There are three parts to this process of designing your Coat of Arms

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You have just received your own fief! It is necessary for you to design your personal Coat of Arms. To do this you must research information on Heraldry. What is Heraldry? Heraldry was the art of using symbols, colors, and designs to create meaning for a Coat of Arms. This would be handed down from father to son. There were symbols to show the birth order of sons. The oldest inherited the original Coat of Arms. Girls did not inherit. They became part of their husband's family and were represented by that Coat of Arms.

The Task
You will design your own Coat of Arms. Be sure the design symbolizes an interest or event in your life. As you visit the sites in the Resources section, take notes on anything of interest to you. Remember that the number of colors and the color itself were symbols, as were animals, birds, mythical creatures, objects, lines, and geometric designs. A motto was often used and could be used as a war-cry or slogan. If a motto was used, it was often shown on a scroll under the shield.

The Process
There are three parts to this process of designing your Coat of Arms:

  1. Go to the Resources section below. Visit the sites listed there to answer questions on the Coat of Arms worksheet. Take notes on anything interesting that you see.

  2. Use the Coat of Arms template provided to sketch a rough draft of your design on scrap paper. Choose colors and symbols that represent who you are--an interest or event in your life. You will then give it to the "herald" (your teacher) for review. Once your design has been approved, then draw and color it on the copy provided.

  3. Write a description of your Coat of Arms on the back of the worksheet. See the Conclusion section for details.

Don't forget to use the electronic databases--access them from the main library webpage.

The Origins of Heraldry - Clare County Library
Here you'll find information about how heraldry began and why.

This website contains explanations and meanings of what the designs, colors, and lines symbolize.

Fleur-de-lis Designs
Cool website with lots of information about heraldry! Be sure to check out the links for About Heraldry, Symbolism, and Samples.

Mists of Antiquity: Origin of Fleur de lis
Here is a short history that tells about the fleur de lis's history. At the bottom of the article are additional links with more information.

Heraldry of the World
Though there are lots of advertisements, this site has thousands of samples of real Coats of Arms for individuals and countries.

How to Make An Authentic Medieval Coat of Arms
This website has lots of information about the history of Coats of Arms, plus suggestions for designing your own.

Online Heraldry Game
Here's a fun game to play after you've finished your own Coat of Arms.

You will be evaluated on the worksheet and your Coat of Arms design. The worksheet will be graded on answers in complete sentences that are accurate and explain completely. Your Coat of Arms will be graded on neatness, color, and creativity. It should also accurately reflect the meaning of the symbols used.

On the back of the worksheet, write a description of your Coat of Arms. This should be neat and well-written. It must explain the designs, colors, and symbols on your Coat of Arms. In addition, you should state why you chose the symbols you did and what message they are giving about you or something you have experienced.

The Origin of Heraldry

  1. What is heraldry?

  2. Where did this concept originate?

  3. What practical purpose did heraldry serve?

  4. What are the main colors and metals of heraldry? What do each of them mean?

  5. What are some of the common heraldic symbols? What do they symbolize?

  6. Where could you see a family’s coat of arms?

  7. Who was a herald and what did he do?

Symbols of Heraldry

  1. What are heraldic lines?

  2. Which heraldic line best represents you or your family? Explain your choice?

  3. Heraldic symbols included beasts, birds, fish, insects, and reptiles. Pick two from each category that interest you and explain what they mean.

  4. What human forms served as heraldic symbols? What do they mean?

  5. Which mythical creatures served as heraldic symbols? What do they mean?

  6. Pick a plant that could appear on your shield and explain why you chose it.

  7. What are ordinaries and ordinaries diminuatives? Which ones would work for you?

Origins of Fleur de lis

  1. What is the most probable origin of this symbol?

  2. What does fleur de lis mean?

  3. Why did the Catholic Church adopt this symbol?

  4. Which NFL team uses this symbol today?

Heraldry of the World

  1. What heraldic symbols does the United States use? What do they mean?

  2. Pick at least two countries with which you are unfamiliar and find out what their heraldic symbols are.

  3. How does heraldry exist today on commercial, local, and individual levels?

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