COATS OF ARMS
By Ron Spiers, England 2009
The Spiers web site shows a coat of arms with three balls, is it real, no, it is not.
Three balls usually signify that a
trader is a pawnbroker, so we must assume that it is shown as just a bit of
fun. The author has not come across anyone with the name Spiers who has been
granted an official coat of arms. Many get the matter of coats of arms quite
Do coats of arms belong to surnames?
No. There is no such thing as a 'coat of arms for a surname'. Many people of the same surname will often be entitled to completely different coats of arms, and many of that surname will be entitled to no coat of arms. Coats of arms belong to individuals. For any person to have a right to a coat of arms they must either have had it granted to them or be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past.
How do I get a coat of arms?
There are two ways of establishing a right to a coat of arms. The first is by descent in the male line from a person to whom arms have been granted or confirmed in the past. If you believe one of your ancestors may have been granted arms you should write to the heraldic authority under whose jurisdiction he would have fallen, sending a sketch pedigree showing your descent from him, and enquire whether any such grant or confirmation was made.
The second is to have new arms granted to yourself, which will be inherited by your descendants. Who has the authority to grant you arms depends largely on your nationality and place of residence.
Kings of Arms, the three senior English heralds, have the power granted to them
to grant coats of arms. They are instructed in their Letters Patent of
appointment from the Sovereign, currently the Queen, to grant arms to
"eminent men". This phrase has for long been interpreted to include
both women and corporations. There are no fixed criteria for eligibility, but,
generally, such things as professional qualifications,
university degrees, having held the Queen's Commission, and charitable and
public work is taken into account. Those who think that they might wish to
petition for a grant of arms should write to the Officer in Waiting at the
College of Arms, who will always be glad to advise them. Further details regarding
the granting of arms in
should petition the Chief Herald of