Bergshammar armorial online!
Since last week, a digitised version of the Bergshammar armorial has been freely accessible online on the website of the Swedish national archives. This fascinating parchment manuscript contains over 3000 coats of arms, displaying first European high nobles by rank followed by nobles by political entities, with a focus on the Holy Roman Empire, France and England. It is dated to the mid-15th century and it is assumed to have been made in the Southern Netherlands. Regrettably, nothing is known about the maker and context of use.
An interesting aspect of this armorial are a handful of heraldic displays of ancestors of rulers at the beginning of a number of segments (see image). The coat of arms of the ruler in question is in the center, surrounded by those of his four ancestors (parents and two grandmothers). Such displays can be found as well in the Lyncenich armorial. Indeed, there are some striking similarities between this armorial and others, most notably the Gelre, Lyncenich and Toison d’Or armorials. On these complex relations see Steen Clemmensen’s Editing armorials (pp. 81-97).
The most detailed study on this source is in Swedish: Jan Raneke, Bergshammarvapenboken – en medeltidsheraldisk studie (Lund, 1975). There are also sections on the Bergshammar armorial in Clemmensen’s Editing armorials. Cooperation, knowledge and approach by late medieval practitioners (Copenhagen, 2017).
Weblink to the armorial: https://sok.riksarkivet.se