Surcoat: a coat embroidered with the arms of the wearer, or in the case of heralds, &c., those of his lord. It was at first without sleeves and girt with a belt, but in later times sleeves were added and the belt laid aside. The first English king on whose seal a surcoat appears is King John.
The usual practice was for the arms, whether single or quartered, to appear upon the surcoat both before and behind, and also upon each of the sleeves.
The figure given is that of one of the TURVILLE family, from glass in Wolston Church, Warwickshire, the arms(upon the surcoat and emerasses) being.
Gules, a chevron vair, between three mullets pierced argent--TURVILLE.
The other figure represents John TALBOT, Earl of Shrewsbury, temp. Hen. VI., and is taken from an ancient painting at Castle Ashby.
The quarters seen upon the body of the surcoat are, Argent, a bend between six martlets--FURNIVALL: and checquy or and azure, a chevron ermine-arms of the ancient Earls of WARWICK. On the sleeve, Gules, a lion rampant with a bordure engrailed or--TALBOT: Azure, a lion rampant with a bordure or--DE BELESME: Gules, a fesse between six cross-crosslets or--BEAUCHAMP: Argent, two lions passant gules--STRANGE of Blackmere: together with FURNIVALL, and WARWICK as before.
Ladies formerly wore the arms of their husbands upon their mantles, and their own upon their close-fitting vests. Eleanor, Countess of Arundel, who died 1372, is thus depicted in the east window of Arundel church, Sussex. At a later period the arms were borne impaled on the outer garment; e.g. Elizabeth, wife of John SHELLEY, Esq., on a brass at Clapham, Sussex, 1513.