Peter Gwynn-Jones

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Peter Gwynn-Jones

Peter Gwynn-Jones.jpg
Gwynn-Jones, in his capacity as Garter Principal King of Arms, taking part in the Garter Day procession at Windsor Castle.
Born12 March 1940
Died21 August 2010(2010-08-21) (aged 70)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
OccupationOfficer of Arms
Years active1973–2010
EmployerHM The Queen
OrganizationCollege of Arms
TitleGarter Principal King of Arms
PredecessorSir Conrad Swan
SuccessorThomas Woodcock
AwardsLieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order 1994
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order 1998
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order 2010

Sir Peter Llewellyn Gwynn-Jones KCVO KStJ (12 March 1940 – 21 August 2010) was a long-serving Officer of Arms at the College of Arms in London. He was Garter Principal King of Arms, the senior English officer of arms, from 1995 to 2010.

Life and career[edit]

Gwynn-Jones was born in 1940, the son of Major Jack Gwynn-Jones, of Cape Town. He was educated at Wellington College, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained an MA. In 1970 he joined the College of Arms and became assistant to Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, who was the Garter Principal King of Arms. In 1973 Gwynn-Jones was appointed Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary.[1] In 1982 he was promoted to herald,[2] and served until 1995 as Lancaster Herald of Arms in Ordinary and became House Comptroller of the College of Arms. In 1995 he was appointed Garter Principal King of Arms,.[2] He retired in 2010.[3] He died later that year on 21 August.[4]

Appointments and honours[edit]

Gwynn-Jones was Secretary of the Harleian Society from 1981 until 1994, Inspector of Regimental Colours from 2 October 1995, and Inspector of Royal Air Force Badges from 1996.[5] He was also appointed in 1995 Genealogist to the Order of the Bath,[6] Genealogist of the Order of St Michael and St George, and Genealogist of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. He was non-executive Vice-President of The Heraldry Society from 1996.

Gwynn-Jones was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in 1994, promoted Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 1998, and appointed Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (KStJ) in 1995.[7] In anticipation of his retirement The Queen promoted Gwynn-Jones Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in the 2010 New Year Honours.[8]

The Coati Sable[edit]

Gwynn-Jones's autobiography, The Coati Sable: The Story of a Herald, was published by The Memoir Club in 2010, coinciding with his retirement as Garter[9] The title is a reference to the coati (a type of American raccoon) that featured on Gwynn-Jones's own coat of arms and served as a punning allusion to Coity, Glamorganshire.[10]


Coat of arms of Peter Gwynn-Jones
Arms of Sir Peter Gwynn-Jones.svg
This coat of arms represents the first effort at heraldic design by Gwynn-Jones.
8 May 1971
A coati sejant sable collared and lined or.
Argent gutty gules, a fret engrailed and molined at the mascle points sable[11]
Dyfalbarhau ("Persevere")
the circlet of the Royal Victorian Order as KCVO.
"Gwynn" is Welsh for white. While the Red drops of blood on a white field represent his ancestors who had bettered themselves through careers in the army. The crest is a pun on the animal coati and his paternal forebears who came from Coity, Glamorganshire. The animal is also a favourite of the bearer who has seen it many times on his travels in Latin America.

See also[edit]


  • Gwynn-Jones, P. Ll. (1998) The Art of Heraldry : origins, symbols, designs, London : Parkgate, ISBN 1-85585-560-7
  • Gwynn-Jones, P. Ll. (2010) The Coati Sable: The story of a Herald, Durham : The Memoir Club, ISBN 978-1-84104-205-3


  1. ^ "No. 45947". The London Gazette. 6 April 1973. p. 4481.
  2. ^ a b "No. 48932". The London Gazette. 25 March 1982. p. 4121.
  3. ^ "No. 59385". The London Gazette. 8 April 2010. p. 6033.
  4. ^ College of Arms. "What's New". Archived from the original on 4 September 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  5. ^ "No. 54442". The London Gazette. 19 June 1996. p. 8321.
  6. ^ "No. 54193". The London Gazette. 24 October 1995. p. 14335.
  7. ^ "No. 54309". The London Gazette. 6 February 1996. p. 1807.
  8. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 3.
  9. ^ The Memoir Club. "The Coati Sable". Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Sir Peter Gwynn Jones". Daily Telegraph, UK. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  11. ^ Chesshyre, Hubert (2001). Heralds of today: A biographical list of the officers of the College of Arms, London, 1987-2001. London: Illuminata. ISBN 0953784517.

External links[edit]

Heraldic offices
Preceded by Bluemantle Pursuivant
Succeeded by
Lancaster Herald
Succeeded by
Preceded by Garter Principal King of Arms
Succeeded by