An Illustration

The establishment of noble birth was important to mediaeval men and the Seize-Quartiers process was developed to achieve satisfactory proof.  This notional illustration is for two generational steps of Seize-Quartiers proof through parents to grandparents, to show the process required to prove noble ancestry.  Each individual birth would have had to be recorded from noble parents.  This proof would have to continue through great-great grandparents. 

My parents and each preceding generation would have had to have established their own noble birth legally.  (No claim is either made here nor is possible for this historical level of proof of noble ancestry. The example is only illustrative.) In fact, such is certainly not the case for my family.  However, the above demonstrates the degree of difficulty in establishing gentle birth by Seize-Quartiers and illustrates the depth of passion men found in the claims to class distinction.  Considering the question of current American classes, few would deny that social classes still exist.

Historical Example

To establish a claim to Seize-Quartiers requires the establishment of the right to bear arms (the proof of gentle birth) through sixteen great-great-grandparents.  There is a proper, legal heraldic distinction between the permissible display of arms and the proof required to establish such legal gentle birth.[1]  Fox-Davies was only able to establish that for a single British example - our cousin: The Most Noble Maurice FitzGerald, Duke of Leinster, Marquess and Earl of Kildare, and Earl and Baron of Offaly.[2]  The Duke is the premier Duke, Marquess and Earl of Ireland.


1             Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, p. 484.

2             Ibid.

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