Blanc Coursier Herald

Blanc Coursier Herald was an officer of arms in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, associated with the Order of the Bath. The name of the office derives from the white horse in the arms of the Hanoverian monarchs.

One of the main motivations for the foundation of the Order of the Bath in 1725 was the ability it provided the then Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole to show political patronage.[1] This was afforded not only through appointments to the Order but also in the appointment of the officers of the Order. The original statutes provided for seven officers, Registrar, Secretary, Messenger, Dean, King of Arms, Usher and Genealogist, which were to be sinecures supported by annual fees from the members of the Order.[2] However these offices were held at the pleasure of the Great Master of the Order, which meant the holders could be stripped of them at any time. To 'improve' this situation John Anstis, Garter King of Arms (who was responsible for proposing the Order and drafting the statutes) was able to get another statute passed which would attach heraldic offices to three of the above positions — the Genealogist would also become Blanc Coursier Herald, the Usher would also become Brunswick Herald, and the King of Arms of the Order of the Bath would also become Gloucester King of Arms, with heraldic jurisdiction over Wales. The advantage of this was that appointments to heraldic offices were by letters patent under the Great Seal from the King and were for life.[3]

The office of Blanc Coursier Herald was created and "inseparably annexed, united and perpetually consolidated with the Office of Genealogist of [the Order of the Bath]" by a Statute of the Order of the Bath dated January 14, 1726.[4] Blanc Coursier was to have all the rights and privileges enjoyed by a Royal herald, or by a herald of any prince or peer of the blood royal or by a herald of any nobleman. In addition he is described as being "Our Herald of Arms with Our dear entirely beloved grandson Prince William, First and Principal Companion of Our Said Most Honourable Order, and with the First and Principal Companion thereof for the time being".[4] Blanc Coursier was therefore both a Royal herald ("Our Herald of Arms"), and also a private officer of arms as personal herald of the Principal Companion of the Order. As such, the coat of arms emblazoned on his tabard was that of Prince William.

Blanc Coursier Tabard
The tabard of Blanc Coursier John Anstis, created in 1727

Blanc Coursier's ceremonial installation did not take place until 1727,[5] and by that time George II had succeeded his father as king. Prince William's arms then had a label of only three points (as the son of a Sovereign, rather than the five points of a grandson), the centre point charged with a cross gules. The arms on his tabard also show a differenced version of the Hanover quarter.

The first person to hold the office of Blanc Coursier was the son of John Anstis, also named John, who had been appointed Genealogist of the Order of the Bath at its inception, presumably because of the role his father had played in the Order's foundation.[6]

When the Royal Guelphic Order was established in 1815 it originally had no officer of arms. Blanc Coursier at the time, Sir George Nayler, was able to have an additional statute passed appointing him King of Arms of the Order.[7] His successor as Blanc Coursier, Walter Blount also held this position.[8]

The office of Blanc Coursier was abolished in 1857 as part of a revision of the Statutes of the Order of the Bath.[9]

Blanc Coursier Herald Badge
The badge of Blanc Coursier Herald, on the reverse of the badge of the Genealogist of the Order of the Bath

Holders of the Office

Office abolished in 1857


  1. ^ In the words of his son, Horace Walpole, "The Revival of the Order of the Bath was a measure of Sir Robert Walpole, and was an artful bank of favours in lieu of places. He meant to stave off the demand for Garters, and intended that the Red [i.e. the Order of the Bath] should be a step to the Blue [the Order of the Garter]; and accordingly took one of the former for himself." Horace Walpole, Reminiscences (1788)
  2. ^ Risk, p11
  3. ^ Risk, p14
  4. ^ a b Nicholas, p73
  5. ^ Gandell, H.L. (January 1970). "Blanc Coursier's Tabard". The Coat of Arms. XI (81): 11.
  6. ^ Risk, p 13
  7. ^ Nicholas, vol iv
  8. ^ Brooke-Little, John (July 1965). "Arms of Walter Aston Blount, Clarenceux". The Coat of Arms. VII (63): 256.
  9. ^ a b Nicholas, Appendix, p lxxi


  • Nicolas, Nicholas H. (1842). History of the orders of knighthood of the British empire, Vol iii. London.
  • Risk, James C. (1972). The History of the Order of the Bath and its Insignia. London: Spink & Son.
Clarenceux King of Arms

Clarenceux King of Arms, historically often spelled Clarencieux, is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Clarenceux is the senior of the two provincial kings of arms and his jurisdiction is that part of England south of the River Trent. The office almost certainly existed in 1420, and there is a fair degree of probability that there was a Claroncell rex heraldus armorum in 1334. There are also some early references to the southern part of England being termed Surroy, but there is not firm evidence that there was ever a king of arms so called. The title of Clarenceux is supposedly derived from either the Honour (or estates of dominion) of the Clare earls of Gloucester, or from the Dukedom of Clarence (1362). With minor variations, the arms of Clarenceux have, from the late fifteenth century, been blazoned as Argent a Cross on a Chief Gules a Lion passant guardant crowned with an open Crown Or.

The current Clarenceux King of Arms is Patric Dickinson .

Garter Principal King of Arms

The Garter Principal King of Arms (also Garter King of Arms or simply Garter) is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms, the heraldic authority with jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The position has existed since 1415.

Garter is responsible to the Earl Marshal for the running of the College. He is the principal adviser to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom with respect to ceremonial and heraldry, with specific responsibility for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and, with the exception of Canada, for Commonwealth realms of which the Queen is Sovereign. He also serves as the King of Arms of the Order of the Garter and his seal and signature appear on all grants of arms made by the College.

On the death of the British monarch it is the Garter's duty to announce the new monarch. Initially, the Accession Council meets to declare the new monarch from the deceased monarch's line. Once the monarch makes a sacred oath to the council, the Garter King of Arms steps into the Proclamation Gallery which overlooks Friary Court to announce the new monarch.

The current Garter Principal King of Arms is Thomas Woodcock.

George Nayler

Sir George Nayler, KH FRS (bapt. 29 June 1764, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire – 28 October 1831, Hanover Square, Mayfair) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.

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.

Order of the Bath

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not (as is commonly believed) revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently Queen Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently Charles, Prince of Wales, and three Classes of members:

Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)

Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)

Companion (CB)Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had only a single class, Knight Companion (KB), which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant).

Prince William, Duke of Cumberland

Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, (26 April 1721 [N.S.] – 31 October 1765), was the third and youngest son of King George II of Great Britain and Ireland and his wife,

Caroline of Ansbach. He was Duke of Cumberland from 1726. He is best remembered for his role in putting down the Jacobite Rising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which made him immensely popular throughout Britain. He is often referred to by the nickname given to him by his Tory opponents: 'Butcher' Cumberland. Despite his triumph at Culloden, he had a largely unsuccessful military career. Between 1748 and 1755 he attempted to enact a series of army reforms that were resisted by the opposition and by the army itself. Following the Convention of Klosterzeven in 1757, he never again held active military command and switched his attentions to politics and horse racing.

Private Officer of Arms

A private officer of arms is one of the heralds and pursuivants appointed by great noble houses to handle all heraldic and genealogical questions.

Walter Blount (officer of arms)

Walter Aston Edward Blount Esq. FSA (7 February 1807 – 9 February 1894) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was born the eldest son of Edward Blount, the third, but second surviving, son of Sir Walter Blount, 6th Baronet of Sodington, Worcestershire.

Walter Blount began his heraldic career when he was made Arundel Herald of Arms Extraordinary in 1830. He was advanced to the rank of Chester Herald of Arms in Ordinary in 1834. At the same time, he was Blanc Coursier Herald, an office founded by statute in 1726 and united to that of the genealogist of the Order of the Bath. Shortly after his appointment as Chester Herald, he arranged for his family pedigree to be brought up to date, thus establishing his legal right to the Blount coat of arms: Barry nebuly Or and Sable, with a crest of A Sun in spleandour charged with a dexter Gauntlet proper. He also recorded 49 quarterings, 25 of which had been allowed to his family at the 1634 Visitation of Worcester.

Blount was promoted to the office of Norroy King of Arms in 1859. He held this position until his promotion to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms in 1882. Contemporary evidence shows him to have been an inactive officer of arms. At the Earl Marshal's enquiry into the College of Arms in 1869, he admitted that he did "very little indeed" since becoming a King of Arms and even when a herald "never very much." He died in 1894 as a bachelor.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.