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Site to verify Coat of Arms?

Replies: 7

Re: Site to verify Coat of Arms?

Posted: 1403443675000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1403447429000
Dear Geoff, greetings;
It is a delight to communicate with a member who takes these matters seriously.
Your post seems to have gone astray, somehow it ended up with a non-Ancestry cousin of my wife and has been relayed to her by him. Bizarre, but as we know Ancestry has been experiencing some problems. Such an inappropriate e-mail direction is, one earnestly hopes, an accident.

For the edification of those reading the thread I include your lost post below, with it's useful comments, editing out your full name in case that was not intended for 'net publication.

Verification. The concept of confirmation or verification is sometimes a laughably diffuse one in colloquial English, however in Heraldic terms it implies that the right to bear Arms is known, agreed and documented by the appropriate body, therefore confirmation of Arms by the College of Arms (CofA) is a tautology in England. An armigerous person who has confirmed his or her Arms will have an "agent" at the CofA who dealt with their claim. If the armigerous person is unknown to the CofA yet is entitled to Arms by reason of male line descent then they may wish to make themselves known to the CofA in order to present a pedigree and have their Arms confirmed. The authority is here, and elsewhere on the CofA's website:

Your second point is quite right of course, persons rather than men, much better.

And indeed the third point, my geography is at fault, although the point remains that there are proper awarding and governing bodies throughout the domains of her Majesty, and that Arms are granted ultimately by her through the Earl Marshall of England (for instance). Obviously non-subjects of the Crown are subject to complex rules which govern their right to Arms which are distributed from the Crown.

Regarding the Scottish position, it is true that Dr Morrow is technically independent of the CofA, but is closely associated. The Scottish Crown refers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of course, so in fact he distributes the same "presents" as the CofA. although using a somewhat varied system.

I hope this assists understanding.

In response to the mail reproduced below:
Hi there.
My name is [Geoff] and I’m a frequent replier to queries posted on the subject message board. I have been associated with heraldry for over 60 years, mainly in the heraldry of the British Isles, but definitely not confined to that area alone. I am personally armigerous and have had heraldic designs accepted for grants at the College of Arms as well as several registrations in overseas heraldic jurisdictions.

Your comment << There is only one body which can grant or confirm arms in the UK, allowing for the fact that the Lyon King of Arms (for Scotland, now Dr. Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon) is himself an officer of the College of Arms. All others that claim to be able to verify or grant UK arms are mistaken. Identification of arms however is a wholly different matter, and is a very interesting and complex field open to anyone. >> has me mystified. What is the authority for this statement?

Your statement of << What you will be buying are arms granted to a specific man on a specific date …>>
I think that this statement should be revised as it is not only men that have arms granted to them; perhaps replace with the words ‘a specific person’?
<<… which can only be inherited in accordance with the heraldic laws of Great Britain, with reference to the terms of the original grant. >>
As far as I’m aware, there is no such thing as the ‘heraldic laws of Great Britain'. Great Britain and the United Kingdom are two entirely separate phrases that have differing explanations. Great Britain does not include any part of the island of Ireland whereas the term United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland. The British Isles is an inclusive term that includes England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland and all the ancillary islands that are part of that geographical group of land masses. If we are going to talk about the heraldic laws of Great Britain we have to include the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, making a total of three heraldic jurisdictions in Great Britain, two in the UK, and one in Ireland collectively. I think that you should be a little more precise when using these terms.
The statement << There is only one body which can grant or confirm arms in the UK …>> is incorrect. There are two separate heraldic authorities within the United Kingdom – the Office and Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland, and the College of Arms for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, each with a defined area of heraldic jurisdiction. There are entirely different statutes that apply to the two heraldic jurisdictions in the UK – Scottish, and the remainder of the UK. Scotland is still part of the UK, isn’t it? The Lord Lyon is a salaried public servant of the Scottish Crown, whereas the officers of the College of Arms are not public servants at all. If one is on the staff of the College of Arms, one is subject to the rulings of the Earl Marshal of England. As far as I’m aware, the Lord Lyon is definitely not subject to the authority of the Earl Marshal and is definitely not a member of the College of Arms. I think that your post needs to be revised.

I look forward to your reply.


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