College of Arms Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 22393
Charleston, SC 29413-2393, USA
Telephone: +843-973-0390


Argent a Cross and within four Tressures Gules as many Doves their dexter wings elevated and inverted Azure beaked and legged Gules

Crest: Issuant from a Coronet composed of a Rim Argent charged with a Barrulet Gules and set with eight Mullets Argent a Dove with its dexter wing elevated and inverted Azure beaked and legged Gules

Badge: On a Roundel barry of six Argent and Gules a Dove with its dexter wing elevated and inverted Azure beaked and legged Gules

Welcome to the web site of the College of Arms Foundation in the USA.  Please use the headings at left to navigate our pages. 

Please click here for the latest information on planned events.

© College of Arms Foundation, Inc., 2015.  All rights reserved.



Authorizes Second Installment of £25,000 Grant for Publication of Catalogue

NEW YORK, 22 August 2013 – The Board of Directors of The College of Arms Foundation, Inc., at its Annual General Meeting held in New York today voted to make a one-time grant of £20,000 to the College of Arms for the creation of an archive storage room at the College to be known as The Pigott Library. The grant was made possible through the generosity of Mark C. Pigott, KBE.

“My fellow Foundation board members and I are very pleased to be able to make this grant, which will result in an improved facility for storing the College’s most ancient records,” said John Shannon, President of the Foundation, who announced the grant. “I am also delighted that the new facility will honor Mark Pigott’s commitment to the work of the Foundation.”

“It is most generous of the Foundation to support The Pigott Library with the munificent donation of £20,000,” said Thomas Woodcock, CVO, FSA, Garter Principal King of Arms, “and we are very grateful to Mr Pigott for his support of the College of Arms.”

Last year the Foundation made a five-year £25,000 commitment towards the production of the second volume of A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms. At its meeting, the Foundation’s board also approved a second installment toward that pledge of £5,000.

The College’s archive holdings include a large and historically important collection of rolled material. The greatest number of these are pedigree rolls showing the genealogies of noble and royal families, but also included are grants, patents, and rolls of arms, and miscellaneous material such as plans of the College. There are in the region of 1,200 of these rolls with some of the earliest dating to the thirteenth century.

The current storage environment does not offer the rolls all the physical protection they require. The Foundation’s grant will allow the College to make considerable improvements. Storage conditions offered by these rooms will be upgraded with better glazing, humidity controls, and the construction of modern archival shelving. All rolled material will be preserved in custom-designed archival storage boxes, and arranged on the shelves in such a way as to make best possible use of the space. The new archival shelving will accommodate material other than rolls, including newly-accessioned material which has to be sorted and listed. The rooms as converted will thus offer a very useful archival storage area.

With the archive storage rooms thus created the College of Arms will be able to offer much improved access for the Officers of Arms, their research assistants and the many historians and scholars that visit the College’s archives. The facilities will also enable the College to improve its catalogue of this very significant part of the archives.

The College of Arms Foundation was established in 1984 at the time of the quincentenary of the College of Arms. Its objective is to promote awareness and appreciation of English heraldry.

The College of Arms is the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand. The Kings of Arms there also make grants of Honorary Arms under Crown Authority to citizens of the USA. As well as being responsible for the granting of new coats of arms, the College maintains registers of arms, pedigrees, genealogies, Royal Licences, changes of name, and flags. The heralds, besides having ceremonial duties, advise on all matters relating to the peerage and baronetage, precedence, honours and ceremonial as well as national and community symbols including flags. The archive of manuscripts is one of the very largest and greatest collections of heraldic and genealogical material anywhere in the world.


Funding is for Second Volume of Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms Records

LONDON, 19 June 2012 – The Board of Directors of the College of Arms Foundation, Inc., voted at its annual general meeting held today at the College of Arms in London to make a five-year grant totaling £25,000 to fund the publication of the first volume of A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms Records.

The grant was announced by John Shannon, President of the Foundation, at a reception held at the College of Arms attended by the Earl Marshal of England, the three Kings of Arms and several officers of arms, as well as Foundation board members and guests.

The College of Arms is the heraldic authority of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was incorporated by King Richard III in 1483 to control the granting of armorial bearings – coats of arms – to the King's subjects. It is a department of the British Royal Household and collectively composed of the officers of arms: the three Kings of Arms; the six heralds; and the four pursuivants.

Acting on royal instructions, between 1530 and 1689 the Kings of Arms regularly conducted visitations of the counties of England and Wales to ensure that no subject was publicly using armorial bearings to which they were not entitled. The records of these visitations, held by the College of Arms to this day, have long been recognized as of great heraldic and genealogical value. Taken together they form an almost complete survey of Tudor and Stuart gentry, and a great many professional and merchant families, and provide first-hand information about their ancestry stretching back into the medieval period. Despite their significance, however, no comprehensive catalogue of the visitation records had ever been published.

In 1988 the College of Arms published the first volume of A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms, called Collections, Vol. I, a substantial 600-page volume covering the earliest unofficial collections and including what is sometimes called the Old Library. It was always envisaged that the Catalogue would have a parallel Records series, covering the official registers of the College's work. The principal content of the first volume of this series, being supported by the Foundation, will be the visitation records.

The editor of the projected Records volume is Robert Yorke, FSA, who recently retired from the College with 32 years of experience with the College's manuscripts and of their use by scholars.

"In awarding this grant the College of Arms Foundation is fulfilling its mission, which is to support the work of the College of Arms," said Mr. Shannon. "I am delighted that this grant will ensure that the project goes forward."

Accepting the gift on behalf of the College of Arms, the Earl Marshal, His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, commended the Foundation directors on their decision and thanked them for their grant. Added to a substantial one from the Mark Fitch Trust, the grant effectively guarantees that the second volume of the Catalogue will be produced.

The College of Arms Foundation was established in 1984 at the time of the quincentenary of the College of Arms. Its objective is to promote awareness and appreciation of English heraldry.

See photographs of the College of Arms Foundation Award Grant Reception.


H.M. The Queen's senior officer-at-arms is noted for his scholarly contributions to British heraldry

NEW YORK, 26 May 2010 -Thomas Woodcock, CVO, Garter Principal King of Arms, was elected appointed an Honorary Director of the College of Arms Foundation by the Board of Directors at its meeting on 26 May 2010.

Thomas Woodcock, CVO, Garter Principal King of Arms

Mr. Woodcock became Garter Principal King of Arms effective 1 April 2010.  He succeeded Sir Peter Gwynn-Jones, KCVO, who retired from the office on 31 March.

Garter is the senior officer of England’s heraldic authority, the College of Arms, which is composed of three Kings of Arms (Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy & Ulster); six Heralds (Chester, Lancaster, Richmond, Somerset, Windsor and York); and four Pursuivants (Bluemantle, Portcullis, Rouge Croix and Rouge Dragon).  The office of Garter was created in 1415 by Henry V.

Mr. Woodcock started his career at the College as a Research Assistant for Sir Anthony Wagner, the eminent former Garter King of Arms, for three years (1975-1978).  Subsequently he was appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1978.  In 1982 he became Somerset Herald, a post he held until 1997 when he became Norroy & Ulster King of Arms. 

During his time at the College, Mr. Woodcock has produced – either as editor, co-author or sole author – a series of scholarly works on English heraldry and related topics.  These include (as editor) the Dictionary of British Arms – Medieval Ordinary for the Society of Antiquaries of London.  Three volumes have been produced since 1992 and a fourth and final one is underway.

Mr. Woodcock also co-authored The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (1988) and Heraldry in National Trust Houses (2000) both with John Martin Robinson.  In addition he was a joint editor of The Visitation of the County of Huntingdon 1684 for the Harleian Society.  He wrote Legal habits: A Brief Sartorial History of Wig, Robe and Gown for Ede and Ravenscroft, the Royal robemakers, in 2003.

Mr. Woodcock has also published 16 biographies of officers of arms for The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).  Other articles are “Baronies by Writ and the Barony of Grey of Codnor, its History and the Investigations Involved in Having it Called Out of Abeyance” for Debrett’s Peerage (1995); and “Different Forms of Inheritance of Titles of Honor and Lord Archer’s Proposed Change in the Descent of the Crown” for Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage (1999). He has served as consultant on heraldic words in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1993 edition) and is ongoing consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary.

Related to his work at the College, Mr. Woodcock is Advisor on Naval Heraldry responsible for designing and commissioning the artwork for Royal Naval Ships’ Badges (since 1996); President of the Lancashire Parish Register Society (since 2004); and Chairman of the Harleian Society, established in 1869 to publish Heralds’ Visitations and other heraldic and genealogical material (since 2004).

Born in 1951, Mr. Woodcock was educated at Eton, Durham and Cambridge Universities and the College of Law, London.  He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1975, and was elected a Bencher in 2010.

Mr. Woodcock was promoted to Commander of the Royal Victoria Order (CVO) in 2011, Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Lancashire in 2005, and became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) in 1990.  In addition, he is a member of the Travellers Club, the Roxburghe Club and the Pitt Club.  In 1998 he married Lucinda Mary Harmsworth King.


With records intact and repairs complete, David White is pleased to declare that the College is now again in fine shape.

The west (left) wing of the College of Arms in London has been restored after a fire erupted there in February 2009 causing damage to the interiors on all floors.

LONDON, 23 December 2009 - Repairs to the west wing of London’s College of Arms undertaken after a fire are now concluded and the damaged rooms have been restored and returned to their normal use.

David White, Somerset Herald, announced the completion of the work undertaken after a fire in February damaged the offices and workspaces of officers of arms and heraldic artists in the centuries old building on Queen Victoria Street. Besides the fire damage, further harm to the building fabric was caused by firemen dousing the flames with water.

Mr. White stated: “I am happy to report that the repairs to the College of Arms were completed on schedule in early December. The fire in February provided the opportunity to bring forward some of the College’s rolling program of maintenance. No damage befell the irreplaceable records and no one was hurt during the fire in February.

The College of Arms is the official repository of the coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descendants. Its records also include official copies of the records of Ulster King of Arms the originals of which remain at Dublin.

The College is the headquarters of the officers of the College, known as heralds, who organize the state pageants of the British monarchy as well as provide heraldic and genealogical work for their respective clients.

“A seventeenth-century building needs a great deal of upkeep; and the presence of scaffolding on the west wing to facilitate the fire repairs allowed us to carry out various planned minor but important pieces of work, including repointing and the refurbishing of brickwork,” Mr. White further said. “As a result, the College of Arms is entering the 2010s in fine shape.”

For further information, please contact:

David White, Somerset Herald
Telephone: +44 (20) 7248 1766