Burgher arms are coats of arms of commoners (i.e. non-nobles) in heraldry of the European continent, and, by definition, the term is alien to British heraldry.
Although the term "burgher" arms refers to bourgeoisie, it is often extended also to arms of (Protestant) clergy and even to arms of peasants. In several European countries, the use of armorial bearings was restricted to a particular social class, e.g. the use of supporters in Great Britain, tinctures in Portugal or coronets in Sweden. In other countries, every individual, family and community has been free to adopt arms and use it as they please, provided they have not wrongfully assumed the arms of another.
Use of coats of arms by burghers and artisans began during 13th century and in the 14th century some peasants took to using arms. The arms of commoners bore a far wider variety of charges than the arms of nobility like everyday objects, in particular, tools. In burgher arms are met sometimes also house marks which are not met in arms of nobility. Most widespread burgher heraldry was and still is in Switzerland and in Netherlands. In Netherlands only a small percentage of the existing arms belong to the nobility.
Crest-coronets in burgher arms are correct only if the arms were granted by a sovereign and the coronet is explicitly mentioned in the grant.
Other articles related to "burgher arms, arms, burghers":
... (Normandy, Flanders) even peasants sometimes bore arms ... In Switzerland 14th century arms of farmers are known, but they are rare and did not become numerous until the 17th century, as well as in Lower Saxony, Frisia and Tyrol, where farmers had personal freedom ... In Denmark arms of farmers are preserved on seals from about 1300 ...
... Although assumption of arms always remained free, the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire since Charles IV began to grant arms without raising people to nobiliary status ... In 15th century the authority to grant arms was delegated to “Counts Palatine of the Imperial Court” (German Hofpfalzgrafen), who from then on also granted arms to burghers ... The tilting helmet was prescribed for arms of non-nobles, while the barred helmet was restricted by the imperial chancellery to the nobility as upholders of the tradition of tourneying ...
... The first Scandinavian burgher arms is from 1320 ... As the assumption of arms is free in Denmark not only noble families have coats of arms and today it is estimated that up to 80% of Danish private coats of arms are burgher arms ... During the Middle Ages most burghers and peasants had merchant's marks or house marks that were used for marking ownership and as a means of personal identification ...
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