6th April 1530.

In Heraldry it was the King of Arms of England, Wales and Ireland who regulated Coats of Arms of the Nobility and Gentry as well as those of Boroughs and Visitations recorded pedigrees from 1530 until William III in 1688.

It was Today that the first Visitation by the King of Arms under the Warrant of Henry VIII was made in 1530 to Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms and he would be responsible in determining any false creations in which case all records of entitlement had to be defaced. (1)

One of the legendary mythological devices to feature widely in Heraldry is the Wyvern, not to be confused with the Griffon, going back to its being the symbol of Anglo-Saxon Wessex and later the Wyvern Crest formed part of the 14thc Thomas of Lancaster’s seal.

Chester Cathedral Wyvern c 1380.

It formed the crest of the Borough of Leicester as recorded in the Heraldic Visitation of Leicester of 1619, the Wyvern was especially associated with the City.

Arms of Leicester.

The Wyvern ‘dragon’ with two legs was later adopted by The Midland Railway in the 19th century and was also the badge of  The Leicester & Swannington Railway (1832), was a silver (white) Wyvern.

The Wyvern whilst appearing frequently in English Heraldry, also appears in Vexillology (flags).

Arms of Midland Railway at Derby Station. The Crest shows a  Wyvern san legs.

1st Duke of Marlborough Arms with Wyvern supporters.






Coats of Arms were of practical use by feudal lords and knights to be identified in battle, then later by other social classes such as Shakespeare’s father who was a merchant and leading light in Stratford and many burghers and commoners often acquired armorial bearings.

Later boroughs and cities with their associated seals acquired heraldic devices over which presides The Court of Chivalry which even today is still designing armigerous devices for new creations.


Emblem, showing a Wyvern, above south gate of Chelsea Physic Garden.


(1) In a dispute over the exercise of authority concerning the Officer of Arms in England, Arthur Annesley 1st Earl of Anglesey and Lord Privy Seal declared on 16th June 1673, that the authority was to repose in the Earl Marshal: ‘To order, judge, and determine all matters touching Arms…no patents of Arms or any Ensigns’ to be bestowed …without consent of the Earl Marshal’.


wikipedia.org/Society of Apothecaries Pic.

wikipedia.org/Wyvern pics.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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