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Title: The Dates of Variously-shaped Shields - With Coincident Dates and Examples
Author: Grazebrook, George
Language: English
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(Hewitt's _Ancient Arms and Armour_, vol. ii, p. 496).

  _See page 60._]

                   *       *       *       *       *

                             THE DATES OF
                       VARIOUSLY-SHAPED SHIELDS,
                         WITH COINCIDENT DATES
                             AND EXAMPLES.


                       FROM A PAPER READ BEFORE
                        THE HISTORIC SOCIETY OF
                       LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.

                        Ἀνεδέχθη μὲν γὰρ ἄσπις.

                          (_Herod._ vi. 124.)

                       GEORGE GRAZEBROOK, F.S.A.


                   *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: T. BRAKELL, TYP., LIVERPOOL.]



In venturing to place before the public this little work--which
takes up a line of enquiry never before attempted,--I would solicit
criticism, not of that slashing condemnatory kind which destroys a
statement without pointing out its correction;--that would only break
my head, and make no one the wiser!--but I hope that antiquaries who
have more knowledge than I, may, when pointing out errors, also explain
what such statements ought to be, and give exact references in proof.

With the help of such criticism (and the more severe, the more valuable
it will be) I trust that another perfected issue, by myself, or by some
other more qualified writer, may eventually appear as a handbook--most
useful to the student, the antiquary, and the traveller.

It is now a subject for much regret to all of us that the great
knowledge of seals (the chief source of evidence as to ancient shields)
acquired by the late Mr. Albert Way, F.S.A., and by the late Mr.
Charles Spencer Perceval, F.S.A., has passed away with them, never
having been recorded; and it seems very desirable that a classified
body of such knowledge should be drawn up and available--enabling us
to date with some certainty (within the limit of a few years) seals
pendant to undated charters, stone carvings on ancient buildings, and
illustrations in MSS., which are now labelled "_circa_."

In the course of my researches I have noticed a number of cases
where incorrect dates have been _supposed_,--and from some of these
deductions have been drawn, which are consequently all wrong.

In the following treatise each century from the eleventh to the
fifteenth is separately dealt with; after that date the nomenclature of
shields devised by my friend Mr. J. Paul Rylands, F.S.A., is followed,
and the earliest and latest examples found of each shape adduced,--thus
showing the range of time when that variety was most commonly in use.
References are given for every statement.

Mantlings, torces, wreaths, palm branches, and other adjuncts are
discussed under their several headings--with descriptions and dates of
any varieties found.

In conclusion a concise index is given, which, it is hoped,
sufficiently focuses the whole book for ready reference.




It seems necessary, by way of introduction, to say a few words on the
circular convex shields used from very early times by our Saxon and
Norman ancestors. These were of wood, with a central boss of bronze,
and were sometimes of very large size; frequently, if we may judge from
contemporaneous illuminations, as much as four feet in diameter. Across
the inside of the boss a handle was fixed, and the shields, which were
thus held out almost at arm's length, as represented in many ancient
MSS., must have been most cumbersome. It is hard to see how the sword
or lance could have been conveniently used. The round shape must have
interfered greatly with the view of one's opponent, and a bungler would
inevitably slice pieces from off his own shield while attacking his
enemy. Moreover, such shields must have been lightly made: we know
exactly how the bosses were fastened with rivets through the shield,
for they are constantly found in Anglo-Saxon grave mounds, and the wood
is thus known to have been of some thickness. But we can obtain from
contemporary writings many more particulars.

By the laws of Gula [said to have been established by Hacon the Good,
who died 963] any possessor of six marks was required to furnish
himself with a _red_ shield, of two boards in thickness, a spear, and
an axe or a sword.

In the history of the same king [_Heimskringla_, vol. i, p. 155] he is
thus described: "he put on his tunic of mail (brynio), girded round
him his sword called quern-bit [_i.e._, millstone-biter], and set on
his head his gilded helmet. He took a spear in his hand, and hung his
shield _by his side_."

Again, in the same book [_Heimskringla_, ii, 352], in the description
of the Battle of Sticklastad, where Olaf King of Norway, called "the
Saint," was slain 1030, the monarch is said to have worn a golden
helmet, a white shield, a golden hilted and exceedingly sharp sword,
and a tunic of ringed mail ("hringa brynio").

Again, in the _Edda Gunnar_ one of the Reguli of Germany says, "My
helmet and my _white_ shield come from the Hall of Kiars."

These quotations are hardly sufficient evidence of it perhaps, but it
seems as if in the tenth century _white_ shields were borne by leaders
and _red_ ones by the common soldiers,--every one who possessed six

Supplementing these and completing our description, Saxon poetry
tells us that the wood was by preference the lime tree. I need not
give quotations; they will be found in the several works on ancient
arms and armour. Beowulf [line 5215] describes how Wigluf "seized his
shield--the yellow linden wood." Again, these lines occur [_Poem of
Judith_, Thorpe's _Analecta_, p. 137]:--

  "The warriors marched
  "The chieftains to the war
  "Protected with targets,
  "With arched linden shields."

It seems almost as if linden trees were cultivated with this view, for
the _Saxon Chronicle_, under anno 937, tells us how King Athelstan and
his heroes

      "the board walls clove,
  "And hewed the war lindens."

But certainly on one occasion remains of oak timber were found in
connection with the bronze boss of an Anglo-Saxon shield.

Occasionally rims of metal have been found with such remains, but such
protecting edgings do not seem to have been the usual custom. The laws
of Gula, quoted above, mention "two boards in thickness," that is,
glued crossways, to prevent warping or splitting. Such a formation in a
convex shield would show a very great amount of skill in the working of
wood at this early date. Leather seems to have been sometimes stretched
over the shield; because the laws of Athelstan forbade the use of
sheepskins for the purpose, under a penalty of 30s.: a very large sum.
Had skin coverings been common, remains of such skins would be found
still attached inside the bronze bosses; but only one skin-covered
shield has been found [at Linton Heath, in Cambridgeshire], and in that
the skin covered the boss also, having been stretched over the whole

Lastly, _red_ seems to have been at least a favourite colour, for
Sœmund's _Edda_ mentions a red shield with a golden border, and
Giraldus de Barri says the Irish "carried red shields, in imitation of
the Danes."

The boss was often carried out into a sharp spike, and the shield could
thus be used for offence as well as for protection. But perhaps such
points were also found of use in stopping the cut of a sword, which
might otherwise slip down the shield and find a resting-place in the
leg or other exposed part.

[Illustration: Date 1473.]

We shall see as we proceed that such circular shields or targets
constantly appear till the middle of the seventeenth century, borne by
foot soldiers, with pikes, halberds, and swords, and sometimes as large
as two feet in diameter. Frequently foot soldiers are represented with
a small target, ten or twelve inches in diameter, wherewith to receive
their opponent's cut, while the other arm wields a huge broadsword.
Such were in later times called "targetiers." Their small targets were
hooked to the side when not in use, and one is represented in 1473
which projects to a point (Hewitt, ii, 488), while others are flat and
studded with nails, or otherwise ornamented, such as appear among the
Scotch and Irish till a much later date. Small shields of a square
form, and ten inches square, were used by fencers with rapiers in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Such is a hasty sketch of the circular shields. They were used by all
ranks of the Saxon nations--among whom, of course, were those we call
Normans--to the end of the tenth century.

Fitness for the purposes of defence is the prime governing law in such
matters. We shall see this leading to many strange alterations of shape
in after centuries, and, at the date at which we have now arrived,
(the first half of the eleventh century,) a perfect revolution in the
appearance of shields took place within a space of about fifty years.

Meyrick explains how the Normans who were engaged in the conquest of
Apulia, in the south-east of Italy, about the beginning of the eleventh
century, learned there the advantages of long and narrow shields, such
as were then in use among the Sicilians, and states that about fifty
years before the battle of Hastings they received from Melo, the chief
of Barri, supplies of such vastly improved arms. The intimate relations
with Normandy at that time, and under Edward the Confessor, led to
their prompt adoption in England also; and hence in the Bayeux tapestry
kite-shaped shields No. 3 are universal among horse soldiers, both
Anglo-Saxon and Norman. Some Saxon foot soldiers bear the old round
shields, and one square-shaped one appears on that roll.

There is a very amusing picture of Harold and his companions
proceeding, in company with William of Normandy, to the conquest of
Britanny. They came to the little river Coësnon, where, the tide being
out, the river-bed was an expanse of slippery mud. The prudent ones
dismounted and led their horses across; but one horse is represented
coming down and the rider falling over his head, while his shield flies
through the air attached to his neck by the guige [Bruce's _Bayeux
Tapestry_, p. 61]. This "guige" was another most valuable improvement
which probably came from Sicily with the new shape of shields. It was a
leather strap sufficiently long to let it hang from the neck, and so,
when two hands were required to wield a battle axe or heavy weapon,
the shield could be flung loose and recovered again. I am aware that
in Cotton MS. Cleopatra, cviii, written early in the eleventh century,
a group of Saxon horsemen is represented on a journey, and the round
shield of one hangs from his back, looking like the beehive which the
knight in _Alice in Wonderland_ thought might some day prove useful. It
has, it will be seen, an absurdly awkward appearance [Hewitt, vol. i,
p. 77; Cutts, p. 313].


The principle, then, of the kite-shaped shields which we see in the
eleventh century was that, with as much compactness as possible, they
should protect the body with the wider part, while the extended point
was sufficient to defend the leg; and following so nearly the shape of
the body the knight had his sword-arm free. They seem to have been
five feet long or even more, for they served as a bier whereon to carry
away the slain or wounded.[2] It is amusing to see Goliath represented
with a kite-shaped shield, while the little David on the top of him
tries to wield his huge sword. This appears in a Latin Bible of 1170.
[Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 14789, fo. 10; engraved, Hewitt, i, 134.]


A remarkable recrudescence of old ideas both in the shapes and sizes
of shields occurs from time to time as we proceed. At times they seem
to have been nearly as much as five feet long--and then, as protective
mail became more perfect, and probably the varying style of fighting
required it, they were greatly reduced. King David and his followers
appear [Cutts, p. 335], on their expedition against Nabal, in full mail
of the end of the thirteenth century, with shields scarcely eighteen
inches long--just sufficient to prevent the point of a lance reaching
some flat or dangerous or vulnerable spot from whence it would not
readily glide off, or to receive the blows of an assailant's sword.
Nor can we suppose that one scale of size, or indeed one exact shape
of shield, reigned universal at any one period; every knight had his
own fancies as to which best suited him; and at length we find many
illuminations of the sixteenth century in which knights appear jousting
and fighting without any shields at all. They were hung up, to show
the heraldry, on their tents, and the massive body-armour alone was
considered sufficient protection.

       *       *       *       *       *

These few explanatory words are necessary to introduce upon the scene
the various shaped shields occurring during the centuries which follow.
While considering these variations we must bear in mind that they are
strongly marked into two great divisions, viz., before the sixteenth
century, when shields were in actual use and any alteration in their
outline was considered to be an improvement to meet some freshly
noticed want; this will be further referred to as instances occur.
During and after the sixteenth century, shapes were selected in an
arbitrary way, as a matter of taste alone; and hence earlier examples
were sometimes exactly adopted, while at other times details and
alterations were introduced, just to suit the fancy of the purchaser or
artist and the conventional style of the times.

As references for what has already been said, I would name the works of
Meyrick and Hewitt, Planché's work on Costume, Strutt's _Horda_, and a
learned paper on shields, by Sir Frederick Madden, in _Archæologia_,
vol. xxiv. This, although primarily discussing the chessmen found
in the Island of Lewis, contains the results of wide researches as
to shields in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. There is also a
valuable and well illustrated book, _Scenes and Characters of the
Middle Ages_, by A. L. Cutts, published by Messrs. Virtue and Co., 1872.

The principal authority for the accurate dating and classifying of
shields is the immense number of mediæval seals attached to deeds
and charters, and with dates exactly known. If it were practicable
to arrange in chronological sequence illustrations of a sufficient
number of these, we should at once have the classification of dates,
styles, and shapes, which would be so very valuable, and which it is
the attempt of this paper to display. Hence it is that to the end of
the fifteenth century seals form so large a part of the evidences
submitted. The certainty of such records is unsurpassed: we have a
parchment, itself dated, or the date of which in very early instances
can be otherwise closely ascertained; and attached to this we have a
seal with the shield; and, to make it perfectly certain, we have the
owner's name inscribed around it, and so we know he is not using some
one else's seal, found or come down to him from earlier times. Such
instances frequently occur, and are at once in this way detected. There
are instances where the same seal, acquired in early life, continued
to be used for over fifty years; but that is the extent to which such
valuable proofs can wander from the actual prevailing type and date.

Besides seals, the many invaluable illuminations in the British Museum
and Bodleian Libraries, and in the great Continental Libraries,
furnish numberless pictures of knights and their accoutrements,
contemporaneously executed, and with the most manifest exactness
in every detail. Many of these have been engraved in our popular
literature, as well as in the learned works named above; but to enable
the mind to form correct conclusions these should be all cut out and
arranged in groups of exact dates, or drawn as they are in a student's
note book.

The earlier monumental effigies afford many valuable examples of
shields, and after they cease to be represented by the side of the
figure, such often appear among the architectural details, giving the
shape of shield, with an exact date attached.

Monumental brasses give evidence to a later date, and the canopy work
introduced often carries ornamental shields.

Architectural stone carvings frequently give data of great value. I
need only refer to those put up in Westminster Abbey about 1260, which
show the exact shape and proportions of some of the shields then used,
and are represented as hanging by their "guiges" from stone projections
carved into various devices. But representations in stone and in
stained glass, especially those of later date, seem to be greatly
influenced by their surroundings, and cannot therefore be implicitly
relied on as proofs of style and date. They are often found not to
correspond exactly with other examples; indeed it is a curious fact,
which all my fellow students will vouch for, that these two--stone and
glass--seem of all materials most liable to err. The good name of many
a respectable family has been ruined by the bend sinister introduced
through the ignorant determination of some stone-carver; while in
glass, colours are altered, and impaled shields have been turned round
and so reversed; while, in the particular subject under discussion,
viz., the exact shapes of shields which obtained at various dates, we
find in both stone and glass that their shapes follow the necessities
of the rest of the design, and are made to fit into them.

[Illustration: _Plate I._


Printed books supply many shields from the end of the fifteenth
century, showing the artistic taste in such matters which prevailed
from that date to the present. Printers' marks begin still earlier,
and are often contained in shields; but these usually show a spirit of
exaggeration, and convey the impression that such would not be found
elsewhere, and hence they are not of much use to us in our present
purpose of laying down exact dates.

Grants of arms and book-plates come in to continue our information,
giving shapes and the decorations surrounding them. Book-plates are
usually efforts of art and taste at the dates when they were executed,
and these two occur just at the time when other evidences fall short,
and so they are peculiarly valuable.

In the following remarks I shall gladly avail myself of the new system
of nomenclature devised and introduced by my friend, Mr. J. Paul
Rylands, F.S.A. I welcome it as a most valuable desideratum, by means
of which I hope to make my subject intelligible. Without such a system
a still greater number of illustrations would have been required, and I
should like to bear my small testimony to its very great and, I expect,
increasing usefulness. It is not everyone who has the ready hand to
dash off the correct outline when seeking to communicate the style of a
shield, or a book-plate, and here we have a simple alphabet of shapes
which can be read and understanded of all men, and which will certainly
be found so convenient that it will come into general use.


Our examples of shields show very few varieties, nearly all seem to
follow the long kite shape or "Norman pear" Nos. 3 and 4. The great
seals of William I., William Rufus, and Henry I. all show this shield,
also that of Ilbert de Laci [_Archæological Journal_, vol. iv, p.
249], while the Bayeux tapestry, worked at the end of this century,
represents them exactly. Seeing, as we do in the seals of this date,
which mostly represented mounted horsemen, the inside only, it may be
noticed that all seem to be strengthened round their edges. In those of
William I. and Ilbert de Laci a metal rim is shown; in that of William
Rufus two of such strips, while in that of Henry I. rivets appear to
fasten a similar rim on the other side. In the Bayeux tapestry some
round shields with pointed bosses appear, and one of a square shape
rounded at the corners.


In seals the lettering of the inscriptions is in plain Roman capitals,
while longobardic letters for G E A and D appear sometimes, but in
several seals preserved from this early date the inscriptions have
unfortunately decayed away.

[Illustration: Gilbert de Gant, ob. 1156.]


exhibits several varieties of shape, Norman and the Norman convex at
the top (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4); and many of these are curved, so as to
partially surround the body. The great seal of Stephen represents a
pointed boss and a shield almost pear-shaped. One very curious seal,
that of Richard Basset, about 1145, merits a full description. He
appears bearing a kite-shaped or very elongated pear-shaped shield
(No. 3), about four feet long, and carried down to a sharp point. The
top is bi-lobed, like a heart, and it is strengthened all round by
a metal rim, while further strength is imparted by a boss or figure
like a simple escarboucle, carried out to the sides. He wields a
very powerful sword, with an extraordinarily heavy hilt, and with it
he cuts off the large duck-like beak of a formidable rampant-winged
animal like a dragon, and, apparently, thus frees a human figure held
in its beak. This curious seal is attached to a charter printed in
Blomefield's _History of Norfolk_ (see No. 44). The seal of Gilbert
de Gant, who died 1156, presents a shield more triangular than No.
2, and in the centre is a sharp pointed boss [_Top. and Gen._, i,
317]. The same boss appears in the seal of Ralph son of William, of
Dimsdale-on-Tees, 1174-80 (_Herald and Genealogist_, i, 227); also in a
good many contemporaneous seals, and it was evidently meant for use as
an offensive weapon. It is noteworthy that on the first seal of Richard
I. a spike is shown on the shield; his first coronation was in 1189. On
the second seal there is none; his second coronation took place on 17th
April, 1194. This may show the date when this fashion was discontinued.
In the seal of Sewal de Ethindon, about 1167, the curved shield of
Norman form, No. 2, runs down into a long point, somewhat twisted
round, so as to show down on the right side of the rider. It does not
protect his leg at all; in fact, the arrangement, to our eyes, seems
awkward and most embarrassing to the mounted knight (engraved Nicholas
Upton, p. 84; see No. 45). While in that of Sayer de Quinci, towards
the end of this century, a heater-pear shield No. 6 appears. This is
engraved in Spelman's _Aspilogia_, p. 67.


[Illustration: _Plate II._]



The men's seals of this date which present their shields for our
consideration usually show them on horseback, fully caparisoned; and
many interesting details of spurs, swords, and arms are represented, as
well as the furniture for their horses. We are able here to show the
two seals of Malgerus le Vavasour, 1140-50, showing heater-pear, almost
heart-shaped shields. See _Collect. Topog. et Genealog._, vol. vi, p.
127, where the deed to which these are attached is supposed to date
between 1180-6; but Malger's son, William Vavasour, was a judge 1166-84
[Itinerary of Henry II.], and Sir Robert, the grandson, paid a heavy
fine--1200 marks and two palfreys--in 9 John, 1207-8, that Maud his
daughter [and widow of Theobald Walter] might marry Fulke Fitzwarine:
we have thus no difficulty in proving that the date of this seal is
_circa_ 1140 to 1150. We also give the beautiful seal of Egidius de
Gorram, 1175-80 [_Collectanea Topog. et Genealog._, vol. v, p. 187.]
The unmounted knight is represented in scale armour, kneeling, and
holding a sort of heater-pear shield, No. 6, with a pointed boss.


The fields of seals are now quite plain, except sometimes in those of
ladies. In the first seal of Roheis de Gant, Countess of Lincoln before
1156, lilies are introduced, to fill up what would otherwise appear too
great a bare space. This is engraved in _Topog. and Genealogist_, vol.
i, p. 318.


In counterseals of this century heater shields appear such as
are common during the next century. A most curious instance of a
pear-shaped curved shield, having a bouche cut into it for the
introduction of the spear, occurs in the seal of Theodoric Count of
Flanders, 1159, who wears tegulated armour. It is engraved in Oliver
Vredius, p. 17 (see No. 46). So far as we know, this useful bouche, as
a resting place for the spear, disappeared--to crop up again, as an
improvement and novelty, in the middle of the fourteenth century.

[Illustration: Harl. MS. Y. 6. (See p. 18.)]

The marvellous set of chessmen found in the Isle of Lewis afford us
a most interesting series of shields of this century. They are fully
illustrated, _Archæologia_, vol. xxiv. They give us the long Norman
pear or kite-shaped No. 3, the Norman convex No. 4, also a flattened
convex with rounded corners, and these shields are all long and
narrow, just wide enough to cover the body. There are many instances
of exactly similar shields. In Harl. MS. 2803, a Bible, written about
1170, Goliath of Gath bears a shield exactly resembling them; and in
the most interesting monumental effigy of William, Count of Flanders,
son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, who died in 1127, engraved in Oliver
Vredius' _Seals of the Counts of Flanders, 1639_, p. 14. He apparently
was a very old man at his death. He bears a shield exactly like the
Lewis chessmen in shape, but the face of it is filled up with an
elaborate escarboucle, carried out and attached to the rim, which
wholly surrounds the shield. Shields with the flattened convex top and
rounded corners, but of much shorter proportions, occur in Harl. MS. Y.
6. (engraved Hewitt, vol. i, p. 127), written at the end of the twelfth
century, and one clearly shows the curved formation which is indicated
in numberless seals and illuminations of this date.

The inscriptions are in Latin and in longobardic characters, but Gothic
letters are sometimes alternated, while in others plain Roman capitals
still occur. I have noticed one remarkable instance of an inscription
of this century, in Norman-French, around the seal of Alanus fil.
Adam, temp. Henry II. The deed to which it is attached is printed in
_Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica_, vol. v, p. 116.


In the earliest years of this century Norman shields curved round
the body still continue; while in seals, which at this date are
our principal source of evidence, animals, such as dragons, appear
to fill up the field, and especially to support a plain shield in
large counterseals; also distinctive badges are introduced, such as
cinquefoils, estoiles, mascles, boars' heads, lions, &c.; but sometimes
in character they follow greatly the pattern obtaining at the end of
the twelfth century. "Heater-pear" No. 6 occurs, and frequently such a
shield stands in the centre of a circular seal, merely surrounded by
the inscription in longobardic. The heater shield is now rather more
pointed than it appears in later examples.


A very curious triangular shield No. 1 also now appears, as in the
seal of Johannes fil. Galfridi de Edinton, such a triangular shield
on a plain circular field, around which is the inscription, in plain
Roman capitals. This is engraved in the _Visit. Hunts._, 1613, p. 100.
Another seal, Nigellus de Amundeville, is entirely three-cornered, a
little longer than an equilateral triangle; the shield is of the same
contour, and shows three chevrons, while the edging leaves space for
the inscription round the three sides. This is also engraved in the
_Visit. of Huntingdon, 1613_, p. 121, published by the Camden Society.
This shape of triangular seal seems to have been more common than was
supposed. The curious seal of the Treverbin family of Cornwall is
engraved, _Archæological Journal_, vol. x, p. 150; but, as it shows no
shield, it stands outside our present subject.

Another curious shield is figured in Nicholas Upton, _De Usu Militari_,
Bisse edition, 1654, p. 37, and of date 1257 (see No. 47). Henry de
Fernbureg stands with a square shield in his left hand. It is about
two feet long, considerably curved, and appears to be very thick. In
his right hand he holds a hammer extending into a sharp spike at the
back. Square shields very much like this, but more oblong in shape, and
with a round boss projecting from the middle, occur in the very curious
illustration of a wager of duel in the Miscel. Rolls, temp. Henry III.,
and therefore of date 1210-50. Each duellist carries such a shield;
they must be over two feet long, and are much curved; while with the
other hand he wields an awkward looking hammer, or more properly a
pick, as it is pointed at both ends; while, after the manner of ancient
pictures, the vanquished (and therefore the guilty one) is seen hanging
up in the background. This is engraved in Hewitt's _Ancient Armour_,
vol. i, p. 375, also in Madox's _History of the Exchequer_, p. 383.


In the very curious instance of the seal of Thomas Furnival, his arms
are shown in a lozenge-shaped shield. This is of date 1274-9, and is
engraved in _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. iii, p. 334. Even at this
early date such a shape seems to have been usually reserved for ladies.
Sir George Mackenzie [quoted in Guillim's _Display_, ed. 1724] mentions
that Muriell, Countess of Stratherne, bore her arms in a lozenge in


Another very curious shield of Helie Count de Maine is reproduced
in Montfauçon's _Monarchie Française_. This is a wedge-shaped or
triangular shield, but the top has square corners and is peaked (see
No. 48). The seal of Turstan Dispensator Regis, about 1210, shows the
heater-pear with the upper corners slightly varied. This is engraved
in _Collect. Top. et Gen._, vol. iv, p. 239. The ancient arms of
Despencer are said to have been Ermine, a chief Gules; but this seems
to represent ... six cloves, four and two, and a chief; and to fill up
the space three cinquefoils are introduced in the field.

But, as before laid down, the general shapes of shields in this century
are the Norman No. 2, often of very long proportions, as shown in
William de Longespee, Earl of Sarum, 1226, and the statues at Wells
Cathedral, 1230; the heater-pear No. 6, and the plain heater No. 5,
rather long and pointed. A Clifford seal given in Nicholas Upton, p.
91, of date 1220, has a heater-pear shield on the seal, and an ordinary
heater on the smaller counterseal (see No. 49). We may remark that
on the tomb of Queen Eleanor, in Westminster Abbey, appears, on a
long-shaped heater shield, the first example of quartering in England
which just comes within the limits of the thirteenth century. This
represents the two kingdoms of Castile and Leon, but it was undoubtedly
the example which afterwards led to regular quarterings of arms by

It is noticeable that during the latter half of this century shields
begin to be shown in seals, suspended by the guige, which is passed
round a tree or other device from which it can hang.

Flowers, leaves, and even architectural details, enarching, &c., now
begin to appear, to fill up the field, and the whole tone approaches
the style prevailing in the following century.

It may be as well to remark in this place that milled, dotted, or roped
lines around seals are no indication of date. They appear in all these
varieties as early as William the Conqueror, and extend to the latest
times, according to the fancy of the artist.

Inscriptions are in longobardic, with plain Latin capitals often
alternated; and in the seal of Henry II. the letter R has a line across
the tail, signifying a contraction--HENR for Henrici.

Until the end of this century a cross is used at the beginning of the
inscriptions, but about 1275 stars appear, and in the next century
trefoils and other devices are frequently introduced instead of crosses.


This century opens with that most valuable fund of information the
celebrated Baron's letter, 1301, the seals attached to which are
beautifully engraved in the _Monumenta Vetusta_ of the Society of
Antiquaries, vol. i, plates 28-33. A large number of these show heater
shields, some more and some less pointed. The beautiful round seal of
Simon de Montacute shows a square shield, No. 7, with a pointed French
base; while to represent the curving of the shield the top is concave.
The side spaces in the field, as is frequently the case with seals of
this date, are filled up with two grotesque animals or worms, while
in the place where a crest would be appears a large castle, &c. The
counterseal to this is square, representing a griffin segreant, not in
a shield at all, but surrounded by a bordure.

Badges or portions of armorial bearings obtained from heiresses now
frequently appear on the fields, to fill up; being the way in which
such intermarriages were shown before the general introduction of
quarterings. Flowers in the field, also enarching and architectural
details, are freely used to fill up the blank spaces, and in one of the
seals attached to the Baron's letter--that of Hugo Bardolf, of Wormgay
(see No. 50)--no room is left outside the architectural embellishment
for an inscription. Seals also occur shaped entirely like a heater
shield; with a similar shield in the centre containing the arms, as in
that of Matthew Fitz John, where the three lions rampant appear, while
the space beyond is filled up with the inscribed name of the owner. See
No. 51.


The seals of this whole century are most beautifully designed and
executed, and almost universally show the heater shape; pointed
in the earlier decades, and becoming gradually shorter and more
square-shaped say about 1370. The secretum of Robert Braybroke, Bishop
of London 1382-1401, well shows this squareness. It is engraved in the
_Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries_, 9th Dec, 1869, also 3rd
Feb., 1887. To the same deed, dated 21st May, 1392, is also attached
the seal of Sir Gerard Braibrok the younger.


The fields are beautifully decorated, being diapered or filled up with
architectural or ornamental details--lines, dots, and flowers; while
frequently crests, with helmets and mantlings, occur; and sometimes two
of such helmets are placed as supporters on each side of the shield, or
two grotesque animals hold up the helmet and crest, while the shield of
arms appears in the base.


Gothic lettering in the Latin inscriptions now first appears, although
more frequently longobardic, and occasionally still the plain Roman
capitals. Frequently the whole face of the seal is so filled up that
the only spaces left for the inscription are on the edges, above and
below the arms. The seal of Edmund of Arundel, 1301-26, shows this
arrangement. It is from _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. ii, p. 56.
Now, also, two, three, or more shields appear, conjointed or standing
side by side. The earliest instance I have noticed is Sigillum Ide de
Clinton, 1298-1300, with three heater shields, points to the centre
[Nicholas Upton, p. 82]. Towards the middle of the century they are
frequently found.


In the curious seal of Rich., fil. Ricardi de Beyvill of Wodewalton,
which is heater-shaped, and attached to a deed 1349, a square heater
shield shows a chevron between three roundels, and is supported by two
worms or dragons, while across the top of the seal appears the name
"Beyvil." This is engraved _Visit. Huntingdon_, p. 116.

Besides the curved heater of the last century, which appears in the
great seal of Edward II., 1307, and in several monumental effigies,
others of Norman heater form No. 2 appear with the upper corners cut
off and sometimes rounded. Refer to an effigy in Norton Church, Durham,
engraved in _Surtees History_, vol. iii, p. 155 (see No. 52), while in
illuminated MSS. shields occur with the bouche deeply cut and the base
of the shield curved _outwards_. This curved outward turning will be
discussed while speaking of similar shields found in the next century.
Two which occur in Bamberg Cathedral are engraved _Archæological
Journal_, vol. ii, p. 217, and in Hewitt's _Armour_, vol. ii, pp.
138-9, and are specially curious (see No. 55); and several are shown
from Harl. MS. 14379, and engraved in Cutts, p. 434.

[Illustration: _Plate III._

  59 see Plate iv.]

Shields on monumental effigies almost, if not entirely, disappear
in the course of this century, and in battles and tournaments in
ancient MSS. of this date the knights are more usually represented
without shields. Such is the fact; the reason being that defensive
armour had been added to and improved, and increased in respect of
weight, as experiences of war showed the contingencies against which
it was desirable to be protected. The shield, therefore, became an
encumbrance to the mounted knight, while so perfect was his case of
steel, and so admirably fitted and designed, that the shield was no
longer required. We notice that this general discarding of shields by
mounted knights begins about the latter half of this fourteenth century
among the wealthy and powerful, who could procure expensive and perfect
suits of mail. It is in memory of such only that costly monumental
effigies were erected, and, as a consequence, the shields formerly
shown carved by the side of the knights now entirely disappear from
effigies. The reasons here put forward are quite borne out by other
evidences. Monumental brasses, which now lend their assistance to our
search, were far less costly memorials than such effigies. Some of
the earliest of these represent the dead knight as he appeared in his
life, with, his shield upon the arm; but in the course of the following
fifteenth century these, too, follow the fashion we find prevailing in
MS. illustrations, and the shields are only used for the purposes of
heraldry, and are relegated into the corners of the brass, or up among
its tabernacle work.

While on this subject of suits of mail, I may with advantage overstep
the limits of this century--as, indeed, I have already done--and
mention that such went on increasing so greatly in protective
perfectness, and, _pari passu_, in their oppressive weight, that
a knight falling off the horse upon which he had been placed lay
perfectly helpless; and history records many times that they were slain
by clowns and boys while lying helpless on the ground. When the style
of protective armour became so exaggerated, a man so hampered could do
little more than hold his spear and guide his horse. Until at last,
about the year 1602, King James I. summed up the past experience of
armour thus:--"It was an admirable invention, which preserved a man
from being injured,--and made him incapable of injuring any one else."

In some books it is stated that the introduction and gradually
increasing use of gunpowder in war led by degrees to the abandonment
of shields; but the above evidences completely refute such an idea.
Heavy mail armour, exaggerated into an absurdity--as pointed out by
King James--did so disappear when it became evident that such afforded
no protection whatever against a small bit of well-directed lead. But
shields had already been abandoned by the knights,--long before, at a
period when gunpowder was as yet a great and rare mystery.

Besides, we find round shields were still in continued use by the
foot-soldiery, when every battlefield was contested with fire and
sword--the smoke as well as the din of battle.

Moreover, examples have come down to us of such shields with fixed
pistols projecting through, and with a peep-hole for sighting. Thus
shields were made the handmaid of gunpowder; and, as a matter of
fact, they were in use by foot soldiers so late as the middle of the
seventeenth century.


We noticed that the heater shields which obtained so largely during
this century, and grew less and less pointed as it progressed, at last
became much squarer. The seal of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, 1372,
might well be taken for the fifteenth century; the square heater, with
blunt-shaped base; the inscription in Gothic, and curiously placed at
the top and bottom; and the two supporting helmets, with mantlings and
huge panaches, out of which appear below the hinder half of the bodies
and legs of two animals, the rest of their carcasses being crammed
inside these helmets. This is taken from the engraving in _Herald and
Genealogist_, vol. ii, p. 56.


But from about this date downwards we can perceive much more
discriminating taste exercised in designing seals. The seal of
Richard Earl of Arundel, 1330-76, from the engraving in _Herald and
Genealogist_, vol. ii, p. 54, is an example of such beautiful design
and execution.[3]

The small seal of Matilde Fraunceys, relict of Simon Fraunceys,
citizen of London, attached to a deed 33 Edward III. [1359], is a
characteristic example of ordinary small well-executed seals prevailing
in this century. The engraving is from the _Proceedings of Society of
Antiquaries_, 11th Dec., 1856.


Some families seem to have taken a special pride in their seals. Those
of the Bardolfe family of Wyrmegeye, Norfolk, continue pre-eminent
for several generations. Occasionally one member of a family shows
a seal of extreme beauty, the work of some "Strongitharm" or "Wyon"
of those days, and in this way the centuries may frequently seem
to overlap each other. Such exceptional seals show an execution,
shape of shield frequently, and design somewhat later than their
art-date, in the sequence we are endeavouring to lay down. Other such
overlappings occur from the great age of the seal user. Elianor Ferre
uses on a deed, 1348, a dimidiated seal, which was surely made about
1290. She died, a very old lady, in 1349. This seal is engraved in
_Archæological Journal_, vol. xi, p. 375; and if you will refer to
_Herald and Genealogist_, vol. i, p. 485, you will see a seal of Clare
and Fitzgerald dimidiated on a shield of apparently identical date. The
inscription is "Sigill-Elianore-Ferre"; so she used her own seal made
in early life, perhaps dating from her marriage. The seal of Isabella
de Fortibus, Countess of Albemarle, used in 1292, is another dimidiated
heraldic seal, almost identical. See No. 53.


Pointed heater shields with concave tops, suggesting their curved
shape, are not uncommon in this century, and inscriptions in Gothic
type became much more frequent.

The description of a shield which used to hang, before the Great Fire,
in old St. Paul's, London, will be an interesting illustration of how
shields were made in the fourteenth century. This was the shield of
John of Gaunt (or Ghent, as it was originally spelled), our Duke of
Lancaster, the third brother of Edward the Black Prince, and father
of Henry IV. He was born 1340, and died 1399, so we may assign 1370
as about the date of its manufacture. In shape it is an oblong square
with rounded corners and hollowed-out sides and base, while a very
deep bouche is cleft into the dexter chief. It much resembles the
"Gothic-rounded No. 12," but the base is flat and hollowed out. I am
quoting from Bolton's _Elements of Armories, 1610_, p. 69:--"It is
very convex toward the bearer, whether by warping through age, or as
made of purpose. It hath in dimensions more than three-quarters of a
yeard of length and above halfe a yeard in breadth: next to the body
is a canvas glew'd to a boord, upon that thin board are broad thin
axicles, slices or plates of horne nail'd fast, and againe over them
20 and sixe peeces of the like all meeting or centring about a round
plate of the same in the navell of the shield, and over all a leather
clozed fast to them with glew or other holding stuffe,--upon which
his armorie was painted, but now they with the leather itself have
very lately and very lewdly bin utterly spoil'd." This is engraved in
Bolton's _Elements_, in Willement's _Regal Heraldry_, in Randle Holme's
_Academy_, and in several other heraldic works. There is also engraved
in Bolton's _Elements_, p. 67, the shield of Edward the Black Prince
hanging over his tomb at Canterbury. This was of the egg shape No. 35;
and in a circle in the centre were, on a heater shield No. 5, the arms
of France and England quarterly with a label of three points; while
around this circle the rest of the shield was embossed or "tooled" with
an elaborate filagree pattern, and a narrow plain rim extended round
the outer edge.

The inscriptions in this century continue to be in Latin and in Roman
letters, but sometimes Gothic lettering is used.


Our materials for proof during this century are peculiarly numerous
and rich. There is great store of beautiful seals, many of them highly
decorated, and preparing us for their decay and disappearance after
about 1490. Then again, MS. illustrations of tournaments show the
shaped shields of the knights hung up on tents or elsewhere, and
adorned with their heraldry; and occasionally, and in one case as late
as 1480, two knights appear on horseback, jousting and bearing shields;
also, in some cases, combats on foot, where the knights carry shields.
We have also stained glass with shields, which, at this early time,
seem more closely to follow the shapes of those actually in use.

Grants of arms now begin to supply shapes of shields, and towards the
end of the century printers' marks appear, although these last seem to
be affected by a fanciful exaggeration.

[Illustration: Add. MS. 15,477--date 1360.]

As a case of recrudescence of old ideas we must refer to the instance
of a bouche, in which to rest the spear, so early as 1360, in Add. MS.
15,477, in the British Museum (Hewitt, vol. ii, p. 231); indeed one is
represented vastly earlier, in 1159, in the seal of Theodoric Count of
Flanders, engraved in Oliver Vredius, p. 17 (see No. 46). Such shields
are now very frequent, except upon seals, where they seldom occur;
and the reason is, no doubt, that they would have interfered with the
heraldic charges, which now begin to be multiplied.

Heater shields, and sometimes pointed, just as they appear at earlier
dates, are still continued; but in most cases, and especially towards
the middle and end of the century, they become much more square and
blunter at the base.

Seals of the more important families are filled up with elaborate
decorations--diapering on the fields, leaves and mantlings filling up
the whole space, and supporting animals, finely and boldly designed,
are introduced; and several concentric lines, differently ornamented,
with quatrefoils, crosses, mullets, and stars upon these circular bands
sometimes occur within the inscription.


From about 1420 a custom began, and is occasionally adopted in the
larger seals, to represent as scrolls those bands upon which the
inscriptions of name and title, &c., were written, while the ends were
ornamentally unfolded and loose. To show exactly what I mean I would
refer to the seal of John de Clinton de Say, 1438, No. 54, engraved
in _Archæologia_, vol. xxxviii, p. 272, and to that of Sir John
Pelham, 1469. This is engraved in _Archæological Journal_, vol. vii,
p. 323; the Sussex Archæological Society's vol. iii, p. 220; also in
_Historical and Genealogical Notices of the Pelham Family_, privately
printed in 1873 by the late Mr. M. A. Lower.

Many of these seals are marvels of design and execution. At the very
end of the century we notice so much is sought to be represented that
the designs in consequence become flat and weak, losing much of their
character and boldness, and thus preparing us for the startling change
in the following century. Another noticeable circumstance is that
such splendid and pretentious seals are not confined to the greatest
nobility or people of vast territorial influence. Many untitled
families towards the end of the fifteenth century showed seals not
quite so large, but fully equal in workmanship and beautiful design to
those of the house of Lancaster, the Nevilles, Lords of Abergavenny;
the Dukes of Buckingham, and other great titled nobles. Through the
kindness of Mr. H. S. Grazebrook I am able to show the seal of Richard
Dudley of Clapton, Northants; the arms of Dudley quartering Hotot [see
William Salt Society vol. x, p. 54]. This seal was exhibited to the
Heralds at their Visitation of Northants, 1618, "antiquum Sigillum
argenteum," and is tricked in their original MS. As its date is between
1440 and 1475, I have no doubt it was made for that Richard Dudley of
Clapton who "condidit testamentum" 1465.


We must now take up those curiously curved outward shields, alluded
to as shown in Harl. MS. 4379, of a date about 1360, see No. 55, and
again at Bamberg Cathedral, 1370 [page 24], see No. 55A and No. 55B.
We may lay it down as an axiom that every alteration in the shapes of
shields at these early dates, and therefore for actual use, arose from
some apparent advantage to be gained by it. Hewitt, vol. ii, p. 314,
engraves a curved shield, about the end of the fourteenth century, from
an ivory chessman. In the _Archæological Journal_, vol. ix, p. 119,
there is one, from stained glass, of early in the fifteenth century.
This is a square parallelogram with a bouche, and the top and bottom
are projected forwards, while the intermediate portion is flat. This
shield is of considerable thickness, see No. 56. In the statue of Henry
VI. at Westminster, of the date 1422, a similar shield appears without
any bouche, but with the top and bottom ends similarly projected and
the middle portion flat, see No. 57. This is engraved in Meyrick's
_Ancient Armour_, plate 42. A similar shield, from an ancient chest in
York Minster, is shown in the same book, vol. ii, at p. 124. In the
grant of arms to the Ironmongers' Company, 1455, and in many other
instances, a bouched shield, deeply engrailed at top and bottom, has
both ends similarly projected, the middle portion being curved, but to
a lesser degree. This is engraved in _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. i,
p. 37, and the same shield of arms is illuminated in the margin of the
charter granted to the Ironmongers in 1483. It seems evident that the
intention in thus hollowing out the face of the shield was to receive
and to retain the spear point with greater certainty upon that part
of the shield; as in combat it was found to slip off above or below,
and search out for itself some dangerous resting place on the helmet
or other vulnerable part of the armour. This shape could not readily
be shown in front view on seals, but such shields curved outwards
appear frequently with great clearness in illuminations where a side
view is commonly given, see an engraving of men at arms in fourteenth
century in Cutts, p. 339. I am also able to show a most interesting
illumination of a knight of the fifteenth century bearing a very
curious shield. This is from Cutts, p. 398.

[Illustration: Date 14th century. Cutts, p. 339.]

[Illustration: Grant of Arms to the Ironmongers' Company, 1st
September, 1455.

From _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. i, p. 37.]


Round shields borne by foot soldiers appear curved and bulged out in
the same way. I annex the representation of a soldier with a spear and
such a round shield from Cotton MS. Claudius, D. ii, fol. 30. This
dates from the earlier part of the fourteenth century, and is engraved
in Hewitt, vol. ii, p. 114. This formation is apparently meant to
give strength, and to ensure a cut or thrust gliding off, rather than
resting upon the shield.


The reasons for some other alterations are not so apparent; for
instance, in the seal of Ralph Shelton, _circa_ 1460, see No. 58,
a curious projecting point is shown in the right hand base [called
sinister in heraldry] of the shield, and a similar projection occurs
in the beautiful escutcheon of Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII.,
1485, see No. 59, engraved in Willement's _Regal Heraldry_. A stone
carving of a bouche, with a very similar formation and of the same
date, and bearing the Tilney arms, is found upon Shelly Hall, Suffolk,
and is etched in the Anastatic Drawing Society's volume for 1871. It
seems probable this was originally meant to protect some part of the
left leg or ankle which was liable to be injured in combat. Another
shield here shown gives with great clearness this curious point. It is
engraved in Mr. Cutts' book, p. 402, and taken from Harl. MS. 4925, fo.
cxxx. This, however, is too small to protect the leg.


Many shields now occur with hollowed-out sides, and engrailed at the
top and base, and are classed in our plate under the various forms
of Gothic (Nos. 9 to 12). Sometimes the top is straight, while the
sides and base are engrailed out, and in instances, perhaps under
German influence, the bases are rounded. The endless variety of these
beautiful Gothic shields is most fascinating. The wonder is that they
lasted for so very short a time, from the middle of this fifteenth
century to the first few decades of the sixteenth.

In Cutts' valuable book, p. 454 (see No. 59), two unmounted knights,
from an engraving by Hans Burgmaier, are represented in combat, about
1450, carrying two very curious shields, somewhat similar in idea to
these Gothic shields. Being divided lengthways into three partitions;
both are broader at the top and narrowed at the lower end, and they
seem to be about 3 feet 6 inches long. One is convex at the top and
engrailed, with a bluntly-pointed base; the other is flat but slightly
engrailed, and the rounded base somewhat broken by the three divisions,
which evidently suggest that these shields were curved round the body.
But the old plain heater continues as by far the most prevalent shape
throughout this century. It is usually very square, and in several
instances there is an approach to the French base of Mr. Rylands'

As already remarked, foot soldiers of all ages, down to the middle of
the eighteenth century, appear with round shields. During this century
and the next these are shown with handsome decorations, but never with
heraldry on the face: foot soldiers, perhaps, were not considered
heraldically armigerous. In an Italian painting of this century, foot
soldiers are represented with square and diamond shaped shields, each
side shaped out in curves; and in one heraldry is painted; perhaps he
was a dismounted knight and the others only retainers. This may be seen
engraved in Jacquemart's _History of Furniture_, p. 24 (see No. 60).

In many other shields at the end of this century the heater shape has
gradually arrived at what is named square No. 7, and in the charter
granted to the waxchandlers, 1484 (see No. 61), and in many other
instances, these shields were very long in proportion to their width.
The same elongated shape appears in a shield on Christ Church gate,
Canterbury, date 1517; engraved _Archæologia_, vol. xvi, p. 194.

[Illustration: _Plate IV._]


The first observed instance of a mantling or lambrequin, as it
was then called,--a term still applied to it by the modern French
heralds,--occurs in the large seal of Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of
Gloucester and Hertford, 1299. This is engraved in Nicholas Upton, _De
Usu Militari_ [Bisse edition, 1654, p. 63]. In Planché's _Poursuivant_
the helmet and mantling alone are engraved from this seal. It is
represented as a square handkerchief or shawl fastened at one end
under the crest, and flying out loose behind. There is no hacking (see
No. 62). Ralph de Monthermer was a "plain esquire," but attracted the
attention and secured the love of Joan of Acres, daughter of Edward I.
and relict of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester. May we be allowed
to fancy we see here the kerchief of the fair lady whose favour led
to his advancement, and whose marriage eventually brought him his
title? His second wife was also a widow, namely, the relict of John de
Hastings and sister of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke.

In Planché's _Poursuivant_ is engraved another very similar, from
the seal of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster (see No. 63). He was beheaded
by Edward II. (1321). This seems to be of some thick material and
bordered. It is better shown in the full-sized engraving in Sandford's
_Genealogical History_, p. 102. Boutell (_Heraldry_, p. 212) describes
No. 64 as a "contoise," and says it was used until the middle of the
fourteenth century. These seem to have been stiff to stand out, but
I have not found representations of any more of them. Mr. Boutell
refers to two effigies showing them in Exeter Cathedral, and another
in Westminster Abbey. In the seal of John de Tilneye to a deed, 1353
[engraved in the _Visit. Hunts._, p. 29], a voluminous and square
folded mantling, without any hacks, is extended out to the inscription
on each side, and is fixed under a broad-brimmed hat which stands
on the top of the helm, and on this hat is the crest, viz., a tree
supported by two lions gambs. There is another instance on the monument
at Norton Brize, Oxfordshire, to John Daubygné, 1346, where the
mantling is extended out square in folds, without any hacking, and
hangs on each side of the helmet, while below is placed the shield.
This is engraved in Boutell's _Heraldry_, p. 156 (see No. 65). Another
such squarely-folded and unhacked mantle is shown on the seal of
Elizabeth de Lucy, 1354, with a man's helmet and crest (!!)--see No.
66--and yet another in that of Sir William de Lucy, 1392. Both of these
are engraved in Nicholas Upton, p. 73 (see No. 67). But these must all
be taken as rare exceptions. Usually mantlings of so early a date as
the fourteenth century are of very small dimensions, hacked and lying
close on their helmets, clinging to them, as it were, and so fastened
under the crest that they could not hang otherwise. As we see in the
seal of Richard, Earl of Arundel, about 1350-70 (illustrated at p. 27),
also in the seals of Sir Thomas Bysshe, 1381 [Nicholas Upton, p. 53],
see No. 68; and in that of John de Clinton, 1386 [Nicholas Upton, p.
82], see No. 69; but seals of the fourteenth century more commonly show
no mantlings: they were only just beginning to be introduced.



At the beginning of the fifteenth century the same small hacked
mantlings, hanging closely upon their helmets, still continue, and
become the rule; it was the exception to have any mantling at all in
the fourteenth. About 1420, however, they begin to spread over the
field of the seal, in free and bold curves and waves. In the seal of
John, Lord Clinton de Say, 1438 (No. 54), and in that of Humphrey,
Earl of Stafford and Perche, 1438, both engraved _Archæologia_, vol.
xxxviii, p. 272, they are seen hacked, wandering away from the helm,
and half way down the shield. But a noteworthy characteristic of
the mantlings of this early date, and one to which I must draw your
particular attention, is that, although stretching their arms boldly
about the field, and in MSS. where space will allow, they may extend
down below the base of the shield, they are not, perhaps never, seen
to _hide themselves behind it_! The spirit of those old times when the
mantling would probably be the gift of some fair lady, perhaps her
kerchief or mantle, and borne with chivalrous fervour through the many
adventures in which the knight of those days sought to gain fame and
experience--this spirit of honouring the mantlet still remained burning
brightly; a fold was therefore too precious to be hidden behind the
shield. When we come to consider such decorations in later times, when
such sentiment had departed, you will see why [beyond the valuable
indication of date supplied] I have drawn your attention particularly
to this peculiarity to be noted in the fifteenth century. The seal of
Thomas Strange, 1419, shows a curious arrangement of mantling. This is
engraved in _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, 1884, p. 59. In the
very curious and interesting seal of Sir John Pelham, 1469, engraved
in _Archæological Journal_, vol. vii, p. 323, and already illustrated
on p. 32, the field of the seal is filled up with bold contortions of
the hacked mantling, while on the helmet appears the most extraordinary
crest--a large birdcage which is higher than the helmet itself; it is
divided into three tiers of wickerwork, and has a pointed roof, while
on the field appear two buckles. Sir John Pelham, at Poictiers in
1356, personally assisted at the capture of the French King, when the
honorary distinction of the buckle as a family badge was accorded to
him. His descendants sometimes used the birdcage crest, in remembrance
of the same exploit and the imprisoned king.

In illuminations of this date, say of the latter half of the fifteenth
century, we see the same characters--the mantlings so divided into
narrow ribbon-like folds, much hacked and twisted to show the lining,
and thrown out into bold arms around the shield and extending some
way below it with fine artistic effect. I would refer to the grant of
arms to the Fellowship of Ironmongers of London, 1st September, 1455,
already illustrated on p. 35, also to the shield of Edward IV., 1460,
in Willement's _Regal Heraldry_. There are also two beautiful specimens
engraved in Boutell's _Brasses_; one, the stall plate at Windsor of Sir
Humphrey Stafford, K.G., 1460, at p. 219 (see No. 70), and at p. 207
the brass of Sir William Say, at Broxbourne, Herts, 1473 (see No. 71):
the mantling in the last ends in four tassels; this addition of tassels
becomes the ordinary usage in the MS. illuminations and in grants of
arms, but not in seals of the sixteenth century.

I refer to No. 72 for the lithograph of that very curious mantling
carved in stone at Wyverton, Nottinghamshire (Thoroton's _History_,
p. 98), which displays _three_ tassels. This stands with two other
helmets, each over its respective shield of heraldry, and on
examination I am able to declare their date to be about 1440-50.

Licence of free warren and to make a park here was granted 24 Henry VI.
(1445), at which time Thoroton supposes this house was built.

Following our entirely different lines of enquiry, I am able to state,
to within twenty or thirty years, the date of these carvings; and I
would further say that as to one of the quarterings displayed, the
Chaworth family did not inherit the right to bear it until 1422; thus
confirming very exactly Thoroton's date.

Perhaps the first appearance of a tassel on a mantling is on a monument
to -- Harsyck in Southacre Church, Norfolk, 1384; engraved in Boutell's
_Heraldry_, plate I (see No. 73). This is also interesting as being a
very early example of the wreath or torse which supports the crest,
consisting of a twisted cord of silk of two colours. In a brass to Sir
Hugh Hastings, at Elsing, co. Norfolk, 1347, the same is shown. In
the effigy of Sir Richard Pembruge, 1375, now in the nave of Hereford
Cathedral, the crest and helmet are attached with a wreath of leaves,
above which rises a great panache of feathers.

The earliest instance of a _date_ upon the face of a shield is said to
occur about the middle of the thirteenth century, but such are very
uncommon until the sixteenth century, when they are found both on
personal and official seals.

The inscriptions on English seals of this fifteenth century are almost
universally in Latin and in Gothic lettering. I have, so far, only
noted one seal with Roman letters, and that occurs in 1403.


Before entering upon our subject during this period, it is necessary to
consider the great changes, social and legal, which passed over England
from say 1450 to the end of the reign of Henry VIII.

Events for thirty years before the accession of Henry VII. (1485)
had been gradually reducing the power of the nobility. Enactments
had been passed which facilitated the transfer of lands; and the
disastrous wars of the Roses, in which the blood of the nobility
flowed like water, brought also the dispersion of a large portion of
their estates, and the consequence was that when Henry VII. began his
reign, and the conflicts between the rival Houses of York and Lancaster
were completely hushed [say 1485], he found himself in possession of
the sole power. The great nobles who had hampered the actions of his
predecessors had disappeared from the scene. At his first Parliament
Henry VII. only summoned twenty-eight peers; and so gradually did this
class recover itself that we find at the first Parliament of Henry
VIII. only thirty-eight peers were summoned to attend.

We can thus understand how those seals of exceeding size and
magnificence, which we found prevailing during the middle and third
quarter of the fifteenth century, entirely disappear. The greater
nobility, as an assertion of their dignity and importance, had then
attached to their charters seals of great pretensions, and gradually
increasing in size until, as Sandford [_Genealogical History_, p.
108] remarks of those of the Dukes of Lancaster, they rivalled or
even exceeded in size what were used by the crown itself. Had their
embarrassed affairs allowed them to enter again into mutual rivalry,
the stern government of Henry VII. would have regarded such an
assumption of dignity as treason to the throne, and therefore we can
fix the date 1485 for the disappearance of such large and splendid
seals. Only occasionally do they continue to appear, and within the
limit of ten years after this time.

The landed gentry, the descendants in many instances of a much earlier
feudal aristocracy, had suffered almost as much from the rivalries and
conflicts which had devastated the country. They, too, laboured under
the same depression and necessity for retirement; and hence, if we
take up a bundle of deeds, say of the third quarter of the fifteenth
century, we shall find them loaded with large and beautiful seals,
while in a similar parcel, dated early in the sixteenth, small bits
of wax only are found, many of them bearing one or more initials, or
a crest surrounded by a circle of large dots, and the coats of arms,
which do occur, are altogether small and insignificant: in fact,
personal seals are now reduced in size to what may be conveniently hung
on a watch chain, or worn as a somewhat large signet ring. I annex some
heraldic seals just to show what after this time are looked upon as
unusually fine. They are a very great contrast to those we have been

[Illustration: Ivory Thumb-ring Signet of Francis, 5th Earl of
Shrewsbury, 1545. [_Proceedings of Society of Antiquaries_, 22nd
December, 1859.]]

[Illustration: Robert Ap Rece, 1548. Engraved in _Visit. of Hunts_,
1613 [Camden Soc.], p. 32.]

[Illustration: Seal engraved by Thomas Simon for Sir Edward Nicholas,
Secretary to Charles I., _circa_ 1649. [_Collect. Gen. et Topog._, vol.
viii, p. 214.]]

[Illustration: Thomas Bate, of Ashby-de-la-Zouche; born 1648, died

But still further reasons have to be considered. The ancient form of
drawing charters was gradually disappearing, which after declaring
the transaction, ended with the all-important seal, put on in the
presence of such responsible witnesses as could be got together, and
who were afterwards always to be found to come forward and vouch for
the transaction. Writing also now, early in the sixteenth century, was
becoming much more common, and the sense of the nation showed that a
deed signed and sealed by the parties was much more satisfactory than
any number of witnesses, the limit of whose testimony was bounded by
that of their lives. I am only putting into few words what is ably
pointed out by Williams in his work on _Real Property_, ed. 1882, p.
153, and by Blackstone in his _Commentaries_, ed. 1823, book ii, p.
305. But the curious thing is that this change seems to have gradually
taken place without any enactment directing it. The Statute of Frauds
and Perjuries, 29 Charles II. (1677-8, cap. 5), is the first instance
where it is expressly declared by act of Parliament that all devises of
lands or tenements must be in writing and signed by the party and three
or four credible witnesses. Such had already been occasionally the
practice for at least two hundred years, for I find a deed of gift of
Thomas Hoo to the Abbot of the Monastery of Battle is thus established
"Sigillum meum, una cum subscriptione propria manu et signo manuali
apposito"; the date is 21st September, 1480 [Thorpe's _Battle Abbey
Deeds_, 1835, p. 124]. Occasional instances occur of the old system
of sealing only before a number of witnesses, but after say 1520 the
almost universal method of executing deeds was by sign manual and seal,
and two or three attesting witnesses.

The earliest instance I have noticed of executing a deed by sign manual
is as above, in 1480. The latest which I have met with, in which the
ancient form of execution had been followed, is a charter printed in
the Salop Archæological Society's vol. x, p. 222:--"Thomas Scriven,
armig., grants a yearly payment of 8/ sterling out of his meadow at
Coleham, juta sive prope Ville Salop, hiis testibus &c. &c., dat. Salop
25th Sept., 10 Henry VIII., 1518"; but probably yet later instances may
be found.

The further reason, lying at the root of the whole matter, was the
wonderful expansion of trade, wealth, and intelligence which broke
upon England at this time,--the English renaissance, as it is called,
and which culminated in the brilliant company of poets and authors of
Elizabeth's reign. Following upon the breaking-up of the old nobility,
and the resumption of peace at home, wealth was rapidly accumulated
by many self-made men, and by many younger sons of old families, who
entered into trade. These purchased lands and became the county gentry.
So expansive was this spirit of trade, that ancient towns like York,
Chester, Lancaster, Coventry, and Lincoln, where long-established
guilds restricted trading to the burghers alone, fell off in population
and importance, while new districts without such restrictions, such as
Manchester and Birmingham, as rapidly increased. In an act, 33 Henry
VIII., c. 15 [1541], it is stated that the people of Manchester were
then "well set to work in making of cloths, as well of linen as of
woollen, whereby the inhabitants of the said town have gotten and come
into riches and wealthy livings: and by reason of great occupying, good
order, strict and true dealing of the inhabitants of the said town,
many strangers, as well of Ireland as of other places, had resorted

[Illustration: _Plate V._]

Over all this boiling-up of busy-ness sat Henry VII. and Henry VIII.,
as almost irresponsible sovereigns, and out of it grew the Commons of
England! The population meantime increased with wonderful strides. In
1377 the population of England and Wales did not exceed 2,500,000. By
the military musters, taken 1574-5, there were 1,172,674 of able men
for service, which it is estimated would give a total population of
about 4,700,000. This astonishing revolution of trade and learning is
so remarkable that I must quote a portion of what old Harrison says
on the changes he had noticed within fifty years. His most curious
_Description of Britain_ was printed with Hollingshed's _Chronicle_
in 1586, but was probably written some ten years earlier: an exacter
date I have not yet been able to fix. "There are old men yet dwelling
in the village where I remaine which have noted three things to be
marvellouslie altered in England within their sound remembrance: and
other three things too, too much increased. One is the multitude of
chimnies latelie erected, whereas in their young daies there were
not abouve two or three, if so many, in most uplandish townes of the
realme [the religious houses and manor places of their lords alwaies
excepted, and peradventure some great personages], but eche one made
his fire against a reredosse in the haull where he lived and dressed
his meat; secondly, the bedding [now feathers and comfort, &c., then
straw or wood only, &c.]; thirdly, the exchange of vessells as of
treene platters into pewter, and wooden spoones into silver or tin. So
common were all sorts of treene stuff in old time, that a man should
hardlie find four pieces of pewter [of which one was peradventure a
salt] in a good farmer's house, &c., &c., &c. Whereas, in my time,
altho' peradventure £4 of old rent be improved to £40, £50 or £100, yet
will the farmer, as another palm or date tree, think his gaines verie
small toward the end of his term if he have not six or seven years'
rent lieng by him, therewith to purchase a new lease, besides a faire
garnish of pewter on his cupbord, with so much more in od vessell going
about the house, three or four feather bedds, so many coverlids and
carpets of tapistrie, a silver salt, a bowle for wine [if not an whole
neast], and a dozzen of spoones to furnish up the sute."

But, alas, there is another side to all this national prosperity. From
this time, also, agriculturists--required in fewer numbers under the
new styles of cultivation (which aimed at grazing and the production of
wool)--crowded into the towns in hope of work, and large portions of
the population began to sink into the lowest depths of poverty.

In our researches as to the shapes of shields we have now, therefore,
lost that rich body of evidence supplied by the seals on charters,
which extended to nearly the end of the fifteenth century, and the
MS. pictures of knights and tournaments. The evidences now available
consist of pedigrees, the smaller heraldic seals attached to documents
and deeds, heraldic visitations and grants of arms, printed books
on heraldry, which begin 1496, stained glass, the stone carvings
on buildings, tombs, and ledger stones, and, from the end of the
seventeenth century or a little earlier, book-plates. Coins, too,
now prove of some value to us, showing what were prevailing types of

But inasmuch as there were no shields actually in use, the shapes
prevailing now became entirely a matter of fashion and taste. Randle
Holme prints sixty-five varieties of shields, and remarks (p. 10 in his
_Academy of Armoury_, Chester, 1688):--"But [as to the former shield]
so to this, a question may be made, whether such an one was used by
him, or only the invention of the cutter? If so, then the shapes and
forms of shields, targets, and bucklers would be as many as carvers,
stone cutters, engravers, and painters please." Gerard Legh gets the
credit of having greatly multiplied, in his _Accedens of Armoury_,
1562, the fanciful shapes of shields; and later writers on heraldry
seem to have followed him. [_Herald and Genealogist_, vol. i, p. 191.]
But an examination of the _Wappenbüch_, published in Germany in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and similar heraldic drawings of
Italian coats, have opened out to me a vastly wider field for variety
than old Randle Holme ever supposed. I have before me a copy of _Virgil
Solis_, which was published at Nurnberg in 1555. This contains hundreds
of coats, in shields of an endless variety of shapes and great boldness
of design; and when we come to critically compare these shields with
one another, we discover that their outlines depend upon the charges!
These were _first_ laid down with grotesque boldness, and the outline
of the shield to bear them was then drawn around them, to the artist's
fancy of what best suited the bearings and would most reduce the
amount of empty field. This is, after all, only reversing the ancient
method, where a lion was distorted to suit a pointed heater; and it is
suggested that a pale, for a similar reason, might sometimes be pointed
into a pile. With this revelation from _Virgil Solis_, we can detect
that the same method of designing prevails elsewhere. We must therefore
multiply Randle Holme's carvers, stone cutters, engravers, and
painters by the possible variety of their fancies, and then multiply
the quotient by the number of all the heraldic bearings--plus all the
positions and forms they may be made to assume--if we wish to arrive at
the variety of shields possible during the period we are now about to

In deference to this unanswerable position, I find it necessary to
alter entirely the classification pursued in the earlier centuries--to
take Mr. Rylands' drawings seriatim, and to give for each shape the
earliest and latest dates at which, in my limited researches, I have
found them in use. This method of treatment eliminates from our enquiry
all strictly fanciful shields which did not gain a hold on public
taste, and leaves us still with a sufficiently heavy list of variations
to which it is possible, from their frequent recurrence, to attach the

A few leading remarks on points bearing on our subject will prove
useful at this stage of our enquiry.

Before watches became common, seals were sometimes attached to the
arms, like bracelets. In _Mercurius Rusticus_, No. 30 (for 19/20 July,
1660), an advertisement appears for "a gold seal, being a coat of arms,
cut in a piece of gold, in the form of a lozenge, fastened to a black
ribband to tye about the wrist." In the _Visitation of Essex, 1634_
[Harleian Society, p. 455], appears the following certificate:--"This
coate is certiffied by Thomas Scott to bee by him seen on a seale some
40 years since, and to be the seale of armes of Thomas Moore Esq.
father of the said Hunting Moore, and that Robert Scott his father did
weare the same about his neck in a scarffe about xx yeares--in witnes
whearof I have sett to my hand. Tho. Scott." [Robert Scott had married
Anne, daughter of Richard Hunting and relict of Thomas Moore, of
Orsett, co. Essex.] This seal was, of course, a ring.

Watches, which naturally suggest small attached seals, were, however,
in pretty general use in Queen Elizabeth's reign. In Shakespeare's
_Twelfth Night_, Malvolio says:--"I frown the while, and perchance
_wind up my watch_, or play with some rich jewel." A watch was found
upon Guy Fawkes, 3 James I. (1605/6), which he and Percy had bought the
day before, "to try conclusions for the long and short burning of the
powder."--Stow's _Chronicle_, p. 878, and introduction to Mr. Reuben
Burrow's _Almanac_ for 1778.


The first English examples of seals with lines in the engraving, to
indicate the tinctures, are said to be on some of those attached to
the death warrant of Charles I., 1648-9 [Planché's _Pursuivant of
Arms_]. Now, as this system was unquestionably first devised by Father
Silvester de Petra Sancta--whose two books, _L'Armorial ou la Science
du Blason_, 4to, and _Soumaire Armorial_, 4to, were both published
in Paris 1638--it seems curious that within ten years we should find
such conventional lines in use in England; and it follows, also, that
such of these seals as were so treated in 1648 must all have been
recently cut! A diagram, showing the colours so indicated, is given
by Sir Edward Bysse in his edition of Nicholas Upton's work, _De Usu
Militari_, published in 1654. The earlier works on heraldry, which I
have been able to consult, have the illustrations in somewhat rough
wood blocks--it would have been difficult and expensive at that time
to have got finer work in wood; but we must remember that Sylvanus
Morgan, in his _Armilogia_, published 1666, refers to Silvester de
Petra Sancta's Epistles, and elaborately describes--as if they were
something quite startling and new--why the several conventional lines
were selected. John Gibbon, in his _Introductio ad Latinam Blazoniam_,
published London 1682, p. 152, says, "for the distinction of colours
in arms [which was devised by the Rev. Father S. de Petra Sancta],"
and he (Gibbon) frames some Latin verses for the better remembering
thereof; but in the woodcuts which adorn his book he does not follow
the system which he recommends. The earliest English book which shows
them in the copper plate engravings is Bysse's edition of Nicholas
Upton, published, as already noticed, in 1654. I am aware that Boutell,
in his _Heraldry_, chap. v, says that such lining may be occasionally
found before 1630. Now there seems no manner of doubt as to the
inventor; and any references with dates, which Mr. Boutell could have
given, would have been valuable indeed! At present we are involved in
a paradox: if Father Silvester invented the idea; did he discuss it
for years, perhaps before committing it to print, and having his own
beautiful copper plate illustrations so drawn in 1638? I point out this
interesting question. Any instance of a seal or engraving so treated
with the proper lines to represent tinctures and occurring before 1638
should be carefully noted with the exact dates; and I venture to think
any such solitary instance would prove to be purely accidental. The
seal of Sir Edward Nicholas, secretary to Charles II., engraved for
him by the celebrated Thomas Simon, does not show any tincture lines
(see the woodcut at p. 45). In this seal the second and third quarters
are the paternal arms of Nicholas, while in the first and fourth are
displayed that honourable augmentation granted to Sir Edward in 1649.
We may safely conclude that this seal was cut immediately after he
received that distinction. Particulars of Sir Edward's career may be
learned from Manning and Bray's _History of Surrey_, vol. iii, p. 40;
also from Hoare's _South Wiltshire_, p. 88. He was Secretary to Charles
I., followed Charles II. into exile, and was continued by him in his
post of Secretary. He eventually returned with him, and died in 1669,
at the age of seventy-seven.

I regret I have never had the opportunity to examine for myself the
original death-warrant which was carried out on that chill thirtieth
day of January, 1648-9; and so I am not able to say with exactness
which of the seals show tincture lines, as it is said they do.


About the end of the fifteenth century, arms are frequently found
surrounded by a wreath of laurel or bay leaves, usually, at this
date, divided into four parts by ribbands. Menestrier gives the date
1480 as the earliest instance he has found [his most learned works
seem too little known by English heralds: the _Origine des Armoiries_
was published in Paris 1679, and the _Origine des Ornemens des
Armoiries_ in Paris 1680]. We see an example in the tomb of Margaret,
Countess of Richmond, 1509, in Westminster Abbey (engraved Sandford's
_Genealogical History_, 1677, p. 326)--see No. 74. We find similar
wreaths or garlands in Sylvanus Morgan's _Sphere of Gentry_, published
1661, vol. i, p. 22, and vol. ii, p. 68; and engravings of several
fanciful varieties are also there given. Wreaths of olive, formed of
two branches tied at the top and bottom with ribbands, appear several
times surrounding coats of arms in W. Hollar's beautiful engravings in
Thoroton's _History of Nottinghamshire_, published 1677 (see pages 199,
200, 203, 310, 486 and 487).

After a while, such wreaths were frequently introduced in the outer
edge surrounding official and also personal round seals, and so
arranged that they more resemble bell-shaped flowers of three leaves
(like the side view of blue bells), and without any dividing ribbands.
The annexed wood-cut of the Statute Merchants' seal of Carlisle, 1670,
will show this. This seal was in two halves to be kept in separate
custody, and when used, these were screwed together into a handle to
make it complete before affixing to any deed. The seal and handle are
here shown from the engraving in the Proceedings of the Society of
Antiquaries, 16th May, 1889. Throughout the eighteenth century, the
blue bell ornament appears in corporate seals, and book-plates about
1800 are found surrounded by such oval bell-flowered wreaths.



Menestrier [_Origine des Ornemens_, published 1680] writes:--"Now
[_aujourd'hui_] persons of quality, particularly married ladies
[_femmes_], place two palms together on the escutcheon of their arms,
which makes an agreeable ornament, and is, at the same time, the
symbol of conjugal love, which the ancients have represented by the
palms, male and female." The earliest instance I have noted in England
is on the cups of Sir E. B. Godfrey, who died in 1678 [engraved in
_Gentleman's Magazine_, 1848, and in _Topographer and Genealogist_,
vol. ii, p. 467]. They occur beneath a shield of Bridgeman, Bart.
(the plain arms not impaled), in Sandford's _Genealogical History_,
1677, p. 228; also on a monumental slab, 1671, engraved in _Miscell.
Genealogica et Heraldica_, 1884, vol. i, p. 151. About 1765 we see
two palms extensively used as decorations below Georgian shields (see
the plates in Dugdale's _Warwickshire_, 1765; Hasted's _Kent_, 1778;
Rudder's _Gloucestershire_, 1779; and Hutchin's _Dorsetshire_, 1774).
Such are extensively seen throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, and were frequently painted, as a pleasing decoration,
below the arms on carriage panels, almost to our own times. But they
must have lost the original symbolism, for they occur constantly on
ledger tombs [see _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, Mar., 1885, p.
233; dated 1696], and must then refer to the resurrection life. They
are found in book-plates in the middle of the eighteenth century,
and continue down to 1800 or later. The ledger tomb to Ashley Palmer
and his wife at Hawstead, dated 1792, shows a pleasing example. This
engraving is from _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, 1885, p. 307.



It is hard to say when we may so name the grotesque animals,
which first appeared to fill up the fields in seals even earlier
than the fourteenth century--see that of Ralph de Monthermer,
Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, 1299 [engraved, Nicholas Upton,
edition 1654, p. 63], and several of those attached to the Baron's
letter, 1301 (_Monumenta Vetusta_, vol. i). These gradually, as the
fourteenth century progresses, assume an appearance on seals exactly
corresponding with our modern supporters. We have "S' Fratris Thome
Archer," 1325 (Nicholas Upton, p. 73), supported by two lions rampant
counter-regardant (see No. 75); "Sigillum Petri de Veel," 1361 (on
the same page) supported by two helmets with panaches, very similar
to those of Edmund de Arundel still earlier 1301, given on p. 23, and
Edmund Mortimer, 1372, engraved on p. 26; and we have two griffins
supporting the helmet in the seal of Richard, Earl of Arundel, 1330-75,
see p. 27. In the next century, supporting animals appear on many of
the large and beautiful seals: two greyhounds in that of John, Lord
Clinton de Say, 1438 (see No. 54); two horses in that of John, Earl of
Arundel, 1415-21 (see _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. ii, p. 55); two
heraldic antelopes support the crest of Humfrey, Earl of Stafford and
Perche, 1438 (_Archæologia_, vol. xxxviii, p. 273); and many others
might be quoted. It is quite impossible to say when we may begin to
call such decorative adjuncts "supporters." Planché (_Pursuivant_, p.
177) says that at the close of the fourteenth century, in one instance,
Richard II. (1377) used two white harts, his favourite badge, as
supporters; but that those of Henry VI. (1422) are considered to begin
the Royal series. In France, one supporter is frequently seen and is
then called a "tenant." In Scotland, where French influence is in many
ways visible, we frequently meet with seals where a single tree, man,
bird, fabulous beast, &c., &c., supports the shield of arms. Menestrier
[_Origine des Ornemens_, p. 93] traces many of these grotesque
animals to the attendants at tournaments who paraded in such disguises,
carrying the shields and weapons of the knights.

Supporters also occur in illuminations and carvings, and not being
then confined within the narrow sphere of a seal, they stand much as
in modern drawings--see the arms of Edward IV., 1460, in Willement's
_Regal Heraldry_; also the carving on the Founder's pew in North Witham
Church, co. Lincoln, being the arms and supporters of Sir Thomas de la
Laund, 1470 (_Archæological Journal_, vol. ii, p. 87).

From the above remarks it will be seen that no datings, at any rate in
the earlier centuries, can be deduced from the presence of supporters;
indeed, there are instances of stone carvings on dwellings, in which it
seems to me that the cutter, as in early seals, has added supporters
merely to beautify his design and balance his shield, without any
heraldic intention or authority whatever. Heraldry was a "mystery"
as well as a science, and if the cutter had placed supporters, when
decorating the mansion of a neighbouring lord, he might, in the same
way, balance his design on the house of some obscure gentleman.


Called in French "Devises" or, when of ancient origin, "Cri de guerre."
Menestrier (_Origine des Ornemens_) traces such to very ancient, even
Roman, times. These arose from various circumstances, often accidental
and frivolous, and as fresh mottoes were frequently assumed by English
families, it is sometimes possible to establish an approximate date by
discovering when the accompanying motto was adopted.


sometimes, on early seals and carvings, are valuable as indications of
date and examples of the types then prevalent; but, in other and later
instances, they seem to be fancifully treated, and so would not be
reliable. They form too large a subject for discussion here, and one
that has been most ably and exhaustively treated in works on Armour.

       *       *       *       *       *

I now proceed to consider the shapes as sketched, taking the several
numbers by the groups into which they naturally fall. Many more
instances might have been quoted for the various shapes, but I have
selected these to show, so far as I have been able to gather them, the
extreme range of dates.

Perhaps I may venture here to remark that the search for ancient shapes
of shields, with a view to their slavish reproduction, which is now so
usual, does not seem to have been so prevalent before about the year
1840. This is the date which seems generally accepted as that when
originality in the matter of seals and book-plates ceased, and every
variety of old examples began to be sedulously searched out and copied.

All of these shields are subject to slight variations of outline,
according to the fancy of the artist and their necessary adaptation to
their surroundings.

No. 8 in the accompanying plate of shapes appears in stained glass
to the memory of Sir Wm. Berdwell (will, dated 1434), Blomefield's
_Norfolk_, vol. i, p. 203.

An Irish instance, but of very ungraceful proportions, date 1507, is
engraved _Archæological Journal_, vol. xv, p. 188.

It also occurs in the mantelpiece at Helmdon, Northants, 1533;
described in _Archæologia_, vol. xiii, plate 12.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 9, 10, 11, and 12 all occur on the beautiful monument to Abbot
Thomas Ramrage, in St. Alban's Cathedral,--of the date 1529; Boutell's
_Heraldry_, p. 357. Engravings of which may also be frequently found

No. 10 occurs in a small signet seal, two impressions of which are
attached as a counterseal to a lease by the Priory of Dartford, co.
Kent, bearing date 24th December, 1529. This sealing on the back
rendered it impossible to detach the large wax seal and apply it
fraudulently to another document. This is engraved _Proceedings of the
Society of Antiquaries_, 27th May, 1875.


Occurs also in a brass, Okeover impaling Aston, date 1520 (Boutell's
_Brasses_, p. 127), see No. 75.

Also in another brass, at Sprouston, Norfolk, dated 1559.

No. 11 occurs without the bouche on a chimney-piece at the Episcopal
Palace, Exeter, 1486.

With the bouche, in the Ramrage Chantry, St. Alban's Abbey, of about
the same date (Boutell's _Heraldry_, p. 98).

Also in heraldic drawings of 1536, in Willement's _Regal Heraldry_.

No. 12, but without the bouche, occurs in Henry VII.'s chapel
(_Archæologia_, vol. xvi, p. 194).

The annexed engraving shows a most interesting knightly shield of the
Schutz family, of Shotover, co. Oxford, dating from the fifteenth
century. It is 2 feet 8 inches long by 1 foot 1½ inches broad, and
was, when Mr. Hewitt wrote his book, in the possession of the Rev.
J. Wilson, President of Trinity College, Oxford. It is engraved and
described, _Ancient Arms and Armour_, vol. ii, p. 496.

It will be remembered that John of Gaunt's shield, described at p. 29,
very closely resembles No. 12.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 13, 14, and 15.

No. 13 is shown in the seal of the Free School of Richmond, Yorkshire,
founded 1535-6 (Gale's _Registrum Honoris de Richmond_, p. 254).

In an old engraving, showing Henry VIII. and his Parliament, in Hall's
_Chronicle_, published 1548, a shield of this shape appears on the
curtain extending behind the throne.

No. 14--In a heraldic drawing, 1558, of the arms of Elizabeth, in
Harl. MS. 6096, three of these shields are grouped (Willement's _Regal

Annexed engraving of an enamelled plaque, supposed to have formed
originally the centre of a large salver or dish, is taken from
_Proceed. Soc. Antiq._, 7th Dec., 1876, and shows our shield No. 14
with the date 1563. Sir Thomas Bell died in 1566; he was thrice Mayor
of the City of Gloucester, and also represented it in Parliament.


A Scotch seal, Francis Earl of Bothwell, 1587 (engraved _Herald and
Genealogist_, vol. iv, p. 19).

Another Scotch seal, the Earl of Eglinton, 1620 (engraved _Herald and
Genealogist_, vol. iv, p. 18).

Engravings in _The English Baronetage, 1741_, show the same.

Also in _Principal Historical and Allusive Arms_, by De la Motte, 1803,
which work, indeed, aims at variety in its shapes and designs.

No. 15--In the printer's mark of Ant. du Ry, of Leyden, 1525.

In the shield of Anne Bullen, 1533 (Willement's _Regal Heraldry_).

Also a seal, 1575, _Miscell. Genealogica_, vol. ii, p. 170.

These shapes lend themselves particularly to decorations in stained
glass, where variations may be constantly found, but it is generally
difficult in such cases to give an exact date.

From all which it appears that these shapes--Nos. 13 to 15--began about
1520, and prevailed till about the third quarter of the sixteenth
century; and from their beautiful outlines, they occasionally are used
even to the present day. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
they may often be found hacked and scrolled.

       *       *       *       *       *

No. 16 occurs in a monument to Raynes, 1689 (engraved in Drake's
_Eboracum_, p. 515).

This is a shape which would lend itself peculiarly to monuments or
stained glass.

The shields engraved in Chauncey's _History of Hertfordshire_, 1700,
are of this shape, slightly eared, and very slightly hollowed out in
the sides.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 17 and 18.--In these a decidedly German influence is visible.

They occur in the German book of _Virgil Solis_, 1555.

The earliest English instance of No. 17 which I have noticed appears
in the _Visit. Hunts, 1613_ (Camden Society), p. 4, with the arms of
Clifton, but no exact date is attached.

In the 1724 edition of Guillim's _Display_ similar shields are
engraved, with scroll work round the edges.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 19, 20, 21, and 22.

No. 19 is found on the tomb of Margaret, Countess of Richmond, in
Westminster Abbey, who died 1509 (Sandford's _Genealogical History_, p.
326), see No. 73.


Again in a ledger tomb at Brent-eleigh, in memory of Mrs. Sawyer, and
dated 1734 (_Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica_ for January, 1886).

Also in the engravings in Blomfield's _Norfolk_, 1739, with a shaped

No. 20, may be seen in stained glass, in Grappenhall Old Rectory
window, of date about 1527.

Again in a brass in Antringham Church, Suffolk, dated 1562.

No. 21, a brass at St. Mary Quay, Ipswich, 1525 (Boutell's _Brasses_,
p. 132).

Also on a seal, 1575 (engraved, _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_,
vol. ii, p. 170).

Also on a seal, 1578, in Oliver Vredius (_Seals of the Counts of

Again in a grant of arms, 1715 (_Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_,
second series, vol. i, p. 188).

A ledger at Kelston churchyard, Gibbes quartering Harrington and
Specott, 1730 (engraved in _Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica_ for
Jan., 1884).


Thus showing that its present use so extensively by the College of Arms
is a return to an old pattern existing at any rate since 1509.

Shields very similar occur in _The Ancient Order of Prince Arthure_,
published by R. Robinson, 1583; also in Sylvanus Morgan's _Sphere of
Gentry_, 1661; while the College of Arms shield No. 22 appears in the
Great Seal of Edward VI., 1547.

This group, therefore, extends from about 1500 to the present day.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is convenient to take Nos. 23 and 24 Stuart, together with 25 and 26
the Georgian.

No. 23, the annexed seal of Robert Greysbrooke of Middleton, is
appended to his will, dated 1st September, 1668, and printed _Miscell.
Genealogica et Heraldica_ for 1878.


It appears very constantly in seals from about 1610 to 1694.

The shape is used in Sir Peter Leycester's _Historical Antiquities of
Cheshire_, published in 1673.

Again in Sylvanus Morgan's _Sphere of Gentry_, published 1661.

No. 24 appears in stone carving at Penshurst Place, Kent, showing the
arms of Edward VI., 1547. The side points are curled round, and the
centre one is capped with a fillet and half globe: an improvement by
the stone cutter (Willement's _Regal Heraldry_), see No. 77.

It is found in the seals and in the crown-pieces of the Commonwealth,
dated 1650.

Taking then the Georgian No. 25--In Willement's _Regal Heraldry_, the
arms of Henrietta Maria, the wife of Chas. I., 1625, are reproduced in
this shape.

It becomes very frequent 1783-92, and up to 1806 in monuments and
book-plates--see page 56.

The shield is used in a work published at Worcester 1795, _Historical
Anecdotes of Heraldry and Chivalry_.

Very many of the bulky seals so common during the last thirty years of
the eighteenth century display coats of arms on shields of this shape,
which seems to have been much used about this date. The Liverpool
halfpenny, 1791, see No. 78; the Leeds halfpenny, 1791; and the
Cronebane halfpenny, 1789; and no doubt many other copper tokens show
No. 25.

No. 26 is figured by Randle Holme (_Academy of Armoury_, 1688), who
took it from Sylvanus Morgan's _Sphere of Gentry_, 1661. He explains it
is from old and decayed monuments. It is really adapted from ancient
shields, which were used by the Amazons, and they are constantly
represented with such shields and with double-headed battle axes on
Greek coins (see _Petiti de Amazonibus Dissertatio_, 1687, p. 180, &c.)

The only change noticeable in these shields is that the Stuart,
which extended down to certainly as late as 1694, have perpendicular
sides,--with an occasional exception, as that quoted 1625,--while in
the Georgian the sides are always more or less bulged out.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 27, 28, 29, and 30, with which may conveniently be taken the tops,
designated "eared couped."

No. 27--This shape occurs in Brussels tapestry, dated 1610. The sides
are more hollowed-out, and the ears more projected (Jacquemart's
_History of Furniture_, p. 102, English translation).

Very frequently in ledger tombs, 1718, 1749, 1750, and in 1680 (see
_Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, November, 1884, p. 172).

In a MS. dated 1710;

Also in the Radcliffe book-plate, _circa_ 1720, engraved in Mr.
Rylands' _Notes on Book-Plates_, 1889, p. 30.

No. 28--The arms of Caroline of Brandenburg, wife of George II., 1727,
are given on this shield in Willement's _Regal Heraldry_.

No. 29--Several of the engravings in Guillim's _Display_, edition 1724,
and in _The English Baronetage_, 1741, partake of this character, thus
giving a range from 1610 to 1741 for this group.

       *       *       *       *       *

No. 31 is a shield very extensively used in Germany and Holland.

It first appears in the seals of the Counts of Flanders (Oliver
Vredius) in 1477 and 1487, and disappears in 1602.

It is figured fo. 1_b_ in the _Nuremberg Chronicle_, published 1493.

It may be constantly found at all dates, and down to the present day in
German heraldry.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 32, 33, and 34.

No. 32--This shield has a very extensive range of date; the first I
have noticed is on the tomb of Anne of Cleves, in Westminster Abbey,
1539 (engraved in Willement's _Regal Heraldry_).

Engravings in an illustrated edition of Ariosto, printed Venetia, 1572,
repeat the same shape.

In Bolton's _Elements of Armories_, 1610, where such arms as those of
Paracoussi, King of Plate, The Navatalcas, early Mexicans, and the
Incas of Peru, are placed in such shields.

The sixpences and York half-crowns of Charles I., 1614, and the arms on
his Great Seal, 1627 (Sandford's _Genealogical History_, p. 515).

In a MS., 1652, reproduced in _Miscell. Genealogica_ for January, 1885,
p. 204.

The Great Seal of Charles II., 1653 (Sandford's _Genealogical History_,
p. 517).

The seals of the Commonwealth in 1651 and 1656.

Engravings in Bisse's edition of Nicholas Upton, published 1654;

Also in Sandford's _Genealogical History_, 1677.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, seals with this shape
are common enough, many of most beautiful execution, supported by
cornucopiæ, fruit and flowers issuant therefrom; these extend from 1670
to 1700. We need only look at our Britannia's shield in a modern penny
to see the same, adapted from that coin of Antoninus Pius where occurs
the first representation of the figure of Britannia, A.D. 138.

No. 33.--The earliest I have noted is on the seal of Sir Thomas de
Bikenore, Knt., attached to a charter, _s.d._, but about 1300; this is
engraved _Archæolog. Cantiana_, vol. ii, p. 41.

It occurs upon the seals of the Counts of Flanders from 1403 to 1623
(Oliver Vredius); it also appears elsewhere in his work.

It is also on the tomb in Maidstone Church to John Wotton, 1417 (_Arch.
Cantiana_, vol. i, p. 181).

It may be seen in the printer's mark of Richard Pynson, 1530.

I have also noticed No. 33 in one of Camden's grants, dated 2nd
May, 1608, to James Master of East Landen, Kent: this is engraved
_Archæologia Cantiana_, vol. v, p. 238.

No. 34 is, I think, chiefly restricted to foreign seals and engravings.
I have not, so far, noticed an English example.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 35, 42, and 43.

No. 35--Egg-shaped may be regarded very much as a variation of No. 32,
some artists considering it more graceful and better adapted to hold
the arms and leave less of the field vacant. The shield of Edward the
Black Prince, preserved at Canterbury, and already noticed at p. 30,
was of this shape. He died 1376 (Bolton's _Elements_, p. 67).

But there is a large number of such seals as may be described
egg-shaped, with hollowed-out sides, and frequently framed in scrolls;
these are classed as cardioid Nos. 42 and 43, the outlines having been
altered by scroll work, although sometimes the scrolls are omitted.

These occur in _Divi Britannici_, by Sir Winston Churchill, 1675;

In monuments of 1684, &c., in Blomefield's _Norfolk_;

And of 1699, _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_ for December, 1884, p.

Again in 1715, _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. ii, p. 230; and they are
constantly to be found in monumental tablets.

Very frequently the bases of shields with hollowed-out sides are
turned either to dexter or sinister, as noticed in seals throughout
the eighteenth century; and in some later Jacobean, and in Chippendale
book-plates say from 1720 to nearly the end of the century.

[Illustration: Seal of Bartlett of Marldon and Exeter, co. Devon
(_Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_ for June, 1887).]

[Illustration: Seal of Michael Grazebrooke of Audnam: born 1723, died
1766 (_Miscell. Gen. et Heraldica_ for 1878).]

[Illustration: Seal of Joseph Palmer, King's Messenger: born 1683, died
1759 (_Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, second series, vol. i, p.

[Illustration: Seal of Joseph Siket to his will, 1758 (_Herald and
Genealogist_, vol. iii, p. 316; also vol. vi, p. 211.)]

No. 36--French shields, so constantly represented in French heraldry,
appear also in English grants of arms, 1557, 1561, 1582, 1612.

This is just an ordinary square shield, No. 7, with a pointed French

This shield, however, may be found at much earlier dates--see remarks
on Simon de Montacute's seal to the Baron's letter, 1301, on p. 22;
also the very curious brass formerly in St. Nicholas' Church, Lynn,
to Thomas Waterdeyn, Mayor of Lynn in 1397 and 1404. This shows two
shields, No. 36, which bear his merchant's mark, and stand on either
side of a tree. He was alive in 1410 (see engraving, _Archæologia_,
vol. xxxix, p. 505).

       *       *       *       *       *

No. 39.--This curious Italian shield occurs in Gerard Leigh's _Accedens
of Armoury_, 1562.

Also with curious scroll-work, dated 1589, in a timber house at
Norwich, engraved, _Archæologia_, vol. xvi, p. 194.

In the Great Seal of Charles I., 1640, Sandford's _Genealogical
History_, p. 516.

In the halfpenny of Charles II., 1660.

In the halfpenny of James II., 1685.

Randle Holme, book i, p. 6, would have us believe this was "the
veritable shape of the Christal shield given by the goddess Minerva to
Perseus, to enable him to slay the Gorgon Medusa, and which was after
dedicated to Pallas," and this conceit may account for a monster's head
introduced in the Great Seal of Charles I., 1640.

Grotesque shields, somewhat of this shape, are given to Ancient
Britons, as in Speed's _Theatre of Great Britain_, 1676, and in MS.
pedigrees of early seventeenth century, for the arms of Welsh princes
and early potentates. Randle Holme (_Academy of Armoury_) gives one of
these as from the monument of Mahomet, Emperor of Turkey, and another
from the monument of Tamerlane, Emperor of Tartaria.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nos. 40 and 41 actually do occur frequently in Roman bronzes and
monuments, and are reproduced in engravings in Bolton's _Elements of
Armories_, 1610, p. 147, &c. Bolton explains that it (41) occurs on the
Column to Antoninus at Rome, but later discoveries have shown that this
column was really erected to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus in 174 A.D.


Nos. 42 and 43 cardioid shields (see the remarks upon 33, 34 and
35).--I think these arose from the decorative scroll-work placed around
egg-shaped shields, and especially in late Jacobean and Chippendale
times, when they may be found in monuments and book-plates. The
earliest mural tablet I have noticed is dated 1699, at Winchester
Cathedral. This is engraved _Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica_ for
December, 1884, p. 185.

The engravings in _Divi Britannici_, noticed under the variations of
35, nearly approach these.

       *       *       *       *       *

Instances of pure heart-shaped shields occur in the brass to Willem
Wenemaer, slain 1325. This is in the vestibule to the hospital which he
founded at Ghent (_Archæological Journal_, vol. vii, p. 287);


Also in a monument at St. Margaret's, Hertford, 1691-2, shown in the
annexed illustration. This is from _Miscell. Geneal. et Heraldica_,
January, 1887, p. 197; and the shape may also be found at later dates.

My readers will also refer to that very interesting seal of Richard
Basset, about 1145, described at p. 13, and No. 44: it is heart-shaped,
greatly lengthened out.

A very curious heart-shaped shield, with the point turned round and
scrolled, appears in the wooden effigy to one of the family of Oglander
in Brading Church, Isle of Wight. This is supposed to be of sixteenth
century. It is engraved in the Anastatic Drawing Society's vol. for

A curious instance of the recrudescence of early forms occurs when
Sylvanus Morgan, vol. i, p. 27, places the arms of one Gill in a
triangular shield, such as we noticed in the thirteenth century, and
figured No. 1 in the sheet.

Again, heater-pear shields, No. 6, frequently occur in early monuments,
as they accorded well with the style of decoration--see the monument to
Henry Willoughby, 1581, at Wollaton (Thoroton's _Notts_, p. 27); also
that to Richard Mansfield, 1624, at West Lake Church (Thoroton, p. 27);
also that to Thomas Atkinson, 1661, at Newark-on-Trent (Thoroton, p.
200); also in a monument to the Clifton family, about 1670, engraved p.
61 in the same book.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be possible to give much more fully the exacter history of
several of these shields, showing their various slight variations
prevailing at different dates, but such would extend my "attempt"
beyond a convenient length.

I have, however, selected one of the most common occurrence, feeling
sure that its history will therefore be the more interesting. In _A
Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry_, published by Parker,
Oxford, 1847, the date 1724 is given as the "earliest shield that has
been noticed of this tasteless, though still prevalent form," No. 81.

Now, here is the exact sequence with the small variations which I have
been able to trace:--

 No. 79--Occurs in a book printed by W. Rastell in 1533, quoted in
 Parker's _Glossary_.

 In an inlaid chimney-piece at Bolsover Castle, with the arms Cavendish
 impaling Ogle, and therefore the date is 1590-1600.

 Also in a MS. pedigree of Howard, date 1580, in the possession of Col.
 Crosse at Shaw Hill, co. Lancaster.

 The next instance I have found is carved on a pew in Warrington
 Church, and bears the inscription "Richard Massye, 1617." This shows
 arms quarterly, (1) Rixton of Rixton, (2) Mascy of Rixton, (3)
 Warburton (?), see Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire vol.
 xxxix, p. 154, where this quartering is discussed; (4) Horton of

 The same shaped shield appears in a monument to Richard Wiatt, who
 died in 1619. This stands in Isleworth Church, and is engraved in
 _Herald and Gen._, vol. iii, p. 500.

 No. 84--Is frequently found in MSS. about 1620. I can refer to the
 pedigree of the Holland and Dukenfield families, which is dated 1622.

 The same shield is used in Bysse's edition of Nicholas Upton, which
 was published in 1654.

 Also in a certificate of arms by Segar Garter, 1625, Historic Society
 of Lancashire and Cheshire, vol. xxxviii, p. 72.

 It is also carved in oak in Prescot Church, with the arms of Ogle of
 Whiston quartering Bertram, and the date 1650.

 It again occurs on the gravestone of Richard Clegg, Vicar of Kirkham;
 the earliest date on which is 1677 (Chetham Society, vol. xcii, p.

 The same, but more slightly eared, occurs frequently with the
 dedicatory arms of the donors of the plates to Sandford's
 _Genealogical History_, published 1677.

 A ledger stone, dated 1690, with the ears still less strongly marked,
 is engraved _Miscell. Genealog._ for February, 1885, p. 242.

 No. 82--Occurs in a grant of arms, dated 1684, _Miscell. Genealogica_,
 second series, vol. i, p. 397.

 The same shield appears in a grant, dated 1696, printed in the same
 work, first series, vol. ii, p. 191.

 Such shields with very slightly marked ears, and with pointed or
 angular, also with French bases, are found very frequently in
 book-plates of 1700 and for ten years or so later, and sometimes with
 the sides very slightly hollowed-out.

 No. 83--Is a shield with Queen Anne's arms, 1706, engraved in
 Willement's _Regal Heraldry_.

 No. 80--May be seen in the monument to Tho. Norreys, 1624, in Rainham
 Church, Kent (_Archæologia Cantiana_, vol. vi, p. 295).

 A grant of arms, dated 1720, is engraved in _Miscell. Genealogica_,
 vol. ii, p. 252, and shews the same shield.

 Seals about the year 1718 appear with this same shape, of rather broad
 proportions, and with French bases rather flattened.

 No. 81--In Wright's edition of Peter Heylin's _Helps to History_,
 published 1773, this variation is used, but of rather longer

 About 1780, seals are noticed to follow the same character, and with
 angular or French bases, just as we see them prevailing even to the
 present day.

[Illustration: _Plate VI._]

This shield therefore, with slight variations in the ears, may be found
from 1533 to the present day; and the date given in Parker's _Glossary_
was fixed upon insufficient research.


in England are usually of the same shape and size as the seal proper;
the pendant cake of wax thus showing two complete impressions, one on
each side.

Edward the Confessor and his successors have continuously used them;
but among subjects they do not appear before 1130--excepting, perhaps,
that remarkable instance of two seals conjoined back to back on the
charter of Odo, Bishop of Baieux in 1075. See _Archæologia_, vol. i, p.

Nobility of the blood royal, their wives and daughters, seem to have
used counterseals pretty generally from the middle of the twelfth
century. The greater titular nobility also adopted them occasionally
during that century; but in the next, and until the Baron's letter
(1301), a much larger number occur. Their use, however, was very
irregular: many prominent titular nobles neglected them, and, on the
other hand, we find many families of only moderate territorial position
placing secreta on the back of charter seals. I notice as quite
remarkable how many ladies who had come to represent a manor, about the
middle of the thirteenth century, when the fashion was at its height,
at once beautified or safeguarded their seals with a secretum.

After 1301 such extra sealing almost disappears, but there are some
very late instances. Humfrey Earl of Stafford and Perche, 1438, placed
on the back of his splendid seal a smaller one--the Stafford arms on a
heater shield, within a decoration of three Stafford knots, but without
any inscription (_Archæologia_, vol. xxxviii); and some of those large
and pretentious seals mentioned as appearing 1450-1475 were used with
small counterseals.

Many ecclesiastical communities used counterseals, also the old Cinque
ports and other ancient boroughs. Ancient official departments too,
such as the Norwich Staple, 1272-1307: these having begun, of course
continued their use as an established form.


were usually small, and inscribed "Secretum." The first I have noticed
is that of Seherus de Quenci, created Earl in 1210--"Secretum Comitis
Wintonie." (Spelman's _Aspilogia_, p. 67.) John de Busli, however, is
even a little earlier; "Secretum Johannis de Bueli" (_The Earls of Eu_,
by Chester Waters, p. 33).

       *       *       *       *       *

After a careful examination I have come to the conclusion that no
regulations restricted their use, but counterseals and secreta were
adopted or not, according to taste. Some regarded them as an accession
of dignity, and some as a safeguard: there seems no doubt it was for
the second reason that that signet was placed, in 1529, on the back
of the Dartford Priory Seal (see p. 60); and I find another instance,
where a seal of the same Priory, in 1534, had as a counterseal the
impression of a small signet with the letters I F, being apparently the
initials of Isabel or Joan Fane, the prioress at that time.

It will give some idea as to the prevalence of counterseals if I say
that to the Baron's letter, 1301, are appended ninety-five seals of the
principal nobility. Seventy-nine have no counterseals: to sixteen such
are attached; namely, eight of the same size as the seals, and eight
greatly smaller. Two of these smaller ones are not inscribed (William
de Brehouse and Simon de Montacute), and one only is called "Secretum"
(Walteri de Teye). I think this shows they were less commonly used in
1301 than about 1250.


It is somewhat difficult to treat distinctly of the mantlings
prevailing since the beginning of the sixteenth century; but as
they afford indirect evidence of date, I venture to draw up the
following short description of their variations; and I do so with some
diffidence, in the hope that fellow-students may add to my feeble
effort, and that thus we may presently arrive at a perfect and dated
scheme of these changes.

I am obliged to treat seals separately from drawings and stone
carvings, because the circumscribed space in a seal seems to have
prevented some of the variations noticed in the others. At the same
time, several characteristic changes are found to occur, and at
tolerably distinct dates; and so it is possible to lay down very
clearly, as to seals, the current of progressive change.

       *       *       *       *       *

By far the greater number of heraldic SEALS at the beginning of the
sixteenth century have no mantling, but display only a bare shield,
without ornament--unless some scroll-work or architectural lines, to
fill up the space within the dotted or plain circles. Such seals occur
constantly till the end of the seventeenth century.

About 1550 helmets with mantlings, open and rather sparse, and kept
high up on the top of the shield, appear. These mantlings are rather
flat, so that a good space is left for the crest, which thus stands out
distinctly. As a specimen, see Wm. Lambarde's seal, 1552 (_Archæologia
Cantiana_, vol. v, p. 256).

Although a good many seals continue still with the mantlings kept
up about the top of the shield (while sometimes a motto, &c., is
introduced below), it is observed that a little after this date
mantlings gradually creep downwards, perhaps to two-thirds of the
depth of the shield. See a seal of the Throckmorton family, 1576
(_Visitation of Warwick, 1619_, Harl. Soc.); also those of Lord
Chancellor Bromley, 1581 (_Herald and Genealogist_, vol. v, p. 5); John
Ogle, 1597 (Mascy Charters, plate C, Historic Society of Lancashire and
Cheshire for 1887); and Edward Osborne, 1618 (_Herald and Genealogist_,
vol. iv, p. 241; also _Archæologia Cantiana_, vol. v, p. 234).

This is the character of many examples occurring down to about the
year 1650, when a greater profusion of mantling began to be shown: of
this the seal of Sir Edward Nicholas, engraved on p. 45, is a good
example; and it is the first instance I have noticed in which the folds
of the mantling come out _from behind_ the shield, thus marring its
distinctness. Usually, although the volume of foldings increases, they
are kept away from it, so as to leave the impression of the shield
standing out and quite clear. In this, too, the folds extend higher up
on either side of the crest than is usual in earlier examples.

It may be interesting here to note that of the fifty-nine seals
attached to the death warrant of Charles I., in 1648-9--following the
very accurate engraving in _Monumenta Vetusta_, vol. ii,--twenty-one
show mantlings, eleven are distinctly without, ten are doubtful, and
the remaining seventeen seals are quite illegible.

From about 1650 many beautifully cut signets are found--the arms, with
helmets, crests, and mantlings, the points of which rise up on either
side of the crest, thus filling up that empty space. The seal of the
Cordwainers of Oxford, made in 1680, is a favourable example of the
date (_Arch. Journal_, vol. vi, pp. 159 and 279).

About 1680 I have observed tassels sometimes appear as a finish to the
lower ends of mantlings, as in the seal of Thomas Bate, engraved on p.
45; also in a signet of 1683, in _Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica_
for 1886, p. 143; and elsewhere.

Shields set in frames of scroll-work, without mantlings, were prevalent
from the beginning of the seventeenth century. For an example, see a
signet of Fetherston, 1638, engraved in the _Visitation of Warwick_
(Harleian Society).

From about 1670 cornucopiæ, with flowers, &c., appear, supporting
shields more or less egg-shaped; and some of them are most exquisitely
engraved. But even at so late a date, I have not observed tincture
lines introduced.

I have noticed very few seals about this time in the Jacobean taste.
Probably no room was left in so confined a space for scroll-work around
the base of the shield. But mantlings--rather heavy, although not
voluminous, and kept up pretty high--are found towards the end of this
seventeenth century. In many cases also, at this time, plain Georgian
shields occur, without mantling.

Early in the eighteenth century seals are found in late Jacobean
frames, open and with trellis-work, adorned with rushes and flowers,
and without mantlings.

The influence of Chippendale taste strongly affected seals from about
1750 to 1775.

Many followed in the style of Adam, with ribbons and festoons of
flowers, and sometimes lightly scrolled frames. These, of course, are
without mantlings.

We are thus brought to the end of the eighteenth century. Only
occasionally have I met with mantlings between about 1740 and 1800;
but I must explain that it is very difficult to get together a body
of examples of the eighteenth century: such are not old enough to be
figured in engravings, and documents likely to bear them are not of
sufficient interest to be examined for any other purpose. I trust
fellow-students who read this book will sketch, with their dates, all
instances of this epoch: it is only in that way we can get together a
body of evidence.

It seems to have been very common, also, for successive generations
to repeat the style of their seals, as if that were as important as
the heraldry displayed; and thus instances of the several variations
occur, perhaps, much later than their legitimate dates--as classified
above, from many examples. I know one family whose seals from 1718 to
1840 show, with only one or two exceptions, "the tasteless though still
prevalent form" No. 80, and without any mantlings.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although taking DRAWINGS and STONE CARVINGS together, there are
certain differences observable in each; for instance, we constantly
find, in monumental sculptures of the sixteenth century, designs with
mantlings above and scroll-work below, which very closely correspond
with Jacobean book-plates and engravings such as did not appear till
about 1720. I would refer to Thoroton's _History of Notts_, p. 227;
where is engraved a monument, at Wollaton, to Henry Willoughby, who
died 1581, which is quite Jacobean in taste and treatment. Another
equally so is at Newark-upon-Trent Church: this was erected in 1661, to
Thomas Atkinson (Thoroton's _Notts_, p. 200). Another with cornucopiæ
and scrolls stands in West Lake Church, to the memory of Richard
Mansfield, who died 1624 (Thoroton's _Notts_, p. 27). This last exactly
corresponds with some of Hollar's beautiful designs, in Sandford's
_Genealogical History_, published in 1677; and it is very remarkable
that these are a distinct _advance upon_ Hollar's own designs in the
preface and dedication to the Bysse edition of Nicholas Upton, which
he engraved in 1654; while for nearly fifty years this monumental
example had stood in West Lake Church, and we know it was only one of
many similar English works. I have many times noticed that sculpture
precedes engravings or paintings. It is, I think, inherently so:
designing in the round comes first, to be afterwards translated, by
skilful and artistic and educated shading, into the flat.

Through the kindness of Dr. Jackson Howard, Maltravers Herald, and
Messrs. Mitchell and Hughes, I am able to shew the engraving (from
_Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_ for 1884, p. 99) of a very unusual
mantling from the Confirmation of Arms in 1526, by Thomas Hawley,
Clarenceux, to Francoys Galuerdet, a native of Rhodes, and Receiver
General in England for the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. This
mantling is unusually small; there is no helmet, and the torce is
beautifully worked [compare the brass to Sir Wm. Say, lithograph No.
71]. I put this forward first because of its early date, and it seems
that at this time mantlings in heraldic drawings, grants, &c., were
kept very small.


It will be convenient to describe, and in a numbered list as follows,
the variations observed at successive dates.

1.--From 1550 to 1570 there is a tendency to keep the greater portion
of mantlings above the shield. They are of smaller volume, and one
fold is allowed to wander down on each side, ending in a tassel about
one-third down the depth of the shield. A very characteristic example
is engraved in _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_ for June, 1887,
being the grant to Thomas ffletewood, of London, 1st June, 1545. In the
grant to John Lambard, 15th January, 1551 (engraved in _Archæologia
Cantiana_, vol. v, p. 247), such a mantling has four tassels, two above
carried up somewhat high, and two below standing about one-third down
the shield. The mantling to the arms of Goodricke, engraved in Gerard
Legh's _Accedens of Armory_, edition 1562, is of the same character,
but without tassels.

2.--A little later the number of folds is observed to increase, and
the tassels are carried down further and turn inwards towards the base
point of the shield.

3.--In a grant dated 1572, which is printed in _Miscell. Genealogica et
Heraldica_, vol. i, p. 321, occurs the first instance I have noticed of
the foldings coming from behind the shield, and the same may be seen in
a grant of 1575, printed in Sylvanus Morgan's _Sphere of Gentry_, lib.
ii, p. 74.

4.--From about 1590 to 1630 a return to the simpler style is
observable; a single fold wandering away from the body and reaching
with tassels to the base of the shield. Occasional instances return
wholly to the descriptions given under 1 and 2.

5.--After about 1620 the volume of mantling gradually increased, and
seemed to be purposely so arranged as to come out from behind, probably
because it was found in drawings to give artistic relief to the shield.

6.--By about the year 1670 mantlings are frequently found of excessive
volume, and in a mass, which would be solid were it not skilfully
broken by lighter hackings appearing in the central portions; the
folds come down in heavy masses, sometimes like great sausages or
cucumbers, to the bottom of the shield. Examples of such may be seen in
Sandford's _Genealogical History_, 1677, and in book-plates engraved
in _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, December, 1886, p. 184, and
elsewhere. The skill of the artist affects wonderfully the quality of
these designs; it is not only the chiaro-oscuro, but the turning of a
line may often sparkle with genius. Sometimes they are extremely flat
and heavy, for instance, in the map attached to Thoroton's _Notts_,
1677, may be seen a specimen, which is a great contrast to Hollar's
designs in Sandford's _Genealogical History_, published in the same
year. Again, the frontispiece to Carter's _Honor Redivivus_, published
in 1673, shows flat waves, and behind the shield, coming out two-thirds
down its length, the edges rippling into leaves and hackings, while
the folds extend down to a boldly hacked and curled cartouche for the
motto, out of which spring two branches of olive.

Instances of this style continue to occur down to 1750. We find
them so engraved in Guillim's _Display_, 1724, also in the _English
Baronetage_, 1741, and in some of the engravings in Atkyn's
_Gloucestershire_, 1768.

7.--About the year 1700 appeared for a few years, perhaps we may say
till about 1720, book-plates and dedicatory arms with great hacked
foldings twisted round and looking something like Catherine-wheel
fireworks. Two or four of these occur in book-plates, and sometimes as
many as six, three on each side. We notice that these are conventional
exaggerations of the less pronounced circular foldings and turnings
seen so early as 1677 in some of Hollar's engravings in Sandford's
_Genealogical History_. An engraving at p. 185 in Chauncey's _History
of Hertford_, published in 1700, is especially interesting; it shows
a monument, dated 1662, to Hewytt, in Sawbridgeworth Church, where
the carver has struggled to avoid the long ugly folds ("cucumbers"),
and has introduced very vigorously twisted leaves and hacks which
almost approach those conventional Catherine-wheel fireworks as found
in book-plates of a later date, say from 1700 to 1720. I would point
out that all the armorial engravings in Chauncey's _Herts_ are well
worth studying: the mantlings are hacked all over, and extend about
four-fifths down the shields in endless small and vigorous twists, the
shields themselves being variations of No. 16. Some of the engravings
in Plot's _Natural History of Oxfordshire_, published in 1705,
show the same character, also some of those in Atkyn's _History of
Gloucestershire_, published in 1768.

8.--The rebound from this taste led to small mantlings, kept a good
deal at the top of the shield, even although there were no supporters,
as in a peer's coat of arms, to prevent their downward flow. These
occur also when the bases of the shields in Jacobean book-plates are
finished off with scroll work, trellis, scales, &c., &c.; the upper
part of the shield being ornamented with such smallish mantlings. In
Blomefield's _Norfolk_, 1739, ribbon scrolls extend all round some of
the shields in the place of a mantling; while in what is, I suppose,
a book-plate, Holland impaling Upton, printed in the pedigrees at the
beginning of vol. i, acanthus leaves occur in the base, and break out
occasionally, where convenient, from such scrolls, which are arranged
round the upper part of the shield. Scrolls are strictly architectural
ornaments, and not _vegetables_. These correspond to the French style
called "Bombé," in which curves and undulations of surface in ribbons,
&c., were rolled and tossed about for artistic effect. But with our
English examples of monuments of the sixteenth century in the same
taste (see p. 80), we need not consider that our Jacobean style was
borrowed from the French, although that nation, for a full century,
ending in 1790, guided the artistic tastes of Europe.

9.--During the Chippendale fashion all martial elements disappear,
helmets and mantlings are swept away, and we see the style of Louis
XV. borrowed from the prevailing French taste, broken shell-shaped
woodwork, rocks, and shell curves (rocaille coquille), hence called
"Rococo." It was well enough in the frames of mirrors and furniture,
but seems strangely out of place around a cardioid shield of arms,
with festoons of flowers and spikes of reeds or grass, while perhaps
Cupids or Greek vases on brackets are introduced. Nevertheless, the
genius of Chippendale sublimated this into specimens of great beauty.
Chippendale's _Books of Designs_ were published in 1759, i vol., folio,
and in 1762, i vol., folio.

10.--Mantlings, of course, continued to be shown in grants of arms.
We find about 1775 they appear to be smaller again, and confined to
the top of the shield, often being carried rather high up on each side
of the crest, and frequently ending at the base in two tassels [see a
grant 1779, _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, second series, vol.
iii, p. 41].

11.--This style continued to the beginning of the nineteenth century,
when I have observed very light and graceful mantlings thrown about in
airy and much hacked foldings, and generally ending in tassels (see a
grant 1803, _Miscell. Genealogica et Heraldica_, original series, vol.
ii, p. 20). This character is also seen in many book-plates of this

12.--I must now say a few words on the style introduced and skilfully
enforced by Robert and James Adam. They, too, adopted from the French,
and by their skill and artistic taste developed to great perfection
the style of Louis XVI. (1774-90). The rage for this fashion arose
in Europe upon the discovery at Pompeii of Roman frescoes preserved
in their original colours. The brothers Adam caught the exact spirit
of these, and produced heraldic designs, consisting of shell-fluted
scrolls, with light and airy festoons of flowers and ribbons,
surrounding shields almost invariably Georgian No. 25. The festoons
were frequently extended in graceful curves, from pegs, just as we
see them in the recovered Roman arabesques, or on the walls of the
Petit Trianon. Robert and James Adam published their book in three
vols., imp. folio, 1773-1822. For examples of this style see Dugdale's
_Warwickshire_, 1765; Hutchin's _Dorset_, 1774; Hasted's _Kent_,
1778; Rudder's _Gloucestershire_, 1779 (one specimen only); Nichol's
_Leicestershire_, 1795; Shaw's _Staffordshire_, 1798; Manning and
Bray's _Surrey_, 1804. This long list will show how extremely popular
the Adam style continued to be for about thirty years.

13.--As early as 1500, a fan-shaped mantling with rounded base appears;
it was formed of an unhacked cloth with many closely folded rays,
and occasionally two tassels are attached to the _upper_ corners and
hang down as supports on each side of the shield, which stands in the
middle--see examples engraved in _Herald and Genealogist_, vol. viii,
p. 247; _Archæologia Cantiana_, vol. v, p. 248; _Miscell. Genealogica
et Heraldica_, first series, vol. ii, p. 100; &c., &c. This design
is continued until after 1700, but seems less closely folded at the
later dates, when they are often found in ornamental achievements in

14.--A curious example of a mantling is engraved _Herald and
Genealogist_, vol. viii, p. 254, in which a square sheet or cloth,
having no hacking, and attached to the helmet, is folded-in round the
edges; through these a cord is passed, ending in two tassels which
extend a little below the bottom of the mantle. This portion of the
cloth, as well as the back, hangs down straight without any folds. The
result is that the shield stands out against the deeply shaded back
ground within these folded-in edges, they being in high light. The MS.
from which this is taken is dated 1645, and the shield displays the
arms of Helsby.

15.--The earliest instance I have noticed of those large unhacked
square sheets or mantles called by Porney "drapery," which are drawn up
through two rings or ribbons at the upper corners and fall in folds,
while in the middle stands the shield of arms, occurs in a monument
at Holme Pierpoint to the Countess of Kingston, which bears date 1649
(Thoroton's _Notts_, p. 90). Such are also engraved in the _Sphere
of Gentry_, 1661; and in the _English Baronetage_, 1741. These are
occasionally to be met with down to 1840. In French heraldry they are
commonly found.

       *       *       *       *       *

In _Archæologia Cantiana_, vol. x, p. 329, is engraved a curious
tent-shaped "drapery," drawn over the helm and held there by a ducal
coronet, from which starts the crest, while beneath, and in the middle
of the sheet, stand the shield of arms and supporters. This is from
"The Confirmation of Supporters, Crest and Arms to Sir Edward Dering,
Knt. and Bart., by Sir Wm. Segar, Garter." The first baronet was
created 1st Feb., 1626, and Sir Wm. Segar died in 1633; so the date of
this drawing is within those seven years.

       *       *       *       *       *

It must be evident that each artist gave a certain character and style
of his own to his work; at the same time the various fashions noted
above are found strongly prevailing at the dates given. They were what
was approved by the public taste, and any variations only extend to
more or less skilful working out. It will be noticed that public taste
has several times alternated between sparse and voluminous mantlings.
There are indications at the present time which seem to point to a
return, within a few years, of the massive convolutions seen during the
last quarter of the seventeenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *

In ledger stones and monuments from 1650 the characteristics
given above are followed until about 1780, when other kinds of
decoration--palm branches, festoons, and scrolls--very largely
superseded mantlings.


My readers would notice at page 52 and again at page 79 that I could
not accept the statements that seals so early as 1648-9 could possibly
show tincture-lines. I therefore gave my authorities, and showed pretty
evidently that I could not, in the face of other _facts_, accept
them. Since the writing of those pages, Mr. W. H. St. John Hope has
very kindly examined for me the original document preserved among the
muniments at the House of Lords, and reports that in _none_ of the
seals attached to the death-warrant of Charles I. are the tinctures
indicated by lines. It is not for me to explain how so accurate an
observer as the late Mr. Planché made such a mistake. I think it is
probable that the late Mr. Bouttell followed him and enlarged somewhat.
The fact, however, is now definitively settled.

I had observed that in those earlier printed books which have copper
plates, the invention of Father Silvester de Petra Sancta had been very
cautiously and undecidedly adopted. In Spelman's _Aspilogia_ [included
in that small folio published by Edward Bysse in 1654, and to which I
have frequently referred as containing also the works of Nicholas Upton
and John de Bado Aureo] most of the shields have tincture lines; but in
some of the copper plates, signs of various planets are given instead
of those letters for tinctures which are usually seen in "tricks."


I have no doubt that the curious projecting point to which the
attention of the reader has been drawn, was meant as a protection
against the "Coup de jarret," that terrible feat of arms which aimed
at severing the muscles behind the knee, a spot necessarily covered by
leather only, and therefore peculiarly vulnerable.





  No.      Pages.

  1--12, 18, 19, 72
  2--12, 14, 21, 24
  3--Introduced 5, 11, 12, 13, 17
  4--11, 12, 17, 24
  5--16, 21, 22, 24, 26, 32, 38
  6--14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 72
  7--22, 24, 38
  9--37, 60
  10--37, 60
  11--37, 60
  12--37, 60
  15--61, 62
  17--62, 63
  26--65, 66
  33--67, 68
  34--67, 68
  42--68, 71
  43--68, 71

       *       *       *       *       *

  Adam style, 86

  Animals in the fields of seals, 18, 22, 23, 24, 27, 32

  Bosses in round shields, 4;
    in other shapes, 13, 14, 16

  Bombé style, 84

  Bouches, 16, 24, 31, 37

  Chaplets or Wreaths, 54

  Chippendale style, 85

  Counterseals, 75

  Crosses and other signs beginning inscriptions, 21

  Dates on seals, 43

  Death Warrant of Charles I., 52, 54, 88

  Decorations on the field in seals, 16, 21, 23, 32

  Decline in the style of seals, 27, 30, 33, 44, 49

  Guiges, 6, 21

  Gunpowder, use of, 26

  Helmets, 59

  Inscriptions, style of, given at the end of each century;
    cross and other signs at their commencement, 21

  Ledger stones, 88

  Lines, dots, ropes, &c., surrounding seals, 21

  Mantlings, 39 to 43;
    sixteenth century and later, 77 to 87;
    fan-shaped, 86;
    square sheets, 86, 87

  Mottoes, 58

  Palm branches, 55

  Rococo style, 85

  Seals sometimes used for a long period, 9, 29;
    lines, dots, ropes, &c., surrounding, 21;
    time required in making, 27, Note;
    decorations on the fields, 16, 21, 23, 32;
    animals in fields of, 18, 22, 23, 24, 27, 32;
    inscriptions, crosses, and other signs at their beginning, 21;
    unfolded scrolls in, 32;
    counterseals, 75;
    secreta, 76;
    dates on seals, 43;
    decline in style of, 27, 30, 33, 44, 49

  Secreta, 76

  Shields, round, 1, 26, 36, 38;
    laws relating to, 2;
    heart-shaped, 13, 15, 71;
    eared, 73 to 75;
    square, 5, 19, 20, 38;
    lozenges, 20;
    turned round at base, 14, 69, 72;
    curved outwards, 24, 33 to 36;
    curious point in sinister base, 36, 89;
    John of Gaunt's shield, 29;
    the Black Prince's shield, 30;
    length of shields, 4, 7;
    their use abandoned in war, 8, 24 to 26;
    introduction of gunpowder not the cause, 26;
    bosses in round shields, 4;
    in other shapes, 13, 14, 16

  Sources of information, 9, 49

  Supporters, 56

  Targetiers, 5

  Tincture lines, 52, 79, 88

  Torces, 43, 81

  Wreaths or Chaplets, 54




Being deeply impressed with the great value of a "CORPUS SIGILLORUM"
which would bring together in one view a large number of English Seals
of each century for the eye to rest upon and so to comprehend the
varying styles at different dates, Mr. Grazebrook puts forward the
following proposal to see if a sufficient number of Subscribers will
be found to support him, and meet the heavy expense of producing such
a work. It is obvious that to lessen the number of illustrations would
impair its usefulness, and Mr. Grazebrook would not undertake the book
unless it can be thoroughly carried out. What he contemplates would
show perhaps fifty selected characteristic seals for each century from
the eleventh to the seventeenth, displayed in order of date. So large
a number would not be needed at the earliest or latest dates, but for
some of the periods a greater number ought to be given. Students now
get together such collections in tracings and drawings--as the labour
of years; and it is feared very few have perseverance enough to carry
out fully their aim, but without such exact data conclusions must be
guess-work. Mr. Grazebrook has such a collection for his own use, and
knows from experience what a great advantage it is.

This proposed well-illustrated book would not only be most valuable
and instructive to the Antiquary, it would also possess a far wider
and general interest, because these are the highest specimens of Art
remaining to us of the early times in which they were made. Seals
at all dates are the results of the greatest skill and care to be
procured, according to the owner's means; and many of them are
masterpieces, both of design and execution. They display the whole
career of Art: the simplicity of early times, gradually developing and
culminating in the perfection of the fourteenth century; to be followed
by overloaded designs, beautified by exquisite workmanship, at the end
of the fifteenth.

Such a pictured History of Art could not fail to be interesting and
attractive to many who would not care to study the subject from a
strictly antiquarian point of view.

This large collection of engravings would be accompanied by
explanations giving an account of most of the seals, the origin of
their decorations, and other particulars involving a considerable
amount of genealogical research; which, even when epitomised, must form
a bulky volume; and it would require a large body of Subscribers at
30_s._ to cover the expense; but the author trusts he may be encouraged
by such extended support that he may be able somewhat to _increase_
the number of illustrations--many of which must be reproduced from
the copper plates in old and rare works, thus involving considerable

Subscriptions payable when the work is completed.

Gentlemen who would be willing to subscribe will please write to that
effect to GEORGE GRAZEBROOK, F.S.A., Oak Hill Park, near Liverpool.

Any suggestions for the improvement of the work would be esteemed. The
author will confine himself strictly to

 The Art History of those seals whose dates are accurately known;

 The Characteristic Styles prevailing at each period; and

 The various Signs of Date as they are developed.


[1] I have to acknowledge the kind permission to use the following
illustrations--by Messrs. Virtue and Co., four blocks from Cutts'
_Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages_, 1872; by Messrs. Mitchell
and Hughes, six blocks from Dr. Jackson Howard's _Miscellanea
Genealogica et Heraldica_; by Messrs. Nichols and Son, sixteen blocks
from _The Herald and Genealogist_, _Collectanea Genealogica et
Heraldica_, _The Topographer and Genealogist_, and _The Visitation
of Huntingdon_, 1613 [Camden Society]; by Messrs. Parker, eight
blocks from Hewitt's _Ancient Arms and Armour_ and _The Archæological
Journal_, vol. iv; by the Society of Antiquaries, eight blocks
published in their _Proceedings_; and by the Royal Archæological
Institute, one block from _The Archæological Journal_, vol. xi.

[2] Randle Holme's _Academy of Armoury_, book i. p. 9, tells us how
Froissart, describing the battle of Poictiers, says that the Black
Prince commanded the body of the Lord Richard Duras to be laid on a
shield, and that five men should bear the same to the Cardinal of
Peregorth for a present, &c. Also, that towards the end of the reign
of Edward III, the Frenchmen, to save themselves from the liberal shot
of the English archers, had shields made of elme-wood, seven feet in
length and three in breadth and an inch in thickness, which were made
sharp at the foot to pitch into the ground.

[3] It would be curious to ascertain, if we could, how long the die
sinkers in early times required to make these large and splendid
seals. I have only noted a few instances which throw light upon it,
but, no doubt, a careful search might show the earliest dates after
their succession when the several kings used their new great seals.
Rymer's _Fœdera_ contains many orderings and surrenderings of such
seals; the great difficulty is to connect the impression with the
thing ordered or dealt with. Blackstone [_The Great Charter and the
Charter of the Forest_, 4to, 1759, pp. xxix and xliii] informs us that
the great Charter of Henry III, dated 12th November, 1216 (he was
crowned at Gloucester, 28th October, 1216), was sealed--as declared
in the document--with the seals of Gualo the Legate and William Earl
of Pembroke; King John's seal having been lost in passing the Washes
of Lincolnshire, and no new seal being made for King Henry till two
years after. About 6th November, 1218, a new great seal was made
for King Henry III, and then began to be used in sealing writs, of
course, but was forbidden to be put to anything which might tend to
perpetuity till the king should arrive to full age; and a footnote is
added, "It has not even in later times been altogether unusual for the
successor to defer for a while the making of a new great seal,--and
in the interim to use his predecessor's:--The Editor has met with a
patent of Rich^d Cromwell, dated 18 Nov. 1658, [11 weeks after his
protectorship commenced] which was sealed with Oliver's seal." Roger
de Hoveden notes, under the year 1194, that Richard I. ordered a new
great seal to be made, but the earliest deed to which it is known to
be attached bears date 18th May, 1198--that is, four years afterwards.
(M. Deville's _Treatise on the Seals of Richard I._, and _Archæological
Journal_, vol. iii, p. 372.) Among the Standish Deeds, which I had
lately the honour to lay before this Society, was one--a licence to
found a chantry at Standish--granted by Edward III. on 12th February,
1328, and with apparently an unfinished seal. The impression is a bad
one, but the lions afterwards on the horse clothing seem to be wanting.
He only ascended the throne 25th January, 1327. On the fourth day of
his reign, viz., 28th January, 1327, he delivered his great seal to
the Bishop of Ely as Chancellor, two fleur-de-lys having been engraved
on the under side thereof (Rymer's _Fœdera_, vol. ii, p. 683). This
was his father's seal, thus slightly altered on one side. In October
of the same year Edward III. stated by proclamation that he had a new
great seal, different on both sides from the seal hitherto used; which
great seal was to have authority from 4th October, 1327. Rymer, vol.
ii, p. 718, records that the previous seal was broken up in the king's
presence, in his chamber in the Castle of Nottingham. See Professor
Willis on the great seals of Edward III., a learned paper printed in
the _Archæological Journal_, vol. ii, p. 14.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

  The caret character is used to represent superscripts, e.g. "Rich^d."
  Both "torse" and "torce" were used in this book.
  Both "scroll work" and "scroll-work" where used in this book.
  Both "wood-cut" and "woodcut" were used in this book.
  Page 24, "p." changed to "pp."
  Page 26, closing square bracket added after "p. 187."
  Page 39, "15" changed to "by" ("He was beheaded by Edward II.").
  Page 51, period added after "sett to my hand."
  Page 53, "II" changed to "II."
  Page 60, closing parenthesis added.
  Page 67, "cornucopiaœ" changed to "cornucopiæ."
  Page 69, closing parenthesis added after "p. 211."
  Page 74, closing parenthesis added.
  Page 86, "indroduced" changed to "introduced."
  Page 94, period added after "considerable expense."

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