between
three such heads. If, however, these simple
devices upon seals are badges, then badges go
back to an earlier date than arms. Devices of
this kind occur many centuries before such a
thing as a heraldic shield of arms existed.

The Heraldic Badge^ as we ^know ity however,
came into general use about the reign of
Edward III. ; that is, the heraldic badge as a
separate matter, having a distinct and separate
existence in addition to the concurrent arms of


Heraldic Badges

the same person, and having at the same time a
distinctly heraldic character. But long before
that date, badges are found with an allied refer-
ence to a particular person, which very possibly
are rightly included in any enumeration of
badges. Of such a character is the badge of
the broom plant, which is found upon the tomb
of Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, from which badge
the name of the Plantagenet dynasty originated.
(Plantagenet, by the way, was not a personal
surname, but was the name of the dynasty.)
It is doubtful, however, if at that early period
there existed the opportunity for the use of
heraldic badges. But, nevertheless, as far back
as the reign of Richard I. — and some writers
would take examples of a still more remote
period — these badges were depicted upon flags,
for Richard I. appears to have had a dragon
upon one of his standards.

These decorations of flags, which at a later
date have been often accepted as badges, can
hardly be quite properly so described, for there
are many cases where no other proof of usage
can be found, and there is no doubt that many
cases of this nature are instances of no more
than banners prepared for specific purposes ;
and the record of such and such a banner cannot
necessarily carry proof that the owner of the


Heraldic Badges

banner claimed or used the objects depicted
thereupon as personal badges. If they are to
be so included, some individuals must have
revelled in a multitude of badges.

But the difficulty in deciding the point very
greatly depends upon the definition of the term
" badge ; " and if we are to determine the
definition to accord with the manner of the
usage at the period when the use of badges was
greatest, then many of the earliest cannot be
considered as coming within the limits.

In later Plantagenet days, badges were of
considerable importance, and certain cha-
racteristics are plainly marked. Badges were
never worn by the owner — in the sense in
which he carried his shield, or bore his crest ;
they were his sign-mark indicative of owner-
ship ; they were stamped upon his belongings
in the same way in which Government property
is marked with the broad arrow ; and they were
worn by his servants. They were ordinarily
and regularly worn by his retainers, and very
probably also worn more or less temporarily by
adherents of his party, if he were big enough to
lead a party in the State. And at all times
badges had very extensive decorative use.

There was never any fixed form for the
badge ; there was never any fixed manner of


Heraldic Badges

usage. I can find no fixed laws of inheritance,
no common method of assumption. In fact,
the use of a badge, in the days when everybody
who was anybody possessed arms, was quite
subsidiary to that of the arms, and very much
akin to the manner in which nowadays mono-
grams are made use of At the same time, care
must be taken to distinguish the " badge " from
the "rebus," and also from the temporary devices
which we read about as having been so often
adopted for the purpose of the tournament
when the combatant desired his identity to be

Modern novelists and poets give us plenty
of illustrations of the latter kind, but proof of
the fact even that they were ever adopted in
that form is by no means easy to find, though
their professedly temporary nature of course
militates against the likelihood of contemporary
record. The rebus had never any heraldic status,
and it had seldom more than a temporary exist-
ence. A fanciful device adopted (we hear of
many such instances) for the temporary purpose
of a tournament could generally be so classed,
but the rebus proper was some device, usually
a pictorial rendering of the name of the person
for whom it stood. In such a category would
also be included many if not most printers' and


Heraldic Badges

masons' marks ; but probably the definition of
Dr. Johnson of the word " rebus," as a word
represented by a picture, is as good a definition
and description as can be given. The rebus in
its nature is a different thing from a badge, and
may best be described as a pictorial signature,
the most frequent occasion for its use being in
architectural surroundings, where it was con-
stantly introduced as a pun upon some name
which it was desired to perpetuate. The best-
known and perhaps the most typical and cha-
racteristic rebus is that of Islip, the builder of
part of Westminster Abbey. Here the pictured
punning representation of his name had nothing
to do with his armorial bearings or personal
badge ; but the great difficulty, in dealing with
both badge and rebus, is the difficulty of
knowing which is which, for very frequently
the same or a similar device was used for both
purposes. Parker, in his glossary of heraldic
terms, gives several typical examples of rebuses
which very aptly illustrate their status and

At Lincoln College, Oxford, and on other
buildings connected with Thomas Beckynton,
Bishop of Bath and Wells, will be found carved
the rebus of a beacon issuing from a tun. This
is found in conjunction with the letter T for


Heraldic Badges

the Christian name, Thomas. Now, this design
was not his coat of arms, and was not his crest,
nor was it his badge. Another rebus which is
found at Canterbury shows an ox and the letters
N E as the rebus of John Oxney. A rebus
which indicates Thomas Conyston, Abbot of
Cirencester, which can be found in Gloucester
Cathedral, is a comb and a tun ; and the printer's
mark of Richard Grifton, which is a good ex-
ample of a rebus and its use, was a tree (a graft)
growing on a tun. In none of these cases do
the designs mentioned form any part of the
arms, crest, or badge of the person mentioned.
Rebuses of this character abound on all our
ancient buildings, and their use has lately come
very prominently into favour in connection with
the many allusive book-plates, the designs of
which originate in some play upon the name.

The words " device," " ensign," and " cogni-
zance" have no definite heraldic meaning, and
are used impartially to apply to the crest, the
badge, and sometimes to the arms upon the
shield, so that they may be eliminated from
consideration. There remain, therefore, the
crest and the badge between which to draw a
definite line of distinction. The real difference
lay in the method of use, though there is a
difference of form, recognizable by an expert,

17 B

Heraldic Badges

but difficult to describe. The crest was the
ornament upon the helmet, seldom if ever
actually worn, and never used except by the
person to whom it belonged. The badge, on
the other hand, was never placed upon the
helmet, but was worn by the servants and
retainers, and was used right and left on the
belongings of the owner as a sign of his owner-
ship. So great and extensive at one period was
the use of these badges, that they were far more
generally employed than either arms or crest ;
and whilst the knowledge of a man's badge or
badges would be everyday knowledge and com-
mon repute throughout the kingdom, few people
would know a man's crest, fewer still would ever
have seen it worn.

It is merely an exaggeration of the difficulty
that we are always in uncertainty whether any
given device was merely a piece of decoration
borrowed from the arms or crest, or whether
it had continued usage as a badge. In the same
way, many families who had never used a crest,
but who had used badges, took the opportunity
of the Visitations to record their badges as crests.
A notable example of the subsequent record of
a badse as a crest is met with in the Stourton
family. Their crest, originally a buck's head,
but after the marriage with the heiress of Le


Heraldic Badges

Moigne, a demi-monk, can be readily substan-
tiated, as can their badge of the "drag," or
sledge. At one of the Visitations, however, a
cadet of the Stourton family recorded the sledge
as a crest.

Uncertainty also arises from the lack of
precision in the diction employed at all periods,
the words "badge," "device," and "crest"
having so often been used interchangeably.

Another difficulty which is met with in regard
to badges is that, with the exception of the
extensive records of the Royal badges and some
other more or less informal lists of badges of the
principal personages at different periods, badges
were never a subject of official record. Whilst
it is difficult to determine the initial point as to
whether any particular device is a badge or not,
the difficulty of deducing rules concerning badges
becomes practically impossible, and after most
careful consideration I have come to the con-
clusion that there never were any hard-and-fast
rules relating to badges ; that they were originally,
and were allowed to remain, matters of personal
fancy ; and that although well-known cases can
be found where the same badge has been used
generation after generation, those cases may
perhaps be the exception rather than the rule.
Badges should be considered and accepted in the


Heraldic Badges

general run as not being matters of permanence,
and as of little importance except during the time
from about the reign of Edward III. to about the
reign of Henry VIII. Their principal use upon
the clothes of the retainers came to an end by
the creation of the standing army, the begin-
ning of which can be traced to the reign of
Henry VIII., and as badges never had any
ceremonial use to perpetuate their status, their
importance almost ceased altogether at that
period, except as regards the Royal Family.

Speaking broadly, regularized and recorded
heraldic control as a matter of operative fact
dates little, if any, further back than the end of
the reign of Henry VIII., consequently badges
originally do not appear to have been taken
much cognizance of by the heralds. Their
actual use from that period onwards rapidly
declined, and hence the absence of record.

Though the use of badges has become very
restricted, there are still one or two occasions
on which badges are used as badges in the
style formerly in vogue. Perhaps the case
which is most familiar is to be found in the use
of the broad arrow which marks Government
stores. It is a curious commentary upon heraldic
officialdom and its ways that, though this is the
only badge which has really any extensive use, it


Heraldic Badges

is not a Crown badge in any degree. Although
this origin has been disputed, it is said to have
originated in the fact that one of the Sydney
family, when Master of the Ordnance, to prevent
disputes as to the stores for which he was re-
sponsible, marked everything with his private
badge of the broad arrow, and this private badge
has since remained in constant use. One won-
ders at what date the officers of His Majesty
will observe that this has become one of His
Majesty's recognized badges, and will include
it with the other Royal badges in the warrants in
which they are recited. Already more than two
centuries have passed since it first came into
use, and either they should represent to the
Government that the pheon is not a Crown
mark, and that some recognized Royal badge
should be used in its place, or else they should
place its status upon a definite footing.

Another instance of a badge used at the
present day in the ancient manner is the con-
joined rose, thistle, and shamrock, which is
embroidered front and back upon the tunics of
the Beefeaters and the Yeomen of the Guard
(Fig. i). The crowned harps which are worn
by the Royal Irish Constabulary are another
instance of the kind, but though a certain
number of badges are recited in the warrant


Heraldic Badges

each time any alteration or declaration of the
Royal arms occurs, their use has now become
very limited. Present badges are the crowned
rose for England (Fig. 2), the crowned thistle
for Scotland (Fig. 3), and the crowned trefoil
(Fig. 4)5 and the crowned harp for Ireland
(Fig. 5) ; whilst for the Union there is the
conjoined rose, thistle, and shamrock under the
crown (Fig. 6), and the crowned shield which
carries the device of the Union Jack (Fig. 7).
The badge of Wales, which has existed for long
enough, is the uncrowned dragon upon a mount
vert (Fig. 8) ; and the crowned cyphers, one
within and one without the garter, are also
depicted upon the warrant. These badges,
which appear on the Sovereign's warrant, are
never assigned to any other member of the
Royal Family, of whom the Prince of Wales
is the only one who rejoices in the possession
of officially assigned badges. The badge of
the eldest son of the Sovereign, as such, and
not as Prince of Wales, is the plume of three
ostrich feathers, enfiled with the circlet from
his coronet (Fig. 9). Recently an additional
badge (on a mount vert, a dragon passant gules,
charged on the shoulder with a label of three
points argent) has been assigned to His Royal
Highness. This action was taken with the


Fig. 4.

Fig. 5.

Fig, 3.

Fig. 6.
United Kingdom.

Fig. 8.

Fig. 7. Fig. 9.

United Kingdom. Heir-


Badges of the Sovereign, etc., from the Royal Warrants.

NEW York:


Heraldic Badges

desire in some way to gratify the forcibly
expressed wishes of Wales, and it is probable
that, the precedent having been set, it will be
assigned to all those who may bear the title of
the Prince of Wales in future.

The only instances I am personally aware of,
in which a real badge of ancient origin is still
worn by the servants, are the cases of the State
liveries of the Earl of Yarborough, whose ser-
vants wear an embroidered buckle, and of Lord
Mowbray and Stourton, whose servants wear
an embroidered sledge (Fig. 42). The family
of Daubeney of Cote still bear the old Dau-
beney badge (Fig. 32) ; Lord Stafford still uses
his "Stafford knot" (Fig. 22). I believe the
servants of Lord Braye still wear the badge of
the hemp-brake, and those of the Earl of
Loudoun wear the Hastings maunch ; and
doubtless there are a few other instances.
When the old families were becoming greatly
reduced in number, and the nobility and the
upper classes were being recruited from families
of later origin, the wearing of badges, like so
much else connected with heraldry, became lax
in its practice.

The servants of all the great nobles in ancient
days appear to have worn the badges of their
masters in a manner similar to the use of the


Heraldic Badges

Royal badge by the Yeomen of the Guard,
although sometimes the badge was embroidered
upon the sleeve ; and the wearing of the badge
by the retainers was the chief and principal use
to which badges were anciently put. Nisbet
alludes on this point to a paragraph from the
Act for the Order of the Riding of Parliament
in 1 68 1, which says that "the noblemen's
lacqueys may have over their liveries velvet
coats with their badges, i.e. their crests and
mottoes done on plate, or embroidered on the
back and breast conform to ancient custom."
A curious survival of these plates is to be
found in the large silver plaques worn by so
many bank messengers.

Badges appear, however, to have been fre-
quently depicted seme upon the lambrequins of
armorial achievements, as will be seen from
many of the Old Garter plates ; but here,
again, it is not always easy to distinguish be-
tween definite badges and artistic decoration,
nor between actual badges in use and mere
appropriately selected charges from the shield.

The water-bougets of Lord Berners ; the knot
of Lord Stafford, popularly known as " the
Stafford knot;" the Harington fret; the ragged
staff or the bear and the ragged staff of Lord
Warwick (this being really a conjunction of


Heraldic Badges

two separate devices) ; the rose of England,
the thistle of Scotland, and the sledge of
Stourton ; the hemp-brake of Lord Braye,
wherever met with, are all readily recognized as
badges ; but there are many badges which it is
difficult to distinguish from crests, and even
some which in all respects would appear to be
more correctly regarded as arms.

It is a point worthy of consideration whether
or not a badge needs a background ; here, again,
it is a matter most difficult to determine, but it
is singular that in any matter of record the badge
is almost invariably depicted upon a background,
either of a standard or a mantling, or upon the
"field " of a roundel ; and it may well be that
their use in such circumstances as the two cases
first mentioned, may have only been considered
correct when the colour of the mantling or the
standard happened to be the right colour for
the background of the badge.

Badges are most usually met with in stained
glass upon roundels of some colour or colours,
and though one would hesitate to assert it as an
actual fact, there are many instances which would
lead one to suppose that the background of a
badge was usually the livery colour or colours
of its then owner, or of the family from which it
was originally inherited. Certain is it that there


Heraldic Badges

are very few contemporary instances of badges
which, when emblazoned, are not upon the
known livery colours ; and, if this fact be ac-
cepted, then one is perhaps justified in assuming

1 3 4 5 6 7 8

Online LibraryArthur Charles Fox-DaviesHeraldic badges → online text (page 1 of 8)