England and Wales. In England, the authority of
the thirteen officers of arms in ordinary who form the corporation
of the Kings, Heralds, and Pursuivants of Arms extends throughout
the Commonwealth, with the exception of Scotland, Canada and South
Africa. Officers of arms in ordinary who form the College of Arms
in England are members of the royal household and receive a nominal
salary. Heralds receive yearly salaries from the Crown - Garter
King of Arms £49.07, the two provincial Kings of Arms £20.25,
the six heralds £17.80, and the four pursuivants £13.95.
These salaries were fixed at higher levels by James I but reduced
by William IV in the 1830s.
Kings of Arms
King of Arms is the senior rank of an officer of arms. In many
heraldic traditions, only a king of arms has the authority to grant
In England, the authority to grant a coat of arms is subject to
the formal approval of the Earl Marshal in the form of a warrant.
In jurisdictions such as the Republic of Ireland the authority to
grant armorial bearings has been delegated to a chief herald that
serves the same purpose as the traditional king of arms. Canada
also has a chief herald, though this officer grants arms on the
authority of the Governor General as the Queen's representative
through the Herald Chancellor's direct remit. Scotland's only king
of arms, the Lord Lyon, exercises the royal prerogative by direct
delegation from the Crown and like the Chief Herald of Ireland and
the old Ulster King of Arms needs no warrant from any other office
bearer. In the Kingdom of Spain, the power to certify coats of arms
has been given to the Cronistas de Armas (Chroniclers of Arms).
English and Scottish kings of arms are the only officers of arms
to have a distinctive coronet of office, used for ceremonial purposes
such as at coronations. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II,
the kings of arms used a coronet trimmed with sixteen acanthus leaves
alternating in height, and inscribed with the words Miserere mei
Deus secundum magnum misericordiam tuam (Have mercy upon me, O God,
according to Thy great mercy; psalm 51). When this coronet is shown
in pictorial representations, only nine leaves and the first three
words are shown. Recently, a new crown has been made for the Lord
Lyon, modelled on the Scottish Royal crown among the Honours of
Scotland. This crown has removable arches (like one of the late
Queen Mother's crowns) which will be removed at coronations to avoid
any hint of lèse majesté.
English Kings of Arms
A herald of arms is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant
and king of arms. The title is often applied erroneously to all
officers of arms.
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state
with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:
- to control and initiate armorial matters
- to arrange and participate in ceremonies of state
- to conserve and interpret heraldic and genealogical records.
Heralds were originally messengers sent by monarchs or noblemen
to convey messages or proclamations - in this sense being the predecessors
of the modern diplomats. In the Hundred Years' War, French heralds
challenged King Henry V to fight. During the Battle of Agincourt,
the English and the French herald, Montjoie, watched the battle
together from a nearby hill; both agreed that the English were the
victors, and Montjoie provided King Henry V, who thus earned the
right to name the battle, with the name of the nearby castle.
Like other officers of arms, a herald would often wear a surcoat,
called a tabard, decorated with the coat of arms of his master.
It was possibly due to their role in managing the tournaments of
the Late Middle Ages that heralds came to be associated with the
regulation of the knights' coats of arms. This science of heraldry
became increasingly important and further regulated over the years,
and in several countries around the world it is still overseen by
heralds. Thus the primary job of a herald today is to be an expert
in coats of arms. In the United Kingdom heralds are still called
upon at times to read proclamations publicly; for which they still
wear tabards emblazoned with the royal coat of arms.
There are active official heralds today in several countries,
including the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, and
the Republic of South Africa. In England and Scotland most heralds
are full-time employees of the sovereign and are called "Heralds
of Arms in Ordinary". Temporary appointments can be made of
"Heralds of Arms Extraordinary". These are often appointed
for a specific major state occasions, such as a coronation. In addition,
the Canadian Heraldic Authority has created the position of "Herald
of Arms Emeritus", with which to honor long-serving or distinguished
heraldists. In Scotland, some Clan Chiefs, the heads of great noble
houses, still appoint private officers of arms to handle cases of
heraldic or genealogical importance of clan members, although these
are usually pursuivants.
English Heralds of Arms in Ordinary
Herald of Arms in Ordinary.
Chester is said to have been instituted by Edward III as herald
of the Prince of Wales. The title was in abeyance for a time
under Henry VIII, but since 1525 Chester has been one of the
heralds in ordinary. In 1911, when the future Edward VIII was
created Prince of Wales, Chester was one of his retinue. Badge:
A Garb Or [from the arms of the Earl of Chester] royally crowned.
Herald of Arms in Ordinary.
Originally Lancaster, whether as herald of arms or as a king
of arms, was retained by the earls and dukes of Lancaster. The
title first appears in 1347 when Lancaster herald made a proclamation
at the siege of Calais. On Henry IV's accession he was put on
the Crown establishment and made king of the northern province.
That arrangement was continued under Henry V and VI, but ceased
by 1464. Thereafter Lancaster reverted to the rank of herald.
Since the time of Henry VII Lancaster has been one of the six
heralds in ordinary. Badge: The red rose of Lancaster royally
Herald of Arms in Ordinary.
Richmond occurs from 1421 to 1485 as herald of John, Duke
of Bedford, George, Duke of Clarence, and Henry, Earl of Richmond,
all of whom held the Honour of Richmond. Henry on his accession
to the throne as Henry VII in 1485 made Roger Machado, the then
Richmond, a king of arms, since whose death in 1510 Richmond
has been one of the six heralds in ordinary. Badge: The red
rose of Lancaster and the white rose en soleil of York dimidiated
per pale and royally crowned.
Herald of Arms in Ordinary.
This title has been successively private, royal, at once private
and extraordinary, and again royal. In 1448-9 Somerset was herald
of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, but he must have been
a royal officer in 1485, when he was the only herald to receive
coronation liveries. In 1525, when Henry Fitzroy was made Duke
of Richmond and Somerset, the then Somerset herald was transferred
to the duke's household and as such he must be counted a private
officer, although he was appointed by the King and shared the
heralds' fees as a herald extraordinary. On Fitzroy's death
in 1536 the then incumbent returned to the Crown establishment,
and since then Somerset has been one of the heralds in ordinary.
Badge: A portcullis or royally crowned, the Tudor version of
the Beaufort badge.
- Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary.
The office of Windsor is said to have been instituted by Edward
III. Windsor has been one of the six heralds in ordinary since
1419 at least. Badge: Edward III's (Edward of Windsor)
sun-burst, that is golden sun rays shooting upwards from a bank
of white cloud, royally crowned.
Herald of Arms in Ordinary .
It has been suggested that York herald was originally the
officer of Edmund of Langley, created Duke of York in 1385,
but the first reliable reference to York is in a patent of 1484
granting to John Water alias Yorke, herald, as fee of his office
and for services to Richard III, his predecessors and ancestors,
the manor of Bayhall in Pembury, Kent, and £8 6s. 8d.
a year from the lordship of Huntingfield, Kent. He is now one
of the six heralds in ordinary. Badge: The Yorkist white rose
en soleil royally crowned.
English Heralds of Arms Extraordinary
- Arundel Herald of Arms Extraordinary
- Beaumont Herald of Arms Extraordinary
- Maltravers Herald of Arms Extraordinary
- New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary
- Norfolk Herald of Arms Extraordinary
- Surrey Herald of Arms Extraordinary
- Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary
A Pursuivant pursuivant of arms, is a junior officer of arms.
Most pursuivants are attached to official heraldic authorities,
such as the College of Arms in London or the Court of the Lord Lyon
in Edinburgh. In the mediaeval era, many great nobles employed their
own officers of arms. Today, there still exist some private pursuivants
that are not employed by a government authority. In Scotland, for
example, several pursuivants of arms have been appointed by Clan
Chiefs. These pursuivants of arms look after matters of heraldic
and genealogical importance for clan members.
- Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary
- Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary
- Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary
English Pursuivants of Arms Extraordinary
- Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary
Welsh Pursuivants of Arms in Ordinary
- Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary
Procession of black robedheralds at the funeral
of Queen Elizabeth I
Thomas Hawley, Clarenceux King of Arms as
depicted in the initial letter of a grant of arms to John
Fennar in 1556.
English Officers of Arms
An old (Stuart) Tabard
King of Arms in Tabard
Crown of an English King of Arms
A Medieval King of Arms
The Most Noble Edward William Fitzalan Howard,
18th Duke of Norfolk, Premier Duke and Earl of England, Baron
Beaumont, Baron Howard of Glossop, Earl Marshal, and Hereditary
Marshal of England. One of the great Officers of State in
England, responsible for the organization of state ceremonies
(though not 'royal' occasions such as weddings), hereditary
judge in the Court of Chivalry, and ultimately responsible
to the Sovereign for all matters relating to heraldry, honor,
precedence, etc. The Earl Marshal has jurisdiction over the
officers of arms, but is not a member of the corporate body
of the College of Arms.
The Earl Marshal displays behind his shield
two gold batons saltirewise, the ends enameled black with
the royal arms at the top, and those of the Earl Marshal at
the lower end. These batons represent the virga or marshal's
rod, a symbol of office dating from the Norman period.
Amongst the many heraldic manuscripts in
the archives of the College of Arms are a number of heraldic
compilations, collections of coats of Arms arranged in particular
ways to serve different purposes. One type of manuscript is
the alphabet, where descriptions of the Arms in blazon, or
illustrations of the Arms, are arranged alphabetically by
surname. Such manuscripts enabled heralds, painters and others
swiftly to know something about the Arms of a particular person
or family. Another category is the ordinary: here the coats
of Arms are arranged by the devices shown upon them. These
manuscripts, which have been created by Heralds since medieval
times, enable Arms to be easily identified; they also assisted
the heralds in designing new and original Arms. Illustrated
below is an opening from Flower’s Ordinary [College
reference: 2G9 ff. 58v, 59], a manuscript of c. 1520 once
in the possession of William Flower (born c. 1498, died 1588),
Norroy King of Arms. The distinctive Arms of Mortimer, Earls
of March are in the top row of the left-hand page. The variations
of tincture and additions of charges shown here illustrate
medieval methods of differencing to indicate cadency or affinity.