Step back in time and discover the fascinating world of coats of arms in the Yorkshire Heraldry Society’s new exhibition opening at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.

The free exhibition – Inspired by Heraldry – showcases a historic art dating to 12th century Britain and France, which distinguished nobles and knights.

The Society will display around 30 examples of heraldry across four different themes – The Tudors; Knights of the Golden Fleece of the 15th century; Livery Companies of Arms and Armour and Famous Yorkshire Families.

Visitors can get involved by submitting their own heraldry designs into the “create your own” competition and the winning design will take pride of place as an exhibit.

Royal Armouries’ Head of Public Engagement, Adrian Budge said, “Inspired by Heraldry is one of the highlights of our Inspired by programme – an initiative which harnesses the talents of community groups and individuals and invites them to represent the museum’s national collections in exciting and innovative ways. We are delighted to be showcasing Jim Winstanley’s artwork at our Leeds museum.”

Workshops are available alongside the exhibition, which runs from March 28 to October 5. These will include:

Heraldry Workshop – Saturday, April 19 – Focus on the history of the art, including a chance for younger participants to create their own designs. Free admission.

Heraldry Day – Saturday, May 10 – Four fascinating themed lectures; An Introduction to the Stall Plates of the Knights of the Order of the Thistle; Scottish Heraldry on Postcards; Royal Charters and the Royal Mint and Heraldry in Country Houses. Tickets priced £15, including lunch.

The Yorkshire Heraldry Society dates to 1970 and it took on its Yorkshire name in 1987. Today, it comprises 50 members and meets eight times a year, promoting the medieval art through lectures, art and local history.

Heraldic Artist and calligrapher and long-serving Society member Jim Winstanley said, “My particular interest is in the historical side of Heraldry, particularly the Wars of the Roses.

“Historically, they say heraldry is a shorthand to history. It first came about by people decorating shields with patterns and animals, in time, these become permanent and were handed down by father to son. The last of the Plantagenets – King Richard III – founded the College of Arms.”

For more information about the Society and workshops, contact Terry Melia at

For more information and the latest news about Fort Nelson and the Royal Armouries:

Royal Armouries website
Royal Armouries newsletter
Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Facebook

Notes to editors

Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of arms and armour, including artillery, and has three British sites – at the Tower of London; a purpose-built museum in Leeds; and at Fort Nelson in Hampshire.

Download the PDF press release.