Portcullis Pursuivant

Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street. Originally published by Guild & School of Handicraft, London, 1963.

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Walter H Godfrey. Anthony Wagner, 'Portcullis Pursuivant', in Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, (London, 1963) pp. 203-209. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/bk16/pp203-209 [accessed 26 May 2024].

Walter H Godfrey. Anthony Wagner. "Portcullis Pursuivant", in Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, (London, 1963) 203-209. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/bk16/pp203-209.

Godfrey, Walter H. Wagner, Anthony. "Portcullis Pursuivant", Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, (London, 1963). 203-209. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/bk16/pp203-209.


One of the four pursuivants in ordinary, instituted by Henry VII in allusion to the well known badge inherited from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. Probably instituted soon after Henry's accession. Portcullis occurs several times in public records from 1490 to 1499, although his name is not given and none of those named by Lant in this reign, R. Lagisse, W. Fellow and W. Hastings, can have had the title.

Badge: A portcullis chained or.

1. ROBERT FAYERY, alias Faythe, Venables or Spret


Portcullis, p.s. 25 August, pat. 28 September 1516.

Employed in France and elsewhere abroad at various times from 1518 to 1544; d. in the latter half of 1549.

Arms: Per pale or & azure, a chevron between 3 eagles counterchanged & on a chief gules 3 lozenges ermine. This coat was granted or confirmed by Clarenceux Benolt 22 March 1528, to 'Feyrey' of Dunstable and London together with the Crest: From a torse or & gules an arm erect the sleeve bendy of 4 pieces argent & sable, the hand proper holding up a handful of rye or.

Was the grantee Robert's father or brother?



Portcullis, pat. 25 July 1550, degraded c. 1553.

Said to have been Guisnes, but not so; appd Portcullis 1550; May 1551 imprisoned with ap Howel, Lancaster, for counterfeiting Clarenceux's seal to get money by giving arms (Edward VI's diary sub 26 May); appears in Partition Book New Year's Day 1552 but not on Twelfth Day; degraded and Cocke appd in his place 1553; is perhaps the Richard Withers, died prisoner in Ludgate and burd in St Paul's Churchyard 1 December 1554, 'a proper man & a conyng man as any ys now' (Machyn's Diary, ed. Camden Soc., p. 77).

Arms: Argent, a chevron between 3 crescents gules.

3. JOHN COCKE (1553). See Lancaster (19).



Portcullis, cr. 22 July 1559.

Appd July and d. November 1559; created and sworn as Portcullis, but had no patent. From his arms perhaps a dependant of the Dudley family.

Arms: Azure, a bend raguly & in chief a crown or.

5. RALPH LANGMAN or LANCIMAN (1559). See York (14).

6. ROBERT GLOVER (1568). See Somerset (9).

7. RICHARD LEE or LEIGH (1571). See Clarenceux (15).

8. WILLIAM SEGAR (1585). See Garter (9).

9. THOMAS LANT (1588). See Windsor (16).

10. SAMUEL THOMPSON (1597). See Windsor (18).



Rose, cr. 22 April 1602.

Portcullis, signet March 1604, pat 9 December 1606.

B. 14 March 1576, eldest s. of Joseph Holland, a member of the original Society of Antiquaries, by Angela Bassano; d. 1625, burd 6 December, St Giles', Cripplegate. Servant of Camden, Clarenceux.

(1620 Vis'n of Devon; C.E.M.R.A., p. 145, etc.)

Arms: Azure flory argent, a lion rampant guardant argent with a label or in chief. Crest: From a crown gules a pyramidal bush of feathers per pale argent & sable.

Subsequently, while Portcullis, Philip dropped the label.



Portcullis, docquet 17, pat. 22 December 1625.

Ulster, pat. 21 September, cr. 1 November 1633.

B. 1590 at Hoxne, Suffolk, s. of Isaac Preston, yeoman, of Hoxne, from whose younger brother Jacob the Prestons of Beeston St Lawrence descended; clerk or deputy for Chitting, Chester, c. 1619; 1625 Portcullis; 1630 sent to Ireland to announce birth of Prince Charles, having instructions to report how the news was received there and also to report how Ulster king of arms executed his office so that the E.M. might consider what directions were requisite (Coll. of Arms MS. WK. 155; Bodl. MS. Ashm. 857, 171, pp. 362–3).

On death of Daniel Molyneux, 13 June 1632, place of Ulster was seized by his s. William, but letter was sent to Lords Justices forbidding them to appoint anyone as Ulster and summoning William Molyneux to London to show on what grounds he claimed that office. William did not make good his claim and Preston was appointed. D. 1642, burd at St Werburgh's, Dublin, 12 July.

Was Robert Preston, second pursuivant in Ireland 1696–1712, a relative? Some collections in Chetham Library, Manchester.

Arms: Ermine, on a chief sable 3 crescents or (with a label argent till 1638). Crest: A crescent or (between 2 wings azure, according to the General Armory).



Portcullis, pat. 5, cr. 6 November 1633.

Chester designate, October 1646.

B. c. 1585, third s. of William Beauchamp of Trevince (1620 Vis'n of Cornwall); during Civil War sided with Parliament continuing at the Herald's Office at least until 1652. Named for promotion to Chester 1646, but appointment not effected. Probably the John Beauchamp of St Botolph's, Aldersgate, who d. 1654 (will dat. 15 June, pr. 9 September, P.C.C. 32 Alchin). Walker, Garter, rated him honest but of slender capacity.

Arms: Vair.

14. JOHN WINGFIELD (1660). See York (20).

15. THOMAS HOLFORD (1663). See Windsor (25).



Blanch Lyon, nom. April, cr. 3 May 1686.

Portcullis, signet February, pat. 17 March, cr. 21 April 1687.

S. of Thomas Holford, Windsor; Blanch Lyon 1686; succeeded his father as Portcullis 1687; d. November 1689 while serving as an officer in the army in Ireland.

Arms: As his father with a label for difference.

17. LAURENCE CROMP (1689). See York (22).

18. JOHN HESKETT (1700). See Lancaster (30).

19. THOMAS WIGHTWICK (1713). See York (23).

20. RICHARD MAWSON (1717). See Windsor (29).

21. THOMAS THORNBERY (1745). See Windsor (30).



Portcullis, pat. December 1745.

S. of William Henry Toms, an eminent engraver, of Masham St, Westminster; highly successful painter of draperies employed by Reynolds and other eminent artists; 1768 foundation R.A.; 1745 Portcullis but rarely attended College, leaving Bigland to do his work; after Cotes' death 1770 had little work, became depressed and took to drink; d. in great distress in Rathbone Place, Oxford St, 1 January 1777; burd cemetery of St Giles-inthe-Fields.

(See D.N.B., etc.)

Arms granted to him 1768: Argent, on a dance sable between 3 Cornish choughs rising proper 3 bezants. Crest: A Cornish chough rising proper with a bezant on the breast.


Portcullis, nom. January 1777, renom. 1780, pat. 26 February, salary from 1 January 1780, resd 11 April 1817.

Nom. Portcullis by Lord Scarbrough, Deputy Earl Marshal, 1777, Lady Scarbrough being his godmother, but Duke of Norfolk d. before wt. passed and not until 1780 did new D.E.M., Lord Effingham, ratify Lord Scarbrough's choice. Never obtained promotion; resigned 11 April 1817 in favour of Beltz who undertook to pay him £100 a year. D. Doncaster early 1841. Variously described as of London and of King's Sutton, Northamptonshire, where his mother-in-law Mary Sheppard née Elwes had property.

1792 applied for a grant of arms, those he used not being registered. The E.M's wt. issued on 23 June 1792, but no patent is entered in the Grant Book.

(Gent. Mag., N.S. xv (1841, 1), p. 447; etc.)

24. GEORGE FREDERICK BELTZ (1817). See Lancaster (38).

25. JAMES PULMAN (1822). See Clarenceux (36).

26. ALBERT WILLIAM WOODS (1838). See Garter (27).


Portcullis, E.M. wt. 13, pat. 16 November, salary from 1 November 1841.

S. of Thomas Collen; b. Camden Town 8 August 1799; d. there 9 January 1878; burd Finchley cemetery. His mother and the mother of Beltz, Lancaster, half-sisters.

Twenty-seven years a 'probationer'; clerk to Heard 1814–22 and to Beltz 1822–41; Portcullis 1841; very hard working and constant attendant at College, but made scarcely £300 a year; thrice declined promotion to herald. As clerk made many of the best indexes to College books.

Deposition in 1869 includes outspoken but friendly criticisms of colleagues; complains of Garter Young's tendency to 'cut up' coats submitted for approval; considered himself, Courthope and A. W. Woods the 'stay' of the College; Woods the only herald to share the work when in waiting with him.

Compiled 'Genealogies of the Anglo-Saxon Kings' in Britannia Saxonica (1833); edited 1840 and 1841 editions of Debrett's Peerage and his brother Henry those of 1844–9.

(See H. & G., ii, 353–4, etc.)

28. ARTHUR STAUNTON LARKEN (1878). See Richmond (34).

Larken (1)

29. WILLIAM ALEXANDER LINDSAY (1882). See Clarenceux (42).

30. THOMAS MORGAN JOSEPH, later JOSEPH-WATKIN (1894). See Chester (34).



Carnarvon, R. wt. 20 May 1911.

Portcullis, pat. 4 July, salary from 20 June 1913.

B. Radnor Place, Hyde Park, 8 July 1860; younger s. of William Powell Murray, barrister, descended from Murray of Unthank; educ. Marlborough; 1880–6 studied civil engineering; 1886 entered chambers of Sir A. ScottGatty, then York; 1889 took over Walford Selby's half-share of the Genealogist, editor 1889–94; F.S.A. 1891; Carnarvon 1911; worked in E.M's office for coronation of George V; Portcullis 1913; d. 11 January 1922; burd Shirley Churchyard, near Croydon.

Accomplished herald-artist; designed bookplates; contributor to the Genealogist and Scots Peerage. (Memoir in the Genealogist, N.S. xxxviii, 254, etc.)

Arms: Quarterly with a crescent for difference; (1 & 4) ermine, a bugle horn sable stringed and garnished gules & on a chief gules 3 molets argent (Murray, matric. Lyon Reg. 1894); (2 & 3) checky of 9 pieces ermines & argent, 4 millrinds sable (Turnour). Crest: A demi-savage wreathed with oak & winding his horn, all proper. Motto: Superna Venabor.

32. GEORGE ROTHE BELLEW (1922). See Garter (32).

33. ALFRED TREGO BUTLER (1926). See Windsor (40).

34. ANTHONY RICHARD WAGNER (1931). See Garter (33).

Wagner (1)




Fitzalan, E.M. wt. 16, R. wt. 27 April 1953.

Portcullis, pat. 23 July, salary from 4 March 1957.

B. 16 May 1922, s. of Edward Harold Cole of Croham Hurst, Surrey; Barrister Inner Temple; Citizen and Scrivener of London; Captain (ret'd) Coldstream Guards. Fitzalan 1953; F.S.A. 1954; Portcullis 1957.

Arms (granted 1957 in lieu of Arms granted 1944): Argent a chevron between 3 bulls passant guardant gules armed unguled membered & tails tufted or each crowned with an ancient crown gold. Crest: On a wreath of the colours issuant from flames proper a centaur forcene the human parts also proper the equine parts argent crined & unguled or drawing a bow of the same bound & stringed gules the arrow gold barbed and flighted also argent. Motto: Deum Cole Reginam Serva.

Mr Cole quarters with this Cole of Heston, Middlesex, Petersham, Surrey and London, as recorded at the Vis'ns of Surrey 1623 and London 1634 in virtue of the descent from this family which he has established and hopes shortly to record in the College of Arms.

Arms: Argent a bull passant sable armed & unguled or within a bordure also sable bezanty. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or a demi-dragon vert holding in the dexter claw an arrow or barbed & flighted argent.