The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
College of Arms..
On the east side of , is the college or office of arms, commonly called the Herald's office. This office was destroyed by the dreadful conflagration in , and rebuilt about years
|after. It is a quadrangle, inclosed by plain brick buildings, almost totally devoid of ornament.|
The college was, by the act for rebuilding the city, to be begun to be rebuilt within years. The estimate, at a moderate computation amounted to and, as a corporation, they had not to do it, this obliged them to petition his majesty for a commission to receive the subscriptions of the nobility and gentry. This petition was referred to the commissioners for executing the office of earl-marshal; and, upon their lordship's report, a commission was granted, bearing date the : but the commission directing the money so collected to be paid to such persons, and laid out in such a manner, as the earl-marshal should appoint, it disgusted the officers so much, that it caused a coldness and inactivity in them to promote the subscription: so that, although they had reason to hope for large contributions, little more than was raised by this commission; what further sums were necessary were made up out of the general fees and profits of the office, or by the contribution of particular members. Sir William Dugdale built the north-west corner at his own charge; and sir Henry St. George, Clarencieux, gave the profits of some visitations, made by deputies appointed by him for that purpose, amounting to The homes on the east side, and south-east corner, were erected upon a building lease, agreeable to the original plan; by which means the whole was made uniform quadrangular building, as it now appears, and is of the best-designed and most commodious brick building in London; the hollow arch of the gateway is esteemed a curiosity. In , the college part of the building being finished, the rooms were divided amongst the officers, according to their degrees, by agreement amongst themselves, and afterwards confirmed by the earl-marshal; which apartments have been ever since annexed to their respective offices. The inside of the lodgings were finished, at different times, by the officers to whom they belonged.
The floors are raised above the level of the ground, and there is an ascent to them by flights of plain steps. The principal front is on the north side; the lower story being ornamented with rustic, worked in red brick, upon which are placed Ionic pilasters of the same material; the capitals and pedestals are of stone, from the volutes of the former are suspended wreaths of foliage. These pilasters support a plain entablature. The east and west sides are similar, with the exception of there being but pilasters instead of . The centre of the south side is open, with a dwarf wall, in the centre of which is a gate, and, on each side on the wall, are vases, the handles and ornaments being gilt. Against the south walls, are pannels with the badges of the Derby family.
On the ground floor of the north side of the quadrangle, is a large room for keeping the court of honour, with a gallery at the
|east end. A space is inclosed with rails, within which is a large table, and a raised space, with an elaborately carved seat for the earl-marshal; behind the seat is a piece of wainscotting composed of fluted Corinthian pilasters supporting a pediment, arched in the centre, and containing the royal arms, ( Charles II.) within scroll work enriched with foliage; on each side is a winged boy, holding the herald's coronet, and the other the baton.|
This apartment is lighted by windows, on the basement and in the upper story, all of which have a perpendicular division, with a transom about -thirds of its height. Adjoining to the hall on the east side is the library and office, a plain apartment surrounded with closets, in which are preserved the visitations and heraldic MSS. of which the corporation have a fine and valuable collection. Above the mantel-piece is a portrait of R. Sheldon, esq. a benefactor. In of the windows of this apartment, is a piece of stained glass, presented in , by Mr. Backler; it contains the armorial bearings and supporters of the late Charles duke of Norfolk, and the arms of sir J. Heard, Garter, Mr. Harrison, Clarencieux, and Mr. Bignold, Norroy, kings of arms. There is also a curious portrait on glass of J. C. Brooke, esq. The mantel-piece is handsomely carved with foliage, fruits, &c. by Gibbons. In this room are preserved the sword and dagger of James IV. of Scotland. The remaining portion of the quadrangle is occupied with apartments for the heralds and pursuivants.
The society were formerly possessed of several fine and valuable paintings, among which was a half-length portrait of sir W. Dugdale, knt. presented by sir W. Skeffington, bart. of Leicestershire. At present the only portrait belonging to the college, besides those above mentioned, is a full length portrait of Charles II. in the court of honour.
This ancient corporation consists of members, viz. kings of arms, heralds of arms, and pursuivants of arms. They are nominated by the earl-marshal of England, as ministers subordinate to him in the execution of their offices, and hold their places of patent.
The kings of arms are distinguished by the following titles:-- Garter, Clarencieux, Norroy. The office of Garter king of arms was instituted by king Henry V. for the service of the most noble order of the garter; and, for the dignity of that order, he was made sovereign, within the office of arms, over all the other officers, subject to the crown of England, by the name of Garter king of arms of England. By the constitution of his office, he must be a native of England, and a gentleman bearing arms. To him belongs the correction of arms, and all ensigns of arms, usurped or borne unjustly; and the power of granting arms to deserving persons, and supporters to the nobility and knights of the Bath. It is also his office to go next before the sword in solemn procession, no interposing except the marshal; to administer the oath to all the officers of arms; to have a habit like the registrar of the order,
|baron's service in the court, and lodgings in Windsor-castle; he bears his white rod, with a banner of the ensigns of the order thereon, before the sovereign. When any lord enters the parliament chamber, it is his post to assign him his place, according to his dignity and degree; to carry the ensign of the order to foreign princes, and to do, or procure to be done, what the sovereign shall enjoin relating to the order; with other duties incident to his office of principal king of arms.|
Clarencieux is thus named from the duke of Clarence, the son of king Edward III. It is his duty, according to his commission, to visit his province, which comprehends all the counties south of the river Trent, to survey the arms of all persons, &c. and to register their descents, marriages, &c. to marshall the funerals within his province, not under the direction of Garter, and in his province to grant arms, with the consent of the earl-marshal. Before the institution of Garter, he was the principal officer of arms, and, in the vacancy of Garter, he executes his office.
The duty and office of Norroy, or north roy, that is north king, is the same on the north of the Trent as that of Clarencieux on the south.
 Engraved in Dallaway's Inquiry, p. 332.