The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
Regalia of a King of Arms.
The kings of arms were formerly created by the sovereign with great solemnity, upon some high festival; but, since the ceremonies used at the creation of peers have been laid aside, the kings of arms ha e been created by the earl-marshal, by virtue of the sovereign's warrant; upon this occasion he takes his oath; wine is poured upon his head out of a gilt cup, with a cover; his title is pronounced; and he is invested with a tabard of the royal arms, richly embroidered upon velvet; a collar of SS. with portcullices of silver gilt; a gold chain, with abadge of his office; and the earl-marshal places on his head a crown of a king of arms, which formerly resembled a ducal coronet, but, since the restoration, it has been adorned with leaves resembling those of the oak, and circumscribed, according to ancient custom, with the words, Garter has also a mantle of crimson satin, as an officer of the order, with a white rod or sceptre, with the arms of the order and corporation on the top, which he bears
|in the presence of the sovereign; and he is sworn in a chapter of the Garter, the sovereign investing him with the ensigns of his office.|
The respective badges worn by the present kings of arms, either with a gold chain or a ribbon, (Garter's being blue and the provincials purple) and which badges distinguish these officers from each other, are these:--
The badge of Garter, principal king of arms, is the arms of the order, viz. cross, impaling the royal arms within the garter, under the imperial crown of Great , the same on both sides. The arms of his office are, , cross, upon a chief , a coronet within a garter of the order, between a lion of England, and a fleur de lys,
The badge of Clarencieux king of arms, is on an escutcheon, crowned with the crown of a king of arms, on a green ground; , cross, upon a chief , a lion of England, crowned with an open crown, having, on the other side, the royal arms, crowned upon a white ground. The arms of the office of Clarencieux are the same as on the front of his badge.
The badge of Norroy king of arms is, , cross, upon a chief per pale and , a lion of England crowned with an open crown, between a fleur de lys in pale, and a key which, likewise, are the arms of his office.
These arms of office the before mentioned kings of arms bear in pale with their own proper arms, and crowned with a crown of a king of arms.
The heralds are Windsor, Chester, Lancaster, York, Richmond, and Somerset, who take place according to seniority in office. They are created with the same ceremonies as the kings, taking the oath of an herald, and are invested with a tabard of the royal arms, embroidered upon satin, not so rich as the kings, but better than the pursuivants, and a silver collar of SS; and are esquires by creation.
The kings and heralds are sworn upon a sword as well as the book, to shew that they are military as well as civil officers.
The pursuivants, are, Rougecroix, Bluemantle, Rougedragon, and Portcullis, also created by the earl-marshal, when they take their oath of a pursuivant, and are invested with a tabard of the royal arms upon damask. It is the duty of the heralds and pursuivants to attend in the public office, of each class together, by a monthly rotation.
Besides these particular duties of the several classes, it is the general duty of the kings, heralds, and pursuivants, to attend his majesty at the house of peers, and, upon certain high festivals, to the chapel royal; to make proclamations; to marshall the proceedings at all public processions; to attend the installation of the knights of the garter, &c.
All these officers have apartments in the college, annexed to
|their respective offices. They have likewise a public hall, in which is a court for the earl-marshal, where courts of chivalry were occasionally held, and the officers of arms attended in their tabards, his lordship being present. Their public library contains a large and valuable collection of original records of the pedigrees and arms of families, funeral certificates of the nobility and gentry, public ceremonials, and other branches of heraldry and antiquities.|
It is not certain when the officers of arms were established in this kingdom : but their institution is to be traced in the histories of all civilized nations; and an injury offered to them was always deemed an infraction of the law of nations. It is surprising that we have very little mention of these officers before the reign of king Edward III. when military glory and heraldry were already at their meridian height; though it is certain that there were persons who performed the part of kings and heralds, on particular occasions, long before. After the institution of provincial kings, &c. by Edward III. we find them confirmed by an act of parliament in Rich. II. And in the of Henry V. it was declared, that no persons should bear arms, that could not justify their right thereto by prescription or grant: the same king instituted the office of Garter king at arms.
In , of Richard III. he granted letters patent, by which he made the kings, heralds, and pursuivants of arms, body corporate, by the name of
empowered them to have and use a common seal, and granted to them and their successors, for the use of the principal officers of the corporation, a house with all its appurtenances, then called Colde Arbor, or Pulteney's inn, and situated within the parish of Allhallows the less, in the city of London; they finding a chaplain to celebrate mass daily in the said house, or elsewhere, at their discretion, for the good state of health of Anne his queen, and Edward prince of Wales, during their lives, and for their souls after their decease.
In consequence of the act of resumption, passed in the year of the reign of king Henry VII. this house was seized into the king's hands, because it was supposed to belong personally to John Writhe, Garter, who then lived in it, and not to the officers of arms in their corporate capacity.
The officers of aims during the reign of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., frequently petitioned the throne for a grant of some house or place, wherein to hold their assemblies, but without success. King Edward VI., however, in a charter dated the , in the year of his reign, and by authority of parliament, endeavoured to make them some amends, by confirming to them all their ancient privileges, as to be free and discharged from all subsidies, in all realms where they make their demoure; as also from all tolls,
|taxes, customs, impositions, and demands, as well from watch and ward, as from the election to any office of mayor, sheriff, bailiff, constable, scavenger, church-warden, or any other public office of what degree, nature, or condition, soever. Philip and Mary, by their charter, bearing date the , in their and years, re-incorporated the kings, heralds, and pursuivants of arms, by their former names ; and to the intent that they might reside together, and consult and agree amongst themselves for the good of their faculty, and for the depositing and secure preservation of their records, inrolments, and other documents and papers, granted to them a messuage, with its appurtenances, called Derby-house, situate in the parish of St. Benedict and St. Peter, within the city of London, late in the tenure of sir Richard Sackvyle, knt. but heretofore parcel of the possessions of Edward, earl of Derby. In orders were made and approved by Thomas duke of Norfolk, earl-marshal of England, for the good preservation of the college of arms, and the preservation of their records; and by these orders a monthly waiting was appointed in the library, of an herald and pursuivant together, by rotation. And in the of Eliz. Daukins, for usurping the office of a king of arms, was whipped, pilloried, and lost his ears.|
The arms of the college and corporation are, , cross between doves , wing open to fly, the other close, with this motto,
Crest, a dove rising out of a ducal coronet. Supporters, on either side a lion guardant , gorged with a ducal coronet. These arms, crest, and supporters, are upon the common seal, thus circumscribed,
On the west side of St., is a passage that leads into