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.

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.

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.