Organisation

The College of Arms is the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and most of the Commonwealth realms. It is responsible for the granting of new coats of arms and the recording of pedigrees. The College also maintains official registers of arms and pedigrees. The officers of arms, in addition to their ceremonial duties, advise on matters relating to dignities, honours, precedence and official symbols, and undertake genealogical, historical and other research.

The College consists of up to thirteen officers of arms, also known as heralds, individually appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Earl Marshal.

Brief description

The College of Arms is seeking to recruit a research assistant (trainee) for a period of six to twelve months. The successful candidate will learn how to deal with heraldic and genealogical enquiries arising from members of the public and various organisations, how to process applications for new grants of arms and about other work undertaken by the College. Upon completion of this training period, the candidate will be assessed with a view to appointment as an officer of arms. If appointed, he or she will be able to run an independent heraldic and genealogical practice within the College generating his or her own income.

Detailed description

The successful candidate will work with a number of officers of arms and other College staff and learn about the following types of work:

  • Professional work undertaken by the officers of arms such as dealing with heraldic and genealogical enquiries from members of the public and organisations, processing applications for new grants of arms, undertaking genealogical, historical and other research, and establishing rights to arms and the descent of dignities by inheritance
  • Work undertaken for the College such as cataloguing various collections of manuscript and printed volumes and updating registers and pictorial indexes for research purposes
  • Official work undertaken by the officers of arms on behalf of the Royal Household and the Government

The candidate will work under the supervision of an officer of arms and be subject to periodic performance reviews

Upon satisfactory completion of his or her training period as a research assistant (trainee), the candidate will be formally assessed with a view to being recommended to the Earl Marshal for appointment as an officer of arms. If appointed, he or she will be able to run an independent heraldic and genealogical practice within the College generating his or her own income. In the early years after appointment, he or she will need an additional source of income to supplement his or her remuneration as an officer of arms.

Requirements

The role would suit a self-sufficient candidate with excellent research and communication skills and with a strong interest in heraldic and genealogical matters.

Essential

  • Good academic credentials
  • Excellent analytical and drafting skills
  • First-rate communication skills (oral and written) and approachability
  • Enthusiasm, adaptability and ability to learn quickly
  • Professionalism, proactive nature and ability to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to deal directly with members of the public
  • Ability to establish a wide network of contacts

Desirable

  • Knowledge and experience of heraldry and genealogy;
  • Some professional experience;
  • Knowledge of British and Commonwealth history, languages and legal matters.

Other

The College is open to flexible working arrangements and the successful candidate may work on a full-time or part-time basis (minimum of two days per week). The role will be based at the College of Arms. The work will be remunerated at a rate of £15 per hour (minimum £10,000 per year).

Applicants should send a covering letter and CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The application period is from 19 April until 10 May 2017 and interviews will ideally take place on 23 and 25 May. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to provide the names and contact details of two referees and to submit a short piece of written work (on any subject) before being interviewed.

The successful candidate must have permission to work in the UK by the start of their employment.

Two new British orders of chivalry were instituted 100 years ago this year, in June 1917: the Order of the British Empire, and the Order of the Companions of Honour. Until then, orders of chivalry were restricted both in terms of the number of awards which could be made, and the people to whom they were awarded, these being generally peers, high-ranking military personnel, members of the civil service, and those who had served the royal family. Moreover, women were eligible only for membership of a small number of the orders, there was very little that could be awarded to foreigners, and nothing specifically to recognise charitable work or, for example, contribution to the arts or science.

Both new orders had their origins in the First World War, when it was acknowledged that the current honours system was inadequate to recognise the contribution to the war effort of huge numbers of people in all walks of life, both on the field and off. A small committee was founded in early 1916 to discuss these matters and make recommendations. In July 1916 this became two committees, with some alterations and additions to their composition, and now including Sir Henry Farnham Burke, Norroy King of Arms. Reporting both to the King and the Government, and with various complex matters of precedence to take into consideration, it took around 18 months from the committee being founded for the first awards to be made.

As a mark of respect for those that have died and been injured in Westminster today 22 March 2017, the Prime Minister has asked that all Departments of Her Majesty's Government lower their Union Flag to half-mast from 8 p.m. this evening.

Any other UK national flags flown alongside the Union Flag when it is at half-mast should also be at half-mast. If a flag of a foreign nation is normally flown on the same stand as the Union Flag, it should be removed.

All flags are to be raised to full mast no earlier than 8.00 p.m. on Friday 24 March, but before 8 a.m. on Saturday 25 March.

Local authorities are not bound by this request but may wish to follow it for guidance. Devolved administrations are responsible for issuing instructions for the flying of the Union Flag on buildings in their estate and others as necessary.

B22 Collingbornes bookCollingborne's Book: illustrated left is an opening from a manuscript in the archives of the College of Arms which consists of a roll of Arms dating from the mid to late fifteenth century. The original roll may have had few names, and in many places these have been supplied in a later hand. Bound into the same volume as this roll is other interesting material, including Basynges' Book, a roll of Arms on vellum of circa 1395. The volume, which has the College reference B22, was given to the College of Arms together with a number of other important manuscripts in 1669 by Thomas Povey of Grays Inn, London, treasurer to James, Duke of York.

Learning with sadness of the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, special instructions have been received that all Union flags on the buildings of Her Majesty's Government should be lowered to half mast as soon as possible today (13 October 2016) until 2000 hours tomorrow (14 October).

Any other UK national flags flown alongside the Union Flag when it is at half-mast should also be at half-mast. If a flag of a foreign nation is normally flown on the same stand as the Union Flag, it should be removed.

Local authorities are not bound by this request but may wish to follow it for guidance. Devolved administrations are responsible for issuing instructions for the flying of the Union Flag on buildings in their estate and others as necessary. Enquiries regarding the correct protocols for the flying of Union and other flags should be addressed to the Officer in Waiting at the College of Arms in the first instance.

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By decision of the College of Arms all proceeds arising from the sale of The Armorial of Haiti will be donated to the international effort for the relief of Haiti
after the calamitous earthquake of 12 January 2010.

The College of Arms Newsletter is produced every three months and sent automatically and free to those who subscribe. Other benefits for those who submit their names in this way include advance notice of College of Arms events, relevant publications, and media appearances.

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