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The Court of Chivalry Part 3

When the two methods used by the English Heralds to control arms, the Visitations and the Court of Chivalry, had been removed there existed no means of controlling arms for 219 years in England and Wales. The ordinary Courts of law had no recognition of Coats of Arms except in what was known as “ names and arms clauses”. These were clauses in a will whereby the person that died willed that the beneficiary should take the name and the Coat of Arms of the deceased as one of the conditions of inheriting his estate. The Probate Court then dealt with the matter and required the person to comply with the deceased wishes as a matter of interpreting and carrying...

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The Court of Chivalry Part 2

The Court of Chivalry became very unpopular, and in 1521 the virtual abolition of the office of High Constable struck a blow at its jurisdiction. In that year Cardinal Wolsey, the powerful minister of Henry VIII, brought about the trial, condemnation and execution of the High Constable, the Duke of Buckingham. Wolsey was of humble origin, the son of a butcher in the town of Ipswich. He hated Buckingham and caused his ruin. When the Emperor Charles V heard of this event he exclaimed “ A butcher’s cur has pulled down the finest buck in England.” After 1521 no High Constable was appointed, except on the day of a Coronation of a King or Queen. The disappearance of the High...

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The Court of Chivalry Part 1

In December 1954 there occurred in England an event of Heraldic importance that is unlikely to have occurred anywhere but England. This was the revival of the Court of Chivalry which had not sat for 219 years. The nature of the Court of Chivalry has been very misunderstood. Its name has been given as that of a Court Military or Court Martial and from this it was assumed that the Court of Chivalry was the origin of the courts martial. This is incorrect and is based on an erroneous translation of the Latin name of the old court, Curia Militaris ( where Miles means knight), and so the correct translation is Court of Knighthood i.e. Court of Chivalry. The Court...

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