William Floyer (c.1450-1511) joined the army raised by Edward IV for a projected invasion of France. The expedition actually went, though no war took place owing to the astuteness of Louis XI, who succeeded in making Edward desert his ally, the Duke of Burgundy, by the treaty of Picquiquy of 1475. In consequence of this expedition, following the precedent of many others who had been engaged in the wars in France, William Floyer became a gentleman of coat armour. The three arrows of the family coat are an obvious allusion to the three archers he took with him.
Heraldry developed in the 12th century as an aid to recognition of individuals wearing armour, but has since become more a mark of status. In the 13th and 14th centuries, arms were generally assumed, although it was an honour to have them granted by the sovereign. In 1417, a royal proclamation forbade the assumption of arms without a grant, and in 1483 the College of Arms was founded to record, grant and regulate all use of arms. Subsequently the Heralds made periodic visits to each county to record the arms in use and the lineage of those that bore them. There is no record of a grant of arms to William Floyer, but the entitlement was registered and confirmed in the Heralds' Visitation of Devon in 1564 and subsequently.
Once a grant of arms has been made or confirmed to an individual, any legitimate male descendant is entitled to bear those arms, provided that he can prove his descent and his claim is recorded at the College of Arms. An elaborate system of differencing was developed to distinguish between the head of the family and his various sons and grandsons, but became so complex that it is now mainly abandoned. When an armigerous gentleman marries a lady whose father is also armigerous, he impales his arms with hers; that is, his shield is divided vertically, with his coat on the left (dexter) side and hers on the right (sinister) side.
A lady may bear the arms of her father. While she is unmarried, they are displayed on a lozenge rather than a shield, surmounted by a lovers' knot of blue ribbon. Normally she uses only the "pronominal" coat corresponding to her surname, ie without any quarterings that her father may have, and without crest, helm, or mantle. When she marries, she shares her husband's arms impaled as described above, or the two shields may be shown side by side. If widowed, she bears the impaled arms on a lozenge again.
If the lady is an heiress or co-heiress, that is if she has no brothers or if her brothers have no children, the rules are different. When she marries (or when she inherits) her husband shows her arms on an "inescutcheon of pretence", which is a small shield placed in the centre of his. Their sons and daughters may now quarter the two coats, the father's in the first and fourth quarters, the mother's in the second and third. Of course, either family may already have two or more quartered coats, in which case the shield may be divided into more than four "quarters". The various coats appear in sequence, an uneven number being evened up by finally repeating the first. It is not necessary to display all or any quarterings, but any that are shown must include all preceding quarterings back to the pronominal coat. If quartering Floyer with Wadham, as illustrated for instance, one must include Martyn, because a Martyn married a Wadham heiress and their daughter and heiress married a Floyer.
Descendants of the Revd. William Floyer of Trusham and Sarah Burwell, which includes all living Floyers that we know of, are entitled to 32 quarterings, the last 3 coming from the Burwell side. Descendants of their son William who married Frances Ayscoghe, ie the Lincolnshire Floyers, are entitled to a further 30 quarterings inherited from the Ayscoghe family. Descendants of Louisa Shore who married Ayscoghe Floyer may quarter the Shore arms. Individual Floyers may be able to claim further quarterings from their mothers or grandmothers. These claims are based on research undertaken by G F Beltz the Lancaster Herald for John Gould Floyer, modified subsequently by the latter's son Ayscoghe and grandson Kestell. Most of them are supported by the various pedigrees held at the College of Arms, many explicitly so by Beltz. Others come from a number of sources, listed on Tim Sandberg's "Family of Floyer" database at www.floyer.org. However, only Floyer quartered with Basshe appears in the official records at the College, and it would be ruinously expensive to have all the quarterings proven and recorded collectively.
Registration of the right to bear arms involves supplying the College of Arms with names, exact dates and places of births, marriages and deaths back to their previously recorded pedigree. A man can go back to his grandfather's record by declaration, but if the gap is larger, copies of all the relevant certificates are required.
The most recent records currently held by the college were registered by J Kestell Floyer in 1910. These are for his first cousins including Eric Randolph and George Frederick, the others having no offspring; his brothers William, Frederick Anthony and George Wadham, who also had no issue; his brother Ernest Ayscoghe and nephews Ernest Ayscoghe, William Antony and John Wadham; and his sons Richard Kestell and Martyn du Boulay. This means that Brian and Graham, Mark and James (Cornish), David and Christopher, and (John) Nicholas can all therefore register their own and their sons' right to use the Floyer Arms, at some expense but without too much difficulty.
Nick Floyer, 9 October 2002 email@example.com
The following description of the Arms of Ernest Ayscoghe Floyer Sr. (1852 - 1903) is from Armorial Families, Sixth Edition 1910, Arthur Charles Foxe-Davies, pp. 582-583. "Such parts of the foregoing as are in Roman Type are as registered in the Heralds' College, the remainder in Italics is not yet so registered." I'm still looking for a good discussion of the terminology of Heraldry, but I haven't come across one yet. There are some basic introductions at English Heraldic Dictionary and A Heraldic Primer. For full information on registering Arms, see The College of Arms.
FLOYER. Quarterly, 1. sable,
a chevron between three arrows argent (for Floyer, Vn. of
Devon, 1531); 2. azure, a bend between six fleurs-de-lis
or (for Bashe); 3. argent, a chevron gules, between three
crows sable, beaked of the first (for Croke); 4. per
fesse or and gules, a lozenge counterchanged (for Kirke);
5. argent, two bars gules (for Martin); 6. or, two
bendlets gules, an escallop in the chief point sable, on
a canton or, three piles conjoined in base azure for Guy
of Brian (for De Tracey); 7. per pale sable and
argent, a chevron per pale or and gules (for Loundres);
8. quarterly argent and sable, four hawks' heads erased
counterchanged (for Pydel); 9. chequy or and azure, on a
fesse gules, three lions rampant argent (for Speckford);
10. argent, on a bend sable, three unicorns passant or
(for Ferendon); 11. argent, a saltire gules, on a
chief of the second, three bezants (for De Anna); 12.
gules, a chevron between three roses argent, seeded
proper (for Wadham); 13. or, on a chevron gules, three
martlets argent (for Chiseldon); 14. azure, two bars
between eight martlets, three, two, and three or (for
Tantifer); 15. azure, a chevron between three
chess-rooks or (for Rogus); 16. argent, on a chief
gules, two bucks heads caboshed or (for Popham); 17. sable,
three plates (for Clark); 18. gules, a chevron
argent, between ten bezants (for Souch); 19. sable, six
lions rampant, three, two, and one or (for St. Martyn);
20. or, a chief indented vert, over all a bend gules
(for Nevill); 21. barry of six or and azure, over
all an eagle displayed gules (for Waleran or Walrand);
22. azure, a lion rampant argent (for Lorty); 23. gules,
a fesse lozengy ermine (for Reade) 24. argent, a chevron
between three escallops sable (for Tregarthin); 25.
argent, two lobster claws in saltire gules (for
Tregarthin, ancient); 26. azure, a lion rampant
within an orle of eight escallops or (for Hendour); 27.
argent, a lion rampant gules, within a bordure sable,
bezantée, a label of three points of the third, (for
Cornwall); 28. argent, on a bend sable, five bezants (for
Chamberlayne); 29. argent, on a chevron gules, three
fleurs-de-lis or (for Pever) ; 30. or, a chevron
ermine, between three bur-leaves proper, a crescent for
difference (for Burwell); 31. argent, a saltire
between four griffins' heads erased gules (for Alverd);
32. gules, two pole-axes in saltire or, headed
argent, between four mullets of the last (for Pitman) ;
33. sable, a fesse or, between three asses passant argent
(for Ayscoghe); 34. or, a bend azure (for Caythorpe); 35.
gules, a chevron engrailed between three hounds sejant
argent (for Hungate); 36. argent, a saltire gules, on a
chief of the second, three escallops or (for Tailboys);
37. gules, on a bend argent, three cinquefoils sable (for
Boroughden); 38. gules, a cinquefoil within an orle of
crosses patonce or (for Umfraville); 39. gules, a
cinquefoil argent (for Umfraville, ancient); 40.
gules, a chevron between ten crosses crosslet or (for
Kyme) ; 41. gules, two bends or (for FitzWith); 42. barry
of six or and azure, a bend gules (for Bolington);
43. azure, a cross chequy argent and gules (for
Cokefield); 44. gules, two chevronels within a bordure or
(for Channell); 45. sable, a chevron between three
columns or, a label of three points of the last (for
Bullingbrook); 46. gules, a maunch ermine (for
Moigne); 47. gules, three mullets argent (for
Hansard); 48. chevrony of six argent and gules (for
Delamore); 49. ermine, two chevronels gules (for Semer);
50. argent, an inescutcheon sable, in an orle of
cinquefoils gules (for Darcy); 51. argent, three
cinquefoils gules (for Darcy, ancient); 52. vert, a
saltire engrailed or (for Hawley), and a canton barry
nebuly of six argent and sable (for Blount); 53. gules,
five crosses crosslet between two flaunches argent (for
Elkington); 54. or, a saltire and a chief gules, on a
canton argent, a lion rampant azure (for Brewes); 55.
vert, an eagle displayed or, armed sable (for Hutton) ;
56. or, three parroquets vert (for Chauncellor); 57. ermine,
on a canton argent, a saltire engrailed sable (for
FitzJeffry); 58. azure, a fesse between three
fleurs-de-lis or (for Shelton) 59. argent, three
bars gules, in chief a greyhound at full speed sable,
collared or, a bordure engrailed gobony of the last and
azure (for Skipwith); 60. or, a chevron gules,
between three crosses patée fitchée sable (for
Bradley); 61. sable, on a bend arg. between
three leopards' faces or, as many elm-leaves vert, on a
canton argent, a cross moline gules (for Etton); 62.
per chevron or and gules, in chief three leopards'
faces, and in base a crescent counterchanged (for
Chapman); 63. ermine, on a chief indented vert,
three griffins' heads erased or (for Chaplin); 64. azure,
three ancient helmets or (for Hamby); 65. per pale or and
gules, three mullets counterchanged (for Auforde); 66.
argent, a cross engrailed gules, in canton an annulet of
the last (for Green); 67. or, a chevron between ten
crosses crosslet sable (for Sleight); 68. gules, on a
bend argent, three shoveller ducks sable, beaked or (for
Read); 69. sable, on a bend arg. between three leopards'
faces or, as many elm-leaves vert, on a canton argent, a
cross moline gules (for Etton); 70. argent, three bars
wavy azure (for ___ ); 71. argent, a fesse gules, between
three eagles displayed sable (for Leeds); 72. sable,
three bells argent, a canton ermine (for Porter) ; 73. argent,
a chevron sable, between three holly-leaves vert (for
Shore). Mantling sable and argent. Crest - On a
wreath of the colours, a buck's head erased or, holding
in the mouth an arrow proper. Motto - "Floret virtus
Design & Maintenance by Tim Sandberg