Garter Principal King of Arms

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Garter Principal King of Arms
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The arms of office of the Garter Principal King of Arms
 
Heraldic tradition Gallo-British
Jurisdiction England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Governing body College of Arms

The Garter Principal King of Arms (also Garter King of Arms or simply Garter) is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms, the heraldic authority with jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The position has existed since 1415.

The current Garter Principal King of Arms is Thomas Woodcock, CVO.

Role[edit]

Garter is responsible to the Earl Marshal for the running of the College. He is the principal adviser to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom with respect to ceremonial and heraldry, with specific responsibility for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and, with the exception of Canada, for Commonwealth realms of which The Queen is Sovereign. He also serves as the King of Arms of the Order of the Garter and his seal and signature appear on all grants of arms made by the College.

An illuminated manuscript from around 1430 showing William Bruges, the first Garter King of Arms, kneeling before St George.

History[edit]

The office takes its name from the Order of the Garter and was founded by Henry V of England in 1415, before sailing to France, for his 1415 campaign, culminating in the Battle of Agincourt.[1] The Garter Principal King of Arms was placed by King Henry V over all the whole body of heralds.[2]

He may be said to have two distinct capacities united in his person, one relative to the order of the Garter, the other as head of the College of Arms, and on this account he not only takes an oath in a chapter of the Garter, before the Sovereign and Knights, but as king at arms another oath before the Earl Marshal, and therefore he is stiled both principal officer of arms of the most noble order of the Garter and principal king of English arms.[2]

He has power to appoint a herald for his deputy: he must be a native of England and a gentleman bearing arms.[2] It was anciently held that he was to be neither a knight nor a clergyman; but there has been one instance of a Garter having been a foreigner; and since the reign of Henry VII many of them have received knighthood: one was created a knight of the Bath.[2] The office entitles him to the privilege of correcting errors or usurpations in all armorial bearings, to grant arms to such who deserve them, to present to the House of Lords a genealogy of every new peer, to assign his place in the chamber of parliament and to give him and the knights of the Bath supporters.[2]

Coat of arms[edit]

The official arms of the Garter Principal King of Arms were in use by circa 1520. They Argent a Cross Gules on a Chief Azure a crown enclosed in a Garter between a lion passant guardant and a fleur de lis all Or.[1]

Holders of the office[edit]

Number Name Date of Patent Date of appointment Date left office Birth Death Notes Ref
1 William Bruges - c. 30 June 1415 9 March 1450 c. 1375 9 March 1450 [3]
2 John Smert 3 April 1450 28 March 1450 1478 ? 1478 [4]
3 John Wrythe 6 July 1478 - 1504 ? 1504 He resigned on 4 January 1485 but resumed his office at the accession of Henry VII, which was confirmed by a patent of 13 February 1486. [5]
4 Sir Thomas Wrythe alias Wriothesley Kt 26 January 1505 - 15 November 1534 ? 15 November 1534 Son of the above. [6]
5 Thomas Wall 9 December 1534 - 27 June 1536 ? 27 June 1536 [7]
6 Sir Christopher Barker KB 15 July 1536 9 July 1536 2 January 1550 ? 2 January 1550 [8]
7 Sir Gilbert Dethick Kt 29 April 1550 20 April 1550 3 October 1584 c. 1500 3 October 1584 [9]
Vacancy between 1584-1586[10]
8 Sir William Dethick Kt 21 April 1586 - 10 December 1606 c. 1542 1612 Son of the above. [11]
9 Sir William Segar Kt 17 January 1607 - 13 December 1633 ? 13 December 1633 [12]
10 Sir John Borough Kt 27 December 1633 - 21 October 1643 ? 21 October 1643 [13]
11 Sir Henry St George DMed (Oxon) 6 April 1644 1643 5 November 1644 27 January 1581 5 November 1644 [14]
12 Sir Edward Walker Kt 26 February 1645 - 10 February 1677 24 January 1611 10 February 1677 Sir Edward Bysshe intruded in the office c. 1643 but was ejected in 1660. [15]
12A Sir Edward Bysshe Kt - c. 1643 1660 1615 15 December 1679 Confirmed by Parliament in 1646; deposed 1660. [16]
13 Sir William Dugdale Kt MA (Oxon) 26 April 1677 - 10 February 1686 12 September 1605 10 February 1686 [17]
14 Sir Thomas St George Kt 11 March 1686 - 6 March 1703 1615 6 March 1703 Son of Henry St George (above) [18]
15 Sir Henry St George Kt 16 June 1703 Easter 1703 (salary) 1715 July 1625 1715 Brother of the above. [19]
16 John Anstis 2 April 1714 (reversionary) - 1669 1744 The patent of 1714 was a reversionary one. Owing to the patent, he claimed Garter after St George's death, although John Vanbrugh was nominated instead and Anstis was then in prison as a suspected Jacobite. In 1718, he was confirmed as Garter and took his oath the next year. His son, also called John, was jointly Garter with him from 1727. [20]
17 John Anstis LLD (Oxon) FSA 9 June 1727 (with father) - 1708 5 December 1754 Son of the above. He was jointly Garter with his father until 4 March 1744, from which date he was sole Garter. [21]
18 Stephen Martin Leake FRS FSA 19 December 1754 - 24 March 1773 5 April 1702 24 March 1773 [22]
19 Sir Charles Townley Kt 27 April 1773 - 7 June 1774 7 May 1713 7 June 1774 [23]
20 Thomas Browne 15 August 1774 - 13 March 1702 22 February 1780 [24]
21 Ralph Bigland 2 March 1780 26 February 1780 27 March 1784 1711 27 March 1784 [25]
22 Sir Isaac Heard Kt 1 May 1784 9 April 1784 (Earl Marshal's warrant) 19 April 1822 10 December 1730 29 April 1822 [26]
23 Sir George Nayler KH FSA 11 May 1822 - 28 October 1831 c. 1764 28 October 1831 [27]
24 Sir Ralph Bigland 26 November 1831 9 November 1831 (Earl Marshal's warrant) 14 July 1838 1 May 1757 14 July 1838 Nephew of Ralph Bigland, Garter (above). [28]
25 Sir William Woods KH FSA 23 July 1838 - 25 July 1842 17 August 1785 25 July 1842 [29]
26 Sir Charles George Young Kt FSA 6 August 1842 - 31 August 1869 6 April 1795 31 August 1869 [30]
27 Sir Albert William Woods GCVO KCB KCMG Kt KGStJ FSA 2 November 1869 - 7 January 1904 16 April 1816 7 January 1904 Illegitimate son of William Woods, Garter (above). [31]
28 Sir Alfred Scott Scott-Gatty KCVO Kt KJStJ FSA 8 January 1904 - 18 December 1918 28 April 1847 18 December 1918 [32]
29 Sir Henry Farnham Burke KCVO CB FSA 22 January 1919 - 21 August 1930 12 June 1859 21 August 1930 [33]
30 Sir Gerald Woods Wollaston KCB KCVO Kt KJStJ FSA MA (Camb) LLM (Camb) 27 September 1930 - 2 June 1944 (retired) 2 June 1874 4 March 1957 Sir Albert William Woods, Garter, was his maternal grandfather. [34]
31 Sir Algar Henry Stafford Howard KCB KCVO MC TD 2 June 1944 - 6 December 1950 (resigned) 7 August 1880 14 February 1970 [35][36]
32 The Hon. Sir George Rothe Bellew KCB KCVO Kt KStJ FSA 6 December 1950 - 5 July 1961 13 December 1899 6 February 1993 [37][38]
33 Sir Anthony Richard Wagner KCB KCVO Kt KStJ FSA FRHistSoc MA (Oxon) DLitt (Oxon) 6 July 1961 - 1978 (retired) 6 September 1908 5 May 1995 [39][40]
34 Sir Alexander Colin Cole KCB KCVO OStJ TD 2 October 1978 - 1992 (retired) 16 May 1922 18 February 2001 [41][42]
35 Sir Conrad Marshall John Fisher Swan KCVO KStJ FSA FZS BA (UWO) MA (UWO) PhD (Camb) 5 October 1992 - 1995 (retired) 13 May 1924 Living [43][44][45]
36 Sir Peter Llewellyn Gwynn-Jones KCVO KStJ FSA MA (Camb) 5 October 1995 - 2010 (retired) 12 March 1940 21 August 2010 [46][47][48]
37 Thomas Woodcock CVO DL FSA BA (Durham) LLB (Camb) 1 April 2010 - Incumbent 20 May 1951 Living [49][50]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Walter H Godfrey and Anthony Wagner, Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street (London: Guild & School of Handicraft, 1963)

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Kings of Arms" (PDF). College of Arms. n.d. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Noble (1804), p. 59
  3. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 40
  4. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 40-41
  5. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 41-43
  6. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 43-45
  7. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 45
  8. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 46
  9. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 46-47
  10. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 47
  11. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 47-48
  12. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 48-49
  13. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 49-50
  14. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 50-51
  15. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 51-52, 53
  16. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 53
  17. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 54-55
  18. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 55
  19. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 55-56
  20. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 56-57
  21. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 57-58
  22. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 58-59
  23. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 59-60
  24. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 60
  25. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 61
  26. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 61-62
  27. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 63-65
  28. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 65
  29. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 66
  30. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 67-68
  31. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 68-69
  32. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 69-70
  33. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 70-71
  34. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 71-72 (p. 69 for Woods connection)
  35. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 72-73
  36. ^ "Howard, Sir Algar (Henry Stafford)", Who Was Who [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  37. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, p. 73
  38. ^ "Bellew, Hon. Sir George (Rothe)", Who Was Who [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  39. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 73-74
  40. ^ London Gazette, 5 October 1978 (issue number 47657), p. 11838 ; "Wagner, Sir Anthony (Richard)", Who Was Who [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  41. ^ London Gazette, 5 October 1978 (issue number 47657), p. 11838
  42. ^ London Gazette, 8 October 1992 (issue number 53071), p. 16835 ; "Cole, Sir (Alexander) Colin", Who Was Who [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  43. ^ London Gazette, 8 October 1992 (issue number 53071), p. 16835
  44. ^ London Gazette, 11 October 1995 (issue number 54181), p. 13693
  45. ^ "Swan, Sir Conrad (Marshall John Fisher)", Who's Who, 2015 [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  46. ^ London Gazette, 11 October 1995 (issue number 54181), p. 13693
  47. ^ London Gazette, 1 April 2010 (issue number 59385)
  48. ^ "Gwynn-Jones, Sir Peter (Llywellyn)", Who Was Who, 2015 [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  49. ^ London Gazette, 1 April 2010 (issue number 59385)
  50. ^ "Woodcock, Thomas", Who's Who, 2015 [online edition October 2014] (Oxford University Press)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from A History of the College of Arms (1804), by Mark Noble, a publication now in the public domain.