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What is heraldry?

In Tudor times a special badge, or coat of arms, was used to show who you were. Pictures on a flag or a shield could be used to show who your family was or where you came from. Using pictures and shapes in this way is called heraldry.

When knights wore helmets during a battle or a joust, it was hard to tell who was who. So they used heraldry to tell each other apart. Their followers wore uniforms with the same coat of arms.

You did not have to fight in a battle or joust to have a coat of arms. Men, women, and even towns and universities, used heraldry. Coats of arms were used on buildings and they were put on letters to show who sent them.

Men called heralds made sure that heraldry was used correctly. Having a coat of arms showed that you and your family were important. Noble families had coats of arms. No matter how much money you had, it was hard to be accepted by the highest people at court without the right family background. So people wanted to use a coat of arms and the heralds decided if they could.

A coat of arms Coat of arms of Sir Nicholas Bacon Coat of arms of Jane Seymour Document featuring the royal herald

What is jousting?

Find out more about jousting.
What is jousting?

What is heraldry?

Who were the jousting champions?

What armour did they wear?

See the full Joust menu

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The Tudors – joust

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