Heralds' College

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Heralds' College,

body first chartered in 1483 by Richard III of England. It has been reorganized several times. Its purpose is to assign new coats of arms and to trace lineages to determine heraldic rights and privileges (see heraldryheraldry,
system in which inherited symbols, or devices, called charges are displayed on a shield, or escutcheon, for the purpose of identifying individuals or families.
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). It has collected and combined the rule of blazonryblazonry
, science of describing or depicting armorial bearings. The introduction, since the Middle Ages, of artificial rules and fanciful medieval terms has complicated the science, particularly in England.
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 into a system. The college consists of the Garter king of arms (principal king of arms of both England and the Order of the Garter), the kings of arms of Norroy and Ulster and of Clarenceux, and several heralds and pursuivants (attendants). It is supervised by the earl marshal of England. In Scotland, heraldic matters are regulated by Lord Lyon; in Northern Ireland, the jurisdiction of the Ulster king of arms passed in 1943 to the king of arms of Norroy. The kings of arms and heralds also proclaim a new king's accession and attend at state occasions such as the opening of Parliament and the introduction of new peers into the House of Lords.


See R. Milton, The English Ceremonial Book (1972).

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