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 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


Coll Arm Ms Coll Jern 5 p 3Nelson's Chelengk: A new book on the history of the Chelengk presented to Horatio Nelson by Sultan Selim III after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, was published in October 2017. In Nelson's Lost Jewel, the author Martyn Downer describes the story of the exotic diamond jewel: its presentation to Nelson; the admiral's embellishment of it to make it more impressive; its use among his brother’s descendants as a brooch; its sale at auction in 1895; and its theft from the National Maritime Museum in 1951. An important watercolour painting of the lost Chelengk, recently discovered at the College of Arms and illustrated left, has shed much light on the form it took in Nelson’s lifetime. A replica has been made carefully based on the College’s painting. This uses appropriate diamonds cut in the 18th century or earlier and has been put on display to the public at the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth.


Chester Herald

27 September 2017

By Letters Patent under the Great Seal dated 22 September 2017, Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to appoint Christopher John Fletcher-Vane, Esquire, (lately Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms) as Chester Herald of Arms, vacant by the promotion of Timothy Hugh Stewart Duke, Esquire, now Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, with effect from 1 July 2014. The appointment is gazetted here.

Following the attack in Barcelona on 17 August 2017, instructions have been received that all buildings of Her Majesty's Government should fly the Union Flag at half-mast today. 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.

Flags should be raised to full mast after 20:00 this evening 18 August, and before 07:00 tomorrow morning.

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.

Jo Cox MPJo Cox, MP: a commemorative shield bearing the Arms of Helen Joanne Cox, late Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, was unveiled in the House of Commons on 24 June 2017, in the presence of her family, the Speaker of the Commons and other guests including Garter King of Arms. The ceremony was part of the first 'Great Get Together' organized by the Jo Cox Foundation. The Arms were granted to her widower Brendan Cox of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, to be placed on monuments to her memory, by Letters Patent of Garter and Clarenceux Kings of Arms dated 6 March 2017. College reference: Grants 180/149. They are blazoned:

Arms: Barry wavy Vert and Purpure a Chevronel Argent between in chief a White Rose and a Red Rose proper both barbed seeded and slipped the stalks conjoined Or and in base a Red Rose and a White Rose proper both barbed seeded and slipped the stalks conjoined Or.


The rationale for the design is as follows: green, violet or purple and white are the colours adopted by the Women's Social and Political Union in 1908, better known as the Suffragettes. The wavy bars of the field are a reference to the country and fields and rivers for which Jo Cox felt an affinity. The chevronel refers to the Lake District and hills where she loved to walk. The white roses refer to Yorkshire of which Jo Cox was a native and where her constituency was situated and the red roses refer both to the Labour Party and to Lancashire which is Brendan Cox's county of origin. The motto expressed Jo Cox's belief that people have more in common than separates them. Brendan Cox and the children were involved in the development of this design.

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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