Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why Heraldry Today?

I sometimes get asked the question why anyone would want or need to use heraldry today. (In my presentation entitled “An Introduction to Heraldry for Genealogists,” I preemptively try to answer this question with several quotes from different individuals as to why they have decided to acquire and use a coat of arms.) A recent (July 20, 2011) news story in the Uttoxeter Advertiser in England discusses the recent consideration by the town of Uttoxeter about obtaining a coat of arms, and the reasons why they might want one.

Unsurprisingly enough, it seems to be mostly about what those in the marketing business call “branding,” creating a consistent visual identity that can be quickly and easily recognized and associated with, in this case, the town of Uttoxeter.

Town Councillor and local historian Hugh Montgomery notes that: “We are one of the only councils of this size which doesn’t have a coat of arms — [the town council of] Ashbourne does for example.” “Why does Ashbourne get the Highland Gathering? One of the reasons is that they have a coat of arms[;] it is one of the first things you see when you go there.” “[A] coat of arms is something long-lasting that would still be around in 500 years.”

Deputy mayor Councillor Martin Blencowe said a coat of arms may be an ideal way to promote the town. “If we are trying to push and promote Uttoxeter it seems the ideal way to do it.”

Although the members of the town council were concerned about where the money to pay for a grant of arms might come from (a grant from the College of Arms for a town runs somewhere in the vicinity of £6,000, at current exchange rates just a little under US$10,000), they have agreed to formally petition for a grant of arms for the town.

You can find the full story on-line at:

1 comment:

  1. When you think about it, heraldry is all about "branding". Coats of arms, crests, badges, livery, the whole schmear is about creating a consistent identity and differentiating it from that of competitors.