Patent of Arms
A Patent of Arms refers to a letter patent (i.e. public document) granting arms to an individual.
Patents of Arms in the SCA
The Patent of Arms is the highest armigerous award in the SCA. It is only bestowed when a person is admitted to the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, the Order of the Pelican, the Order of the Rose or becomes a Royal Peer. A person holding a Patent of Arms is known as a peer.
A patent of arms allows the bearer to display their arms with a crest (a helm above the arms) and standard (a pair of figures to either side of the arms holding them up - usually an animal like a lion rampant).