Much like the banners we see for our favorite sport teams today,
a Coat of Arms served to represent for which "team" the medieval warriors were fighting.
This symbol served as a visual to keep friends from injuring or killing each other on
As time progressed, traditions with the Coat of Arms became complicated and complex.
In 1419, King Henry V of England found it was necessary to impose some regulations over the use of the Arms, as they
were becoming "watered down". Everyone and their brother had one.
At that time, the King forbade anyone to take on the Arms unless by right of ancestry
or as a gift from the crown.
Later, King Henry VIII sent the Royal Authenticators of Arms into the shires on "visitations"
- the duty of officially verifying, listing, or denying Arms in use. Interestingly enough, the official language for
registering the Arms was Norman French.
Under most heraldic rules, only the first son of the first son was the recipient of the Coat
of Arms. Younger sons could use a version of their father's Arms. If the bearer of the Arms died without an heir,
the daugher could inherit her father's Arms, but had to combine them with her husband's. This process is called "impaling".