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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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.

Some were taken to preserve the fame of a progenitor, whose name implied something martial or illustrious, and others were allusive to dignified offices.

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.

But so great has been the deviation from this practice, that it is impossible to assign any rule for the cress assumption of Crests. The earliest Crests with which crest are acquainted, were animals of different kinds, and their parts, monsters, branches of trees, plumes of hair or feathers, and the like.

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 ffairbairn though the arms may not. The chief sources from which Heraldic boook is to be derived are the seals which are appendages to ancient boko, illuminated manuscripts, tombs, and buildings.

Women, it is generally asserted, may not bear Crests, because in ancient times they could not wear a helmet. Crests were likewise embroidered on the vestments of 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.

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. Their immediate relations to war, and to the honourable distinctions arising from it, connected them with the deeds and manners of former times. Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. Search just our sites by using our customised search engine. These figures are frequently to be met with in the thirteenth century, but what they represented, or what their utility was, is doubtful.


Amidst the imperfections of uncultivated eloquence and a general ignorance of written language, the ensigns of heraldry were peculiarly significant.

In all the countries of Europe, rank, title, and precedence are the grand prizes in the race of life. The period when Crests were first introduced into Britain cannot be ascertained. The same may be said of Scottish Crests; though none are on the great seal they are frequent on those of subjects. The helmet of Robert I. After this reign most of the English Kings had crowns on their helmets.

The visor of David, the successor of Robert, is in front, but no Crest on the helmet, nor have the two succeeding Kings any. Exhibited on the shields and vestments of warriors, they also adorned the most splendid apparel of peace; and were often transferred to more durable materials, to perpetuate the memory of those who bore them. In the event you don’t have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus.

Some Writers imagine that Crests were originally plumes of feathers; but, in all probability, these were nothing more than a particular kind of Crest. The great seal of Richard L, who died A. Seals are the most authentic, but proper illuminations probably afforded better illustrations, because seals bear the armour only in a particular character. They formed the chief ornaments in the palaces of 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.

They contain a lot of illustrations which you may find of interest. Indeed, it was uniformly esteemed an honourable symbol. Ornaments are on the head of Edward Baliol’s horse, nearly of the same period. Return to our Heraldry Index Page. 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 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.

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

To a volume like the present, further preliminary observations would be superfluous; we shall therefore close this brief introduction with informing the reader that the objects of this work are to encourage the study of this important branch of the Heraldic science; to present as full a collection of Crests as the limits of the work will admit; and to exhibit a large number of subjects, which for drawing and engraving have never been equalled, and which will serve as a standard of excellence for all future time.


Indeed, one of the most useful purposes to which both Crests and armorial shields were applied, was in the seals affixed to written instruments, as already intimated. This, however, was not the practice of this kingdom; for it is well known that the Crest of many families, being esteemed as distinctive as the bearings in the shield, has been transmitted from one generation to another for several centuries. Thus, to the utmost extent of their application, did armorial bearings become the symbolical language of Europe.

On a seal of the Earl of Strathern, attached to a writing,is a shield placed between eagles, so that the head of the bird appears above, like a Crest. 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. Set 1 Preface HERALDRY was employed in the feudal ages to display the exploits of chivalry, and to reward as well as commemorate its triumphs over oppression and violence.

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

HERALDRY was employed in the feudal ages to display the exploits of chivalry, and to reward fairbainr well as commemorate its triumphs over oppression and violence. It appears from ancient monuments, that the Crest consisted of some plain and simple device, or what was.

We have, however, innumerable instances of women crdsts coats armorial ; a fact particularly illustrated by their seals, which are still preserved: 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. All comments are moderated so they won’t display until the moderator has approved your comment. There is a writing of great importance, datedto which faribairn seals are affixed, and most of them have a Crest.

On that of Richard II. This is an example crestw to show you the format used. We find in the representations of ancient encounters, that the combatants appear with enormous Crests, almost as large as the helmets.

On the helmet of Henry IV.