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.

Sir John Carre of Hart 1516 grant of BadgeGrant of a Badge to Sir John Carre of Hart co. Durham: The White Lion Society has generously given the College of Arms one of the earliest surviving patents granting a livery badge. Purchased at the Morningthorpe Manor sale on 9 September 2016, it is the grant of a badge to Sir John Carre of Hart in the Bishopric of Durham made by Thomas Wriothesley, Garter King of Arms, and John Yonge, Norroy, dated 14 March 1515/16 and bearing their armorial seals. Described as a device or cognizance, the badge is the head of a cerf (hart), so a clear pun on Sir John Carre's place of residence. It is depicted on a standard, a tapering flag with the Cross of St George in the hoist.

The patent is known to have been in the possession of the Marquess of Bristol in the 20th century, and is presumed to have been inherited by his family through the marriage in 1688 of his ancestor John Hervey, Earl of Bristol, to Isabella, daughter of Sir Robert Carr, Bt., of Sleaford in Lincolnshire. However, the link between the Carrs of Sleaford and Sir John Carre of Hart has not been established with certainty.

New £5 note

13 September 2016

27136331630 32fd02e7be bThe United Kingdom's first polymer bank note issued by the Bank of England, for £5, enters circulation today. It bears a portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, and features Sir Winston Churchill. On the reverse may be seen a view of the Palace of Westminster with the Elizabeth Tower; and the medal of the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Sir Winston Churchill in 1953. The design of the note incorporates for the first time heraldic shields representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These shields are shaded with diagonal lines which should not be confused with hatching. Further information on the new note may be found on the Bank of England website.

The Great Fire of London

01 September 2016

In September 1666, Derby House, the home of the College of Arms, burned down in the Fire of London. As the fire spread from Pudding Lane, sufficient warning was given to allow almost all the books and manuscripts to be rescued. These were taken, probably by boat, to Whitehall. The Officers of Arms regrouped, and were given a room at the Palace of Westminster from which to conduct their business. Heraldic, genealogical, and ceremonial work continued, while at the same time the task of building a new College had to be faced.

In November 1669, three Officers of Arms visited the site to consider what might be done, and a year later Francis Sandford, Rouge Dragon, was appointed to enter into discussions with the bricklayer, Morris Emott or Emmett, about rebuilding the Office. Both Emmett, Master Bricklayer in thew Office of Works, who also worked for Christopher Wren, and his brother William, wood carver to the King, played important parts in the rebuilding of the College. Sandford, who was a surveyor by profession, prepared a model of the new College and Emmett laid a ground plot.

Raising the money for the undertaking presented great difficulties; demands on potential donors were high after the Fire due to the number of competing causes. In December 1670 the Officers of Arms presented a petition to the King, asking him to allow them to raise subscriptions for the rebuilding. The Warrant granting this permission is still held by the College. It is reproduced in part here, with a transcription of the eloquent wording employed in it to persuade the King's wealthier subjects to contribute.

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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