Heraldry began on the battlefields of northern Europe at a time when men became unrecognisable to each other in their suits of armour. It became impossible to tell friend from foe as helmets developed to enclose their whole face.

The Knights shield became their badge of recognition, each design was unique to an individual and perhaps most importantly highly visable from a distance.

As medieval tournaments became more and more popular and knights pomposity and prowess increased so the Coat of Arms became a great part of their peacock-like display. In some countries the crest upon the helmet was only awarded to the most accomplished of knights at the tournaments.

At a time of greater sophistication in Europe and at a time when migration came to a halt and estates where handed down from generation to generation, so the armorial badges become symbols of descent as well as identity.

As the lordly classes grew so they sought out exclusive bloodlines in similarly genteel families therefore the shield of Arms became the perfect representation of the hereditary nature of that descent. Coats of Arms were often combined upon marriage and favours granted by grateful monachs were displayed prominatly upon the Coat of Arms.

Heraldry became an intrinsic part of European royal pageantry but soon developed to encompass nations, churches, cities and guilds and through this ability to change has ensured heraldry is still in use today.