Waterloo and Wellington

18 June 2015

The Battle of Waterloo, which took place on 18 June 1815, was the last major battle of the Napoleonic Wars and saw the final defeat of the Emperor Napoleon by the combined forces of the armies of the Seventh Coalition, led by the Duke of Wellington, and the Prussian Army, commanded by Gebhard von Blücher. The victory was hard won, with both sides suffering losses of over 20,000 men. In later years, it was not uncommon for men who had distinguished themselves at Waterloo to request an allusion to their service there to be made on their coats of arms. Original records held here at the College of Arms are shown below and include some examples of this practice. Also illustrated is the evolution of the arms of the Duke of Wellington, and documents which highlight the role the Heralds played at the State Funeral which he was accorded.

Arms of Sir Richard Hussey Vivian

Lt. Gen. Sir Richard Hussey Vivian was granted arms in December 1827, at the time of the announcement that he was to be made a Baronet. The grant of supporters (the horses and cavalrymen) was made in 1837. This painting illustrates the record of the grant of supporters entered into the College records. Vivian’s arms include (at the top of the shield) the gold medal and gold clasp of distinction awarded to him for services at the Battles of Sahagún, Benevente and Orthes [Orthez] and the silver medal awarded for services at the Battle of Waterloo. The crest shows an Hussar of the 18th Regiment of Hussars holding a sword and a pennon bearing the words ‘Croix d’Orade’, in commemoration, as the grant of arms states, ‘of the gallant and successful attack made by him in Command of the 18th Regiment of Hussars on a superior body of cavalry at the village of Croix d’Orade near Toulouse on 8 April 1814’. Vivian was severely wounded at Croix d’Orade but a year later was appointed to command the 6th Brigade of Henry Paget, the Earl of Uxbridge’s Cavalry Division. At Waterloo the Brigade was posted to Wellington’s left flank, then later moved to support the centre line. It made the final, highly successful, cavalry charge of the day. 

College of Arms reference: Grants 37/10 and Grants 42/197



Grants 45 p 216 Kerrison compressedLt. Gen. Sir Edward Kerrison, 1st Baronet (1821) was granted arms in 1810. In 1841 he sought an 'augmentation' or honourable addition to his arms to reflect his military service. On the shield itself a 'chief' was added (i.e. the strip across the top third of the shield) showing, in the centre, a laurel wreath with a sword between on one side a depiction of the gold medal presented to Kerrison for his service at the Battle of Orthes [Orthez] and, on the other, a depiction of the silver medal awarded to him for his participation in the Battle of Waterloo. He was also granted the additional crest of an arm in armour holding a banner inscribed with the word 'Peninsula', to commemorate his service in the Peninsula War. The supporters depicted here (horses mounted with, on the left, an Hussar of the 7th Regiment of Hussars and on the right a Dragoon of the 14th Regiment of Dragoons) were granted in the following month and signify the regiments in which he served during his career.
College of Arms reference: Grants 45/216

Augmentation to the arms of Wellesley, 1813

Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Wellesley, General and Commander of His Majesty's Forces in Spain and Portugal, was created Viscount Wellington in 1809, Earl of Wellington in February 1812, then in August of the same year was advanced to the rank of Marquess. That month, the royal warrant was granted for an augmentation to be made to his coat of arms, as 'an especial mark of royal favour as may serve as a lasting Memorial of the high Estimation in which His Majesty holds his distinguished conduct...' The augmentation is shown here, in the first quarter of his shield, and is described as 'the crosses of Saint George, Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick, being the Union Badge of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'. The grant was made and recorded in February 1813.

College of Arms reference: Grants 27/207

Licence to bear the augmentation Although the augmentation granted in February 1813 was to be borne on the arms of Wellesley only, in fact the arms used by the Wellesleys were those of Wellesley and Cowley borne quarterly. It may be that the first placement of the augmentation was a mistake, but after Wellington was made a Knight of the Garter, and his arms and banner were to be displayed at the Royal Chapel of St George at Windsor, this alteration was made. The 'Union Badge' augmentation was now placed at the chief point of the shield.

College of Arms reference: Grants 28/112

Arms of the Duke of WellingtonThis illustration of the arms of the Duke of Wellington is taken from volume 5 of a series of volumes illustrating arms of members of the Order of the Bath. The then Major-General Arthur Wellesley was made a Knight Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath in 1804. His arms as depicted here are those after he was made Duke of Wellington and a Knight of the Garter; the painting shows the full 'achievement' or panoply of his arms, with shield, crest, supporters, motto, a duke's coronet and the insignia of the Orders of the Garter and the Bath.

College of Arms reference: Bath Book vol. 5

Grant of Supporters to Sir James KemptGrant of Supporters made to Maj. Gen.Sir James Kempt, Colonel of the 8th Battalion of the 60th (or Royal American) Regiment of Foot and Lieutenant Governor of Fort William in Scotland, on his being appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath in 1815. Each eagle bears a decoration awarded to Kempt, that on the left the Waterloo medal. Granted in November 1815, these are amongst the earliest allusions to Waterloo in armorial bearings.

College of Arms reference: Grants 29/341

Grant of Arms to Sir Charles Webb Dance

These arms were granted to Major Sir Charles Webb Dance, Lt. Col. of the Second Regiment of Life Guards, in 1822, after it was shown that the arms customarily borne by his family had not been registered at the College of Arms. The design makes allusion to his military service, including the Battle of Talavera in 1809 where he narrowly escaped death when a musket ball passed through his helmet. The Waterloo medal is depicted on a canton, commemorating his service at the Battle, in which he was wounded.

College of Arms reference: Grants 33/51

Collar designed for the Duke of Wellington

This ceremonial collar was designed for the Duke of Wellington under the direction of Garter King of Arms, Sir George Nayler, at the request of King George IV. It was first commissioned when the King was Prince Regent, according to Nayler's later account, in 1814. Ten battles in which he led the army were commemorated on ten 'Union Badges' as they were termed, although as one is Waterloo the design must only have been completed after June 1815. The names of four more battles are engraved on the cross pendant from the collar. A letter written by Nayler some time after 1820 (when the Prince Regent had inherited the throne and reigned as King George IV) describes how, having had the collar made, the King could not decide how best to present it to Wellington without offending other commanders who might feel slighted at not having also received a similar honour, and still at the time of writing had not actually given it to the Duke. It was presented in around 1825 and is now on display at Apsley House, formerly 'No. 1, London'.

College of Arms reference: MS 'The Battle of Vittoria'

Order of Service for the Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, 1852

The heralds, under the Earl Marshal, marshalled the State Funeral of the Duke of Wellington. The first page of the Order of Service shows the route taken from the Chelsea Hospital, where the body had lain in State, to St Paul's Cathedral, where the funeral took place.

College of Arms reference: Ceremonial for Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, vol. 1, p. 1

Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, 1852

The Duke's funeral achievements of spurs, helmet and crest, sword and target, and surcoat, were carried by four Officers of Arms before the coffin into the Cathedral. Clarenceux King of Arms carried the ducal coronet on a cushion.

College of Arms reference: Ceremonial for Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, vol. 1, p. 13

Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, 1852

When the Duke's body was placed in the vault at St Paul's, Garter King of Arms proclaimed the Duke's 'style' (his titles and honours), and after the Comptroller of the Duke's household had broken his staff, took the pieces from him and placed them in the grave.

College of Arms reference: Ceremonial for Funeral of the Duke of Wellington, vol. 1, p. 14

Scrapbook Wellingtons Funeral Illust jpg cropped compressed

A contemporary newspaper illustration of the State Funeral of the Duke of Wellington in 1852. A carving of his achievement of arms, with lion supporters, can be seen at the front of the hearse. Banners bearing his arms are carried by cavalry officers riding alongside the hearse, and the horses pulling the hearse have cloths embroidered with his crest inside the Garter circlet.

College of Arms reference: 'Duke of Wellington: Scrapbook'

Chapter Book 8 p. 23 compressed

This page from the minutes of the meeting of the Chapter of the College of Arms on 3rd August 1815 records the gift by the College of the sum of 50 Guineas to the 'Waterloo Subscription'. This fund was started on in the City of London on 28th June, at a meeting held at the City of London Tavern in Bishopsgate, by merchants, bankers, and others who wished to help wounded soldiers and the families of those who had died at Waterloo. The City of Westminster followed suit, at a meeting of noblemen and gentlemen at the Thatched House Tavern in St James's, with the Duke of York in the chair, agreeing to add the funds they raised to those of the City of London.

College of Arms reference: Chapter Book 8/23

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