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Title: Supporter  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Gallery of country coats of arms, Coat of arms, Charge (heraldry), Compartment (heraldry), Helmet (heraldry)
Collection: Heraldry
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects. Often these can have local significance, such as the fisherman and the tin miner granted to Cornwall County Council, or a historical link, such as the lion of England and unicorn of Scotland in the two variations of the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The arms of nutritionist John Boyd-Orr use two garbs (wheat sheaves) as supporters; the arms of the USS Donald Cook, missiles; the arms of the state of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, trees.[1] Letters of the alphabet are used as supporters in the arms of Valencia, Spain.

Human supporters can also be allegorical figures, or, more rarely, specifically named individuals.[2]

There is usually one supporter on each side of the shield, though there are some examples of single supporters placed behind the shield, and the arms of the Congo provide an extremely unusual example of supporters issuing from behind the shield.[3] While such single supporters are generally eagles[4] with one or two heads, there are other examples, including the cathedra in the case of some Canadian cathedrals.[5] At the other extreme and even rarer, the Scottish chief Dundas of that Ilk had three supporters: two conventional red lions and the whole supported by a salamander. The coat of arms of Iceland even has four supporters.[6]


  • Attitude 1
  • Entitlement 2
    • Canada 2.1
    • New Zealand 2.2
    • United Kingdom 2.3
  • Examples 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Animal supporters are by default as close to rampant as possible if the nature of the supporter allows it (this does not need to be mentioned in the blazon), though there are some blazoned exceptions. An example of whales 'non-rampant' is the arms of the Dutch municipality of Zaanstad.[7]



In Canada, Companions of the Order of Canada, Commanders of the Order of Military Merit, Commanders of the Royal Victorian Order, people granted the style "the Right Honourable", and corporations are granted the use of supporters on their coats of arms.[8][9] Further, on his retirement from office as Chief Herald, Robert Watt was granted supporters as an honour.[10]

New Zealand

Knights Grand Companion and Principal Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit are granted the use of heraldic supporters.[11]

United Kingdom

In the

  1. ^
  2. ^ Flags of the World — Blumenau, Santa Catarina(Brazil)
  3. ^ CONGO
  4. ^ e.g. Perth & Kinross District Council (Scotland) at Heraldry of the World
  5. ^ Arms and supporter granted to Saint Paul's Cathedral, Regina, Saskatchewan
  6. ^ Iceland at Heraldry of the World
  7. ^ Zaanstad at Heraldry of the World
  8. ^ A Canadian Heraldric Primer, p. 9
  9. ^  
  10. ^ » Second Chief Herald of Canada
  11. ^ "Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit, 1996" (TXT). Knowledge Basket. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Battle of Dettingen


See also


the last battle at which a British sovereign was personally present. Supporters may also be granted to corporations which have a Royal charter. [13]

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