Athlone Pursuivant

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Athlone Pursuivant of Arms (or Athlone Pursuivant) was a junior officer of arms in Ireland, founded 1552 during the reign of Edward VI, King of England and King of Ireland, and was named for the town of Athlone, Co. Roscommon (in the province of Connacht). The other heraldic offices of Ireland being the Ulster King of Arms (Ulster), the Dublin Herald (Leinster) and the Cork Herald (Munster).

The Order of St. Patrick was instituted by George III 5 Feb 1783 and the Athlone Persuivant became one of its officers thereafter, being 12th in order of precedence. There are no living members of the Order.

Literary Reference[edit]

James Joyce mentioned the office in 'Ulysses' and again in 'Finnegans Wake' as the "Athlone Poursuivant".

List of holders with recorded years in office[edit]

  • 1552 Philip Butler, illegitimate son of Bartholomew Butler, gentleman, Ulster King of Arms; Butler was the first holder, appointed on midsummer day 22 June 1552 (or on 16 Jun 1552 according to Lodge)
  • 1575 Edward Fletcher who gave the Four Provinces Flag of Ireland
  • - to 1665 Sir Richard Carney, Knt. who became Ulster King of Arms
  • 1690 James Terry, appointed by James II; (d. 1725) took his seal of office and his heraldic records with him to France. A collection of his pedigrees and papers has been published in bookform.
  • 1704, 1719 Mr. Joseph Moland
  • 1738 Philip Ridgate, Esq.
  • 1745/6 William Hawkins
  • 1783, 1804 George Twisleton Ridsdale, Esq. appointed, Dublin Castle, June 13, 1783. Proclamation of Peace at Dublin, Dublin Castle October 23, 1783 "...Athlone pursuivant made an oyez, and Ulster King at Arms read his Majesty's Proclamation aloud..."
  • 1817 George J. Ridsdale
  • 1821 Joseph Rock, Esq. in office during the King's (George IV) visit to Ireland
  • 1844 Will Crawford, esq.
  • (undated) Bernard Louis Burke (b. 1861 - d. 1892 unm.), son of Sir John Bernard Burke and Barbara Frances MacEvoy
  • 1900 Henry Claude Blake
  • 1907 Francis Bennett-Goldney (b. 1865 - killed 1918). The insignia of the Order of St. Patrick known generally as the Irish Crown Jewels, were stolen from the Bedford Tower in Dublin Castle shortly before a visit by the Order's Sovereign, King Edward VII.
  • 1908 - 1921 George Dames Burtchaell, appointed 1908. In 1909 he was additionally appointed Registrar of the Office of Arms.[1]

On the death of Burtchaell, Nevile Wilkinson suggested Thomas Sadleir to succeed the deceased. However, Sadleir declined to accept the offer. He operated the Office of Arms in the capacity of Deputy Ulster King of Arms. The post of Athlone Pursuivant had never been filled since then.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hood (2002), p.72.
  2. ^ Hood (2002), pp.100-101.
  • The Cork Herald of Arms in 1907 was Pierce Gun Mahony, M.R.I.A. (Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead, Ireland - 1907 Vol. VII No. 2 of Part I., p. 96)


  • Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth, Vol II by John Gough Nichols, F.S.A. (London, 1857)
  • A History of the College of Arms: and the lives of all the Kings, Heralds and Pursuivants from the reign of Richard III... by Mark Noble (London, 1804)
  • The Antiquities and History of Ireland by Sir James Ware (Dublin, 1705)
  • Political Survey of Ireland by Sir William Petty (London, 1719)
  • The Present State of Great Britain and Ireland... by Guy Miege (London, 1738)
  • Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland (London, 1912 ed.)
  • The Remembrancer or, Impartial Repository of Public Events for the Year 1783 Part II printed for J. Debrett (London, 1783)
  • The Court Companion, containing the Arms of the Peers... printed for J. Debrett and others (London, early 19th century)
  • The Extraordinary Red Book: containing a list of all the Places, Pensions, and Sinecures by A Commoner (London, 1817)
  • The Edinburgh Annual Register for 1821 printed for James Ballantyne and Co (Edinburgh, 1823)
  • The Royal Kalendar, and Court and City Register for England, Scotland, Ireland and the Colonies for the Year 1844 printed for Suttaby & Co (London, 1844)
  • Markievicz and the Knights of St Patrick by John Maiben Gilmartin, Irish Arts Review
  • Dod's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, Etc. of Great Britain and Ireland for 1920 Vol I (London, 1920)
  • The pedigrees and papers of James Terry, Athlone Herald, at the Court of James II in France (1690 - 1725) by Charles Edmund Lart (Exeter, 1938)
  • Royal Roots - Republican Inheritance: The Survival of the Office of Arms by Susan Hood (Dublin, 2002)

External links[edit]