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


Herald's Bullycorn reception at Windsor

The Officers hosted a reception for associates and supporters of the College of Arms following the annual Garter service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, on Monday 18 June. After an ominous daybreak, by late afternoon the weather became clear and sunny, making the al fresco at the Ranger’s Lodge in Windsor Great Park party highly enjoyable.

St. George's Chapel is one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in England. The building was started in 1475 by Edward IV and took fifty years to construct. It is the Chapel of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Britain's highest order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348. Members are selected by The Sovereign and include foreign monarchs and previous Prime Ministers. Ten monarchs are buried in the Chapel, including Edward IV, Henry VIII with his favorite wife Jane Seymour, Charles I, George V and Queen Mary and George VI. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother is also buried here, along with her younger daughter Princess Margaret.

The British are unsurpassed at organizing state pageants and the Garter service is one of the great royal events of the year with hundreds of participants, including the Royal Family, soldiers, clergy, choristers, the Military Knights of Windsor and, of course, the heralds.

Every year on the Monday following her official birthday HM The Queen hosts a lunch at Windsor Castle for the Knight Companions of the Order of the Garter, after which they don their capes and process down the hill to the Chapel. A large and animated crowd of spectators lines the route and fills the Chapel: it is an honor to attend and invitations are coveted.

No new Knights were installed this year and the service, which featured the famous choir of men and boys, lasted just 40 minutes.

Guests lining up to enter St. George’s Chapel for the Garter service.

Jean Savage and John F.V. Cupschalk were among the Americans attending the Garter service.

John Shannon, President of the College of Arms Foundation.

Ellsworth G. Stanton III, MBE, Secretary of the College of Arms Foundation, with friend.

Georgina Grant Haworth with Robert J.B. Noel, Lancaster Herald, at the Heralds’ reception.

The weather went from overcast to perfect in time for the heralds’ reception. Dr. Michael Siddons, Wales Herald Extraordinary, is at left.

David Rankin-Hunt, MBE, Norfolk Herald Extraordinary.

Patric Dickinson, LVO, Richmond Herald and Secretary of the Order of the Garter.

Philip Everett, Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park, hosted the reception at the Ranger’s Lodge.

Hubert Chesshyre, Clarenceux King of Arms.

Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, York Herald.

Heraldry of Beer discussed by David Smisek

On 25 October 2007 Dr. David Smisek gave an erudite as well as tasty talk on the heraldry of beer at the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society’s Portrait Gallery in New York. The event was sponsored by the College of Arms Foundation and the G&B’s Committee on Heraldry.

A synopsis of Dr. Smisek’s well-researched report can be read by clicking on the following link.

In short, heraldists came, heard and then sampled the beers described in the talk – that is, those beers that could be bought in New York. Some of the brews are less popular in this country than others, and some have bigger marketing and advertising budgets supporting them than others too. But there was a good enough mix for everyone to enjoy and experience the variety of flavors and textures. All in all a different way of appreciating heraldry and beer!

Dr. David Smisek

Jan Maas and Jeffrey Ryan

Sandy Sanford and Maria Dering pour samples of "heraldic" beer for attendees

Ryan Weaver sampling one of the "heraldic" beers

John Cupschalk (center) and Andrew Cusack (right)

Jan Maas with Paul Cardile

Sandy Sanford pours empties a bottle for Douglas Kiddie

Douglas Kiddie, Susan Nigro and David Smisek

The scene in the Portrait Gallery

Sandy Sanford and Maria Dering

John Shannon, President of the College of Arms Foundation, with Dr. David Smisek

Haiti Armorial author Clive Cheesman at
Launch Reception on 30 May 2007

Following upon its London launch at the College of Arms, Clive Cheesman, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant and author of The Armorial of Haiti: Symbols of Nobility in the Reign of Henry Christophe traveled to New York for an American launch of the book on 30 May at the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society sponsored by the College of Arms Foundation.

Before a large audience of heraldists and people with links to Haiti, John Shannon, the Foundation’s President, introduced Professor David Geggus of the University of Florida. Prof. Geggus is a leading authority on Caribbean and Haitian history and served as a consultant on the book. He gave a brief summary of the life and reign of Henry Christophe (1767-1820), a self-made monarch and one of the leading figures of Saint Domingue (now Haiti), then France's richest colony,

Prof. David Geggus and Clive Cheesman

As a professional herald, Clive Cheesman commented on the interesting features of the heraldry created by the King. It was technically excellent: clear, simple and uncluttered, in marked contrast to the heraldry of Europe at the time, which was notable for visual clutter. The use of heraldry in Haiti was also a projection to the world of the monarchical state and how it viewed itself. It was a monarchy inspired from European models, and the King created a court that resembled those of the Ancien Régime and Napoleon.

Although it was clearly heraldry, in fact it was different heraldry. Mr. Cheesman termed it “creolized” because the (unknown) heralds of Haiti adapted local or native elements, such as local fauna and wildlife.

Professor Geggus, a leading authority on the history of Haiti and the Caribbean region at the University of Florida, gave a synopsis of the reign of Haitian monarch. Henry Christophe (1767-1820) was born in either St. Kitts, Nevis, or Grenada; and was taken as a boy to Saint Domingue (now Haiti), then France's richest colony. He accompanied the French troops who fought at Savannah alongside the Americans in 1779 and acquired an interest in things military.

During the turmoil of Haiti's revolutionary period (1791-1804), Christophe was given increasing positions of authority and led troops in combat, resulting in the ultimate defeat of Napoleon's troops in late 1803. He ruled the Northern half of the country as President until 1811, when he was crowned King. He created orders of nobility based on place names inherited from the French, some of which caused the outside world to snicker (such as Limonade and Marmelade), but which were no more risible than that of the Duc de Poix in France.

Henry was an ardent Anglophile. He detested the French (against whom he had fought) and was suspicious of the Americans, who still owned slaves. He moved quickly to establish commercial ties with England for the coffee and other exports of the young country he governed. The British fleet called regularly at Cap Henry, the principal city. His China was made in the midlands, his carriage ordered from a London carriage maker, and his physician, Duncan Stewart, was a Scot.

Christophe corresponded extensively with both Wilberforce and Clarkson, and one suspects that his armorial reached England through those channels. Alternatively, the Haitian "agent" in London, a Mr. Sanders (who published a book in 1818 a book about Haiti called "Haytian Papers") could also have deposited the armorial with the English authorities.

He had a stroke in August of 1820 and paralyzed, took his life some weeks later. Haiti reverted to a Republican form of government.

The Foundation is grateful to John Carlson for his generous sponsorship of the reception.

Sandy Sanford and Steve Storen

Ellsworth G. Stanton III, MBE, and Kazie Harvey

Diana Sturgis and Ed Moritz

Teresa Barron and Fr. Richard Seagraves

Dwyer Wedvick and Paul Campbell

Clive Cheesman

Col. David Ramsay

Regis Schultis (Right) and guest

John Harvey and Hugh Williamson-Noble

Fran and Jim Raleigh

John Carlson

Peter and Christine Mosse with Prof. David Geggus

John Cupschalk, Gary Dycus and Augie Cosentino

Andrew Cusack

A Genealogist at the College of Arms

While on a visit to New York, the College of Arms Foundation was proud to feature Patric Dickinson, Richmond Herald, at a meeting of supporters and friends held on 20 March, 2007 at the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. He spoke about the genealogical work he had carried out at the College of Arms since arriving there nearly 40 years ago.

Defining genealogy as “the other side of the College,” the herald started with a slide showing everyone’s earliest ancestors, Adam and Eve, depicted at the top of a pedigree dating from about 1480 and tracing a line of descent down to King Edward IV. This involves a number of mythical ancestors through whom the Anglo-Saxon Kings were supposedly descended from biblical characters.

This was a precursor to the illuminated pedigrees produced by the heralds in Tudor times, which often set out fabulous descents from fictional ancestors. Early heralds were less scientific in their approach to genealogy. Nonetheless, from the early 16th century, they started entering large quantities of reliable family information in the records known as visitations. The officers of arms had a duty to verify that arms were lawfully borne in the kingdom, and in order to do this effectively it was necessary to record details of family history as well as coats of arms.

This was accomplished by periodic visits to different parts of England, during which the heads of local families were required to prove their right to arms. The heralds made notes of their visits, recording the particulars of families (in increasingly greater detail over the decades), which were then entered into the College’s registers. Mr. Dickinson showed slides of pedigree rolls dating from the 1520s and 1580s, a Partridge pedigree and coat of arms recorded in the 1569 Visitation of Gloucestershire, another from the 1634 Visitation in Buckinghamshire recording the arms and pedigree of a Montague family (one of whose members, Peter Montague, was noted as being in Virginia, his many American descendants including the Duchess of Windsor) and another from the 1686 Visitation of Hampshire.

The records were compiled to substantiate the use of arms in England and Wales. The end result was the creation of a massive amount of unique genealogical data on armorial families at the College of Arms. The material contained in the Visitations was to some extent supplemented by family details recorded in the certificates of heraldic funerals. Heraldic visitations ceased in the late 17th century, after which the registration of pedigrees became essentially a voluntary matter, although there was a period in the late 18th century when peers were required to enter their pedigrees in order to prove their succession to a title. In more recent times, the registration of a British descent has been the usual method of qualification for a grant of honorary arms to an American Citizen; Mr. Dickinson showed such a pedigree for a Chewning family and the coat of arms that resulted.

Pedigrees continue to be recorded in the College’s registers, often to establish a right to arms by descent but also to place on record the results of genealogical research carried out by the heralds irrespective of any heraldic entitlement.

As an example of the fine work of the College’s artists and scriveners, Mr. Dickinson showed a handsome pedigree produced in 1983 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Howard family holding the Dukedom of Norfolk, signed by all the officers of arms. This showed the sixteen great-great-grandparents of the then Earl Marshal, Miles, 17th Duke of Norfolk, along with their coats of arms. The possession of sixteen armigerous forebears in that generation (seize quartiers) was a traditional indication of nobility, although (as it happened) at the end of the 20th century England’s Premier Duke could demonstrate only treize quartiers.

Mr. Dickinson went on to retail some of the more colorful experiences he had had while carrying out genealogical research. Twenty years ago he spent a good deal of time compiling evidences to prove the succession of 12th Lord Byron so that he could take his seat in the House of Lords He had succeeded not his father but a cousin, who himself had succeeded another cousin. The relationship between the previous and the present Lords Byron was distant.

The prospective Lord Byron was not descended from the famous poet but from the poet’s grandparents, Admiral and Mrs. Byron. However, no proof could be found of their marriage, no register having been kept at the private chapel in which they were married. The poet had faced the same problem when he claimed his seat; but he gathered evidence of the marriage, supported by affidavits, which the House of Lords accepted. Those proofs were destroyed when the Houses of Parliament burnt down in the 1830s. Mr. Dickinson told his audience that, by good fortune, copies of those records had been kept among the files of the poet’s publisher, John Murray. The affidavits were by two old women, one of whom had witnessed the couple coming out of the chapel whilst the other had assisted in cooking the wedding dinner. The bride on that occasion became in later life a querulous old lady, and the audience was greatly entertained by Mr. Dickinson’s reading of extracts from her will, which were indeed very vivid and curious, reflecting her eccentric personality.

Mr. Dickinson said that with the growth of interest in family roots and the great increase in the number of professional genealogists the College received fewer requests to do genealogical research than 25 years ago. But he had been involved in quests on behalf of American clients – which have led to some unexpected, and possibly undesirable, results. One American’s lineage led back to an individual who died of a heart attack in 1858 at the age of 69. He was buried in consecrated ground; but the vicar wrote in the register (in Latin so that most people would be unable to understand it) that the deceased was a wicked man who had died while attempting to seduce a 14-year-old servant girl.

Another investigation led back to an itinerant worker who died in 1881, the cause of death being given on his death certificate as “wilful murder”. He was killed in a drunken brawl after leaving a pub in Sevenoaks, in Kent. The case was luridly reported in the local newspaper, and the victim unflatteringly described as having the appearance “of a low type of humanity”.

Mr. Dickinson interspersed a few tales of Hollywood genealogy. Richard Greene, an English actor who became a film star and played Robin Hood in a memorable 1950s television series, shared a grandchild with President Franklin Roosevelt. And investigations into Tyrone Power’s ancestry had revealed an interesting lateral connection with Evelyn Waugh.

Mr. Dickinson noted that pedigrees following the male lines yield fewer surprises than those tracing the female line: mother to mother to mother. He ended his talk with an example of one such descent, involving a Scottish family, some of whose 19th century members were noticeably dark-skinned, giving rise to the rumor that they had black blood deriving from a marriage with a Creole heiress in the West Indies. In fact, the source of the mixed blood turned out to be the East Indies: research carried out in 1981 traced the family’s ancestry back to a Scottish merchant in Bombay who had a daughter by an Armenian woman, apparently of mixed blood. The significance of the pedigree lay in the fact that the descent proceeded from mother to daughter right down to Diana Princess of Wales, mother of Princes William and Harry of Wales. An Armenian woman living in Bombay in the early 19th century is thus the earliest-known matrilineal ancestor of a future King of England.

A Q and A period followed, after which there was a brief reception.

Richmond Herald Patric Dickinson

Arundel Castle, Home of England's Earl Marshal

Arundel Castle, West Sussex, England

The College of Arms Foundation sponsored a presentation on Arundel Castle, in West Sussex, England, at the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society on 7 March, 2007. The speaker was Dr. John Martin Robinson, a well-known authority on old English buildings who has worked with the Historic Buildings Commission of London and the London Division of English Heritage. He is the heraldic advisor to the National Trust and Archivist to the Duke of Norfolk, in which capacity he was closely involved in the restoration of Carlton Towers and Arundel Castle. He wrote the official guidebook for both dwellings; as well as those for Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. A member of the Society of Antiquaries and vice chairman of the Georgian Group, he has published several books, notably (with Thomas Woodcock) The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. He is Maltravers Herald Extraordinary.

Dr. Robinson began his talk by noting that Arundel is one of the longest inhabited buildings in England and has been in the possession of the Howard family since 1138. Because it resembles it both in scale and style, it has been used as a substitute for Windsor Castle, most recently in the movie of “The Madness of King George III.” The castle is situated five miles from the Channel and 60 miles south west of London.

The building is essentially a combination of a Medieval/Norman fortress and a Victorian country house. Construction began on Christmas Day 1067 and followed the same plan as Windsor: a motte and bailey. The oldest part is the Gatehouse (1070). The Great Keep (1140) is built of Norman stone that was ferried across the Channel. The Outer Gatehouse (or Barbican) was added in the 13th century. The curtain walls date from around 1300.

The Castle was besieged in the English Civil War and badly damaged by the Parliamentarian, as were many other fortresses in England, so that they could never be used to resist the authority of Cromwell. By the 18th century, the Castle was little used. The Dukes of Norfolk of the time had other homes and only visited Arundel for two weeks in the year.

It was the 11th Duke who decided to make Arundel his principal residence and hired Francis Howell to build a tower, called Howell’s Tower, in the prevailing Gothic style. But Howell died and the Duke acted as his own architect thereafter. The result was to no one’s great liking and, by the mid 19th century, the Gothic was out of favor.

The 15th Duke, who came of age in 1855 and died in 1917, built Arundel Cathedral (impressive and still standing) and reconstructed the Castle, with the help of an architect, Charles Buckler, who was also Surrey Herald Extraordinary. Buckler, a scholar and antiquarian, was particularly interested in reflecting Howard family ancestry through heraldic displays throughout the building. Dr. Robinson showed a slide of the Castle’s main staircase, with carved lions bearing coats of arms; and of the Grand Saloon, with shields of numerous families from which the dukes descend. Arundel was very modern by Victorian standards, and had private bathrooms with running hot and cold water; and central heating.

As the 20th century advanced, houses as large as Arundel were increasingly difficult to maintain. They required lots of servants to operate, and servants were becoming scarce. During the Second World War, the Castle was requisitioned for use by troops, seldom a good thing; and then the post-war Labour government enacted a program of taxation which was squarely intended to eliminate huge estates and homes. As a result of this legislation, hundreds of country houses were sold and many were destroyed. The Howards were not as financially strained as many owners; but other legislation enacted by the government discouraged maintenance.

By the 1970s the Castle was in poor shape. The Duke of the time, Bernard, lived in a house on the estate. The house almost went to the National Trust. But things changed when Duke Miles succeeded in 1975. He wanted to restore it so his son, Edward, now the Duke, could live there one day. Duke Miles launched a decades-long effort, continued by his son, to repair, improve and manage the Castle and estate.

Some of Dr. Robinson’s most inspiring slides showed rooms before and after restoration. Many spaces in the Castle still in use were painted white; furniture was functional, out of scale or simply unattractive. In each instance, the results were remarkable. (It helped that the before photos were in black and white.)

Dr. Robinson also touched on the archives: thousands of ancient documents of all types have accumulated over the centuries. These are now being cataloged, translated, and made available to the public by a small staff of archivists and experts, led by himself, who work a couple of days a week.

Dr. Robinson left his audience breathless with his effortless yet thorough knowledge Castle history of the Norfolk family. It was a wonderfully illuminating talk on a fascinating topic.

A reception followed and several people who happened to have brought along one of Dr. Robinson’s books took the opportunity to ask him to sign them.

Missi Gibbs and Gary Dycus

Joe Henehan and Bill Younger

Owen Smith and colleague

David Smisek and John Harvey

Mary Lynne Bird, John Mauk Hilliard and Thomas Bird

John Martin Robinson

Teresa Barron, Ellsworth G. Stanton III, MBE, and Jean Savage

Visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City

A fortunate group of heraldists visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on 25 January 2007 and were given a very interesting tour that included much information about the building as well as the abundant ecclesiastical heraldry to be seen there by chief guide Ian Dowding.

This was the heraldry group’s first meeting in a place other than the Portrait Gallery of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. Because of the cathedral’s fame and very accessible location in Midtown Manhattan, over 20 people registered for the visit.

The cathedral, on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York. It was designed by James Renwick in the Gothic revival style. Construction began in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War, commencing again in 1865. The building was completed in 1878 and dedicated on 25 May 1879.

The Archbishop's house and rectory were added from 1882 to 1884. The Towers on the West Facade were added in 1888, and an addition on the east, including a Lady Chapel, designed by Charles T. Mathews, began in 1901. The cathedral was renovated between 1927 and 1931, when the great organ was installed, and the sanctuary was enlarged.

The eight deceased archbishops of New York, six of them Cardinals, are buried in a crypt under the former high altar. After giving the group an overview of the cathedral’s history in the sanctuary, Mr. Dowding led the group into the crypt underneath it where all could see the plaques bearing the names, dates and arms of the prelates.

Also buried in the crypt are Pierre Toussaint, Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Archbishop John Maguire. (Neither of these was archbishop of New York but had archiepiscopal rank.) Also buried in the crypt is Msgr. Michael J. Lavelle, rector of the cathedral in the 1930s.

Four cardinals' honorary hats, called galeros, hang from the ceiling high above the back of the sanctuary. These red hats adorned with 30 red tassels were customarily given by the pope to a new cardinal; but were never actually worn. The custom ceased with Paul VI, and Cardinal Spellman, archbishop from 1939 to 1967, was the last to receive a galero; his was worn by Pope Pius XII when he was a cardinal. However, galeros are alive and well in church heraldry and denote that the arms they surmount are those of a cardinal.

Mr. Dowding explained the history of the use of arms by the Church and its officials. Ecclesiastic heraldry is concerned with displaying the rank – cardinal, archbishop, bishop, abbot, etc. – of a cleric rather than in controlling the design of the shield. In almost ever case case, the diocesan leaders of New York assumed arms since they had none and chose designs that reflected their careers and histories. Almost always (six out of eight), Archbishops of New York are made a cardinal by the Pope. Thus their arms feature the episcopal mitre and (now outdated) crozier, surmounted by a galero.

Archbishops impale their personal arms with those of the archdiocese. This design is inspired by the arms of the City of New York, originally New Amsterdam. The shield is Argent a Mill-Sail on Cross of St. Patrick between four Crosses Gules.

The arms of the current Archbishop, Edward Cardinal Egan, can be seen on the cathedra. The arms of his seven predecessors are displayed in the floor (Cardinal McCloskey, Cardinal Farley, Cardinal Hayes, Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop Hughes); or adorning prominent focal points such as doors (Cardinal Spellman, Cardinal Farley again). Cardinal Spellman’s arms are the most repeated.

In addition, Mr. Dowding pointed out the arms of two popes, Leo XIII (reigned 1879-1903) and Pius XII (reigned 1939-1958).

The tour was as informative as it was enjoyable thanks to the knowledge and courtesy of Mr. Dowding.

Left: Arms of Cardinal Spellman impaled with those of the Archdiocese of New York. Right: Arms of Cardinal McCloskey

Left: List of the Archbishops of New York. Right: Arms of Cardinal O'Connor

Left: Arms of Cardinal McCloskey. Right: Arms of Archbishop Corrigan

Left: Arms of Archbishop Hughes. Right: Arms of Cardinal Farley

Left: Arms of Cardinal Cooke. Right: Arms of Cardinal Egan

Heraldists gathered in the sanctuary before departing. Ian Dowding, our guide, is second from the right


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