With the introduction of armor in the 12th century, identification of the warriors became more difficult as much of the body and face was covered.
By necessity an emblem or insignia was required for identification of knights in battles or tournaments. The markings on the fighter's shield became known as the shield of arms. The knight often carried another distinguishing mark on top of his helmet, known as the crest, which did not necessarily relate to any feature on his shield of arms.
From the 14th century onward, it became fashionable for social purposes to join with the personal arms the arms of other families connected by marriage. The personal arms alone, however, appeared on a knight's defensive shield, and it is those which continued as the nominal arms of the family.
Heraldry is the science of Coats of Arms. The College of Arms in London was established in 1484 and is responsible for regulating and approving Coats of Arms. John Wingfield was York Herald of the College of Arms from 1663-1674.
The Wingfield shield is described as Argent (silver), on a bend Gules (red) Cotised (narrow band on each side of, and parallel with) Sable (black), three sets of wings conjoined in lure Argent (silver).
The crest is the design above the shield. This can vary with family branch. Shown here is the high bonnet with wings situated on a torse or wreath (cord of six twists of alternate colors).
There is no record of explanation for the drops of blood on the bonnet and wing of the crest. It is assumed that the blood drops are in honor of Wingfield family members that died in service to their King.
Underneath is the motto on a banner "Posse Nolle Nobile", Latin for "To have the power without the wish is noble."
The bonnet and motto on this Coat of Arms is from the Tickencote branch. The shield is always the same for other branches.
The shield of arms accompanied by the crest, torse, motto and other supports is called an Achievement.