Badges of heraldry are an announcement of allegiance to a person or a property. These heraldic emblems become personal device used to indicate allegiance to or property of an individual or family.

Mostly of base metal, these were common in the Middle Ages. They were worn on the clothing of followers, retainers, dependants, and partisans of famous and powerful people and houses. In battle and other contexts, these heraldic emblems displayed allegiance and were known and understood.

Often these emblems are taken from a coat of arms. They were the central part of the arms, including the patterns and divisions. Sometimes they referred to the charges on a coat of arms. They could also commemorate an exploit, alliance, territorial rights, or pretensions. Often a person, or family, may have a variety of these emblems. When a family had more than one, they were sometimes combined into one compound device.

Here’s two examples from Scottish heraldry ~

Image courtesy Charles Boutell

Image courtesy Somewhere In Tyme

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