Vincent 444College of Arms Ms Vincent 444: Nicholas Upton (died 1457) wrote a highly-regarded treatise on heraldry, knighthood and the art of war known as Libellus de Officio Militari. A copy of this, known as the Baddesworth version, was compiled in 1458. This College of Arms manuscript consists of a fine copy of the Baddesworth version, created by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, in 1572. It subsequently belonged to Augustine Vincent, Windsor Herald (died 1626), and came with many other manuscripts collected and created by him, to the College of Arms, courtesy of a bequest by Ralph Sheldon of Beoley in Worcestershire.

This opening relates to an idealised account of the ceremony by which a knight was created; with copies of medieval illuminations showing the investiture with a collar, and with spurs. Coll Arm Ms Vincent 444 pp. 170-171.

Learning with regret of the death of His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, special instructions have been received that UK Government Buildings should lower their Union Flags to half-mast from 1800 hours today Tuesday 29 September until 2000 hours on Wednesday 30 September.

 

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.

2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which took place between July and October 1940. 15 September 1940 was named Battle of Britain Day, as it was a day of significant success for Fighter Command.

To mark Battle of Britain Day, a request has been issued for buildings of Her Majesty's Government to fly the Union Flag at full mast on Tuesday 15 September (0800 until 2000 hours).

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.

Due to the current pandemic, we regret that the College of Arms is closed to visits by members of the public. All the work of the College continues. Enquiries may be made by telephone on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on (+44) 207 248 2762, by email addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the form on this website here.

There may be a delayed response at this time but all enquires will receive a considered reply in due course.

Future alterations to these arrangements will be published here.

Friday 8 May will be the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Her Majesty's Government has announced plans to commemorate the anniversary, which are summarized here.  

Instructions have been issued that Government buildings should fly the Union Flag from 0800 hours on Friday 8 May until 2000 hours on Sunday 10 May.

There will also be a two minutes' silence at 1100 on Friday 8 May, and Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation.

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.

College of Arms Joel 2 jpeg cropped compressedThe College of Arms in winter: this image of the main entrance of the College was taken by photographer and illustrator Humphrey Joel, probably during the notably cold winter of 1928-1929. The cars in the courtyard no doubt belonged to Officers of Arms; both bear London registration numbers.

College of Arms Joel 7 jpeg cropped compressedJoel also created some striking images of the interiors of the College which are preserved in the archives. This image shows the Waiting Room, where enquirers are received. This interior remains much the same today. The Arms of Sir Henry Farnham Burke, Garter King of Arms, can be seen above the doorway into the Record Room, with those of Sir Gerald Wollaston, Norroy and Ulster, and Sir Arthur Cochrane, Clarenceux, to either side.

Kerr Philip compressed and croppedThe White Lion Society has generously given the College of Arms a portrait of Philip Walter Kerr MVO FSA (1886-1941), who became Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1928. The fourth son of Admiral Lord Walter Talbot Kerr, he was educated at the Oratory School, Edgbaston, and Pembroke College, Cambridge. After serving in the army in the First World War and in the Egyptian Civil Service from 1919-24, he died on active service as a Pilot-Officer (Intelligence) RAF at Shallufa in Egypt during the Second World War. He is dressed for the coronation of King George VI in 1937, in his tabard, and holding his staff ensigned with the Badge of Rouge Croix.

The artist was Charles Louis Geoffroy-Dechaume (1877-1944), a French Anglophile who can be identified from his monogram on the portrait. He lived in Sussex prior to 1914 but returned to France at the outbreak of the First World War and served in the 275th Regiment of Infantry, losing his left leg in 1914. He spent the Second World War at his house at Valmondois, north of Paris, where he was involved in the Resistance. His daughter Marie-France was also active, helping from 1941 to 1943 to rescue Allied pilots who had been shot down over France.

Parliament Rolls

17 October 2019

The College of Arms holds four painted Parliament Rolls, each showing the lords spiritual and temporal who attended specific Parliaments in the reign of Henry VIII, with their shields of arms in colour. The Rolls show the order of precedence in which the lords sat, those with the most important positions sitting nearest the King. Three documents are in the form of long vellum rolled manuscripts; the fourth is in a bound volume. Other similar but less elaborate documents held at the College also feature in this exhibition.

1. NumSch 06 40Top portion of the Parliament Roll recording those who attended the Parliament held in the 31st year of the reign of Henry VIII, 1539. Depicted are the arms of Thomas (Cromwell), Earl of Essex, ‘Vicegerent of the Spirituality’; Thomas (Audley), Baron Audley of Walden, Lord Chancellor; Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; Thomas (Howard), Duke of Norfolk and Lord Treasurer. Thomas Howard was also Earl Marshal, a role which involves oversight of the College of Arms. College of Arms Ms Num Sch 6/40

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