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Heraldry Proficiency Program - Resources


The required references -- whether textual or on-line -- for Levels 1 and 2 are listed in the References section for each level, with instructions as to how they may be obtained. The information below covers alternative reference material, either as a replacement for the required texts, or as a guide to further study by interested candidates.



  1. Local Libraries. Students are encouraged to access materials through their local municipal or university library. If a wanted book is not available there, enquire about the availability of books through the Interlibrary Loan Sevice. Depending on your library's policies, these services may be free or there may be nominal costs associated with this. For example "The Alberta Library Online" catalogue located at lists an incredible 1,800+ separate volumes in Alberta libraries tagged with the keyword heraldry.
  2. The RHSC Library. The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada library is being made available to Society members through inter-library loan. Contact the Society for details. The RHSC library has been donated to the National Archives of Canada Library and they are now available for loan. The listing of books donated to the library for this purpose is available by clicking here. The National Archives of Canada Library site can be accessed by clicking on the name.
  3. Books for Sale.
    • Books in print, such as Slater's Complete Book of Heraldry and Friar's A New Dictionary of Heraldry, may be obtained through regular bookstores, such as Chapters or Coles.
      A Complete Guide to Heraldry, by A.C. Fox-Davies. Sterling (March 1, 2007). ISBN-10: 1602390010 (available through
    • Out-of-print books. For out-of-print texts, there are a number of sources. The Heraldry Society in Britain is one of these. An English firm that specializes in heraldic and genealogical books is Heraldry Today. It can be reached by email by clicking here. Other on-line sites for purchase of out-of-print books include or or Some of the out-of-print books of most interest to those taking the Heraldry Proficiency courses include:
      Boutel's Heraldry, revised by J. Brooke-Little., 1978 or 1982 editions

      The Manual of Heraldry, by Sir Francis Grant, 1937

      An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Heraldry, by Franklyn and Tanner, 1970

      A Dictionary of Heraldry, by C.N. Elvin, 1969, 1977.

    • RHSC books. Three books are available for purchase directly from the Society.
      (i) Beddoe's Canadian Heraldry, revised by the late Col. Strome Galloway is available in CD format for purchase. It is an excellent text, but it must be understood that it does not cover Canadian Heraldry since the advent of the Canadian Heraldic Authority in 1988. Good used copies are not often available, and when they are they command prices in excess of $150 or $200. Click on the CD image on the right for details on pricing and ordering information, either by cheque or Paypal.

      (ii) A Canadian Heraldic Primer, by Kevin Greaves. Your starting point for the study of heraldry and Canadian heraldry should be the "Primer". It is a well-written, colourful and accessible publication.

      (iii) L'Abécédaire canadien de l'heraldique by Kevin Greaves, adapted by Auguste Vachon, is the French version of the above.

      The prices for each primer are: for members -- $11.95 (Cdn); for non-members -- $14.95 (Cdn). To purchase either book, either write directly to: Royal Heraldry Society of Canada; 161 Montgomery St.; Peterborough ON K9J 1X1; OR puchase on-line by clicking here.



  1. The RHSC Website.
    • A Guide to Blazonry, by Kevin Greaves. This handout, covering the terminology and grammar of blazonry at an introductory level, is available for viewing on-line or down-loading in Adobe Acrobat format by clicking here.
    • Canadian Innovations in Heraldic Forms and Charges, by Bruce Patterson, is available on-line by clicking here.
    • Canadian Heraldic Information. This handout, containing miscellaneous information on Canadian heraldry, not readily available from other sources, is available on-line by clicking here.
    • An early edition of Boutel's English Heraldry, 1867, has been digitized and is available for download to Society members. Warning: it is a large file in excess of 11 MB. You will need Adobe Reader to download and read it.
    • Foreign Heraldic Authorities and Practices. This excellent source is available from the American Heraldry Society website at
    • Links to other on-line heraldic resources. These are available at the Heraldic Resources menu item, sub-menu item, Online Heraldic Links.
    • Canadian Heraldic Dictionary. A dictionary of heraldic terms used in the blazonry of arms granted in Canada, is available on-line by clicking here
  2. The Canadian Heraldic Authority Website. This website is available at:, or through the link on the Society’s website, main menu. It provides information on the CHA, its officers and the arms-granting process.
  3. The Internet in General
    Lists of Books. There are literally dozens of such lists on the internet, available to anyone. We will just note two of them.

    a. Some Useful Books on Heraldry, to be found on the CHA website. This list is much shorter than the first, but for that reason more convenient. It lists most of the commonly-available texts on the subject.

    b. La Bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France - Gallica. This virtual library, of particular interest to francophone students, maintains an extraordinary free resource of more 100 digitized and downloadable books (in pdf or image formats) of interest to heraldists, including, textbooks, blazonry guides, armorials and treatises on specific subjects. Visit to browse their collection. The books are all now in the Public Domain for private study.

  4. Specific On-line Books
    a. A Manual of Heraldry, by Sir Francis J. Grant is available on-line at . This is a small but excellent book on general heraldry.

    b. A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry, by James Parker, has been put on-line by John Tigg and is available at

    c. Notre Dame University has an excellent basic dictionary of heraldic terms and guide to blazonry. You may access it online at The site also includes an extensive collection of rare heraldic bookplates.


Every candidate for the Heraldry Proficiency Course will be assigned a Mentor by the Chief Examiner. The mentor will be available by E-mail - or in some cases by telephone - to the candidate who has questions about, or difficulties with, the course material.


Candidates who live in areas where this is possible are encouraged to form groups for study purposes. Such groups get together at regular intervals in one another's homes to discuss heraldry and the course in an organized manner, to drink coffee (or beer) and eat indigestible and medically inadvisable snacks. Chip-dip has been shown in research studies to be a valuable adjunct to the study of heraldry.