For most of the time since their incorporation in 1484 heralds have been members of the Royal Household, directly appointed by the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal. Since the re-incorporation in 1555 the College has consisted of thirteen officers of arms. Those officers of arms who make up the College of Arms are styled 'heralds in ordinary'. Their titles (and the current office holders) are as follows:

Kings of Arms

Garter King of Arms is the senior of the three English Kings of Arms. The office takes its name from the Order of the Garter. Henry V instituted the office of Garter in 1415 just before sailing for France.

Official arms in use by circa 1520: Argent a Cross Gules on a Chief Azure a crown enclosed in a Garter between a lion passant guardant and a fleur de lis all Or.

Clarenceux's province has always been the southern part of England, and at least from the sixteenth century has included all England from the River Trent southwards. He is the senior of the two provincial kings.

Official Arms in use by circa 1500: Argent a Cross Gules on a chief Gules a lion passant guardant crowned with an open crown Or.

The junior of the two provincial kings. In 1943 the office of Ulster King of Arms (vacant since the death of Sir Neville Wilkinson in 1940) was combined with that of Norroy. Norroy and Ulster has jurisdiction over the six counties of Northern Ireland as well as those of England north of the Trent.

Official arms approved 1980: Quarterly Argent and Or a Cross Gules on a Chief per pale Azure and Gules a lion passant guardant Or crowned with an open crown between a fleur de lis and a harp Or.

Heralds

Badge of the Chester HeraldChester 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.

Badge of Lancaster Herald

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 crowned.

Badge of Richmond HeraldRichmond 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.

Badge of Somerset HeraldThis 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.

Badge of Windsor HeraldThe 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.

Badge of York HeraldIt 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.

Pursuivants

Badge of Portcullis PursuivantOne of the four pursuivants in ordinary, instituted by Henry VII, probably soon after his accession, in allusion to the well known badge inherited from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort.

Badge: A portcullis chained or.

Badge of Rouge Croix PursuivantRouge Croix or Red Cross took his name from the red cross of St. George, badge of the Order of the Garter and sometime national flag of England. He is said to be the oldest of the four pursuivants in ordinary, but the earliest known mention of the title is in the sixth year of the reign of Henry V, 1418/19, when Rouge Croix was at Caudebec.

Badge: A red cross, either couped or in a white roundel.

Badge of Rouge Dragon PursuivantInstituted by Henry VII on 29 October 1485, the eve of his coronation, in reference to the royal badge, the 'red dragon of Cadwallader'. One of the four pursuivants in ordinary.

Badge: A rouge dragon passant on a green mount.

Badge of Bluemantle PursuivantThis officer, now one of the four pursuivants in ordinary, is said to have been instituted by Henry V for the service of the Order of the Garter, from whose blue mantle the title is almost certainly derived.

Badge: A bluemantle lined ermine and with gold cords and tassels.

Heralds Extraordinary

There are also a number of supernumerary officers of arms who are not members of the College but who process with the other heralds on ceremonial occasions. These are styled 'heralds extraordinary':

  • New Zealand Herald Extraordinary Phillip Patrick O'Shea, C.N.Z.M, L.V.O.

  • Maltravers Herald Extraordinary John Martin Robinson, M.A. (St. Andrews), D.Phil. (Oxford), F.S.A.

  • Norfolk Herald Extraordinary David Rankin-Hunt, M.V.O., M.B.E., T.D.

  • Arundel Herald Extraordinary Alan Roger Dickins, M.A. (Cambridge)

  • Wales Herald Extraordinary Thomas Owen Saunders Lloyd, O.B.E., M.A. (Cambridge), D.L., F.S.A.

  • Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary Alastair Andrew Bernard Reibey Bruce of Crionaich, O.B.E., D.L.

Heralds in ordinary 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. The work of the heralds is otherwise unassisted from public funds. However, in addition to their official duties, they have for many centuries had private practices in heraldry and genealogy, for which they are allowed to charge professional fees.

We use session cookies to improve your experience with our website. If you continue using our website without changing your settings, or accept, we'll assume you are happy to receive the cookies set. To find out more about how we use cookies, please read our privacy policy.
To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

I accept cookies from this site.