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Norroy and Ulster King of Arms - Wikipedia

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Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is the Provincial King of Arms at the College of Heralds with jurisdiction over England north of the Trent and Northern Ireland. The two offices of Norroy and Ulster were formerly separate. Norroy King of Arms is the older office, there being a reference as early as 1276 to a "King of Heralds beyond the Trent in the North". The name Norroy is derived from the French nort roi meaning 'north king'. The office of Ulster Principal King of Arms for All-Ireland was established in 1552 by King Edward VI to replace the older post of Ireland King of Arms, which had lapsed in 1487.

Ulster King of Arms was not part of the College of Arms and did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal, being the heraldic authority for the Kingdom of Ireland (the jurisdiction of the College of Arms being the Kingdom of England and Lord Lyon's Office that of the Kingdom of Scotland).

Ulster was Registrar and King of Arms of the Order of St Patrick. Norroy and Ulster King of Arms now holds this position, though no new knights of that Order have been created since 1936, and the last surviving knight died in 1974. Heraldic matters in the Republic of Ireland are now handled by the office of the Chief Herald of Ireland (a part of the Genealogical Office in the National Library).

The arms of the new office of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms were devised in 1980 based on elements from the arms of the two former offices. They are blazoned: Quarterly Argent and Or a Cross Gules on a Chief per pale Azure and Gules a Lion passant guardant Or crowned with an open Crown between a Fleur-de-lis and a Harp Or.

The current Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is Robert Noel, who succeeded Timothy Duke in 2021.[1]

Norroy Kings of Arms until 1943[edit]

The coat of arms of the Norroy King of Arms, in use by circa 1500: Argent, a cross gules & on a chief per pale azure & gules a lion passant guardant crowned with an open crown between a fleur de lis and a key, all or.

The coat of arms of Norroy King of Arms, taken from Lant's Roll c. 1595

Ulster Kings of Arms until 1943[edit]

The coat of arms of the Ulster King of Arms; Or, a cross Gules and on a chief Gules a lion passant guardant between a harp and portcullis all Or.

The coat of arms of Ulster King of Arms, also taken from Lant's Roll

Arms Name Dates of office Notes Ref Title formerly Ireland King of Arms Bartholomew W. Butler, Esq. 1552-1566 Nicholas Narbon, Esq. 1566-1588 Christopher Ussher, Esq. 1566-1588 Daniel Molyneux, Esq. 1597-1629 Daniel Molyneux and Adam Ussher, Esq. 1629-1633 Thomas Preston, 1st Viscount Tara 1633-1655 Sir Richard Carney 1655-1660 Sir Richard St George 1660-1683 Sir Richard Carney and George Wallis, Esq. 1683-1698 William Hawkins, Esq. 1698-1722 William Hawkins and John Hawkins, Esq. 1722-1759 James McCulloch, Esq. 1759-1765 William Hawkins, Esq. 1765-1787 Knighted 17 March 1783 Gerald Fortescue, Esq. 1787-1788 Rear Admiral Sir Chichester Fortescue 1788-1820 Sir William Betham 1820-1853 Sir Bernard Burke 1853-1892 Sir Arthur Vicars 1893-1908 Sir Nevile Rodwell Wilkinson 1908-1940 Vacant, duties performed by Thomas Ulick Sadleir (Deputy Ulster) Duties in the Republic of Ireland taken up by the Chief Herald of Ireland

Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms from 1943[edit]

Timothy Duke is the current Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, since 2014.

Arms Name Dates of office Notes Ref Sir Algar Howard 1943-1944 Howard was descended from the Dukes of Norfolk; he was born in Thornbury Castle, where he lived for many years.[2] Educated at King's College London,[3] he was later admitted to the Inner Temple as a barrister. His first appointment at the College was in May 1911 as Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary and he attended the Prince of Wales' investiture that year.[3] He was promoted to Rouge Dragon Pursuivant that October, followed by Windsor Herald in 1919 and Norroy King of Arms in 1931, to which was added Ulster King of Arms in 1943.[3] After he resigned as Garter, he served as Extra Gentleman Usher to the Queen from 1952 till his death, aged 89, in 1970.[2][4] [3] Sir Gerald Wollaston 1944-1957 A grandson of Sir Albert William Woods,[5] Wollaston was educated at Harrow School and then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1893 with a law degree.[6][7] He was called to the Bar in 1899, but joined the College three years later as Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary for the coronation of Edward VII. Appointments as Bluemantle Pursuivant (1906), Richmond Herald (1919), and Norroy King of Arms (1928) followed.[6] Having served as Henry Farnham Burke's deputy for a year,[6] he succeeded him as Garter and oversaw the coronation of George VI; his experience and knowledge of ceremonial proved useful in assisting the young Earl Marshal. Earlier in his career, he was often called on to counsel in peerage cases.[7] A "most painstaking and skilled herald with special bent to ceremonial", he published The Court of Claims in 1902, 1910 and 1936.[6] After his Gartership, he served as Norroy and Ulster until his death in 1957.[7] [6] Aubrey Toppin 1957-1966 Richard Graham-Vivian 1966-1971 Sir Walter Verco 1971-1980 John Brooke-Little 1980-1995 Brooke-Little was educated at Clayesmore School and New College, Oxford, where his interest in heraldry grew and his friends included the future Garter, Colin Cole. He joined the Earl Marshal's staff in 1952 and was a Gold Stick Officer at the coronation in 1953. Appointed Bluemantle Pursuivant in 1956 and Richmond Herald in 1967, Brooke-Little also served as Registrar at the College (1974-82), Norroy and Ulster King of Arms and Registrar of the Order of St Patrick (1980-85) and director of the Heralds' Museum from 1991 until his retirement. He founded the Heraldry Society in 1947 and was its Chairman for fifty years, after which he was its President; he edited its journal, The Coat of Arms, until 2004. His published work included updated editions of Boutell's Heraldry and Fox-Davies's Complete Guide to Heraldry. According to the Telegraph, he was the "brightest and ablest herald of his generation", but did not attain Gartership partly due to his "chaotic working practices". He died in 2006. [8][9][10] Hubert Chesshyre 1995-1997 After attending Trinity College, Cambridge, and Christ Church, Oxford, and graduating from both universities, Chesshyre became Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1970, before serving as Chester Herald between 1978 and 1995 and Honorary Genealogist to the Royal Victorian Order from 1987 to 2010. He has been a member of the Westminster Abbey Architectural Advisory Panel and the Heraldry Society's Council. Along with Thomas Woodcock, he co-authored the Dictionary of British Arms: Medieval Armorial, volume 1. [11][12] Thomas Woodcock 1997-2010 Woodcock was educated at Durham University and Darwin College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar in 1975, but started work as a research assistant to Sir Anthony Wagner that year. He was appointed Rouge Croix in 1978, Somerset in 1982 and Norroy and Ulster in 1997. He has co-authored a number of works on heraldry, including The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (1988) and all four volumes of Dictionary of British Arms: Medieval Ordinary (1992-2014).[13] [14][15] Patric Dickinson 2010 Dickinson was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, and was President of the Oxford Union in 1972. A research assistant at the College of Arms since 1968, his first heraldic appointment was ten years later, when he became Rouge Dragon Pursuivant. Promotions to Richmond Herald (1989) and Norroy and Ulster King of Arms (2010) followed, before he became Clarenceux. Having served as the College's Treasurer since 1995, Dickinson was also the Earl Marshal's Secretary from 1996 to 2012 and has been President of the Society of Genealogists since 2005. [16][17] Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld 2010-2014 Timothy Duke 2014-2021 Robert Noel 2021-present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Crown Office". The London Gazette. TSO (63317): 6712. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2021. The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 6 April 2021, to grant unto Robert John Baptist Noel, Esquire, the Office of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, vacant by the promotion of Timothy Hugh Stewart Duke, Esquire.
  2. ^ a b "Sir Algar Howard", The Times, 16 February 1970, p. 10
  3. ^ a b c d Godfrey and Wagner 1963, pp. 72-73
  4. ^ "Howard, Sir Algar (Henry Stafford)", Who Was Who [online edition April 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  5. ^ Godfrey and Wagner 1963, p. 69
  6. ^ a b c d e Godfrey and Wagner 1963, pp. 71-72
  7. ^ a b c "Sir Gerald Woods Wollaston", The Times, 5 March 1957, p. 10
  8. ^ London Gazette, 27 June 1995 (issue 54085), p. 8847
  9. ^ "John Brooke-Little", The Telegraph, 16 February 2006
  10. ^ "Brooke-Little, John Philip Brooke", Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920-2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014
  11. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 May 1997 (issue 54755), p. 5289
  12. ^ "Chesshyre, (David) Hubert (Boothby)", Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, Nov 2014
  13. ^ "Woodcock, Thomas", Who's Who, 2015 [online edition October 2014] (Oxford University Press)
  14. ^ Thomas Woodcock, "St George, Sir Henry (1581-1644)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008
  15. ^ Godfrey and Wagner, pp. 55-56, 90
  16. ^ "No. 59536". The London Gazette. 6 September 2010. p. 17131.
  17. ^ "Dickinson, Patric Laurence", Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, Nov 2014

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