The Crest
Wreath Coronet Chapeau Helmet Crest Mantling Supporters The Motto Badge

It is likely that, up to the late fifteenth century, Crests were considered to be the perquisites of the knightly class: those who possessed the rank and resources that enabled them to participate in tournaments where crests were used. In the Middle Ages crests were hereditary and could be

It is undoubtebly the case that the right to bear a crest was once considered to be the privilege and honour over and above the right to bear arms. It is hardly surprising, therfore, that encouraged by the herals' visiations the Tudor Gentry etc.


Supporters are figures, usually beasts, Chimercal creatures or of human form, placed on either side of the shield to "support it." Unlike other elements in a coat of arms, supporters have no practical origin and cannot be traced with any certainty before the fifteenth century, Though similar devices may be found in early seals, where theyoccupy the interstices between the shield and the outer decorative border, their original purpose was almost certainly decorative. Others originated as personal devices were used in seals and later traslated into badges and crests.

Supporters are granted to peers, kn

In a coat of arms, the base on which the supporters are sometimes depicted is called a compartment. This is usually a grassy mound though it may take other, more appropriate, forms acording to the theme.


The mantling (or lambrequin) is a protective cloth affixed to the helmet and, in a coat of arms, is is depicted as flowing from beneath the crest, sometimes terminating in tassels and scalloped, dagged, or even slashed in a stylized form. Almost certainly, the mantling originated in the Holy Land where it was worn by crusading knights to absorb the sun's heat, thereby preventing the helmet from becoming unbearably hot. It is surprising, therfore, that the inner lining of the mantling is always depicted as a lighter colour as Argent or Or.


A motto is an aphorism, the interpritation of which is often obscure but may allude to a name, a charge in the arms, to the crest or some event in the family's history: TOUCH NOT THE CAT BOT A GLOVE (refering to the cat of The Mackintosh) and I SAVED THE KING (Turnbull), for example.

In Scotland, the slogan is depicted on a scroll above the crest, on the circlet of the crest badge and, if there is more than one motto, on an additional scroll beneath the shield. In England mottoes are usually depicted on a scroll beneath the shield. Wereas

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