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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillogy Portal!

A herald wearing a tabard
Flags of the Nordic countries

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

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The Heralds is a novel written by Brian Killick in 1973. It is a fictional account of the inner workings of the College of Arms in London. The book follows the exploits of the College's members after the announcement that the current Garter Principal King of Arms will be retiring.

The vast majority of the plot revolves around the thirteen ordinary officers of arms at the college. The plot in striking respects resembles the plot of the film, Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), in which an anti-hero systematically eliminates those who stand between him and succession to a Dukedom, only to find that he is tried and convicted of a crime he did not commit. (more...)

Selected biography

Sir Alexander Colin Cole, KCB, KCVO, (16 May 1922–20 February 2001) was a long serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He eventually rose to the rank of Garter Principal King of Arms, the highest heraldic office in England. Prior to his joining the College of Arms he represented the Manchester Palace of Varieties in the Court of Chivalry for the only case it has tried in the last 200 years. He designed the coat of arms for Margaret Thatcher. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of Canada

The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"), is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted to replace the Union Flag. The Canadian Red Ensign had been unofficially used since the 1890s and was approved by a 1945 Order-in-Council for use "wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag". In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson appointed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious debate about a flag change. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George F. G. Stanley was chosen. The flag made its first appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as Flag Day. Other flags have been created for use by Canadian officials, government bodies, and military forces. (more...)

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Coat of arms of the British Antarctic Territory

The Coat of arms of the British Antarctic Territory features a lion and Emperor penguin as supporters, and the RSS Discovery in the crest.

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Thornbury Castle

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Commons-logo.svgMedia on Commons • Coats of arms • Flags • Heraldry