Coll Arm Ms I38.197 compressedSir Harford Jones and the Arms of Persia: During the Napoleonic Wars both Britain and France competed to form an alliance with the Persian Empire. The records of the College of Arms contain a transcript of a letter sent to the Foreign Secretary, George Canning, from Sir Harford Jones, British Minister at the Persian Court, dated 29th March 1809 at Tehran, which recounts an unusual series of diplomatic manoeuvres resulting in an unique heraldic honour. Jones recounts how at the behest of the French Ambassador, the Persian Emperor created the Order of the Lion and the Sun, an order of chivalry on the model of those which existed in Europe, and awarded it to several French dignitaries, including the famous diplomat Talleyrand.

The Emperor then offered the order to Sir Harford, but on the grounds of its instigation by and award to Napoleon’s representatives, he viewed himself as unable to accept it. The Emperor expressed disappointment, and in order to mitigate the situation, Jones offered to accept any other honour that His Majesty could give, and therefore received a patent granting him the right to use the Imperial Arms of Persia, with Supporters and surmounted by the Imperial Crown on a cushion. The letter concludes by stating that Jones would await his Sovereign’s command as to whether to actually make use of this unique honour, and precisely a year later on the 29th March 1810, George III issued a warrant to the Earl Marshal giving such permission and directing it to be recorded at the College of Arms. While the text of the Persian patent does not specify any limitations on how Sir Harford used the Imperial Arms, as recorded at the College of Arms they were added as a chief to his personal arms of Argent a Chevron Sable between three Ravens in the Centre Chief point the Star of the Imperial Ottoman Order of the Crescent proper, and the Imperial Crown on a cushion used as a second crest. College Reference: I.38/193; illustration of patent I.38/197.

Learning with sadness of the death of George H. W. Bush, former President of the United States of America, who died on 30 November 2018, 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 (1 December 2018) until 2000 hours.
 
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.

10. Acc 2010 02 2 1919 p. 1 cropped compressedThe First World War ended for practical purposes with the Armistice of 11 November 1918, but the state of war between the belligerents came to an end only after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919. Following that Treaty the heralds were dispatched to proclaim the Peace, and this was done on 2 July 1919 from St James's Palace and other key points in London. This article by Oswald Barron, later Maltravers Herald Extraordinary, is from the July 1919 issue of Country Life. It shows Sir Henry Farnham Burke, Garter King of Arms, and Gordon Ambrose Lee, York Herald, making the Proclamation. College of Arms reference: Acc 2010/2.

An online exhibition of other documents from the archives of the College of Arms relating to the First World War can be seen here

 

 To mark the Armistice and the conclusion of the First World War, we present a brief online exhibition of images relating to the conflict and the heralds' reactions to it.

1. Treasurers Accounts 1913 35 p 107 compressedIn the first meeting of the Chapter of College held after War was declared, Officers discussed the threat of zeppelin raids. It was agreed to appoint a night watchman and to insure the building against enemy aircraft damage should the worst occur. This page from the Treasurer’s Accounts of 1918 shows the ongoing payments.

College of Arms reference: Treasurer’s Accounts p. 107

 


2. Chptr Bk 18 p 161 compressedOn 3 September 1914, at the first meeting of the Chapter of College after War was declared, it is minuted that Algar Howard, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms and a yeomanry officer, had been mobilized and was already at the Front. In this minute of the July 1919 meeting of Chapter, he is welcomed back after five years' service and the award of the Military Cross.

College of Arms reference: Chapter Book 18 p. 161

 

3. Standards 1 p 106 compressedThe standard granted to Algar Howard, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms, in 1913. Made Windsor Herald in 1919, then Norroy King of Arms in 1931, in 1943 Howard became the first Norroy and Ulster King of Arms when the two offices were merged. During the Second World War many College records were sent for safekeeping to his home, Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire.

College of Arms reference: Standards 1, p. 106

 

4. Grants 87 p 22 Allenby compressedArms granted to Field Marshal Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, GCB, GCMG, GCVO (1861 – 1936). The supporters, a horse and a camel, symbolise aspects of his military career: he commanded the cavalry division of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, then from 1917 was Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Palestine. The shield is enclosed in the circlet of the Order of the Bath, of which he was appointed Knight Grand Cross in 1918.

College of Arms reference: Grants 87 p. 22

 

5. Chptr Bk 18 pp 120 121 compressedIn the summer of 1917, concern about the possibility of air raids led to the decision that “the ancient Rolls of Arms, and the most interesting of the ancient records of the College” be moved from their usual place of storage to a strongroom within the building. A report was commissioned on the possibility of extra protection for the Record Room against aircraft damage, but it was decided not to proceed in the matter.

College of Arms reference: Chapter Book 18 pp 120-121

 

6. Chptr Bk 18 Papers 1918 p 1 cropped compressedIn May 1918 certain series of records were removed to a place of safety. This minute records discussions preceding the move, although later it was decided not to use the cellar under Norfolk House. So carefully was secrecy about the location maintained that it remains unknown to this day.

College of Arms reference: Chapter Papers 18

 

7. Grants 87 p 66 Rawlinson compressedArms of General Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, KCMG (1864 – 1925). Rawlinson held various senior commands on the Western Front, including that of the 4th Army at the Somme. After the War, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in India. The Supporters, granted in 1919, are blazoned as: To the dexter an Infantryman of the British Expeditionary Force and to the sinister an Infantryman of the Australian Imperial Force each supporting with the exterior hand a Rifle with fixed Bayonet all proper.

College of Arms reference: Grants 87 p. 66

 

8. I. 78 p 9 compressedChanges of name and Arms by Royal Licence are arranged by the Officers of the College of Arms and placed on official record in the College. During the First World War, members of the Royal family relinquished their German surnames, styles and titles. This page records the Royal Licence granted by George V, by which Prince Louis of Battenberg relinquished the titles ‘Serene Highness’ and ‘Prince’ and changed the designation ‘of Battenberg’ to the English surname ‘Mountbatten’.

College of Arms reference: I. 78, p. 9

 

9. Grants 87 p 76 Beatty compressedArms of Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO, PC (1871 – 1936). Beatty led the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron at battles including Heligoland Bight and Jutland. He was subsequenrly Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet. In 1919 he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet and created an Earl; he then served as First Sea Lord, professional head of the Royal Navy. He was granted Arms, Crest and Supporters by Letters Patent of the Kings of Arms dated 29 December 1919. The devices on his shield are a pun on his name; while the Supporters signify his career and are blazoned as: to the dexter a Sailor of the Royal Navy and to the sinister a Soldier of the Royal Marines both proper.

College of Arms reference: Grants 87 p. 76

 

10. Acc 2010 02 2 1919 p. 1 cropped compressedBy ancient tradition, heralds are proclaimers of peace. This article from Country Life magazine of July 1919 describes Officers of Arms reading the proclamation of peace at various locations across London.

College of Arms reference: Acc 2010/2

RantzenWILCOXA grant of Arms was made to Dame Esther Louise RANTZEN, DBE, of the London Borough of Camden, by Letters Patent of Garter and Clarenceux Kings of Arms dated 31 May 2018. In the same Patent Arms and Crest were granted in memory of her late husband Desmond John WILCOX, late of the same Borough, and to be borne and used by his descendants. College reference: Grants 181/161. The blazons are as follows:

Arms (illustrated left): Azure on a Pile Argent the point surmounted by the Flame proper of a Candle Or a Trumpet palewise the Bell upwards Gules between two Roses also Gules barbed seeded slipped and leaved proper.

Arms for Wilcox (illustrated right): Argent a Pile reversed bendwise Gules the point surmounted in dexter chief by a Sun in Splendour overall a three-masted Schooner in full sail Or the hull charged with a Barrulet Azure fracted with Portholes Or.

Crest for Wilcox: Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Azure Within a Circlet of Oak Leaves erect Vert a Horse rampant Or. Mantled Azure doubled Or.

Following the announcement of the birth of a third child to Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, special instructions have been received that Union Flags should be flown from all buildings of Her Majesty's Government tomorrow 24 April 2018 from 0800 hours to 2000 hours.

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

Any questions regarding the flying of flags should be addressed to the Officer in Waiting at the College of Arms. 

St Edwards School compressedA grant of Arms, Crest and Badge (illustrated right) was made to ST EDWARD’S SCHOOL, in Oxford, by Letters Patent of Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms dated 5 December 2017. The Patent recites in brief the history of the foundation, from its establishment in 1863. The blazon is as follows:

Arms: Azure a Cross flory between four Ancient Crowns impaling Per fess Sable and Or a Pale counterchanged in the Or an Ermine Spot Sable and in the Sable a Trefoil slipped Or the whole within a Bordure also Or.

Crest: Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Azure Issuant from a Cup Or a Dagger erect point downwards Argent hilt and pommel Or.

Badge (not illustrated): Issuant from a Cup Or a Dagger erect downwards Argent hilt and pommel Or.

College reference: Grants 181/40.

Coll Arm Ms A17 f.46v compressedCollege of Arms Ms A17 is believed to have been created by Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms, who died in 1534. He bequeathed it and other manuscripts to his successors as Clarenceux; and it was probably part of the library of the College of Arms by 1618. As well as fascinating early material relating to London, the volume includes a number of pages of painted standards and shields of Arms of noblemen, knights and gentlemen, dating from circa 1513.

The page illustrated shows standards and Arms for Ingelfelde (perhaps for Sir Thomas Ingelfelde or Englefield of Berkshire); Sir Richard Chaundlay; and Master Appellyarde (Sir Nicholas Appleyard was knighted at the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513). In each case the standard bears the Cross of St George next to the hoist, with the fly bearing Crests and Badges.

Shakespeare Documents

19 January 2018

Shakespeare 1 cropped 2 compressedShakespeare Documentary Heritage recognised by UNESCO’s International Memory of the World Programme

The UNESCO International Memory of the World programme has recognised the immense significance to world culture of the ‘Shakespeare Documents’ – the key archival sources for William Shakespeare’s biography. This material now has equivalent status in the documentary sphere as the pyramids have for the world’s built heritage.

The successful nomination was led by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in partnership with The National Archives, Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology Service, the College of Arms, the British Library and London Metropolitan Archives in the UK, and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C, USA. Together these specialist archive and library repositories care for the precious ‘Shakespeare Documents’.

Their inclusion on the International Memory of the World register recognises the universal cultural and historical value of 90 documents relating to Shakespeare’s baptism, burial, family matters, property records, legal actions and business dealings.

Dr Lynsey Darby of the College of Arms said, “Our archives have for centuries preserved official records of grants and confirmations of coats of arms, as well as records of genealogy and state ceremonial. Among the treasures of this archive are records of the grant of arms made to William Shakespeare’s father John of Stratford upon Avon in 1596. This application for a coat of arms on his father’s behalf shows the value the playwright placed on a visible symbol of his family’s gentry status, and the importance of having this status confirmed by the heralds of the College of Arms. We are delighted that these and other vital Shakespeare documents have been granted this special recognition of their significance.”

Westminster Roll selected scenes 260814 003 compressed

 An Evening with John Blanke at the College of Arms

John Blanke Project
Friday, 1 December 2017 from 18:30 to 20:30 (GMT)
London, United Kingdom

Through the imaginations of artists, poets, historians and musicians, spend an evening celebrating the life of John Blanke, the black trumpeter to the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. John Blanke is the first person of African descent for whom we have both an image and a record.

John Blanke’s image appears twice in the 1511 Westminster Tournament Roll in the College of Arms collection. He is noted in the courts accounts of the day as having being paid wages; other records have him successfully petitioning Henry VIII for a wage increase and receiving a gift from the king. These records are held in the National Archives at Kew.

The John Blanke Project is a work in progress which celebrates the life of John Blanke through a variety of media and art forms – writing, drawing, poetry, music, plays. There have to date been over 50 individual contributions

This Symposium is an opportunity to hear about John Blanke and how he has inspired the John Blanke artists' imaginations to make their individual contributions to the project. It will be held at the College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BT.

Tickets for the event can be obtained here

Standard Ticket: £9.08
Concessions Over 60, students, unwaged: £5.90
Under 16s Free
Ticket price includes booking fee

 

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