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The College of Arms, also known as the College of Heralds, is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and New Zealand. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.
Founded by royal charter in 1484 by King Richard III, the College is one of the few remaining official heraldic authorities in Europe. Within the United Kingdom, there are two such authorities, the Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland and the College for the rest of the United Kingdom. The College has had its home in the City of London since its foundation, and has been at its present location, on Queen Victoria Street, since 1555. The College of Arms also undertakes and consults on the planning of many ceremonial occasions such as coronations, state funerals, the annual Garter Service and the State Opening of Parliament. Heralds of the College accompany the sovereign on many of these occasions.
The College comprises thirteen officers or heralds: three Kings of Arms, six Heralds of Arms and four Pursuivants of Arms. There are also seven officers extraordinary, who take part in ceremonial occasions but are not part of the College. The entire corporation is overseen by the Earl Marshal, a hereditary office held by the Duke of Norfolk, currently Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk.
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College of Arms Reviews
We found this place completely by accident, right next to St Paul's Cathedral. there is only one room to look at really, but lots of interesting information about heraldry and the history of the... more »
Not much to see here but an I press I’ve set of gates. It’s worth a quick look but I would not go out of my way to visit. more »
The College website is well constructed, easy to follow, informative, and both attractive and interesting in its presentation. The information provided is comprehensive and up-to-date as is the College of Arms' Newsletter; the latter is well worth a read to anyone with an interest in heraldry and genealogy or history. The Officers, Heralds, are most helpful and approachable to enquirers.
institutions like this one do consider visitors more of a nuisance than a pleasure. i do understand that the people working there wish to not be disturbed. but the little accessible part does not even explain the rules for designing a coat of arms nor its relationship to trademarks. it is a sad state considering that the broad public does not know much about heraldry. p.s.: pratchett fans will recognize that he went to the place before writing about lord de nobbes.
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