Heraldic Research

Heraldic researchThe Institute possesses one of the largest and most comprehensive libraries of heraldic books in Europe. It also has a team of scholars with long experience of heraldic design, art work and identification of Coats of Arms to advise the public. The heraldic research service assists police, silversmiths, auctioneers and antique collectors and dealers as well as genealogists and academic historians. Please contact us for further details and fees concerning the service. See also the Coats of Arms page on the Achievements website.

Coats of Arms

The Institute’s experts can advise on designing and registering new coats of arms and insignia for personal or corporate use, throughout the world.

Please contact us for further details.

IHGS Coat of ArmsThe COAT OF ARMS of THE INSTITUTE OF HERALDIC AND GENEALOGICAL STUDIES appears frequently in the background of this website. As an incorporated academic trust, the Institute is required to seal all its legal instruments. The traditional method for thousand of years has been to use insignia that when impressed in wax clearly represent such a body or the individual responsible. From the thirteenth century, the symbolic images of heraldry have been used because these can be recognised more easily and allude to the functions of the corporation or to the history of the individual's family. So those awarded certificates and diplomas from the Institute have them impressed by the official seal. The colours, Azure (Blue) and Or (Gold) derive from the arms of the Founder, Cecil Humphery-Smith, the Cross comes from the arms of Bickersteth and represents the principles of the foundation. Julian Bickersteth, sometime Archdeacon of Maidstone and Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral inspired the foundation. Acorns are symbols of innovation, vitality, education, growth and wealth. Set in Orle around the Cross, they signify the Court of Eight Trustees who protect and sustain the principles of the foundation, and they are outward looking. The Motto, taken from Psalm 94 - when your fathers put me to the test - refers to the examining powers of the Institute. The Badge illustrates the combined interests in Heraldry, represented by the coronet, and Genealogy, represented by the Crane's foot, the French pied de gru, from which the word pedigree derives.

[Since Trustees are necessarily volunteers and perform their functions at their own expense, it has also been remarked that like the acorns, they are all nuts!]

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