I received an e-mail about this today. I’m sure it will be a nice resource for the study of the College of Arms’s collection when completed.
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COLLEGE OF ARMS FOUNDATION AWARDS £25,000 GRANT TO COLLEGE OF ARMS
Funding is for Second Volume of Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms Records
LONDON, 19 June 2012 – The Board of Directors of the College of Arms Foundation, Inc., voted at its annual general meeting held today at the College of Arms in London to make a five-year grant totaling £25,000 to fund the publication of the first volume of A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms Records.
The grant was announced by John Shannon, President of the Foundation, at a reception held at the College of Arms attended by the Earl Marshal of England, the three Kings of Arms and several officers of arms, as well as Foundation board members and guests.
The College of Arms is the heraldic authority of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was incorporated by King Richard III in 1484 to control the granting of armorial bearings – coats of arms – to the King’s subjects. It is a department of the British Royal Household and collectively composed of the officers of arms: the three Kings of Arms; the six heralds; and the four pursuivants.
Acting on royal instructions, between 1530 and 1689 the Kings of Arms regularly conducted visitations of the counties of England and Wales to ensure that no subject was publicly using armorial bearings to which they were not entitled. The records of these visitations, held by the College of Arms to this day, have long been recognized as of great heraldic and genealogical value. Taken together they form an almost complete survey of Tudor and Stuart gentry, and a great many professional and merchant families, and provide first-hand information about their ancestry stretching back into the medieval period. Despite their significance, however, no comprehensive catalogue of the visitation records had ever been published.
In 1988 the College of Arms published the first volume of A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the College of Arms, called Collections, Vol. I, a substantial 600-page volume covering the earliest unofficial collections and including what is sometimes called the Old Library. It was always envisaged that the Catalogue would have a parallel Records series, covering the official registers of the College’s work. The principal content of the first volume of this series, being supported by the Foundation, will be the visitation records.
The editor of the projected Records volume is Robert Yorke, FSA, who recently retired as Archivist of the College with 32 years of experience with the College’s manuscripts and of their use by scholars.
“In awarding this grant the College of Arms Foundation is fulfilling its mission, which is to support the work of the College of Arms,” said Mr. Shannon. “I am delighted that this grant will ensure that the project goes forward.”
“Added to a substantial one from the Mark Fitch Trust, the grant effectively guarantees that the second volume of the Catalogue will be produced,” stated the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal, who accepted the gift on behalf of the College of Arms. “I commend the Foundation directors on their decision and thank them for their grant.”
The College of Arms Foundation was established in 1984 at the time of the quincentenary of the College of Arms. Its objective is to promote awareness and appreciation of English heraldry and support the objectives of the College.
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