The coat of arms of John du Plessis (1195-1263),
Baron du Plessis & 9th Earl of Warwick
Individual armorial bearings were personal decorations adopted by kings and nobles, and afterwords
retained as hereditary marks of distinction by which they could be easily recognised when their features were concealed by their helmets. The earliest charges, which date from the reign of Henry III (1216-72), were simple figures: and as such those arms are the most ancient, they are generally considered the most honorable.
The Arms of John of Poitou (1195-1263), Baron du Plessis and 9th Earle of Warwick, were: On a ground argent (silver) six annulets gules (red) - three, two and one. These bearings appeared on the shortened surcoat or
cyclas worn over the armour, and are here reproduced on the shield. The annulet is a small ring familiar in decorative work.
Above the shield is depicted in profile the helmet of a Baron, of silver garnished with gold,
guarded with ten steel bars, half of them being visible: surmounted by a Cap of Maintenance, which was the emblem of nobility until it was superseded by the Coronet in the reign of Charles the Second.
developments of heraldry brought into use many strange devices and a multitude of variations, until in later centuries tinctures and charges,
knots and badges, with marks of cadency or difference, entirely changed the primitive simplicity of armorial bearings into a mystery of elaborate symbolism.