Memorial XV: The First Grant of Arms, 1480

Pages 96-98

Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.

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XV. THE FIRST GRANT OF ARMS (1480). (fn. 1)

To all true Christian people these present letters reading, hearing, or seeing, I, Thomas Clarenceux, Principal Herald and King of Arms of the south parts of this Realm of England, send due and humble recommendation and greeting in Our Lord God everlasting.

For so much as I understand for certain that every craft within this the King's most royal City of London, called his Chamber, study, devise, and imagine in it with all their busy cares and diligences, and specially such persons as be lineally descended from gentle and noble blood (by very course of nature thereunto compelled), the most honourable, excellent, laudable, virtuous, and convenient ways and means to them possible for the exaltation of the same City, and preferment of their fraternities to nobles, and to as excellent renown, land, and recommendation as by them can be goodly devised to the intent that every person entering into the same crafts and fraternities, hearing of their laudable and virtuous opinions, should enforce and apply themselves with all possible diligence by policy, wisdom, and sadness towards the maintenance, supportation, and long continuance of the same to the honour, laud, and praising of God, the King our Sovereign Lord, this his said Realm, and the said Noble City and the same crafts and fraternities.

The first grant of arms, 1480

Amongst whom I, the said King of Arms, remember and note specially at this time the laudable and right honourable craft of Taylors and Linge Armourers of the Fraternity of St. John Baptist, within this said noble City, and the good and commendable, virtuous, discreet, and honourable persons Robert Duplege, Master, Ewen Boughton, John Warner, James Shirwode, and John Potman, Wardens of the same noble craft for the time being, and all their whole fraternity of Taylors and Linge Armourers within the said City, which craft hath continued without reproach in honour and noblesse out of time of mind.

To whom, therefore, at their special instance by the authority and power imperial to my said office annexed and attributed, I have devised, ordained, and granted, and by these presents devise, ordain, and grant to the said Master, Warden, and Brethren, of the said noble craft and fraternity for them and their successors in sign and token of noblesse, the shield, helm, and timbre hereafter following, that is to say, silver, a pavilion between two mantles imperial, purple, garnished with gold in a chief azure, an holy lamb set within a sun; the crest upon the helm a pavilion, purple, garnished with gold, being within the same our Blessed Lady St. Mary the Virgin in a vesture of gold sitting upon a cushion azure, Christ, her son, standing naked before her, holding between his hands a vesture called tunica inconsutilis, his said mother working upon that, one end of the same vesture set within a wreath gold and azure, the mantle purple, furred with ermine as in the margin hereof, more plainly it appeareth depicted in the same. To have and to hold, use, occupy, and rejoice the same arms peaceably and vowably at their pleasures to the said Master, Wardens, and whole Fraternity of Taylors and Linge Armourers within the said noble City of London, and their suc cessors, without impeachment, interruption, impediment or let, of any person or persons, whatsomever he or they be, by virtue of this my grant for evermore. In witness whereof I the said King of Arms to these presents signed with my hand, have put my seal of authority. Given at London the 23rd day of October, in the 21st year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King Edward the Fourth (1480).


  • 1. The drawing of the arms and crest has been made by Sir Albert Woods (Garter King at Arms) to represent the description (in the absence of any emblazonment on the margin) of the Grant.