King Arthur's Coat of Arms

Arthur according to the legends carried a shield called Prydwen (this name is also ascribed to his ship, the usage in both cases perhaps symbolic of his rulership of Britain). In other texts, the shield is named Wynebgwrthucher.

Hall's Chronicle (1548, 1550) describes the death and funeral of Henry V in 1422 in the midst of his conquest of France. "His body was enbaumed and closed in lede & laid in a charet royal rychely appareled with cloth of golde, vpon the corps was layde a representacyon of his person adorned w robes, diademe, scepter & bal like a kyng, the which charet was drawe with syxe horses richly trapped w seuerall armes, the first wyth the armes of s. George, the .ij. with tharmes of Normandy, the .iij. with the armes of king Arthur, the .iiij. wyth the armes of S. Edward, the fyft wyth the armes of Fraunce onely, and the syxt with the armes of England and Frauce."

1. A site called Hall of Names has two illustrations showing Arthur's purported arms ca. 1300 and a "later" version. The first is mainly a gules shield with three gold crowns; the second is azure with 13 small gold crowns, "signifying the 13 kingdoms of his domain."

2. The Heraldry Unlimited site has an earlier shield, more or less as described by Geoffrey and others: "Vert, a cross argent, in the first Quarter the Virgin standing and holding the Child." "Other coats of arms were also attributed to Arthur including: 'gules, three crowns in pale or' which was sometimes found quartering the arms containing the Virgin Mary."

3. A page called Arthurian Heraldry rounds up descriptions of five arms from various unnamed sources: "Arms 1: Azure, thirteen crowns or. Arms 2: Azure, three crowns or. Arms 3: Gules, three crowns or. Arms 4: Azure plain. Arms 5: The virgin Mary proper."

4. Then there is the Lord Lyon, Scotland's chief herald, who for the Clan Arthur has "decreed that the Chief of Clan Arthur's shield should be 'three antique crowns Or (gold) set on an Azure (blue) background'. The silver cross molene which, up until now, was thought to form part of the Clan Arthur Chief's shield, has been omitted. James MacArthur's coat of arms now reverts to the earliest, original arms of Clan Arthur, a shield identical to the description given in ancient manuscripts for the legendary King Arthur's blazon."