Heraldic Studies – Records of visitation for England – A guide to Medieval Pedigrees & Coats of Arms

Heraldic Studies – Records of visitation for England – A guide to Medieval Pedigrees & Coats of Arms

Heraldic Studies – Records of visitation for England – A guide to Medieval Pedigrees & Coats of Arms

In today’s video we are going to take a look at Heraldic Studies a And hopefully help you discover your medieval ancestors, ancient pedigrees, gateway ancestors and even family coats of arms that belong to your family lineage, as not all of them do. We are going to begin with family Coats of Arms and Heraldry Most surnames have coats of arms A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design The coat of arms forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement, which in its whole consists of a shield, supporters, a crest, and a motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization, school or corporation. The term itself of ‘coat of arms’ describing in modern times just the heraldic design, originates from the description of the entire medieval chainmail ‘surcoat’ garment used in combat or preparation for the latter. Rolls of arms are collections of many coats of arms, and since the early Modern Age centuries, they have been a source of information for public showing and tracing the membership of a noble family, and therefore its genealogy across time. Even if a coat of arms exists for your surname, it does not mean you have right to bear those arms, nor does it mean that it belongs to your actual family. Many heraldry companies sell family coats of arms on the pretence that it belongs to you. Just because it belongs to a given surname, doesn’t mean it was granted to your ancestor. Only the descendants of the person the arms was granted too has a right to bear those arms. The issuing member of that family, may have no connection to you whatsoever. We are now going to take a look at the heraldic visitations, as this may assist you in discovering a gateway ancestor, an ancient pedigree and perhaps even a coat of arms that really does belong to your family. In 1538, Cromwell from the court of Henry VIII, ordered that every wedding, baptism and burial was to be recorded. Genealogists owe that guy a depth of gratitude because thanks to him we are able to research our English family trees with the help of parish records as far back as 1538. But what if we want to go further back in time? Are there any records available that are reliable enough to help us achieve this and help us learn about our medieval ancestors? The answer is yes. Have you ever discovered Tudor / Stuart – Gentleman, Esquires, Clergy, Yeoman in your trees and have you ever wondered if they belong to branches of nobility/gentry? The likelihood is that they do belong to the ruling classes of society, no matter where you stand on the pyramid of class structure our ancestors may appear much closer to the top, possibly right on top – like Royalty for instance. Scholars believe it takes a family lineage 300 years to fall into poverty and 300 years to climb out of it, so plenty of time for a King of England to have a taxi driver for a descendant.  If you have managed to research your family history to the 16th century and looking for source material to help move your family history further back in time one of your go to records would have to be the Visitations of England or Heraldic Visitations. Heraldic visitations were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms (and often by junior officers of arms (or Heralds) as deputies) throughout England, Wales and Ireland. Their purpose was to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry and boroughs, and to RECORD PEDIGREES. They took place from 1530 to 1688, and their records (akin to an upper-class census) provide important source material for historians and genealogists. By the fifteenth century, the use and abuse of coats of arms was becoming widespread in England. One of the duties conferred on William Bruges (or Brydges), the first Garter Principal King of Arms, was to survey and record the armorial bearings and pedigrees of those using coats of arms and correct irregularities. Officers of arms had made occasional tours of various parts of the kingdom to enquire about armorial matters during the fifteenth century. However, it was not until the sixteenth century that the process began in earnest. The first provincial visitations were carried out under warrant granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms dated 6 April 1530. He was commissioned to travel throughout his province (i.e. south of the Trent) with authority to enter all homes and churches. Upon entering these premises, he was authorized to “put down or otherwise deface at his discretion… those arms unlawfully used”. He was also required to enquire into all those using the titles of knight, esquire, or gentleman and decided if they were being lawfully used. #heraldry #visitations #pedigree

  • Published: 20 June 2022
  • Location: Chelmsford, Essex
  • Duration: 13:20
  • Photography – Stephen Robert Kuta
  • Written by – Stephen Robert Kuta

Music –

Music Licensed by Epidemic Sound

Heraldic Studies – Records of visitation for England – A guide to Medieval Pedigrees & Coats of Arms

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