William Hunt (Windsor Herald)

William Hunt

William Hunt’s patent as Windsor Herald ended in May 2017, when he reached the age of 70. William has been a popular officer of arms who many of our members may have had the pleasure of using as agent for their own grant of arms. We wish him well in his retirement but hear that he intends to support John Petrie, Rouge Croix Pursuivant in his work in the future, so you may still see him around the College.

For many years a City Accountant, William was appointed as Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary in 1992 and was promoted as Windsor Herald in 1990. He has also acted as Registrar at the College of Arms (2007-14). His other roles include: Clerk to HM Commission of Lieutenancy for the City of London (1990-2013) and was appointed to the Lieutenancy in 2012. Election as Member of Common Council of the City of London Corporation (2004-13) and as a liveryman and Past Master (2000-1) of the Playing-Card Makers’ Company. He served in the Honourable Artillery Company retiring with the rank of Major in 2000. He was nominated as Genealogist of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (2010) and appointed Commander of the Order of St John in 2011.


On the 24th June 2017 Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, was appointed Genealogist of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem after the retirement of William Hunt, Windsor Herald.

Memorial Grant of Arms to Jo Cox MP

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On the 16th Jun 2016 Helen Joanne Cox nee Leadbeater, the popular 41 year old Labour  Party Member of Parliament for Batley and Spent, Yorkshire was brutally murdered while carrying out her constituency work at Birstall. The White Lion Society sends its deepest condolensces to Jo’s family and friends who have suffered this unnecessary tragedy.

One year on the 24th June 2017, at a family day at the House of Commons when MPs and staff were encouraged to bring their children to the chamber, Jo Cox’s children: Her son Cullin age 6 years and daughter Lejla age 4 years, unveiled a commemorative shield in the chamber as a memorial to their mother, in the presence of her family, the Speaker of the House of Commons and other guests which included Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms. These arms, which can be seen on the cover of this newsletter, appear on a shield for a married woman and include no crest.  

The Arms were granted to her widower Brendan Cox of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, to be placed on monuments to her memory, by Letters Patent of Garter and Clarenceux Kings of Arms dated 6th March 2017. College reference: Grants 180/149.

Jo Cox MP memorial shield 5

The blazon, as it appears on the grant is given here.

Arms: Barry wavy Vert and Purpure a Chevronel Argent between in chief a White Rose and a Red Rose proper both barbed seeded and slipped the stalks conjoined Or and in base a Red Rose and a White Rose proper both barbed seeded and slipped the stalks conjoined Or.


I expect both the design and blazon will cause some debate amongst our members but the rationale of the arms and usual precise care taken by the officers of the College does explain the allusion in this case.

Rationale: green, violet or purple and white are the colours adopted by the Women's Social and Political Union in 1908, better known as the Suffragettes. The wavy bars of the field are a reference to the country and fields and rivers for which Jo Cox felt an affinity. The chevronel refers to the Lake District and hills where she loved to walk. The white roses refer to Yorkshire, of which Jo Cox was a native and where her constituency was situated and the red roses refer both to the Labour Party and to Lancashire, which is Brendan Cox's county of origin. The motto expressed Jo Cox's belief that people have more in common than separates them and was inspired by her maiden speech in the House of Commons which contained the line "we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us". Brendan Cox and the children were involved in the development of this design.

Jo Cox’s memorial in the chamber of the House of Commons joins that of other MPs who were killed while in office and are remembered by heraldic shields in the Commons chamber. This form of memorial appears to have begun when a series of nineteen heraldic shields were placed in the chamber after World War One and were intended to memorialise those who had died in battle. The details of persons memorialised in these shields can be seen at http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/cultural-collections/memorials/in-the-collection/world-war-i/wars-heraldic-shields/ and photographic images of many of the designs also appear on the site. All of those memorialised in this way were killed because of army, navy or air action abroad and many of the individuals involved held high rank and had a noble ancestry. No memorials appear in the period between the two wars but twenty-three memorials do occur as a result of action during the World War Two conflict. Almost all of these are as a result of military action, despite the large number of civilian deaths during World War Two. All of those memorialised by a heraldic shield were male. Details can again be seen on the site given above.

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Since World War Two five MPs have been killed while in office and all are memorialised with heraldic shields in the chamber of the house of Commons. That these MPs died because of civil conflict and criminal action indicates a widening of the original groups that the memorials might apply to. They are: Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave (1916-1979) died in a car bomb attack at Westminster. Revd. Robert John Bradford (1941-1981) shot dead by the IRA. Sir Anthony George Berry (1925-1984) died as a result of a bomb blast at the Grand Hotel Brighton. Ian Reginald Edward Gow (1937-1990) Northern Ireland Secretary, died as a result of a car bomb attack. Helen Joanne Cox (1974-2016). Of these Airey Neave , Sir Anthony Berry and Jo Cox’s heraldic shield included arms were as Revd. Robert Bradford and Ian Gow’s heraldic shields contain monograms and although the monograms are created with great artistic skill we as heraldist do so wish that this alarming trend of notable people who have never been granted arms will end and we hope the memorial grant of arms to Jo Cox will help reverse that trend.

House of Commons Chamber. Airey Neave by Bellhouse Restoration and Peter Spurrier prior to restoration in 2010 1


The Honourable Christopher John Fletcher-Vane  (Chester Herald)

Christopher Vane

The White Lion Society would like to congratulate Christopher Fletcher-Vane on his appointment as Chester Herald of Arms, for which he received letters patent dated 22nd September 2017. He has previously served as Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms for which he received letters patent dated 31st May 2012. Christopher was born in 1953 in Cumbria, the second son of William Morgan Fletcher-Vane, who was later created 1st Baron Inglewood on 30th June 1964, one of the last creations of a hereditary peer. He is also a member of the same family as of Baron Barnard, his father having been a younger brother of the 9th Lord Barnard. The arms of the family are: azure, three gauntlets or, which were first recorded in 1580. Christopher’s branch of the family lost the right to bear arms on the attainder of Sir Henry Vane the Younger in 1661, but the right was in 1725 restored to his grandson, Gilbert Vane, 2nd Lord Barnard: see Woodcock & Robinson The Oxford Guide to Heraldry pages 72/3. Christopher was a student of Trinity College Cambridge and recalls his role as the captain of the winning 1974 University Challenge team. For many years he practised as a barrister in Newcastle upon Tyne, where his family home was until very recently. He is married to Margaret, with whom he has three children.

The office of Chester Herald dates from the 14th century, and it is reputed that the holder was herald to Edward, Prince of Wales, the Black Prince. In the reign of King Richard II the officer was attached to the Principality of Chester, which was a perquisite of the then Prince of Wales. In the reign of King Henry VIII the title lapsed for a time but, since 1525, the office of Chester has been one of unbroken succession, as a herald in ordinary.

 (c) The White Lion Society 2017