Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society

The Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society was formed as the result of the merger in 1957 of a previous Heraldic Society (founded 1948) with the Cambridge University Society of Genealogists (founded 1954).

Foundation of the society

The first Cambridge University Heraldic Society was founded in 1948 from the remnants of the late nineteenth-century Monumental Brass Society. In 1954, a separate Cambridge University Society of Genealogists was formed. Not surprisingly many members of one society were members of the other and on 10 June 1957, sponsored by some Vice-Presidents, by agreement between the secretaries, Special General Meetings of both societies were held and resolutions passed abolishing both societies on condition that a new joint society was formed later in the day. Meetings held earlier in the term had led to the formal culmination of a series of discussions for the consolidation and amalgamation.

The structure of the new society was to include a Patron and a number of Honorary Vice-Presidents. The committee was to consist of President, Secretary, Senior Treasurer, Junior Treasurer and ordinary Committee Members.

The society today

Four speaker meetings are held in each of the Michaelmas and Lent terms and a ninth at the beginning of the Easter term. These are in the general area of heraldry and genealogy but also include cognate subjects such as ceremonial dress, tartan, local history, customs, military medals or indeed anything of an antiquarian nature. There are generally two outings each year—one in Michaelmas and one in Lent-–to places of heraldic and genealogical interest. In recent years, the Society has visited the College of Arms, the Society of Genealogists and various cathedrals and museums. The Society also hosts one large dinner each term with the Annual Dinner (in the Lent term) attracting up to 70 diners. There is also a garden party in the Easter term.


Sir Arthur Cochrane (Clarenceux King of Arms) was Patron of the original Heraldic and Genealogical Societies until his death in 1954. The position was still vacant when the amalgamation took place. The Cambridge University Society of Genealogists had had a President in the person of the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma, a keen genealogist. Therefore, Lord Mountbatten was invited to be Patron of the new (1957) Society, a post which he held until his assassination in 1979. In honour of his memory and with the permission of his elder daughter, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the Society inaugurated the Mountbatten Commemorative Lecture. This remains the most important meeting of the year and the lecture has frequently been given by senior members of the College of Arms.

Lord Mountbatten was succeeded as Patron by Archbishop Bruno Heim, a leading authority on the heraldry of the Roman Catholic Church who designed armorial bearings for several Popes. Heim donated a copy of a number of his own publications to the Society. After his death he was followed by the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England.

Past officers

Notable past officers include:

Past speakers and guests

The Society is primarily a discussion group. Notable past speakers have included:


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Society transcribed the registers of the Cambridgeshire parishes of Shepreth and Westley Waterless and published a small number of copies. Its most ambitious project, however, was to produce The Cambridge Armorial showing the arms of all the corporate armigers in Cambridge (including town, university, colleges, theological colleges and schools) with blazons and brief histories of each. Although begun in 1966, it was to be nineteen years before it was published through the efforts of Wilfrid Scott-Giles, Heather Peak and Cecil Humphery-Smith. In 1995 the Society launched a magazine, called the Escutcheon, which appears each term. It is edited by Terence Trelawny-Gower.

External links

Arthur Cochrane (officer of arms)

Sir Arthur William Steuart Cochrane (27 April 1872 – 11 January 1954) was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.

Aylmer Buesst

Aylmer Buesst (28 January 1883 – 3 January 1970) was an Australian conductor, teacher and scholar, who spent his career in the United Kingdom. He was mainly associated with opera and vocal music. He also wrote a work on the leitmotifs in Richard Wagner's operas, and he was an authority on heraldry.

Bruno Heim

For the American photographer (1912–1987), see Bruno Bernard.Bruno Bernard Heim (5 March 1911 – 18 March 2003) was the Vatican's first Apostolic Nuncio to Britain and was one of the most prominent armorists of twentieth century ecclesiastical heraldry. He published five books on heraldry and was responsible for designing the coats of arms of four popes. He was also Grand Prior of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George.

Collar day

Collar days are designated days on which the collar forming part of the insignia of certain members of British orders of knighthood may be worn. Collars are special large and elaborate ceremonial metal chains worn over the shoulders, hanging equally over the front and back, often tied with a bow at the shoulders, with a distinctive pendant attached to the front.

David White (officer of arms)

David Vines White (born 27 October 1961 in Glasgow) is the current Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary at the College of Arms in London. He is the younger son of Sheila (née Chatterton) and Peter Vines White.White was educated at Marlborough College, before going to Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he obtained the degree of MA. As an undergraduate he was president of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society and later he received a further MA degree from the, Courtauld Institute, University of London.White then served as a research assistant to Theobald Mathew, Windsor Herald, and in 1995 was appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant, following in the tradition of eminent genealogists, such as Sir Henry Farnham Burke. In 2004 he was appointed Somerset Herald.White is a member of Council of The Heraldry Society in London and served as its chairman 2006–09. He is a member of Council of the British Record Society. In 2010, he was appointed honorary genealogist to the Royal Victorian Order.Somerset Herald's day job is researching and proving genealogies, as well as facilitating new grants of arms to suitable applicants.

Family history society

A family history society or genealogical society is a society, often charitable or not-for-profit, that allows member genealogists and family historians to profit from shared knowledge. Large societies often own libraries, sponsor research seminars and foreign trips, and publish journals. Some societies concentrate on a specific niche, such as the family history of a particular geographical area, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. Lineage societies are societies that limit their membership to descendants of a particular person or group of people of historical importance.

Henry Paston-Bedingfeld

Sir Henry Edgar Paston-Bedingfeld, 10th Baronet (born 7 December 1943) is a British baronet and retired officer of arms.

Heraldry societies

For the purposes of this article, heraldry societies are defined as private associations of people who are interested in heraldry. Heraldic authorities, which have been established by reigning monarchs or governments, are dealt with in a separate article.

Hubert Chesshyre

David Hubert Boothby Chesshyre (born 22 June 1940) is a retired British officer of arms.

Chesshyre served for more than forty years as an officer of arms in ordinary to Queen Elizabeth II and as a member of Her Majesty's Household. He rose to become Clarenceux King of Arms, the second most senior heraldic appointment in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and many other Commonwealth realms. He held a number of other prestigious appointments, including those of Registrar of the College of Arms, Secretary of the Order of the Garter, and Honorary Genealogist to the Royal Victorian Order (he was himself formerly a Commander of the Order). Chesshyre undertook heraldic and genealogical work for many high-profile clients including former prime minister Sir Edward Heath. He has written seven books, including the official history of the Order of the Garter, as well as a number of chapters, articles, and reviews.

In 2015 a jury sitting in the Crown Court found that Chesshyre had committed non-recent child sexual abuse offences. He had been found unfit to plead, so the trial was a trial of the facts, for which no conviction is recorded. The jury found that he had committed the two offences charged, but he was given an absolute discharge due to the form of the trial.

Irish Guards

The Irish Guards (IG), part of the Guards Division, is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army and, together with the Royal Irish Regiment, it is one of the two Irish infantry regiments in the British Army. The regiment has participated in campaigns in the First World War, the Second World War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan as well as numerous other conflicts throughout their history. The Irish Guards claims six Victoria Cross recipients, four from the First World War and two from the Second World War.

The Irish Guards recruit in Northern Ireland and the Irish neighbourhoods of major British cities. Although restrictions in Ireland's Defence Act make it illegal to induce, procure or persuade enlistment of any citizen of Ireland into the military of another state, people from the Republic do enlist in the regiment.One way to distinguish between the five regiments of Foot Guards is the spacing of the buttons on their tunics. The Irish Guards have buttons arranged in groups of four as they were the fourth Foot Guards regiment to be founded. They also have a prominent St. Patrick's blue plume on the right side of their bearskins.

John Brooke-Little

John Philip Brook Brooke-Little, (6 April 1927 – 13 February 2006) was an influential and popular English writer on heraldic subjects, and a long-serving herald at the College of Arms in London. In 1947, while still a student, Brooke-Little founded the Society of Heraldic Antiquaries, now known as the Heraldry Society and recognised as one of the leading learned societies in its field. He served as the society's chairman for 50 years and then as its President from 1997 until his death in 2006. In addition to the foundation of this group, Brooke-Little was involved in other heraldic groups and societies and worked for many years as an officer of arms; beginning as Bluemantle Pursuivant, Brooke-Little rose to the second highest heraldic office in England: Clarenceux King of Arms.

Lady Davina Windsor

Lady Davina Elizabeth Alice Benedikte Windsor (born 19 November 1977), known as Lady Davina Lewis between 2004 and 2018, is the elder daughter of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and his wife Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester. She is 31st in the line of succession to the British throne as of May 2019.

Peter O'Donoghue (officer of arms)

Michael Peter Desmond O'Donoghue (born 1971) is a British officer of arms who currently serves as York Herald of Arms in Ordinary at the College of Arms in London. He was appointed to the office on 31 May 2012, having served as Bluemantle Pursuivant from 2005.

Peter Spufford

Peter Spufford, (18 August 1934 – 18 November 2017) was a British historian and academic, specialising in the economics of Medieval Europe. He was Professor Emeritus of European History at the University of Cambridge.

Quis separabit?

Quis separabit? (Latin: Who will separate [us]?) is a motto derived from the Vulgate translation of Romans 8:35 (τίς ἡμᾶς χωρίσει ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Χριστοῦ, tís hēmâs chōrísei apò tês agápēs toû Christoû):

"Quis ergō nōs sēparābit ā cāritāte Christī..."translated as "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"The motto is associated with Ulster unionism, Ulster loyalism and the British Army in Ireland: for example, it is used in the British Army by the Royal Dragoon Guards, the Royal Ulster Rifles, the London Irish Rifles, the Irish Guards, and the North Irish Horse, and it is also the motto of the Order of Saint Patrick. The phrase also appears on the Seal of South Carolina and inscribed on the alumnus ring of Clemson University.

It was the motto of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1922 to 1992. It was also the motto of the Connaught Rangers, an Irish regiment of the British Army, from its amalgamation in 1881 until it was disbanded in 1922. Prior to this, it was the motto of the precursor regiment of the Rangers, the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) which was founded in 1793. It was also the motto of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the 5th Royal Irish Lancers.

It was the motto of the former Government of Northern Ireland and appeared on the province's defunct coat of arms. It is also the motto of the Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland.The full quotation from Romans 8:35, Quis nos separabit a caritate Christi? is the motto of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the present Cardinal Secretary of State.

Rafał de Weryha-Wysoczański

Chevalier Rafał Hugon Maria de Weryha-Wysoczański-Pietrusiewicz, Ph.D. (born May 7, 1975) is a Polish art historian, genealogist and writer, who was a representative of the auction house Sotheby's.He is the only child of sculptor Jan, 6th Chevalier de Weryha-Wysoczański-Pietrusiewicz, and nephew of Olympic Bronze Medallist and Vice World Champion in fencing Madame Ryszard Weryha-Wysoczańska-Pietrusiewicz and millionaire landowner and philanthropist Basil, 1st Chevalier de Weryha-Wysoczański-Pietrusiewicz.

Richard Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 2nd Baron Acton

Richard Maximilian Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 2nd Baron Acton, (7 August 1870 – 16 June 1924) was a British peer and diplomat, ultimately Britain's first Ambassador to Finland in 1919–20.


A tailcoat is a knee-length coat with the front of the skirt cut away, so as to leave only the rear section of the skirt, known as the tails.

The tailcoat shares its historical origins in clothes cut for convenient horse riding in the Early Modern era. Ever since the 18th century, however, tailcoats evolved into general forms of day and evening formal wear, in parallel to how the lounge suit succeeded the frock coat (19th century) and the justacorps (18th century).

Thus, in 21st-century Western dress codes for men, mainly two types of tailcoats have survived:

Dress coat, an evening wear with a squarely cut away front, worn for formal white tie

Morning coat (or cutaway in American English), a day wear with a gradually tapered front cut away, worn for formal morning dressIn colloquial language without further specification, "tailcoat" typically designates the former, that is the evening (1) dress coat for white tie.

White Greyhound of Richmond

The White Greyhound of Richmond is one of the Queen's Beasts commissioned for display at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. A stone copy can also be found in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

According to the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society:

"The White Greyhound of Richmond bears a shield of Tudor livery, white and green, with a Tudor Rose ensigned by a Royal Crown. Henry VII sometimes used greyhounds as supporters and on his standards. His father, Edmund Tudor, was created Earl of Richmond and the white greyhound was associated with the Honour of Richmond. The rose in the badge shows the association of the red and the white elements of Lancaster and York respectively, emphasising the union of the rival houses."Originally a badge held by John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster during his 14th century tenure as steward/earl of the Honour of Richmond, it was the canine breed most favoured in Northern England. This animal was further used for John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence and is supposed to stand for the honour, regardless of who has held or been in charge of it, although Peter II, Count of Savoy was not known to have any unique symbol to depict his stewardship of Richmond. Although they were legitimately entitled to the feudal estate, the badge was not used by any Duke of Brittany, preferring to use their traditional ermine until Francis II, Duke of Brittany willed Richmond to Henry VII of England—the chief representative of the House of Lancaster, which simultaneously legitimised the title to the Tudor dynasty and reversed the effect of the attainder made by Richard III of England as chief representative of the House of York and swung the loyalty of Richmondshire against the Ricardian regime, rolling back jure uxoris control through the marriages to Cecily Neville, Anne Neville and Isabella Neville, as descendants of the Nevilles who held Middleham. Henry VII subsequently replaced the English lion with the White Greyhound, in the coat of arms of England, opposite the Y Ddraig Goch of Wales. Like the Red Dragon, the White Greyhound represents the ancient Brythons, although more specifically of the Breton element which had become resettled since the Harrying of the North in 1071.


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.