Heraldry Online Blog

24 March 2021

Kings of Arms: Changes ahead?

At a recent Zoom AGM of the White Lion Society it was mentioned that two Kings of Arms at the College of Arms are due to retire in the next year or so.  The College has a retirement age of 70.  Patric Dickinson, Clarenceux, (I think) reached that age in November last year and Thomas Woodcock, Garter, will do so in May of this year.

I understand that promotion from Herald to King of Arms is based on seniority but straight seniority does not necessarily apply to the appointment of Garter.  Looking at Kings of Arms over the past 70 years, the only Norroy & Ulster King of Arms to become Garter is the present incumbent, Thomas Woodcock.  Both John Brooke-Little and David Chesshyre, who were in their late 60s, went from Norroy to Clarenceux and were in office for two or three years before retiring.  My guess is that the current Norroy, Timothy Duke, who is aged 67 will follow suit when Patric Dickinson stands down.

The two most senior Heralds in line for advancement are Robert Noel, Lancaster, and David White, Somerset.  Which will become the next Garter and Norroy & Ulster is anybody’s guess.  I doubt PaddyPower or Ladbrokes will give you any odds.  All I do know is that the new Kings of Arms will be younger than me.

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