The Herald 7

Heraldic visitations England
Visitations were one of the main ways that heralds recorded, granted and corrected coats of arms in the sixteenth century. Provincial kings were authorized to make visitations of counties in their provinces starting in the year 1530. In summertime they would travel to one county so it took many years for all of England and Wales to be covered. The counties in the south closer to London were visited much more frequently than the far flung counties to the north and the west.

​The King of Arms or his deputy would set up shop i n a local tavern or nobles home for a number of weeks and every noble man in the district who laid claim to a coat of arms had to produce proof of their noble status. A fee was paid to the herald by the noble and the pedigree, if approved, would be recorded in writing. If the noble man was found not to be up to standard he was required to sign a statement that he was not a gentleman and not allowed to bear a coat of arms. This would then be proclaimed throughout the district, bringing shame upon the family affected. In a very class conscious time this proved to be a very harsh fate.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published