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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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.

It derives its name crsts Crista, a cock’s comb, as it was supposed to have been originally a projection over the top of some helmets many of which, however, had noneand it has been supposed by Antiquarians that the first hint of the Crest arose from this projection.

A Crest is the uppermost part of an Armoury, or that part of the casque, or helmet, next to the mantle. These figures are frequently to be met with in the thirteenth century, but what they represented, or what their utility was, is doubtful. The helmet of Robert, Governor of Scotland, bears a lion, ; and the same is on that of Murdac, his successor, both being Crests. At the time the Royal Seal exhibited no Crest they were common on those of subjects.

We find in a drawing of the thirteenth century, relative to creets 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.

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 cfests otherwise have been known by his armorial bearings. 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. It appears from ancient monuments, that the Crest consisted of some plain and simple device, or what was.

The same may be said of Scottish Crests; though none are on the great seal they are frequent on those of subjects. Their immediate relations to war, and lf the honourable distinctions arising from it, connected them with the deeds and manners of former times.


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 bok judicature, and impressed on the public money. 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 falrbairn 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 fiarbairn future time.

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

The original purpose of a Crest, as some Authors affirm, was to make a commander known to his men in battle; or, if it represented a monster, or other tremendous object, to render him warlike and terrific. It struck me that these volumes would be a useful resource pf have on the site. Return to our Heraldry Index Page.

In the event you don’t have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. In addition to Crests being the subject of Royal Grant, there are instances of some having been assumed and confirmed in commemoration of warlike deeds or other honourable events. Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. But there is no satisfactory proof whether the Crest was hook meant to render a leader easily recognised by his men, to make him look more formidable in battle, or as an ornamental mark of distinction.

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an crssts you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. We find in the representations of ancient encounters, that the combatants appear with enormous Crests, almost as large as the helmets.

Ornaments are on the head of Edward Baliol’s horse, nearly of the same period. Indeed, one of the most useful purposes to fairbair 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 cresys.


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

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

Note that when we refer to crests there are no pictures of crests in the belt and buckle design you see today. There is a dragon on the helmet of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, who was beheaded A. On the reverse oc a swan above the shield, just where a Crest should be, on the fairbair, 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 fairbairj neck, or hung on a tree.

Thus, to the utmost extent of their application, did armorial bearings become the symbolical language of Europe. The great seal of Richard L, who died 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.

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

fairbbairn Seals are the most authentic, but proper illuminations probably afforded better illustrations, because seals bear the armour only in a particular character. On the helmet of Henry IV. 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.

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.

There is a xrests of great importance, datedto which many seals are affixed, and most of them have a Crest.