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Roll of arms
Hyghalmen Roll, German, c. 1485. An example of a late mediaeval roll of arms. College of Arms, London.
A roll of arms (or armorial) is a collection of coats of arms, usually consisting of rows of painted pictures of shields, each shield accompanied by the name of the person bearing the arms.
The oldest extant armorials date to the mid 13th century, and armorial manuscripts continued to be produced throughout the Early Modern period.
Siebmachers Wappenbuch of 1605 was an early instance of a printed armorial. Medieval armorials usually include a few hundred coats of arms, in the late medieval period sometimes up to some 2,000. In the early modern period, the larger armorials develop into encyclopedic projects, with the Armorial général de France (1696), commissioned by Louis XIV of France, listing more than 125,000 coats of arms. In the modern period, the tradition develops into projects of heraldic dictionaries edited in multiple volumes, such as the Dictionary of British Arms in four volumes (1926–2009), or J. Siebmacher's großes Wappenbuch in seven volumes (1854–1967).
Armorials can be "occasional", relating to a specific event such as a tournament; "institutional", associated with foundations, such as that of an order of chivalry, "regional", collecting the arms of the nobility of a given region, "illustrative", in the context of a specific narrative or chronicle, or "general", with the aim of an encyclopedic collection.
A roll of arms arranged systematically by design, with coats featuring the same principal elements (geometrical ordinaries and charges) grouped together as a tool to aid identification, is known as an ordinary of arms (or simply as an ordinary).
Walford's Roll [British Museum MS Harl 6589, f.12,12b] is an English roll dating from c. 1275, containing 185 coats with blazons.
The Camden Roll [British Museum, Cotton Roll, 8] is an English roll dating from c.1280, containing 270 painted coats, 185 with blazons.
The Dering Roll, dating from the late 13th century, contains 324 coats of arms, painted on parchment. It is 81⁄4 inches (210 mm) wide by 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 m) long. It currently resides in the British Library.
The Heralds' Roll [FitzWilliam Museum, Cambridge MS297 (15th century copy)] is an English roll dating from c. 1280, containing 697 painted coats.
St George's Roll [College of Arms, London, MS Vincent 164 ff. 1–21b] is an English roll dating from c. 1285, containing 677 painted coats.
Charles' Roll [Society of Antiquaries, London, MS517 (c.15th-century copy)] is an English roll dating from c.1285, containing 486 painted coats. Planché however names as "Charles's Roll" a copy of a mid-13th-century roll [British Museum, Harley MS 6589] containing nearly 700 coats drawn in pen and ink (i.e. tricked) by Nicholas Charles (d.1613), Lancaster Herald, in 1607. Charles stated that the original had been lent to him by the Norroy King of Arms.
The Lord Marshal's Roll [Society of Antiquaries, London, MS 664, vol.1, ff. 19–25] is an English roll dating from 1295, containing 565 painted coats.
Collins' Roll [Queen's College, Oxford, MS 158, pp. 366–402 (copy c.1640)] is a roll dating from 1296, containing 598 painted coats. It currently resides at the College of Arms in London.
The Falkirk Roll is an English occasional roll dating from c. 1298, containing 115 coats with blazons, listing the knights with King Edward I at Battle of Falkirk in 1298. Various copies exist. The British Museum copy (MS Harl 6589, f.9–9b) was formerly in the Treasury Chamber in Paris in 1576.
The Galloway Roll [College of Arms, London, MS M.14, ff. 168–75] (copy by Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King of Arms, d. 1534) is an English roll dating from 1300, containing 259 coats with blazons.
Roll of Caerlaverock or Poem of Caerlaverock [British Museum, Cotton Caligula A XVIII, ff. 23b–30b (near contemporary vellum copy)] is a roll dating from 1300, containing 110 poetical blazons without images. Two other copies exist, made by Glover from a now-lost different original source, one at the College of Arms in London, the other at the Office of the Ulster King of Arms in Dublin. The original was made in 1300 by English heralds during Edward I's siege of Caerlaverock Castle, Scotland. Commentary by Nicholas Harris Nicolas: The siege of Carlaverock in the XXVIII Edward I. A.D. MCCC; with the arms of the earls, barons, and knights, who were present on the occasion; with a translation, a history of the castle, and memoirs of the personages commemorated by the poet, London, 1828.
Stirling Roll [College of Arms, London MS M.14, ff. 269–272 (Copy by Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King of Arms, d.1534)] is an English roll from 1304, containing 102 coats.
Stepney Roll [Published in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, vol. 4, p. 63] is an English occasional roll listing the knights present at Stepney Tournament in 1308.
The Great, Parliamentary, or Banneret's Roll, c. 1312 (Greenstreet 22; Papworth N), is an English roll consisting of 19 vellum leaves (measuring 6" x 8.25"), which include the names and blazons of 1,110 Nobles, Bishops, knights and deceased lords of the day. It is now part of the British Museum manuscript collection - MS. Cotton, Caligula A, XVIII.
Dunstable Roll [Published in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, vol. 4, p. 389] is an English occasional roll listing knights present at Dunstable Tournament in 1334.
Calais Roll is an English roll dating from 1346-7, containing 116 shields in brown ink, tricked to denote tinctures. This roll was probably made in the late 16th century from transcripts of accounts kept by Walter Wetewang, Treasurer of the Household 1346–7, showing wages paid to participants at the Siege of Calais. Extant in the form of about twenty 16th-century manuscripts, this roll was classed as spurious by Wagner (1950), but as "one of the documentary pillars of fourteenth-century military studies" by Ayton (1994).
Powell's Roll [MS. Ashmole 804, Bodleian Library, Oxford] is an English roll dating from c.1345–1351.
Salisbury Roll is an English roll in two similar versions: the "Original Roll" dating from c. 1463, in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch, a descendant of the Montagu family; and the later "Copy A", made c.1483–5, in the collection of the British Library, catalogued as "Additional Manuscript 45133". It contains coats of arms of the Montagu family, Earls of Salisbury. "Copy A" was formerly in the collection of Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King of Arms 1505–34 and later was owned by William Smith, Rector of Melsonby (d.1735). Parts are now in the British Library in London.
The Bigot Roll [Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, fonds français no 18648 fo 32 – 39] is a French roll dating from 1254, containing 300 coats.
The Armorial Wijnbergen is a French roll published in two parts (Part 1, c. 1265–1270; Part 2, c. 1270–1285), containing 1,312 painted coats. It resided for a while at the Royal Dutch Association of Genealogy & Heraldry, but has been returned; the present owners are not known.
The Chifflet-Prinet Roll [Bibliothèque Municipale, Besançon, Collection Chifflet, MS 186, pp. 145–154] is a French roll dating from c. 1285–1298, containing 147 coats with blazons.
The oldest collections of coats of arms are preserved not in manuscript form, but in the form of heraldic friezes, painted on walls or wooden beams, derived from the earlier practice of hanging guest's heraldic shields on walls on festive occasions. Among the oldest such friezes preserved is the one at Valère Basilica, Valais, dated 1224.
The oldest collection of blazons, Latin descriptions of coats of arms, of the Holy Roman Empire is Clipearius Teutonicorum by Conrad of Mure, dated 1260–64.
Turino armorial (1312), descriptions of 119 coats of arms of the attendants of the coronation of Henry VII.
The coats of arms shown with the singer portraits in Codex Manesse (although not technically an armorial) are an important source for early 14th century heraldry.
Hans Ingeram's armorial (1459), 280 pages with c. 1,100 coats of arms.
Wappenbuch der österreichischen Herzöge, c. 1445–1457, 50 foll. with some 170 coats of arms.
Wernigerode Armorial is a Bavarian roll of arms from around 1486–1492, containing 524 pages, 477 of which are illustrated with anywhere from one to thirty coats of arms (most of these have four coats of arms each).
Stemmario Trivulziano is a Milanese roll of the second half of the 15th century, containing approximately 2,000 coats. It currently resides at Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan, Italy. Attributed to Gian Antonio da Tradate, it was in the possession of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, who served as a Milanese condottiero between 1465 and 1483. It blazons the ducal arms and those of linked families such as Brandolini, Savelli, Colonna, Orsini, Scaligeri, Este and Gonzaga. Also included are the arms of the German merchant-bankers Fugger.
The Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms (Libro del Conosçimiento de todos los rregnos) of c. 1385 goes beyond the scope of a mere armorial, being a fictional travelogue, giving an account of the geography of the known world, identifying all lands, kings, lords and their armorial devices. The book's main purpose is still that of an armorial, but fashioned in the genre of the travelogue popularized by Marco Polo and John Mandeville.
Armorial de la Cofradia di Santiago (Book of the Knights of the Brotherhood of Santiago), continuously updated from the order's foundation in 1338 into the 17th century.
Livro da Nobreza a Perfeiçam das Armas is a Portuguese official roll from c. 1521-1541, compiled by António Godinho, secretary of the King John III of Portugal. It follows the model of the Livro do Armeiro-Mor, being its update, but omitting the chapters on the Nine Worthies, the electors of the Emperor and the pairs of France.
Thesouro da Nobreza is a general Portuguese roll, compiled by Francisco Coelho, India King of Arms, in 1675. It includes the real and imaginary arms of the 12 tribes of Israel, of the Nine Worthies, of the Romans, of the pairs of France, of the electors of the Empire, of the cavalry and regular orders of Portugal, of some cities of the overseas dominions of Portugal, of the cities and principal towns of Portugal, of the Kings and Queens of Portugal, of the dukes and marquises of Portugal, of the counts of Portugal and of the families.
Armorial général de France, commissioned by Louis XIV of France, by Charles René d'Hozier (1696), with 125,807 coats of arms.
Burke's General Armory: "The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings from the Earliest to the Present Time," by Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms was published in London in 1884. This roll comprises a listing of all known armory ever used in the British Isles.
J. Siebmacher's großes Wappenbuch (continuation of the early modern Siebmachers Wappenbuch), edd. Otto Titan v. Hefner, Heyer v. Rosenfeld, A. M. Hildebrandt, G. A. Seyler, M. Gritzner et al., 7 volumes (1854–1967); vol. 1: National coats of arms and national flags, episcopal arms, occupational coats of arms, university arms; vols. 2–3: nobility of Germany and Prussia; vol. 4: nobility of Austria-Hungary; vol. 5: bourgeois familial coats of arms (Germany and Switzerland); vol. 6: extinct nobility of the Holy Roman Empire; vol. 7: supplemental volume.
Armorial Général by Jean-Baptiste Rietstap, two volumes (1884, 1887), more than 100,000 coats of arms with pan-European scope.
^Planché, J.R. The Pursuivant of Arms; or Heraldry founded upon facts, London, 1873, p. 31
^Rolls of Arms Henry III: The Matthew Paris Shields (c. 1244–59); Glover's Roll (c.1253–58) and Walford's Roll (c.1273); Additions and Corrections to A Catalogue of English Mediaeval Rolls of Arms. Edited by Thomas Daniel Tremlett Edited by Hugh Stanford London. Rolls of Arms Henry III. Published in 1958 in series "Aspilogia" by Boydell Press
^Payne, Ann 'The Salisbury Roll of Arms, c. 1463', published in England in the Fifteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1986 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by Daniel Williams (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1987), pp. 187-98
^Crane, Susan, Representations of Courtship and Marriage in the Salisbury Rolls, published in The Coat of Arms: Journal of the Heraldry Society, 3rd series, volume 6, part 1, 2010, pp.1-15 
Papworth, J. W. (1874). An Alphabetical Dictionary of Coats of Arms... Forming an Extensive Ordinary of British Armorials... Richards.
Papworth, J. W. (1961) . Ordinary of British Armorials (Reprinted ed.). Tabard Publications.
Clemmensen, S. (2006). Ordinary of Medieval Armorials. Societas Heraldica Scandinavica.
Clemmensen, S. (2006). "Imaginary arms–traditions in medieval armorials". Genealogica & Heraldica, Proceedings of 27th Congress of Genealogical and Heraldric Sciences, St. Andrews (Vol. 1, pp. 229-239).