NFYORK-09N Four Yorkist Billmen, The Retinue of John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk
By the time of the Wars Of The Roses, badges were of considerable importance. These along with the Livery Colours were closely associated with what was then known as Livery and Retaining (Bastard Feudalism). The badges were rarely worn by their owners, for they were marks of ownership. They were, however, worn by his servants, house-hold men, retainers, and probably temporarily by the adherents to his cause. So great and extensive was the use of these badges, that they were far more generally employed than the coat of arms. For where a man?s badge would be common knowledge and bear some repute throughout the kingdom, few people would know what his coat of arms looked like.
Richard’s most loyal subject was John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk. The duke had served Richard’s brother for many years and was one of Edward IV’s closer confidantes, he was a military veteran, having fought in the Battle of Towton in 1461 and served as Hastings’ deputy at Calais in 1471.