Coats of arms originated on the battlefields of medieval Europe as a way of telling heavily armoured knights apart. The designs on Coats of Arms needed to be unique and quickly read.
The Arms of the Lieutenancy, which are displayed below, were issued on the 21st of August, 1992. The Arms are the antique crown with pastoral staffs in saltire, which recalls the foundation of Holy Cross Abbey by Domhnall Mor O'Brien, while the crosses fitchee allude to the symbol of the Abbey itself. Thus incorporated in the shield are the first seat of the Lieutenancy (Holy Cross Abbey) in Ireland and the Arms of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. 'God wills it', the motto of the Order "Deus lo Vult" is in its Irish form "Mar is toil le Dia".
The Lay Master of Ceremonies will provide advice for those members contemplating an application for a grant of arms.
The functions of the Chief Herald of Ireland are the granting and confirming of coats of arms to individuals and corporate bodies. All arms granted are recorded in the Register of Arms, maintained since the foundation of the Office in 1552. The Register of Arms and other Office collections can be viewed by application through the Manuscripts Reading Room.
Information regarding the application process leading to a Grant or Confirmation of Arms can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland.
Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland
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From the Constitution of the Order:
The Archbishops, Bishops and Prelates who enjoy heraldic privilege and the Knights for whom a noble title is recognized, can:
- the ecclesiastics, quarter their own coat of arms with the Jerusalem Cross;
- the laymen collar their own shield to the Cross of the Order, a privilege which is nontransferable.
Also, the Ladies who enjoy a noble title can collar their own shield to the Cross of the Order.
The noble Knights and Ladies who have their own coat of arms can suspend the Cross of the Order under the point of the shield:
- Knights, with a black knot;
- Commanders, hung to a black ribbon limited to the base of the shield;
- Commanders with Star, with trophy suspended from a black ribbon rising from the sides of the shield;
- Knights Grand Cross, bind the shield with the ribbon of the Order, from which hangs the Cross with trophy;
- Knights of the Collar, members of the Grand Magisterium, Lieutenants, both those holding office and those who are honorary, and Grand Priors, divide the Cross of Jerusalem, with the crusade partition on the right.
The Patriarch Grand Prior and the Assessor make use of the top of the Cross of Jerusalem.
The Knights and the Ladies who do not have their own coat of arms have authority to grace themselves with the Cross of the Order.