The Bear and Ragged Staff have been associated with the earls of Warwick since at least as early as the 14th century. The bear was a common heraldic device and implied boldness and courage.
The bear and the ragged staff were first used by the Beauchamp family, who became earls of Warwick in 1268, as a badge or mark of identity in to addition to their own coat of arms. At first the emblems seem to have been
used independently. The bear alone appears on the tomb of Thomas Beauchamp I (died 1369), in the chancel of St Mary’s Church in Warwick. In 1387 Thomas Beauchamp II (Earl from 1369 to 1402) owned a bed of black material
embroidered with a golden bear and silver staff, which is the earliest known occurrence of the two emblems together. His great seal of 1397 depicts the Beauchamp coat of arms between two bears, and his privy (or private) seal of the same date a bear on all fours with a ragged staff behind. The great seal of his son, Richard Beauchamp (earl from 1402 to 1439), has a crest supported by two bears each holding a ragged staff. His tomb (in the centre of the Beauchamp Chapel on the south side of St Mary’s Church) has an inscription in which the words are separated alternatively by bears and ragged staffs. Richard is known to have used banners embroidered with bears or ragged staffs, though apparently not the two combined.
Another Earl of Warwick to use the two devices together regularly was Richard Neville, the "Kingmaker", who married Richard Beauchamp’s daughter and heir. From at least as early as 1454 he used a seal bearing the impression of the bear and ragged staff to authenticate deeds and letters.
May be applied to shirts, sweatshirts, caps, hats, duffle, armour and kit bags to show your allegiance when you're not at events!
Washable, colourfast thread embroidery with iron on backing. May be sewn or ironed on.
3.5"wide x 5" tall.
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This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 28 September, 2008.