"These honourable Accessories [supporters] of the Heraldic Shield are said to have been introduced, (like Quartering) by Edward III, but they are of uncertain authority until the reign of Henry VI." (Boutell, Charles., A Manual of Heraldry, p123)

What does mean "authority" in the above sentence? At first, I thought it alludes to citations of references but it is meaningless in historical point of view. is it possible it means importance in there?

There is another similar sentence:

"A lion and an antelope, and sometimes an antelope and a swan, have been assigned to Henry IV. and Henry V., but upon no very reliable authority." (Clark, Hugh., An Introduction to Heraldry, p67)

1 Answer 1


In this context uncertain authority and no very reliable authority mean that the source of the information is not credible (AKA "not authoritative"), and thus the information should be taken as hearsay rather than fact.

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