Richard III epitaph I 3 f.4 cropped compressedOn 26 March 2015 King Richard III was reinterred in a specially-constructed tomb in Leicester Cathedral, in a service in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Gloucester, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and other distinguished guests. The College of Arms, founded by Richard III in 1484, was represented in the procession and service by Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, and Peter O'Donoghue, York Herald. Some information about the reburial service can be had here and here.

Illustrated left is an image from a College of Arms manuscript, showing an epitaph for Richard III. It is in the hand of Thomas Hawley, Clarenceux King of Arms, a herald between 1509 and his death in 1557. The epitaph would seem to come from the original tomb of Richard in the Franciscan Priory in Leicester, erected by Henry VII. It makes reference to the latter's piety and generosity, whilst hoping that the reader will pray for Richard on account of his offences and thus lessen his punishment.

The year 2015 sees the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., O.M., C.H.

Churchill received many great honours both domestically and internationally. Arguably one of the greatest followed his death on 24 January 1965: the grant of a State Funeral. This took place at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 30 January 1965.

The ceremony was arranged by the Earl Marshal with the Officers of Arms, the heralds, staffing his office and making the detailed plans. They also took part in the funeral itself. Volumes of papers relating to the ceremonial for the funeral are held at the College of Arms; a small selection are displayed here.


WSC Funeral Order Serv cover compressedCover of the Order of Service, showing Churchill's Arms within the Garter.

Learning with regret of the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, King of Saudi Arabia, on 23 January 2015, special instructions have been received requesting that all Union Flags on buildings of her Majesty's Government be flown at half-mast from 8 a.m. this morning until 8 p.m. this evening, 24 January 2015.

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.

Keith Evans, MVO

05 January 2015

The College of Arms reports with sadness the death on 22 December 2014 of Keith Alexander Evans, MVO, Clerk of the Records and chief scrivener at the College of Arms.

Born on 17 December 1941, Keith arrived at the College at the very end of 1956, when he began as assistant to William Lovegrove, MVO, then Clerk to the Registrar of the College. He assisted with the seating arrangements for the last State Funeral, that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. Keith was appointed Clerk of the Records in 1968. In this role he administered, planned and scrivened the official records of grants of Arms, pedigrees, Royal Licences and other official documents; he also prepared many Letters Patent and fine pedigrees for the Officers of Arms. Having received the Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, he was appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1979 New Year's Honours List. He was a Freeman of the City of London.

Keith Evans's presence at the College of Arms after nearly sixty years of service will be sadly missed.


DBA vol IV cover compressedDictionary of British Arms: the publication of the fourth and final volume of the Dictionary of British Arms Medieval Ordinary completes the first stage of work, which began with a bequest to the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1926 from Lieutenant Colonel George Babington Croft Lyons to produce a new edition of Papworth's Ordinary. For several decades card indexes were compiled listing instances of British Arms, giving an original source for each entry. The index was divided into pre and post 1530, in other words the periods before and after the start of the Heralds' Visitations.

By the 1970s there were approximately 114,000 cards in the pre-1530 ordinary. The work was largely directed from the College of Arms as Sir Anthony Wagner, sometime Garter, was General Editor from 1940 till his death in 1995 and the decision to produce the work as an ordinary was taken in 1979.

Volume One of this monumental work was published in 1992, Volume Two in 1996, Volume Three in 2009 and Volume Four in 2014. The hard work of entering and editing over 20,000 cards for this volume and for Volume Three was undertaken by Sarah Flower at the College of Arms under the direction of the present Garter King of Arms, Thomas Woodcock. Together these four volumes form an index and ordinary to hundreds of manuscript and other sources for medieval British heraldry.

Volume Four and previous volumes are available online from: Boydell & Brewer Ltd., PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DF.

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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