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Book of Crests By James Fairbairn. Note that when we refer to crests there are no pictures of crests in the belt and buckle design you see today. Set 1. Preface. Main Author: Fairbairn, James. Language(s): English. Published: Edinburgh: T. C. and E. C. Jack, Edition: New ed., rev. Subjects: Crests. Fairbairn’s book of crests of the families of Great Britain and Ireland. Being a fourth edition, Note: The Mabel E. Thurston Book Plate Collection. Bookplate of .

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There is a dragon on the helmet of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, who was beheaded A. The original purpose of a Crest, as some Authors affirm, was to make a commander known to his men in battle; or, if it represented a monster, or other tremendous object, to render him warlike and terrific. This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo.

A Crest is the uppermost part of an Armoury, or that part of the casque, or helmet, next to the mantle.

They addressed the imagination by a more direct channel and in a more striking manner than words; while at one glance they recalled the most important events in the history of persons, families, and nations. The helmet of Robert I. The period when Crests were first introduced into Britain cannot be ascertained.

We have, however, innumerable instances of women bearing coats armorial ; a fact particularly illustrated by their seals, which are still preserved: Women, it is generally asserted, may not bear Crests, because in ancient times they could not wear a helmet.

Search just our sites by using our customised search engine. Those Knights and Gentlemen, who repaired to tournaments, were distinguished by their Crests. In the event you don’t have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. The helmet of Robert, Governor of Scotland, bears a lion, ; and the same is on that of Murdac, his successor, both being Crests. Royal Book of Crests By James Fairbairn It struck me that these volumes would be a useful resource to have on the site.

Hence, the word Crest is figuratively used for spirit or courage. But there is farbairn satisfactory proof whether the Crest was really meant to render a leader easily recognised by his men, to make him boook more formidable in battle, or as an ornamental mark of distinction.

It is also very probable that the same seal hath served for several generations. On that of Richard II. This is an example page to show you the format used. It appears from ancient monuments, that the Crest consisted of some plain and simple device, or what was.


Note that when we refer to crests there are no pictures of crests in the belt and buckle design you see today. At the time the Royal Seal exhibited no Crest they were common on those of subjects.

Some declare a Crest is a mere ornament, but it has been so much considered a mark of distinction that different Sovereigns have made additions to the Crests of their subjects. On a seal of the Earl of Strathern, attached to bok writing,is a shield placed between eagles, so that the head of the bird appears above, like a Crest.

The visor of David, the successor of Robert, is in front, but no Crest on the helmet, nor have the two succeeding Kings any.

Catalog Record: Fairbairn’s book of crests of the families of | Hathi Trust Digital Library

The chief sources from which Heraldic instruction is to be derived are the seals which are appendages to ancient writings, illuminated manuscripts, tombs, and buildings. Many persons of different names bear similar Crests, and as many of the same name bear different ones.

Indeed, one of the most useful purposes to which both Crests and armorial shields cfests applied, was in the seals affixed to written instruments, as already intimated. The same may be said of Scottish Crests; though none are on the great seal they are frequent on those of subjects. Crests were likewise embroidered on the vestments creste the attendants at the processions of Parliament, Coronations, and public solemnities; they were also engraven, carved, or printed on property in the same manner as coats of arms.

In there is a seal of Hugh le Despencer, with a warlike figure on the helmet and horse’s head. They formed the chief ornaments in the palaces boook the great, were chosen by artists of various professions to embellish their respective works, were set up in courts of judicature, and impressed on the public money.

Fairbairn’s book of crests of the families of Great Britain and Ireland

These figures are frequently to be met with in the thirteenth century, but what they represented, or what their utility was, is doubtful. There is a writing of great importance, datedto which many seals are affixed, and most of them have a Crest. This is especially true of Great Britain, where, from many causes, these honours are universally and justly believed to be endowed with a “mortal immortality,” to be stable as the rocks that gird our isle; but that the avenues to the titled platform, until a recent period of our history, have been too jealously guarded, and that the honours due to genius, valour, patriotism, and industry have been too much bestowed in the spirit of party, will hardly be denied.

According to the general opinion, the Crest was not hereditable like the arms of a family, and, consequently, every successor might assume a new one. Amidst the imperfections of uncultivated eloquence and a general ignorance of written language, the ensigns of heraldry were peculiarly significant. It derives its name from Crista, a cock’s comb, as it was supposed to have been originally a projection over the top of some helmets many of which, however, had noneand it has been supposed by Antiquarians that the first hint of the Crest arose from this projection.


Thus, to the utmost extent of their application, did armorial bearings become the symbolical language of Europe. In all the countries of Europe, rank, title, and precedence ov the grand prizes in the race of life.

Some Writers imagine that Crests were originally plumes of fairbqirn but, in all probability, these were nothing more than a particular kind of Crest. Indeed, it was uniformly esteemed an honourable symbol. The Crest was deemed a greater mark of Nobility than the Armoury, as it was borne at tournaments, to which none were admitted until they had given strong proofs of their magnanimity.

Fairbairn’s book of crests of the families of Great Britain and Ireland.

All comments are moderated so they won’t display until the moderator has approved your comment. The Crest was an honourable emblem of distinction, which frequently characterised the bearer as much as his arms, and was sometimes constituted by Royal Grant. On the reverse is a swan above the shield, just where a Crest should be, on the one, and on the other a lion ; but whether they were designed for Crests, or for figures on which the shield was hung, as was then usual, cannot be positively said, for it was sometimes suspended from an eagle’s back around the neck, or hung on a tree.

Every day we may behold the most uncommon, complicated, and unintelligible Crests, chosen without design or reason. HERALDRY was employed in the feudal ages fairvairn display the exploits of chivalry, and to reward as well as fairbaifn its triumphs over oppression and violence.

We find in the representations of ancient encounters, that the combatants appear with enormous Crests, almost as large as the helmets. The great seal of Richard L, who died A. Ornaments are on the head of Edward Baliol’s horse, nearly of the same period. Crests are said to have been of particular use in tilts and joustings, where no shield was borne, for the bearer was thus distinguished who would otherwise have been known by his armorial bearings.

The immense variety of Crests has probably arisen from the younger branches of a family retaining the paternal coat, and assuming a different Crest ; and this may be the cause for supposing that the Crest may be changed though the arms may not.