Heraldic Times — Pursuivant RSS

Heraldic Tabards and Surcoats

Today only English and Scottish Heraldic officers wear official ceremonial dress. On British state occasions, such as coronations, the officers of Arms wear their full heraldic regalia of tabard and knee breeches and carry their staffs of office, continuing a tradition that was begun 800 years ago. In most other European countries the tradition of wearing ceremonial garb ceased after World War I. In the 12th and 13th centuries, when the Herald acted as a messenger or envoy, he would have worn the lord’s own tabard, or short surcoat, as a mark of favour and acknowledgement of the special relationship between a lord and his herald. Wearing his Lord’s armorial tabard clearly indicated that he had his master’s favor and...

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The Heralds' Visitations part 4

With the creation of the College of Arms and it’s consolidation in London under the eye of successive monarchs, the college went from strength to strength. It was from  this strengthened and revived College of Arms that the Heralds went out to hold the Heralds’ Visitations in the 16th and 17th centuries. What exactly were these Visitations? They were a new departure in the recording of arms, for they combined almost from the start the recording of pedigrees with that of arms, and the Heralds acquired a genealogical function which they have kept to the present day. The Visitations were a continuation of the old Rolls of Arms and a new form of recording armorial matters. They were also crucially...

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Heralds' Visitations part 3

A Pursuivant, or more correctly a pursuivant of arms, is a junior officer of arms. Most pursuivants are a attached to the official heraldic authorities.There are  four Pursuivants; Rouge Croix, Blue Mantle, Rouge Dragon and Portcullis. Of the four Pursuivants, Rouge Croix probably derives his title from the red cross of St. George. He was instituted by Henry V. Henry V and Edward III have both been credited with the creation of the Blue Mantle. , the origin of the name coming from the description of the royal arms of France, azure semee de lis ( blue background with a sprinkling of lilies or fleur de lis). Edward III assumed the arms of France in right of his mother as...

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