Anthony Wagner

Sir Anthony Richard Wagner KCB KCVO FSA (6 September 1908 – 5 May 1995) was a long-serving Officer of Arms at the College of Arms in London. He served as Garter Principal King of Arms before retiring to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms. He was one of the most prolific authors on the subjects of heraldry and genealogy of the 20th century.[1]

Anthony Wagner Richmond Herald
Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, while serving as Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary in 1952

Early life and education

Wagner's distant ancestor, Melchior Wagner,[2] arrived in England from the Saxon city of Coburg in 1709 and became hatter to George I of Great Britain.

Wagner's father ran a day-school in London. He attended Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, on scholarships.[3]

Professional career

Wagner joined the College of Arms as Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary in 1931. He was promoted to Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary in 1943 and Garter Principal King of Arms in 1961. In 1978 he retired to the subordinate position of Clarenceux King of Arms. He was a firm believer in the view that appointments to the college were for life. As a herald he enjoyed a very large practice and was able to train up a number of skilled and well-qualified assistants who later became officers of arms. His professional library was enormous, but he was also able to build up an important collection of early heraldic manuscripts from the Clumber and other sales.

During World War II he served in the War Office for four years, and then moved to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, where he rose to be Principal Private Secretary to a series of ministers. Although he contemplated remaining in the Ministry, he returned to the College of Arms in 1946 and took over the extensive practice of Alfred Butler, Windsor Herald.

One idea, which he pursued persistently, was the establishment of a museum in which to display the treasures of the College of Arms itself. Initially it was hoped to erect a building adjacent to the college, and a design was commissioned from Raymond Erith; this became impossible because of the increasing financial demands of repairs to the college itself. But in 1981 the Heralds' Museum opened in part of the Tower of London.

He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists in 1944.[4]


Other activities

Wagner had many interests outside the world and work of the College of Arms. He belonged to the Vintners' Company, serving as Master from 1973 to 1974; and was a member of a number of important dining clubs including the Society of Dilettanti, the antiquarian Cocked Hats, and the bibliophilic Roxburghe Club.

A number of large projects engaged his attention and enthusiasm. One, which arose from the Harleian Society, was an endeavour to list and describe the surviving English Rolls of Arms: to this series (CEMRA) Wagner contributed the first volume. Another project, connected with the Society of Antiquaries of London, was a revised edition of the ordinary of arms originally produced by J.W. Papworth. The first volume (of what was now entitled the Dictionary of British Arms) appeared in 1992.


Genealogy occupied the foremost place in Wagner's affections, but his earliest publications made highly important contributions to the study of heraldry. Issues of State Ceremonial took third priority. His Historic Heraldry of England (1939) derived initially from an exhibition of panels in America, but drew a stern and scholarly line between those great men who were truly armigerous and those who were not. On the other hand, his Heralds and Heraldry in the Middle Ages (also 1939) shed new light on the development of the functions of the earliest officers of arms. Many years later he traced the whole story of the College of Arms in a massive volume entitled Heralds of England (1967).[5]

Wagner's English Genealogy (1960; revised editions 1972 and 1983) remains a standard work of reference. Many of his conclusions were rehearsed and reinforced in Pedigree and Progress (1975), where an important group of essays is annotated and brought up to date. Always he stressed the mobility of social life and class in the course of English history, and in maintaining this view ran contrary to the opinions of some professional English historians.

His Records and Collections of the College of Arms (1952) remains a useful finding aid to the College's archival holdings.

His office had been highly mechanised from an early stage, but all the more so once he became blind in 1984, whereupon, making every use of the aids of modern science, he bore his affliction with patience and dexterity. He dictated his autobiography, A Herald's World (1988).

He was also a staunch supporter of hereditary peers and defended their presence in the House of Lords in an article in the Times on 30 January 1969 which became the foreword to the 1970 edition of Burke's Peerage.[6][7]

Personal life

In 1953 (at the age of 44) Wagner married Gillian Graham, eldest daughter of Major H.A.R. Graham. In addition to taking over his father's house, 68 Chelsea Square, London, they acquired a country house in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. The couple had a daughter and two sons.

Wagner's funeral service was held at the Church of St Benet Paul's Wharf, the religious home of the College of Arms since 1555. He was buried at Aldeburgh.


See also


  1. ^ Thomas, Robert McG., Jr (20 May 1995). "Sir Anthony Wagner, 86, Dies; Medievalist and Senior Herald". New York Times.
  2. ^ Wagner, Anthony R.; Dale, Antony (1983). The Wagners of Brighton. London: Phillimore. p. 146. ISBN 9780850334456.
  3. ^ Maclagan, Michael (10 May 1995). "Obituary: Sir Anthony Wagner". The Independent.
  4. ^ "All Fellows". American Society of Genealogists.
  5. ^ Falco, Raphael (1994). Conceived Presences: Literary Genealogy in Renaissance England. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780870239359.
  6. ^ Wagner, Sir Anthony (30 January 1969). "Hereditary Peers Defended". The Times.
  7. ^ Lord Sudeley (2011). "Lords Spiritual, Temporal – And Invaluable" (PDF). Quarterly Review. Autumn: 38.
  8. ^ Godfrey, Walter H; Wagner, Anthony (1963). "'Garter King of Arms', in Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street (London, 1963), pp. 38-74". Retrieved 1 November 2018.

External links

Heraldic offices
Preceded by
Alfred Butler
Portcullis Pursuivant
Succeeded by
The Lord Sinclair
Preceded by
Henry Robert Charles Martin
Richmond Herald
Succeeded by
Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees
Preceded by
George Bellew
Garter Principal King of Arms
Succeeded by
Colin Cole
Preceded by
John Walker
Clarenceux King of Arms
Succeeded by
John Brooke-Little
Court offices
Preceded by
George Bellew
Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
Succeeded by
Colin Cole
Baron Montagu of Boughton

Baron Montagu of Boughton is a British title which has been created twice for members of the Noble House of Montagu. First created in 1621, in the Peerage of England, for Sir Edward Montagu, eldest son of Sir Edward Montagu of Boughton and grandson of another Sir Edward Montagu who had been Lord Chief Justice during the reign of Henry VIII. He was also the brother of Henry Montagu, later created Earl of Manchester, and of Sidney Montagu, ancestor of the Earls of Sandwich.Their ancestor was one Richard Ladde, grandfather of the Lord Chief Justice Sir Edward, who changed his name to Montagu in about 1447. His descendants claimed a connection with the main house of Montagu or Montacute, Barons Montagu and Earls of Salisbury, but the exact descent is unclear. A case has been made out for the possibility that the Ladde alias came from a division among coheirs about 1420 of the remaining small inheritance of a line of Montagus at Spratton and Little Creton, also in Northamptonshire (Sources:English Genealogy, Anthony Wagner). (Sources:English Genealogy, Anthony Wagner).

The third Baron Montagu of Boughton was created Earl of Montagu and Viscount Monthermer in 1689 and Duke of Montagu and Marquess of Monthermer in 1705. He had married in 1675 the Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley, daughter of the 4th Earl of Southampton and a descendant of the original houses of Montagu and Monthermer. The Dukedom, Earldom and Barony of Montagu all became extinct on the death of their son John, 2nd Duke of Montagu, in 1749. The next creation was in 1762, in the Peerage of Great Britain. John Montagu, styled Lord Brudenell, son of the 4th Earl of Cardigan and maternal grandson of the last Duke of Montagu, was created Baron Montagu of Boughton in 1762. This title became extinct on his death without issue in 1770.The next creation was for the late Baron's father, who had been created Duke of Montagu in 1766. He was created Baron Montagu of Boughton, again in the Peerage of Great Britain, in 1786. On his death in 1790, when the Dukedom became extinct, the Barony passed under a special remainder to his female-line grandson Lord Henry Scott, second son of the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch. Lord Henry Scott also inherited the Lordship of Bowland from his mother, the Duchess, having the title entailed upon him by his nephew, the 5th Duke, in 1827. He died in 1845 whereupon the title of Montagu of Boughton became extinct.His great-nephew Lord Henry Douglas-Scott-Montagu, second son of the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, was created Baron Montagu of Beaulieu in 1885.

Christopher Barker (officer of arms)

Sir Christopher Barker (died 4 January 1550) was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.

Descent from antiquity

A Descent from Antiquity (DFA or DfA) is a well-researched, historically documented generation-by-generation genealogical descent tracing living persons back to people living in antiquity. The term was coined in a European context, where the poorly-documented Early Middle Ages provide few records of the type necessary to document contiguous genealogical descents that would connect the new royal families of the Early Middle Ages, from which descents to the present can readily be traced, to the well-documented figures from antiquity.

The idea of descent from antiquity is by no means new to genealogists. Hellenistic dynasties, such as the Ptolemies, claimed descent from gods and legendary heroes. In the Middle Ages, major royal dynasties of Europe sponsored compilations claiming their descent from Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, in particular the rulers of Troy (see also British Israelism, Euhemerism). Such claims were intended as propaganda glorifying a royal patron by trumpeting the antiquity and nobility of his ancestry. These descent lines included not only mythical figures but also stretches of outright invention, much of which is still widely perpetuated today. The distinguishing feature of a DFA compared to such efforts is the intent to establish an ancestry that is historically accurate and verifiable in each generation of the descent, a defining characteristic that distinguishes the DFA from the legendary descents found in medieval genealogical sources, and from the modern pseudogenealogical descents appearing in books like The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code. DFA research has focused on the ancestries of royal and noble families, since the historical record is most complete for such families. Particular attention has focused on possible genealogical links between the new dynasties of western Europe from which well-documented descents are known, such as the Carolingians, Robertians, Cerdicings and the Astur-Leonese dynasty, through the ruling families of the post-Roman Germanic dynasties and Franco-Romans to the gentility of the Roman Empire, or in Eastern Europe, linking the Armenian wives of some Byzantine emperors through the ruling families of the Caucasus to the rulers of the Hellenistic and Roman-client kingdoms of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The phrase descent from antiquity was used by Tobias Smollett in the 18th-century newspaper The Critical Review. Reviewing William Betham's Genealogical Tables of the Sovereigns of the World, from the earliest to the present period he wrote "From a barren list of names we learn who were the fathers or mothers, or more distant progenitors, of the select few, who are able to trace what is called their descent from antiquity." The possibility of establishing a DFA as a result of serious genealogical research was raised in a pair of influential essays, by Iain Moncreiffe and Anthony Wagner. Wagner explored the reasons why it was difficult to do, and suggested several possible routes, based on the work of genealogists such as Cyril Toumanoff, David H. Kelley, Christian Settipani and Ford Mommaerts-Browne. The following years have seen a number of studies of possible routes through which an appropriately documented descent might be found. These routes typically involve either linkages among the ruling dynasties of the post-Roman Empire Germanic states, or those between the ancient dynasties of the Caucasus and the rulers of the Byzantine Empire. Though largely based on historical documentation, these proposed routes have invariably resorted to speculation based on known political relationships and onomastics - the tendency of families to name children in honor of relatives being taken as support for hypothesized relationships between people bearing the same name. Proposed DFAs are highly variable in both the quality of their research and the degree to which speculation plays a role in their proposed connections.

No European DFA is accepted as established at this time. However, research has established the outlines of several possible ancestries that could become DFAs were further evidence to be discovered. Moreover, the pursuit of DFAs has stimulated detailed inquiry into the prosopography of ancient and early medieval societies, an effort which is of great value in illuminating the social transformations which took place in those societies.

Henry Robert Charles Martin

Henry Robert Charles Martin (1889 – 1942) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London and a male English international badminton player.

Heralds' Museum

The Heralds' Museum was a museum of heraldry run by the College of Arms Trust at the Tower of London during the 1980s. It was situated in the old Waterloo Barracks within the Tower.

The original idea came from Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter Principal King of Arms. Wagner hoped to establish a museum in which to display the treasures of the College of Arms itself. A plan for a building adjacent to the college was commissioned from Raymond Erith, but not taken forward due to the increasing financial demands of repairs to the college building.In 1980 the Heralds' Museum was opened by the Duke of Kent as part of the Tower of London. The museum was open during the summer season and admission was included in admission to the Tower. Exhibits included items from the collection of College of Arms and artifacts borrowed from other sources. Peter Spurrier served as its curator, and John Brooke-Little as its director.The museum closed later in the 1980s following the reorganisation of the Royal Palaces.

John Anstis

John Anstis (29 August 1669 – 4 March 1744) was an English officer of arms, antiquarian and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1702 and 1722. He rose to the highest heraldic office in England and became Garter King of Arms in 1718 after years of political manoeuvring.

John Anstis, younger

John Anstis (17 November 1708 – 5 December 1754) was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.

John Writhe

John Writhe (died 1504) was a long-serving English officer of arms. He was probably the son of William Writhe, who represented the borough of Cricklade in the Parliament of 1450–51, and is most remembered for being the first Garter King of Arms to preside over the College of Arms. Writhe is also notable for the contention that it was he who developed the system of heraldic cadency employed by English officers of arms to the present day.

Lawrence Dalton

Lawrence Dalton (died 13 December 1561) was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Dalton was one of thirteen children of Roger Dalton of Bispham, Lancashire, and his fourth wife. Lawrence Dalton also had two half-brothers and one half-sister from his father's first marriage. Little is known about Dalton's early life, and he is not known to have attended a university.

Petronius Probinus (consul 341)

Petronius Probinus ( fl. 341-346 AD) was an aristocrat and statesman of the Roman Empire. He was Roman consul in the year 341 and praefectus urbi of Rome from July 345 to December 346.

Ralph Bigland

Ralph Bigland (29 January 1712 – 27 March 1784) was an English officer of arms, antiquarian and cheesemaker. He was born at Stepney, Middlesex, and was the only son of Richard Bigland and his wife, Mary. His father was a native of Westmorland, descended from the Bigland family of Biglands. He should not be confused with his nephew Sir Ralph Bigland.

Samuel More

Samuel More (1593–1662) was at the centre of two historical incidents in seventeenth century England.

His father, Richard More, was master of Linley, an estate near Bishop’s Castle close to the Welsh border. Samuel More was the husband of Katherine More, whose father, Jasper More, was master of Larden, a 1000-acre estate between Much Wenlock and Ludlow in Shropshire, England. In 1959 the mystery of why Samuel More sent his children on the dangerous journey on the Mayflower was explained.

Jasper More, a descendant of Samuel More, prompted by his genealogist friend, Sir Anthony Wagner, searched his attic and discovered a 1622 document which detailed the adultery of the children's mother, Katherine More. That admission led the father, Samuel More, to believe that the children were not his offspring. In 1616, Samuel More accused his wife Katherine More of adultery and bearing four children with Jacob Blakeway, a neighbour. Samuel More, under his father Richard's direction, removed the four children from their home. Four years later, without their mother's knowledge, they were transported to the New World on board the Pilgrim Fathers' ship the Mayflower.

Sedley Andrus

Francis Sedley Andrus LVO (26 February 1915 – 9 November 2009) was a long-serving English officer of arms who was Beaumont Herald of Arms Extraordinary. As such, he was a Royal officer of arms, though not a member of the College of Arms in London.

Andrus was born in 1915, and was educated at Wellington College and St Peter's College, Oxford. On the maternal side of his family, he was descended from Randle Smith of Oldhaugh, Cheshire, the father of William Smith who was created Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary on 23 October 1597. The tradition of armorial interest continued with Andrus. In July 1938, Andrus was interviewed by Alfred Trego Butler, who was Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary at the time. Andrus had hoped to become part of Butler's staff at the College of Arms.

After working for Butler for a year, the outbreak of World War II caused a hiatus from Andrus's work at the College of Arms. He was away until October 1946 and when he returned, Butler had become very ill. In that year, Butler asked Anthony Wagner, who was serving as Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary, to take on both his clients and his young protégé. Wagner employed Andrus until 1970, when he was appointed Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary. This appointment lasted until 1972, when he was promoted to the office of Lancaster Herald of Arms in Ordinary. On 1 March 1982, Andrus retired from the position of Lancaster to take on the office of Beaumont Herald Extraordinary.

Andrus died on 9 November 2009. At the time of his death, he was one of only a few people remaining at the College of Arms who had any experience before World War II. He was also one of the few remaining officers of arms who had been a part of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Sergius Paulus

Lucius Sergius Paulus or Paullus was a Proconsul of Cyprus under Claudius (1st century AD). He appears in Acts 13:6-12, where in Paphos Paul, accompanied by Barnabas and John Mark, overcame the attempts of Bar-Jesus (Elymas) "to turn the proconsul away from the faith" and converted Sergius to Christianity.

A boundary stone of Claudius mentioning Sergius was discovered at Rome in 1887. It records the appointment (AD 47) of the Curators of the banks and the channel of the river Tiber, one of whom was Sergius. Since Paul's journey to Cyprus is usually dated to the first half of the 40s (and some scholars date his visit even earlier), it is thought Sergius may have first served three years as Proconsul at Cyprus, then returned to Rome, where he was appointed curator. As he is not greeted in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, it is possible he died before it was written.Some medieval legends have anachronistically identified Sergius Paulus with Paul of Narbonne.

Sergius Paulus may have been the first of six successive senators named Lucius Sergius Paullus, of Antioch, Pisidia, including one Consul Suffect in 94 and another Consul in 168, the last of whom was Lucius Sergius Paullus, Senator, father of Sergia Paulla, who married Quintus Anicius Faustus, Legate of Numidia and Consul in 198, and had Quintus Anicius Faustus Paulinus, Legate of Moesia Inferior between 229 and 230 or c. 230 to 232.

Shacklefords, Virginia

Shacklefords is an unincorporated community in King and Queen County, Virginia, United States. It derives its name from the Shackleford (or Shackelford) family, of whom the immigrant ancestor to the Virginia colony was Roger Shackelford, who was born in Old Alresford in the English county of Hampshire in 1629. (The orthography of the name of Roger Shackelford's descendants varies, sometimes spelled 'el' and sometimes 'le.')

The immigrant Roger Shackelford was first mentioned in Gloucester County, in a grant of land in 1658. The family likely took its name from the village of Shackleford, in the English county of Surrey, which adjoins Hampshire and is not far from London. A North Carolina barrier island, Shackleford Banks, is named for descendants of the family, as is Shackelford County, Texas. An Orange, Virginia branch of the Shackelford family also counts President Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha Wayles as ancestors.The post office in Shacklefords (which was at one stage spelled with an apostrophe) was established in 1800.Dixon, Kempsville, and King and Queen Courthouse Green Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thomas Benolt

Thomas Benolt (died 8 May 1534) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. As part of his service, he was also a diplomat. He appears to have been born at Rouen, though his family had stronger links with Calais. Benolt is thought to have been raised in that city, and his brother at one time became its secretary. Thomas Benolt is reported to have served Kings Edward IV and Richard III as a pursuivant, but these claims cannot be substantiated. The first definitive evidence of his royal service is an appointment as Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary on 6 May 1504. Six years later, he was promoted to the post of Norroy King of Arms and on 30 January 1511 he was made Clarenceux King of Arms.

Thomas Hawley

Thomas Hawley (died 22 August 1557) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He began his career of royal service as a groom porter to Queen Margaret of Scotland from her marriage in 1503 until 1508. Although he may have been made Rose Blanche Pursuivant in the reign of King Henry VII, his first permanent heraldic appointment came in 1509.

Thomas Wriothesley

Sir Thomas Wriothesley ( RY-əth-slee; died 24 November 1534) was a long serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the son of Garter King of Arms, John Writhe, and he succeeded his father in this office.

William Bruges

William Bruges (c. 1375 – 9 March 1450) was an English officer of arms. He is best remembered as the first person appointed to the post of Garter King of Arms, which is currently the highest heraldic office in England.

Coat of arms of Anthony Wagner
Arms of Sir Anthony Wagner
Out of a gold coronet a demi-lion or holding the dexter half of a wheel as in the arms.
Sable, a lion rampant or holding between the paws the dexter half of a wheel argent.''[8]
Wachsam und glücklich ("Watchful and happy")
the circlet of the Royal Victorian Order and Order of the Bath.
Previous versions
Granted 1932: Sable, a lion rampant guardant double-queued or holding between the paws a demi-wheel argent. Crest: From a torse of the colours a demi-lion as in the arms. Motto: Wachsam und glücklich.


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