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The Herald in Late Medieval Europe

The Herald in Late Medieval Europe

Edited by Katie Stevenson
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    The Herald in Late Medieval Europe
    Book Description:

    The officers of arms (kings of arms, heralds and pursuivants) have often been overlooked by scholars of late medieval elite society. Yet as officers of the crown, ducal courts or noble families, they played important parts in a number of areas. They were crucial to foreign and domestic relations, and chivalric culture; and, of course, they were to become the powerbrokers of heraldic symbols and genealogy. However, despite the high levels at which they operated, their roles in these areas remain largely unexplored, with scholarship tending to focus on the science of heraldry rather than the heralds themselves. This collection aims to remedy that neglect. The contributions cover a range of European regions (particularly Florence, Scandinavia, Poland, the German Empire, the Burgundian Low Countries, Brittany, Scotland and England) and discuss the diverse roles and experiences of heralds in the late Middle Ages. Contributors: JACKSON W. ARMSTRONG, ADRIAN AILES, KATIE STEVENSON, MICHAEL JONES, FRANCK VILTART, HENRI SIMMONEAU, WIM VAN ANROOIJ, BOGDAN WOJCIECH BRZUSTOWICZ, ALEXIA GROSJEAN, LAURA CIRRI

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-734-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    Katie Stevenson
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)
    Katie Stevenson

    In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly in the British Isles, antiquarian scholars and heralds began to write about the history and science of heraldry. Men such as Edward Bysshe, Elias Ashmole, John Anstis, George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh and Alexander Nisbet produced significant annotated editions and collections of sources comprehending such diverse subjects as the genealogy and coats of arms of the nobility, the art and laws of heraldry, the court of chivalry, chivalric orders and the history of the officers of arms. Interest in these officers was further developed in the nineteenth century, as part of the European vogue...

  8. 2 The Development of the Office of Arms in England, c. 1413–1485
    (pp. 9-28)
    Jackson W. Armstrong

    With the dissemination and systematisation of heraldic coat armour throughout the European nobility in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, the opportunity arose for those claiming expertise in armorial matters to offer their services in noble and royal households. Heralds first appear in English records in the reign of Edward I (1272–1307). Those named in the king’s household accounts are evidently principal servants using personal names together with the title of ‘king of heralds’, suggesting that a hierarchy of armorial agents was already in place, closely associated with minstrels.¹ In addition to offering expert service in heraldic matters,...

  9. 3 Ancient Precedent or Tudor Fiction? Garter King of Arms and the Pronouncements of Thomas, Duke of Clarence
    (pp. 29-40)
    Adrian Ailes

    In 1530 Garter King of Arms and Clarenceux King of Arms, the two most senior heralds in England and Wales, were embroiled in a bitter controversy. The dispute had been sparked off by a commission granted by Henry VIII (1509–47) to Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms (from 1511 to 1534), allowing him to go on visitation in his southern province (England south of the Tees) and forbidding interference in this task by any other herald. The purpose of such a visit was to register the arms and pedigrees of the nobility and gentry and, if necessary, reform heraldic...

  10. 4 Jurisdiction, Authority and Professionalisation: The Officers of Arms of Late Medieval Scotland
    (pp. 41-66)
    Katie Stevenson

    The current understanding of the history of the officers of arms in Scotland has been shaped predominantly by heralds themselves. These heraldic historians – especially those of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – have often been ill-equipped to handle source material from the medieval and early modern periods, and have tended both to misinterpret late medieval evidence and to read anachronistically into the past their own contemporary heraldic organisation and function. Much of what passes for evidence in these histories is apocryphal and derived from the folklore of the modern Court of the Lord Lyon. One need only open...

  11. 5 The March of Brittany and its Heralds in the Later Middle Ages
    (pp. 67-92)
    Michael Jones

    Witnesses at an inquiry in October 1455 to establish the vast panoply of ‘droits royaux et anciens usages du pais de Bretagne’, which its late medieval dukes claimed to exercise, were unanimous that among these was the right to appoint ‘officiers royaux, scavoir Mareschal, Admiral, Grand-Maistre, Chancellier, President et Roy d’armes’.¹ The origins of most of these posts can be safely pushed back into the fourteenth century and those of marshal and chancellor to the early thirteenth century. That ofGrand-Maître de l’hôtel du ducwas much more recent, having apparently been created by anordonnancein 1413,² while the...

  12. Colour Plates
    (pp. None)
  13. 6 City Heralds in the Burgundian Low Countries
    (pp. 93-110)
    Franck Viltart and Henri Simonneau

    In 1438, a delegation of the Damoiseaux brotherhood of the city of Valenciennes in Hainault made its entry during the annual jousts of the Épinette in the city of Lille. Savage men led the way, sounding horns and trumpets, followed by Franquevie, the herald of the city, wearing the coat of arms of Valenciennes, and also dressed up as a savage. Twenty-four gentlemen on horseback followed Franquevie in the procession and finally came a wagon with a large reproduction of Valenciennes, on which seven young ladies wore the arms of the city. This delegation was welcomed by the king of...

  14. 7 King of Arms of the Ruwieren: A Special Function in the German Empire
    (pp. 111-132)
    Wim van Anrooij

    From the last quarter of the thirteenth century onwards, England, France and the Low Countries witnessed a professionalisation of the office of herald and a corresponding emerging hierarchy within the ranks of the officers. Heralds began to form part of a ranking system according to function and with opportunities for promotion, within which pursuivants, heralds (in the stricter sense of the word) and kings of arms could be distinguished.¹ Territorial rulers who attached importance to representation, and who were able to afford it, appointed one or more of such officers. In the more centrally governed England and France, this system...

  15. 8 Heraldry, Heralds and Politics in the Republic of Florence in the Late Middle Ages
    (pp. 133-144)
    Laura Cirri

    The political division of the Italian territories in the late Middle Ages was fragmentary. The republics of Florence, Venice and Genoa, for example, were situated adjacent to principalities like the duchy of Savoy in the north, the papal court in Rome and the kingdoms of Naples and of Sicily in the south. Italy consisted of a large number of states with different bureaucratic systems, and this political division has had an impact on the ways in which historians think about late medieval Italy. This is also reflected in modern studies of Italian heraldry and the officers of arms: there is...

  16. 9 Tournaments, Heraldry and Heralds in the Kingdom of Poland in the Late Middle Ages
    (pp. 145-164)
    Bogdan Wojciech Brzustowicz and Katie Stevenson

    The ways in which tournaments influenced the development of heraldry – and, as a consequence, the role of heralds – have long been an area of historical research.¹ However, such research has been dominated by western European scholars, and there has been little, if any, examination of the heraldic history of other European regions. This is especially disappointing as the experiences of central and eastern Europe offer different perspectives from those provided by their western European counterparts. Therefore, this essay attempts to redress some of this imbalance by concentrating on the kingdom of Poland, a kingdom that has been largely...

  17. 10 A time when ‘fools and dwarfs were highly esteemed’? Seeking the Late Medieval Scandinavian Herald
    (pp. 165-198)
    Alexia Grosjean

    At first glance, Scandinavian heralds would appear to be little-known figures in history. When they are mentioned in source material (rarely, and often unnamed) the focus tends to lie on the various duties associated with their position: participation in tournaments, royal processions, weddings, funerals and coronations, or carrying and presenting royal proclamations and letters. That little is known of the Scandinavian herald’s experience is perhaps unsurprising given the historical prejudice long suffered by northern Europe, which has generally been presented as both peripheral and self-centred. For example, M. S. Anderson stated that during the medieval period

    northern Europe was still...

  18. INDEX
    (pp. 199-206)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 207-207)