A Coat of Arms is an emblem which is displayed by titled persons, persons of royal blood, and their descendants.
Coats of Arms were originally used for purposes of identification and recognition on the field of battle as well as in civil life.
It is claimed by some writers that Coats of Arms, in a crude form, were used by Noah’s sons after the flood. There are records of other Coats of Arms, in one crude form or another, at different periods of ancient history. Heraldry, however, as we know it today, did not become of much importance until soon after the invasion of England by William the Conqueror, A. D. 1066. Heraldry became of general interest at about the time of the Crusades.
The Bell Coat of Arms shown on the cover of this book is the Arms of Sir Robert Bell (died 1577), knight, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It embodies all the features of the Arms of Hugh Bell who was knighted by King Edward 1, A. D. 1306, which is the oldest Bell Coat of Arms in existence. See Chapter (C).
Other Bell Coats of Arms, created since, are variations of these two. The Arms of Sir Robert Bell is widely used among the Bells of America. It is described in reliable works on heraldry (in heraldic parlance) as follows:
Arms: Sable, a fess ermine between three church bells argent.
Crest: On a mount vert an eagle rising argent, beaked and legged sable, on the breast three ermine spots.
Sir Bernard Burke, of Heralds College , London , said “Heraldry is prized by all who can show honorable ancestry or wish to found honorable families.”
Many Americans are today displaying Coats of Arms which have been adopted by their progenitors in Europe .