Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Herald (Old High German herolt, for hari-wald, "army-strength"), originally an officer employed to convey proclamations of peace and war, and other messages from the court of one sovereign or feudal lord to that of another. When the science of heraldry (q.v.) grew up in the western countries of Europe, it became the business of heralds to see that the regulations concerning the bearing of coat-armour were properly observed, and this range of duties further required a knowledge of genealogies and the descent of titles. Commonly each order of knighthood had its own herald with an attendant body of "pursuivants" whom he was supposed to train in the duties of the office. The "York," "Windsor," and other heralds are frequently mentioned in English documents of the 14th and 15th centuries. The chief herald was known as the "King of Arms;" in England in the 14th century there were two such "kings," "Norroy" and "Surroy" (afterwards "Clarencieux), exercising authority north and south of the Trent respectively. Under Henry V. a new king of arms the "Garter," took precedence of the other two The "Lyon" and "Ulster" kings of arms exercise similar functions in Scotland and Ireland. Heralds' College, or College of Arms, was instituted, under the direction of the Earl Marshal, in 1483, and in 1554 the members were located in the building in London which they now occupy.