The only exception to the freedom of assuming arms in France occurred from 1696 to 1709. An Edict of 1696 declared that, for a coat of arms to be valid, it had to be registered with the King of Arms, for a fee naturally (this was the middle of a European war, and the French government was short of cash). As a consequence, 110 000 coats of arms were registered (of which 80 000 by non-nobles) by d'Hozier, the King of Arms. The registers are still in the National Library. By 1709 registration of arms ceased altogether, and the Edict was ignored from then on.
This registration of arms was made on August 8, 1698 to Nicolas Scourions, esquire, lord of Begaudelle. The arms are not blazoned in this certificate (they azure three wheat-sheaves or). The certificate is signed by d'Hozier, "Keeper of the General Armory of France". The form is pre-printed on parchment,
A translation of the text follows:
Generalite of Amiens [hand-painting of coat of arms] Volume: 1 Number: 59 BY RULING MADE on August 8, 1698 by the General Commissioners of the Council assigned to the matter of coats of arms, those of Nicolas Scourions, Esq, Lord of Begaudelle, such as they are here painted and represented, after having been received, have been registered in the General Armry, in the volume labeled "Amiens", in consequence of the payment of fees set forth by the tariff and arrèt du Conseil of November 20, 1696, in testimony whereof the present certification has been issued in Paris by us, CHARLES D'HOZIER, conseiller du roi, and keeper of the General Armory of France, etc. [signed] d'Hozier
Last modified: Jul 26, 2000