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


College of Arms celebrates successful Garter Day

The mood was euphoric at the College of Arms’ reception in Windsor Great Park on 16 June following a successful procession and installation service the Most Noble Order of the Garter. This year three new Knights were installed at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor: HRH Prince William of Wales (who became the 1000th Knight of the Garter), Lord Luce and Sir Thomas Dunne.

The annual parade of Knight and Lady Companions, including the Royal Companions, all attired in dark blue cloaks and plumed hats, from Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel, is one of the great state English pageants. In addition to the Officers of Arms, the Governor and the Military Knights of Windsor, a detachment of The Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard, trumpet players, military bands, soldiers, and assorted officials in uniforms, create a grand ceremonial that one feels privileged to observe. The Chapel service itself involves the full participation of the clergy, choir and attendants.

A holiday feeling is created by the fine weather and large number of spectators of all ages lining the route, some in folding seats and many with cameras, from the State Entrance of the Castle to the door of the Chapel.

It is a quintessentially English formal daytime event with many wearing decorations. Everyone who has one is in uniform. Gentlemen in the Chapel seats mostly wear morning coats; and every lady wears a hat.

Organizing an army of participants and adhering to a precise timeline is difficult enough in normal years but this year there was the added media interest due to Prince William’s installation. More people than usual were watching the proceedings, many for the first time, and a mistake or accident would reverberate widely. Fortunately, and as always, the day unfolded flawlessly.

English state pageants – such as state openings of Parliament, state funerals, and the Garter service – are renowned for their high standards. It is less well known that they are organized and managed by the College of Arms. It is also significant that two of the Officers of Arms have specific duties within the Order itself: Garter King of Arms (Genealogist) and Richmond Herald (Secretary).

After the service, the procession files out of the Chapel but instead of walking up the hill to the Castle, the Companions of the Order, with their spouses, drive off in carriages or cars waiting for them at the entrance. It takes an hour or more for the military personnel, security forces, police, and spectators to break up.

Traditionally many of those who live within the Castle walls – like the Military Knights of Windsor, and indeed The Queen – host parties to celebrate the occasion. The College itself has one at the Ranger’s Lodge in the Great Park, where approximately 100 guests and friends enjoy the fine weather, the manicured lawns and the refreshing drinks. The heralds wear scarlet court uniforms, with varying degrees of gold braid to denote rank – King or Arms, Herald, Pursuivant or Extraordinary. It is a much anticipated opportunity for College aficionados – including the officers and board members of the College of Arms Foundation – to see and talk to all the “ordinary” and “extraordinary” heralds in one place at the same time. This is always a great day, with English monarchy, history and tradition on display in a way no other country can match.

Edward Moritz, Glenys Masters, Stanley D. Heisler and Kazie Harvey

Jeremy Goldsmith, Gillian Barlow and William Hall

John Martin Robinson, Maltravers Herald Extraordinary

Alastair Bruce of Crionaich, Fitzalan Pursuivant, and Jean Savage

Thomas Woodcock, Norroy & Ulster King of Arms

Hubert Chesshyre, Clarenceux King of Arms, and David Rankin-Hunt, Norfolk Herald

Ambrogio Caiani, Jinny Birkbeck and Michael Siddons, Wales Herald

Peter Gwynne-Jones, Garter Principal King of Arms

Alan Dickins, Arundel Herald Extraordinary

Robert Noel, Lancaster Herald

Clive Cheesman, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant; Jeremy Goldsmith; William Hall; and Peter O’Donoghue, Bluemantle Pursuivant

Henry Bedingfeld, York Herald, and Crispin Culbertson

Institute of Heraldry's Charles Mugno Speaks to Foundation on 25 June 2008

The Coat of Arms of the Institute of Heraldry

Charles V. Mugno, Director of the Institute of Heraldry, based in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, gave a highly informative presentation at a well-attended meeting of the College of Arms Foundation held on Wednesday 25 June 2008 at the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society in New York.

Director Mugno divided his talk into three sections, covering History, Organization and Heraldic Services.


Heraldry originated in Europe in the 12th century and quickly gained widespread acceptance throughout the Continent and even in America. But although it was utilized by the US military after the Revolution, he said that its origin in European custom discouraged widespread use. “Heraldry was associated with royalty – the spirit of democracy that dominated this period of our history rejected such symbols,” he stated.

In 1919 the War Department General Staff created a heraldic program office to take responsibility for the coordination and approval of coats of arms and other insignia for Army organizations. The following year the Army officially adopted heraldic shields to foster Army tradition and esprit de corps. In 1924 heraldic responsibility was transferred to the Quartermaster General.

In 1949 the Munitions Board, acting for the Army, Navy and Air Force, directed the Army to provide heraldic services to all military departments. This was followed in 1957 with Public law 85-263 that directed the Secretary of the Army to furnish heraldic services to the military departments and other branches of the federal government. The Institute of Heraldry was formally established in 1960. It is the only organization within the government devoted to the science and art of official symbolism and military heraldry.

The alignment of the Institute was moved to the Army Adjutant General in 1962 from the Quartermaster General. More recently, in 2004, functional responsibility of the Institute was transferred to the office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army.

The Institute’s mission is “Through the application of creative design, quality control, and historical archiving to provide the highest quality heraldic products and services in support of the US Government.”


Effectively utilizing PowerPoint slides, the Director displayed a slide showing the different stages that a project goes through at the Institute. A project is initiated by a request for a design (shield, medal, or emblem). First it goes to the Heraldic Services & Support Division; then through the Heraldic Design Division; and finally the Technical & Production Division.

Another slide enumerated the core competencies of the Institute. These are: Expertise in heraldic knowledge and design; quality assurance and standardization; management of historical artifacts and documents; historical research and archiving; policy guidance and approval; and information services. For each of these headings the Director showed slides and gave details.

The Institute’s website ( receives an average of 140,000 visits a month, or an average of 4,500 a day, with an average duration of 11 minutes.

Heraldic Services

Who are the Institute’s customers? They are the Office of the President, the Department of Defense and federal agencies. (The latter are not obligated to use the Institute to create a coat of arms.) In addition to creating designs, the Institute also produces the actual pieces when requested. These include the presidential, vice presidential and diplomatic seals often seen on podiums at public occasions or press conferences.

The Institute also produces agency seals as new agencies are created. Recent examples include the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, the Multi-National Corps of Iraq and the Multi-National Force of Iraq. The latter two utilize Iraqi symbols such a scimitars and winged lions.

Illustrations above show, from left to right: Coat of arms of the USS New York; Seal of the President of the United States; insignia of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; and the USAF Combat Action medal (obverse and reverse)

The Institute produces coats of arms, organizational flags, shoulder sleeve insignia and distinctive unit insignia for the Army. Coats of arms are meant to be a “pictorial representation of historical events expressed in appropriate symbols and colors, based on the official military history of the organization.” A complete coat of arms consists of the shield, crest and motto (optional). Organizational flags consist of “a branch color background with an embroidered American eagle centered. Its beak grasps a white scroll inscribed with the unit designation. The shield is shown on the eagle’s breast and the crest above its head.

Shoulder sleeve insignia are embroidered, shield-shaped patches worn on the uniform. The insignia depicted is used to provide a highly visible identifying symbol of unit assignment. Finally, distinctive unit insignia are metal (or metal and enamel) devices indicating unit assignment worn on the uniform. The design elements should symbolize the unit’s history or, if it has no combat history, designs that reflect the mission of the organization and/or location if the unit is Army Reserve or Army National Guard. Mr. Mugno showed numerous examples of recent designs under all four headings produced for the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard; as well as badges.

Another endeavor of the Institute is medal design and development. The Institute designs all service medals and on occasion redesigns old original pieces. Again, Mr. Mugno showed several examples of designs and how the evolved from beginning to completion, such as the USAF Distinguished Public Service Medal, the USAF Combat Medal and the Department of Defense Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal. Another was a series of medals for the Directorate of National Intelligence: Intelligence Cross, Intelligence Star, Superior Service Medal and Reform Medal.

A question and answer period followed the thorough presentation, after which the attendees had an opportunity to speak to the Director.

Carol Stokes with Clare and Charles Mugno

A reception followed the excellent presentation by Charles Mugno

Owen Smith, Charles Mugno and Fr. Lankford

Charles Mugno with John Shannon, President, College of Arms Foundation

Ryan Weaver and Gary Dycus

Lauren Silberman and David Smisek

Joe Winslow and Canon Mauriello

Jorge Rivera and John Cupschalk

Hugh Williamson-Noble and Bill Younger

Curtis Estes and Steve Storen

Seal of the President of the United States brought by Charles Mugno to display

Heraldry Tour of Rockefeller Center on 15 May 2008

The College of Arms Foundation in conjunction with the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society’s Committee on Heraldry sponsored a guided tour to see the heraldry in New York’s Rockefeller Center complex led by Committee member Maria Dering on 15 May 2008. This was the first outdoor activity organized by the two groups and everyone wondered how much heraldry they would see. The answer was either more or less than expected, depending on one’s interpretation of heraldry.

But first Maria explained a little about the history and development of Rockefeller Center. The complex was constructed by the Rockefeller family in the depths of the Depression. It was the largest real estate development ever undertaken in America, covering 22 acres with 19 buildings. The land was originally leased from Columbia University, which sold it to the developer decades later. In 1987 the entire complex was declared a national landmark.

When construction began in 1930 the art deco style was all the rage. The new buildings ultimately became emblematic of the genre. Artists (who included Isamu Noguchi, Jose Sert and Attilio Piccirili, among others) and craftsmen employed by the builder either endeavored or were required to conform to the new style. One feature that is common to the entire complex – with one exception – is a notably muted (“muddy”) palette of colors. Another is that all representational shapes and forms are stylized to seem “art deco”. There is no mistaking the period of the buildings or their decorative elements.

In actual fact, there is little classical heraldry on view. The most obvious example is the handsome rendering of the British royal arms over the door of the British Empire building on Fifth Avenue at 51st Street. This was created by Lee Lawrie, a German-born sculptor who also created the famous statue of Atlas across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Lawrie (1877–1963) did more work than any other artist at Rockefeller Center, including the nine allegorical figures (under the royal arms) of the industries of the British Empire. Around the corner, over another entrance, is a composition showing the three lions of England, by the noted German-born sculptor, Lee Lawrie, but they are not on a shield. The same artist also executed another doorway composition of three fleur-de-lys, for France, also placed on a shield.

In addition to the British Empire, other buildings in the complex were to be named for European countries: Maison Française, Palazzo d’Italia, Holland House, Deutches Haus, ultimately named International House North. Over one of the entrances Maria pointed out a design of 14 coats of arms – all of which are imaginary and many of which utilize non-armorial colors.

If there is little actual heraldry, Maria noted that there is a lot of symbolism in Rockefeller Center. National symbols, or symbols for activities and art. In a sense, these are akin to heraldry too. The artists sought to express things in three-dimensional form – labor, industry, drama, agriculture, comedy. Heraldry proclaims identity by visual means; the artists working at Rockefeller Center also sought to proclaim human endeavor and national identities through the display of symbols.

Some of those who joined for the heraldic tour of Rockefeller Center in New York on 15 May 2008.. Maria dering, our guide, is at right.

30 Rockefeller Center

Imaginary coats of arms over an entrance to the International Building

The three leopards (lions) of England

The royal arms of Great Britain

A plaque bearing the arms of Lord Southborough

The three fleur de lys of France

Another shot of the group on Fifth Avenue

Heraldry in Manhattan: Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue By Paul Campbell, 4 February 2008

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of The Armiger's News, the quarterly journal of the American College of Heraldry which has granted permission for its posting here. The College can be visited here:

Amidst the hustle and bustle in Manhattan on 4 February 2008 as commuters on their way home surrendered the streets to club hoppers, evening shoppers and restaurant goers, Reverend Canon John G.B. Andrew OBE DD provided a tour of Saint Thomas Church of 5th Ave (Episcopalian) sponsored by The College of Arms Foundation, Inc. and The Committee on Heraldry of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.

Saint Thomas has a long history in New York City, being established in 1823. The current building, located at 53rd St. and 5th Ave, is the fourth edifice in its history, the first having been located at Broadway and Houston. A building in French Gothic style amidst the worldly edifices of Elizabeth Arden, Rolex, Cartier, Gucci, and the Gap, St Thomas sits gracefully perhaps out of place with only the nearby Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and the University Club as ornately worthy neighbors.

It would be impossible to find someone more qualified to speak on heraldry at Saint Thomas than Canon Andrew. He was Rector of Saint Thomas from 1972 until his retirement in 1996. Currently, he serves as Rector Emeritus. Previously, he had served in the Royal Air Force, attended Oxford then Keble, ministered in Yorkshire, served as curate at a small New Jersey parish then as Domestic Chaplain and later Senior Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury residing at Lambeth Palace in London.

While collecting background information for this article, Canon Andrew kindly hosted me at his apartment, the heraldic decoration of which deserves special mention. As a young priest, he was encouraged by a Mrs. Mary Riker to start a collection because, he was told, for a man to be worth his salt needed to collect something. He settled on 18th and 19th Century Chinese armorial export porcelain decorated with European heraldry. A wall of his apartment is dedicated to its display, said display being of the quality one would find in a very nice shop. Additionally, things heraldic are expressed through his well-appointed library, wall displays, furnishings, and decorations.

Canon Andrew first became interested in heraldry as a result of his porcelain collection. His own arms are granted through the College of Arms. Their blazon is: or, a St. Andrew’s cross gules charged with two quilled pens argent; two red roses seeded proper and two white roses seeded proper. As crest he has a priest’s hat sable upon an open book proper edged or. Additionally, he has designed arms for well over a dozen individuals whose grants are also through the College of Arms.

It would be appropriate to discuss the arms of St. Thomas. When Canon Andrew arrived, he found the arms in use as inadequate and petitioned the Sir Anthony Wagner, then Garter Principal King of Arms, for a new grant. The new arms are blazoned: or, a cross formy throughout azure charged with a spear palewise; four Gospel books gules. The crest is or, a crown celestial with five trumpets argent edged or, issuant. As supporters, two boy choristers vested proper.

Canon Andrew’s accomplishments have been heraldically recognized. He was the first parish priest to have been allowed by the College of Arms to have his arms impaled with those of his parish, an honor normally reserved for prelates.

The tour began with introductory remarks. If anything, they were a set-up to be let down. Overall, Canon Andrew describes Episcopalian heraldry as “lousy.” When Episcopalian dioceses were being laid out in America, local bishops drew up whatever they felt looked good, which may or may not reflect good heraldic design. Often not. Americans didn’t want anything to with Royal authority which included guidance from the College of Arms. The results were “calamitous.”

The heraldry adorning St Thomas runs the gamut from large and colorful to small and almost hidden. Besides, the framed document from the College of Arms granting its new heraldic achievement, coats of arms appear on tapestry, in mosaics, as wall paintings, and as carefully carved woodwork. Many of the small woodwork arms which adorn the wood working are those of important bishops. Some are unidentifiable, origin actually unknown. Most understandably have religious imagery.

Parishioners at St Thomas have a wonderful heraldic display to gaze upon as they look at the High Altar. Directly below the Great Reredos sculptures is an 18-feet wide tapestry with ten individual shields, one of which is a shield for the church’s choir school designed by John Brooke-Little. Also included are coats of arms of the St. Thomas (past and present), the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Diocese of New York, and the Episcopal Church of the United States, among others.

The church has two interesting war memorials which display the national heraldry of the victorious powers. The magnificent World War One Memorial was created by Lee Lawrie (1877-1963) who had sculpted the Great Reredos behind the church’s High Altar. The memorial is located in the southeast corner of the nave and consists of the Archangel Michael driving his lance into the dragon to represent Satan or war. Names are cut in the stone wall of parishioners who served in the war. The colored shields on the doors directly below it are those of the Allied Nations. One interesting inclusion that would not have been seen in its homeland is the Rising Sun of Imperial Japan, and ally then, displayed on a heater shield.

The World War Two Memorial is on the floor of the narthex and includes displays of inlaid marble mosaic shields of the Allies. Unfortunately, they are worn to various degrees from decades of foot traffic but remain largely recognizable. One shield shows the gold hammer and sickle on a red shield of the former Soviet Union, an ally at the time otherwise an odd choice for display in a church.

By the time the tour was completed after about an hour, evening had completely descended and all agreed that a wonderful time had been had. After a short walk through the damp, evening air, about a dozen of the tour goers had an informal, follow-on dinner at Le Veau D’Or in honor of Canon Andrew which allowed for further conversation and heraldic fellowship.

Arms of the Diocese of New York on the chancel floor

Arms of the United States on the chancel floor

Arms of the State of New York on the chancel floor

Arms of St Thomas Church

Arms of the United Kingdom on the chancel floor

Shield of the Soviet Union on the chancel floor

David Smisek and Hugh Hart

Shield of the United States on the chancel floor

St Thomas Church's devisal of arms from the College of Arms in London

Dossal depicting ten coats of arms relating to the Episcopal Church and the donor

Coats of arms of nations that fought in World War I

Heraldists at dinner after the tour of the church

Canon John Andrew, Manhattan Pursuivant, at dinner


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