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Badge, or Cognizance: a mark of distinction somewhat similar to a crest, though not placed on a wreath, nor worm upon the helmet. They were rather supplemental bearings quite independent of the charge of the original arms, and were borne on the banners, ensigns, caparisons, and even on the breasts, and more frequently on the sleeves of servants and followers.

The badges borne by the Kings of England are very numerous, and are to be found on tombs, carvings, embroidery, stained glass, and paintings. The earliest which can be any way reckoned as a badge, is the Planta genista, or Broom; and of the others, of which a list is given, it must be admitted that several rest upon solitary instances, or on the authority of the writers whose names are appended.

  STEPHEN. A Sagittary?                   HEN. VI. Antelope collared and        
    Ostrich feathers(Guillim).                chained.                          
  HEN. II. Escarbuncle(Mackenzie).          Two feathers in saltire(MS. Bib.    
    Sword and olive-branch(Cotton).           Reg.)                             
  RIC. I. Star within crescent(Great        Spotted panther passant guard.      
      Seal).                                  (MS. Harl.)                       
    Star and crescent separate(Great                  YORK.                     
      Seal).                                A white rose.                       
    Armed arm holding lance(Cotton).        White rose en soleil(MS. Bib. Reg.).
    Sun on two anchors(Guillim).          ED. IV. Falcon within fetterlock      
  JOHN. Star within crescent(Silver           (ironwork)                        
      penny).                               Bull sable[for Clare].              
  HEN. III. Star within crescent            Dragon sable[for Ulster].           
      (Great Seal).                         Sun in splendour(Baker).            
  ED. I. Rose, stalked(MS. Harl).           White hart.                         
  ED. II. Hexagonal castle(Great            White wolf(MS. Lansd.)              
      Seal).                              ED. V. Falcon within fetterlock       
  ED. III. Rays from clouds(Cam-              (painting).                       
      den).                               RIC. III. Rose and sun separate       
    Stump of tree(MS. Harl.)                  (Great Seal).                     
    Ostrich feathers(MS. Harl.)             Falcon with maiden's head(Sculp-    
    Falcon.                                    ture).                           
    Griffin(Private Seal).                            TUDOR.                    
    Sword and three crowns(MS.              Red and white roses united.         
      Harl.)                                Roses separate and crowned.         
  RIC. II. Sun in splendour(MS.             Portcullis.                         
      Harl.)                                Fleur de lis.                       
    Sun behind cloud(effigy).             HEN. VII. A red dragon (Baker).       
    A branch of broom(?) (effigy).          Hawthorn bush crowned(glass).       
    White hart couchant.                    Dun cow(Baker).                     
    Stump of tree.                          Greyhound courant(for Beaufort).    
    White falcon(Hollingshed).            HEN. VIII. Greyhound courant.         
            LANCASTER.                    ED. VI. Sun in splendour(Cotton).     
    Red rose.                             MARY. Double rose impaled with a      
    Red rose en soleil.                        sheaf of arrows within a semi-   
    Collar of SS.                             circle(MS. in Coll. of Arms).    
  HEN. IV. A genet(on his tomb).            Rose and pomegranate,               
    Eagle displayed(ibid.)                ELIZABETH. Harp crowned[for           
    Tail of a fox pendent(Camden).             Ireland].                        
    Crescents(Hollingshed).                 A rose.                             
    Panthers and eagles crowned(MS.                  STUART.                    
      Harl.)                                Roses united[for England].          
  HEN. V. A beacon inflamed.                Fleur de lis[for France].           
    Antelope gorged with a crown.           Thistle, leaved[for Scotland].      
    Swan gorged with a crown.               Harp[for Ireland].                  

The above representative badges for the four kingdoms were continued by the House of BRUNSWICK and in George the Third's reign(i.e. 1801) they were settled by sign manual, the old badge for ENGLAND, namely, the Cross of S.George, being retained in the national banner of the Union Jack(q.v. under Flag).

A white rose within a red one, barbed seeded, slipped and leaved proper, and ensigned with the imperial crown, for ENGLAND.

A thistle, slipped and leaved proper, and ensigned with the imperial crown, for Scotland.

A harp or, stringed argent, and a trefoil vert[i.e. shamrock] both ensigned as before, for Ireland.

Upon a mount vert, a dragon passant, wings expanded and endorsed, gules, for Wales.

Crown Keeper's Badge.
Crown Keeper's Badge

Certain OFFICERS also wore badges; thus: Crown-keepers, or yoemen of the crown, bore on their left shoulders a crown, which, under the Tudor sovereigns, surmounted a rose. Four examples have been noticed on brasses: one of them is in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries, from which this illustration is taken.

From about the time of Richard II. badges have been occasionally borne by SUBJECTS. This practice is alluded to by Shakspere, who mentions bath the cognizance and the crest.

    Old Clifford.--Might I but know thee by the household badge.                
         Warwick.--Now by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,                 
                   The rampant bear chained to the ragged staff, etc.           

The PERCIES have a crescent for their badge, and the VERES used a mullet.


Badges are frequently represented on brasses, and often beneath the feet. Occasionally a badge was engraved on the dress; thus a swan(or as some say a pelican) is embroidered on the collar of Lady Peryent, 1415, as represented on the brass in Digswell church, Herts.

The Hame of Saint-John will be found in its alphabetical order, and the cognizances of several other families under Knots.

Another class of distinguishing marks may also be included under the head of badges, though not heraldic badges, namely, those connected with TRADE. The theory of the grant of armorial bearings was such that engagement in commerce was incompatible with the bearing of arms, which was permitted only to gentleman; and this was strictly the case throughout the middle ages. Still the merchants had their badges; the Guilds and Companies, of which the great London Companies are the survivors, had their distinctive marks or devices, and no doubt it is these which in later years, when the dignity of successful commerce came to be recognized, were incorporated into the arms of their companies. Similar also were the Merchants' Marks, and these will be noted in their place. Lastly, there were the signs, i.q. ensigns, of the chief houses of trade, by which the house was known, e.g., at the "Bible and Crown in Fleet-street." With scarcely an exception(and those mostly cases of revival) these signs have been only retained by inns and hostelries.

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