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Chartres coat of arms

 Chartres coat of arms Chartres coat of arms


Chartres armory can be pretty well described, but their origins are questionable. Our main objective is not to describe in depth the armorial bearings but to try to explain by the means of their various charges and ornaments, why it is so difficult to date something without any written document. The only official paper is dated 1702, when the 1696 Royal Edict made it mandatory for everyone, noble or not, in possession of armories, to declare and register them, in order to set noble armories in order.  This Edict made posible the General Armorial. Yet, they could look like an empty shell since d'Hozier, the genealogist who registred them, described them as "tiercé en face, d'or, d'argent et de gueules" ie "tierced in gold, sylver and red"  which is different from the actual description "Red with 3 sylver besants, by 2 and 1, 3 gold fleur-de-lis over a light blue top ". 

According to Roger Joly, the Chartres armory date "non-officially" from 1350 which is possible since they appeared for cities at that period of time. The oldest one known to date is the one from Cologne dated 1149, Cambrai the oldest one in France, being dated 1185. The upper part from our armory being light blue with 3 gold fleur-de-lis "Chef de France" it reminds that Chartres was under the King jurisdiction since 1234.


But the "besants" shaped as circle was always of gold, sylver or furs. The "besants" or "hyperpère" was also a byzantine gold money, well known in France under the name of "sous d'or". It was used in the Loire river area and known as the kind from Chartres. The pattern is not well defined and could be the result of copies of copies which from the first one, probably Louis-Le-Débonnaire son of Charlemagne (Besant N°1) finish by the 5th one, which has nothing to do with the original one, but can be seen on the Chartres armory today.

The shield is over-topped with a crown representing the city ramparts. This addition is probably a modern one.

The shield is normally surrounded with oak leaves with the city motto :

"Servanti civem querna corona datur"

"An oak crown for the savier of a citizen"

This is described in the motto chapter.

The last addition dated February 1950 is the "Croix de Guerre" with Sylver Star for the behaviour of the peoples from Chartres during the Second War World.

Bibliography :

Joly R., Histoire de Chartres.
Joly R., De quand date la devise de la ville de Chartres, in Bulletin de la Société Archéologique d'Eure-et-Loir, n°62 (première série), 1976, pp145-150.
Pastoureau M., Traité d'Héraldique, Picard Editeur, Paris, 1993.


Copyright © 1999 Sébastien Connan

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