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Heraldic Funerals part 3

DUKE OF ROTHES The funeral of John, 1st and only Duke of Rothes, reveals just how elaborate an heraldic funeral on a grand scale was. The Duke passed away on July 27th 1681 and it was almost a month later on August 21st before his funeral took place. Having held the office of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, he was afforded a full state funeral. It included every possible type of heraldic funeral trapping, as well as two complete regiments of artillery. Following the troops were two conductors with black staffs over their shoulders, then two gumpheons ( square flags), one bearing a death’s head with the words memento mori ( remember, you must die) the other bearing an hourglass...

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Heraldic Funerals part 2

FUNERAL OF ELIZABETH I In Britain the greatest age for the Heraldic funeral was the 16th and 17th centuries. The marshalling of such events was largely the responsibility of the officers of arms, who jealously guarded their rights because of the fees they could charge for their services. These fees were known as “funeral droits”. These were payable from the estate of the deceased and were considerable. The amount of the fees paid was dependent on the deceased’s degree and the rank of the Herald. In England the Heralds kept a close eye on anyone, especially painters and engravers, who might encroach on their lucrative racket. There are records of brawls erupting at the door of the church over fees...

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Heraldic Funerals part 1

By the 14th century it had become the practice at funerals of royalty and the nobility for a prominent display of heraldry to be included in the pageantry of the event, and these heraldic funerals became increasingly elaborate statements of the deceased’s social status and wealth. Heralds would attend the aristocratic funerals and issue a certificate giving the pedigree of the deceased, and details of his or her death and burial.  They represented the authority of the monarchy.  The College of Arms supervised everything in relation to the funeral procession, the accoutrements displayed, and even the work of painters and other tradesmen involved.  They were also responsible for the decoration of the home and church with black cloth and other...

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