Mar 01 2013

King Arthur at Parliament No. 24 – Arthurian Heraldry

Arthurian Arms

Arthurian Arms

Pic: Explore Parliament

This is the 24th and final part in our series of animated/audio stories of King Arthur based on artwork found around the Houses of Parliament, courtesy of a wonderful Virtual Tour found at explore-parliament.net. We highly recommend you go to the Explore Parliament site to watch/hear the presentation about this artwork.
The shields which run in a frieze around the Queen’s Robing Room purport to be those of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. Shields, each bearing unique arms, originally served the purpose of identifying, during the confusion of battle, the various knights who were concealed under the all-enveloping armour. These eventually became hereditary; and this kind of armorial tradition does not appear much before the 12th century.
Arthurian Arms

Arthurian Arms

Pic: Explore Parliament

Arthurian Arms

Arthurian Arms

Pic: Explore Parliament

However, as early as the sixteenth century it was felt that Arthur’s knights ought to be supplied with coats of arms just like their knightly equivalents of the day, and with the most scrupulous care arms were originated by the College of Arms for the knights of the Round Table. It is these which form the decorative frieze around the Queen’s Robing Room.

See the animated story at explore-parliament.net.

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