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

Heralds' College

Heralds' College, or, to use its more correct and grandiloquent description - viz. "Her Majesty's College of Arms" - stands back surrounding its diminished courtyard area from the northern side of Queen Victoria Street, close under the shadow of St. Paul's, and belongs to the corporation of its members, who are officers of arms. These officers of arms, though holding office under the Great Seal of England and direct from the Crown, are all nominated by His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, K.G., as Hereditary Earl Marshal of England, who exercises control over the College, and upon many matters has absolute discretion and authority. At different times different and very various titles have been borne by the officers of arms, but they first acted in a collegiate capacity in the reign of King Henry V., and were incorporated by a Royal Charter in the reign of King Richard III., a further charter being granted by King Edward VI. This last provided for the existence of three Kings of arms, six Heralds, and four Pursuivants, in which style the corporation has since continued, and at the present time the officers are Garter Principal King of Arms, Clarenceux King of Arms, and Norroy King of Arms; Chester, Windsor, Lancaster, Y'ork, Somerset, and Richmond heralds; with Portcullis, Rouge Dragon, Rouge Croix, and Bluemantle Pursuivants. Various extraordinary officers have from time to time been created, and at the present time two are in existence - viz. Surrey Herald Extraordinary and Maltravers Herald Extraordinary. The jurisdiction of the English College and of the Earl Marshal extends throughout the whole of Her Majesty's dominions with the exception of Scotland and Ireland - the former of which is governed in matters armorial by Lyon Office and the latter by Ulster Office. The Records of the College (as distinct from the Collections) never leave the custody of the officers of arms, and are accepted in Her Majesty's Courts of Law as incontrovertible evidence, and have been likewise in other countries. These records consist of the series of books called Visitation Books, containing the pedigrees and arms of the nobility and gentry taken under Royal

Commissions from 21 Henry VIII. to the latter part of the seventeenth century, the last commission being issued 2 James II. Since the visitations such pedigrees have only been recorded upon voluntary application, and the books of these are termed the Modern Records. There are also books of the pedigrees and arms of peers compiled pursuant to the standing orders of the House of Lords of May 11, 1767, and books containing the arms and pedigrees of baronets in accordance with a Royal Warrant of 3rd December, 1783, "for correcting and preventing abuses in the Order of Baronets." In addition there are certain funeral certificates, books containing accounts of certain royal ceremonies, the books of the grants of arms, and what are known as the Earl Marshal's books, which, commencing in the time of Queen Elizabeth, contain entries of warrants under the Royal Sign Manual upon various matters. In addition to these records, the College contains the "collections" of former heralds and genealogical writers - either willed to them or acquired by purchase - which, though great in value, have not been compiled or accumulated under any royal or other warrant. The salaries of the officers are merely nominal, their remuneration being derived from fees, which by no means approach the amounts frequently supposed. A herald or a pursuivant is always "in waiting-" in the Public Office to transact the business of anyone who is a perfect stranger, but the various officers have all private sets of apartments in the College, and the "practice" and "clientele" of each officer is arranged and conducted in a manner very similar to that in vogue in the legal and medical professions.