Introduction to the Source Material:
Armorial De Flandre du XVIme Siécle

The source book is:

Summary of the book contents:

A copy of the Bergmans Armorial was discovered in the UC Berkeley library by Kristina Pereyra (Phaedria d'Aurillac) who blazoned the arms of the Flemish nobles and provided short commentary on some conventions and oddities. The resulting list of blazons passed into the hands of a few heralds in the West Kingdom (SCA), but did not receive the notice it deserved. Shortly after becoming a herald myself, and expressing an interest in the Low Countries, Flieg Hollander (Master Frederick of Holland) brought the Bergmans Armorial to my attention, and provided a copy of Phaedria's original work. It quickly became apparent that a fuller study of the arms was needed, and so I have rechecked Phaedria's blazons, composed an Ordinary, and have expanded on the original comments. These are now included as footnotes in this larger article, linked from entries in the armorial and ordinary, and are keyed to the number of the arms as assigned in Bergmans' book.

Only arms nos.1-565 were included, thus excluding civic heraldry, etc. Totals provided are divided by 565 to calculate frequencies. Special consideration is made for quartered arms. Escutcheons of pretence were not included in any of the tallies as arms in their own right. Tallies are only for uniquely different arms. For eample, nos. 7 and 13 are identically blazoned, so only one is counted under "annulets" or "barry", rather than counting each device separately. Also, charges appearing on escutcheons and in complex quarterings have not been indexed; see those headings in the Ordinary for more.

Many of the later emblazons are only partially colored, or are incompletely drawn. The author (or someone else?) apparently drew the various coats, though without a knowledge of French, I cannot say whether they are from original emblazons or later catalogs. The data are therefore open to some interpretation, and the specifics recorded here may not be completely accurate. The tallies and interpretations as well are somewhat suspect, as it is not clear to me what fraction of the arms of the time were included. In any case, this should at least provide a reasonable picture of armory of the Flemish nobles in the 16th century.

The materials presented in this on-line version were previously published by the author in the 1997 Knowne World Heraldic Symposium.

copyright © 1997 - Brian R. Speer 1