|The term 'coat of arms' is derived from
the textile garment or 'surcoat' which was worn over the armour, and which
bore in embroidery, a duplication of the design upon the shield.
There can be very little doubt that arms themselves are older than the
fact of the surcoat or the term 'coat of arms'. The entire heraldic
or armorial decoration consists of many things. It must as a minimum
consist of a shield of arms, for whilst there are many coats of arms in
existence, and many still rightly in use at the present day to which no
crest belongs, a crest cannot lawfully exist without its complementary
coat of arms.
Outlined below are the basic elements of a coat of arms granted under the
laws of British Heraldry.
See also The Scottish Clan Badge