Welcome to the The General Armory WikiA Wiki to present the heraldry of the United Kingdom and European countries and the World, with statistical analysis, visual representations. To create an ordinary (arms-finder), drawn f
Heraldry along with the study and artistic nature thereof, started in simple forms. Knights in armor would find it hard to identify friend from foe while dressed on the battlefield so, they started by decorating their personal armor breastplates with specific marks, beasts, and other forms such as, colorful tunics over the armor, to identify themselves. This is where the term "Coat of Arms" originated from. These quickly became symbols of status, eventually governed by the various nations of Europe and the United Kingdom through Heraldic Colleges and other heraldic governmental centers.
In the 19th century, Sir Bernard Burke attempted to draw together all the extant information on heraldic arms granted in the United Kingdom (and its precedessor states, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) into a single document: the General Armory.
Running to over 1300 pages, and around (my estimate) 80,000 entries, this is a significant work of reference for heraldists. Although there are many errors, as would be expected in a work of this size and complexity, it is still a useful starting point.
Aims of this wiki
- To make the information in the General Armory widely available and searchable online to users.
- To implement a consistent, clear and uniform style for presenting the blazons from their various collections.
- To present statistical analysis: which tinctures are the most commonly used? Which charges are the most popular? What terms in the generally used glossaries and dictionaries of heraldry are actually used?
- To present as many of the blazons as possible in their written and graphic forms.
- To reverse engineer the information, which in the General Armory is only presented indexed by the family name of the grantee, in order to create an ordinary by which arms can be identified from the blazon or an image.
Note that my interest is primarily in the escutcheon - the blazoning of the shield - so (at least initially) this will be the only part of the complete blazon that wll be clarified, made consistent, and represented graphically.