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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But so great has been the deviation from this practice, that it is impossible to assign any rule for the subsequent assumption of Crests. There is a dragon on the helmet of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, who was beheaded A. Some Writers imagine that Crests were originally plumes of feathers; but, in all probability, these were nothing more than a particular kind of Crest. This is an example page to show you the format used. 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.

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. Exhibited on crrests shields and vestments of warriors, they also adorned the most splendid apparel of peace; and were often transferred bool more durable materials, to perpetuate the memory of those who bore them.

It struck me that these volumes would be a useful resource to have on the site. Those Knights and Gentlemen, who repaired to tournaments, were distinguished by their Crests. 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.


These figures are frequently to be met with in the thirteenth century, but what they represented, or what their fairairn was, is doubtful.

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

It is also very probable that the same seal hath served for several generations. We find in the representations of ancient encounters, that the combatants appear with enormous Crests, almost as large as the helmets.

It is affirmed that, before the yearthe Crest, accompanied by the mantlings and wreath, was known in England. After this reign most of the English Kings had crowns on their helmets. We have, however, innumerable instances of women bearing coats armorial ; a fact particularly illustrated by their seals, which are still preserved: 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.

The same may be said of Scottish Crests; though none are on the great seal they are frequent on those of subjects. The great seal of Richard L, who died A.

Thus, to the utmost extent of crets application, did armorial bearings become the symbolical language of Europe. The helmet of Robert, Governor of Scotland, bears a lion, ; and the same is on that of Murdac, his successor, both being Crests.

Their immediate relations to war, and to the honourable distinctions arising from it, connected them with the deeds and manners of former times.

Indeed, it was uniformly esteemed an honourable symbol. 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.


On that of Richard II. The helmet faurbairn Robert I. The earliest Crests with which we are acquainted, were animals of different kinds, and their parts, monsters, branches of trees, plumes of hair or feathers, and the like.

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

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.

Return to our Heraldry Index Page. All comments are moderated so they won’t display until the moderator has approved your comment. 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. The nobles of a land should constitute at once its glory and its strength; they should be in some respects its “turrets and foundationstone.

Seals are the most authentic, but proper illuminations probably afforded better illustrations, because seals bear the armour only in a particular character. We find in a drawing of the thirteenth century, relative to a military encounter of Ofia, there is a figure with a kind of Crest on the helmet; and the same figure occurs again in another transaction of that time. At the time the Royal Seal exhibited no Crest they were common on those of subjects.

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