Updated: Mar 17
As many of you know, a passion of mine is exploring my ancestry. Today, I am excited to share with you my coat of arms which I have been working on getting made for some time with hearldry painter Andrew Steward Jamieson. A coat of arms is an illustrated symbol of who you are and where you come from.
Nobody knows exactly where the tradition of creating and displaying your coat of arms comes from. The first record of them is shown in the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, which shows the Normans invading England. The “coat of armor,” as they are also sometimes referred to, represented that person on their shield, allowing for a soldier to display who they were and where they came from to everyone else around them.
Breaking it down, the crest is what is on top of the coat of arms, which is a shield or blazon as it is called in the very complex language of heraldry. Knights use the mantle and helm, also known as a helmet. The crest was worn by knights during battle, on top of their helmet so they could be recognized by those around them. In our modern age, symbols, logos and photographs are more common than heraldry to represent a person or a company.
There’s a lot of meaning behind the figures in my coat of arms. For example, the “guardant-rampant” lion represents that I help those with learning differences and help them feel safe. The lion also represents my first name Josiah, who was said to be the greatest king of Judah that ever lived. Lions have always represented kings since they are considered the “kings” of the Animal Kingdom. The red color of the lion represents power and not being afraid. The lion also represents my name meaning “Descendant of Conn” who was the 10th High King of Ireland and also known as Conn of the Hundred Battles. Other details include the chain around the lion which represents that I am a Knight Commander of the Royal House of Braganza, the leading senior royal house to the throne of Portugal. The sword is from the original Quinn coat of arms and represents my name Quinn. The green mound which the lion stands on represents my last name Bradlee which is English and means broad meadow or broad clearing.
My coat of arms symbolizes other personal journeys I have had as well. The two tails of the lion represent the number 22 of my syndrome which is Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome (VCFS) also known as 22q11 Deletion Syndrome. One tail is shorter than the other to represent the deletion part of the syndrome. The hearts represent that I have had two heart failures in my life, the first being at three months old. It led to open heart surgery which is represented by a drop of blood from the heart.
My coat of arms represents my history and who I am today, and hope inspires you to find out about your history as well.