English Coats of Arms


In the mid-16th century, tradesmen working for the Fugger mercantile and banking empire and commissioned by the Augsburg patrician and book lover Johann Jakob Fugger were busy acquiring new treasures, from sources near and far, for Fugger’s huge collection of books. To enlarge his collection of European dynastic history and heraldry, a special interest of Fugger’s in 1545–50, he procured this work, the latest version of the armorial of the English nobility. The collection opens with a magnificent coat of arms of King Henry VIII (reigned 1509–47) in gold and silver and shining colors. Among the coats of arms are also the king’s heraldic badges (personal devices), including the Tudor rose and the blue sash of the Order of the Garter with golden edgings and embroidered with the golden motto: Honi soit qvi mal y pense (Evil to him who evil thinks). This is followed by the coats of arms of the families of Henry’s six wives, of the 12 most important peers of England and Ireland, and of the members of the Order of the Garter. Then come the arms of the English royal family, of the English nobility, of English bishops, and of other English families. In 1571 business difficulties forced Johann Jakob to sell his book collection to Albert V of Bavaria. The armorial together with Fugger’s entire library came into the Munich Court Library, predecessor to the Bavarian State Library.

Last updated: October 18, 2012