John Shakespeare, William's father, tried more than once to obtain a coat-of-arms. His first attempt was unsuccessful; however, near the very end of John Shakespeare's life, he once again applied to the College of Heralds for a coat-of-arms, and, likely due to the success of William in London, this time his wish was granted.
So, on October 20, 1596, by permission of the Garter King of Arms (the Queen's aid in such matters) "the said John Shakespeare,Gentlemen, and...his children, issue & posterity" were lawfully entitled to display the gold coat-of-arms, with a black banner bearing a silver spear (a visual representation of the family name "Shakespeare"). The coat-of-arms could then be displayed on their door and all their personal items. Their motto was "Non sanz droict" or "Not without right." The reason cited for granting the coat-of-arms was John's grandfather's faithful service to Henry VII, but no specifics were given as to what service he actually performed. The coat-of-arms appears on Shakespeare's tomb in Stratford.
How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare's Coat-of-Arms. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/faq/coatofarms.html >.