Thomas Sadleir

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Thomas Ulick Sadleir (1882–1957) was an Irish genealogist and heraldic expert. He was successively registrar of the Order of St Patrick, Deputy Ulster King of Arms and Acting Ulster King of Arms.


Sadleir's first involvement with the office of arms at Dublin Castle was when he worked on an unpaid basis whilst an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated in 1904, and was called to the bar in 1906.

By 1913, he was working on a daily basis at the office, whilst practising as a barrister. In 1915 he was appointed registrar of the Order of St Patrick by George Dames Burtchaell, Deputy Ulster King of Arms. In practice, Sadleir carried out most of the day-to-day work of Ulster's office.

In August 1921, Burtchaell was killed in a tram accident, and in September, Sadleir was appointed Deputy to Major Sir Neville Wilkinson, Ulster King of Arms. As Major Wilkinson was almost always absent from Dublin, Sadleir performed most of the duties of the office.

The Office of Arms was unaffected by the creation of the Irish Free State in December 1922, continuing to cover the whole of the island of Ireland, and remaining based in Dublin Castle.

In December 1940, Major Wilkinson died, and the Government of Ireland requested that no successor be appointed. For the next three years, Sadleir was Acting Ulster King of Arms. In 1943, the Government of Ireland established the Genealogical Office, which took over the records of the Office of Arms, while the title of Ulster King of Arms was merged with that of Norroy to become Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, a member of the College of Arms in London.

Sadleir continued to work for the Genealogical Office until 1944, clearing the large backlog of grants and confirmations of arms that had built up in Ulster's office. After leaving the G.O., he continued his private genealogical practice. He maintained links with his former employer, however, remaining a trustee of the Heraldic Museum in Dublin until his death.

Sadleir subsequently became librarian at the King's Inns in Dublin, a post he held until his death.


Coat of arms of Thomas Sadleir
Confirmed 3 July 1915 by George James Burtchaell, Deputy Ulster King of Arms. [1]
A demi-lion rampant Azure crowned Or.
Of the colours.
Quarterly 1st & 4th Or a lion rampant per fess Azure and Gules (Sadleir) 2nd per chevron Or and Gules two lions combatant in chief Sable (Lee) 3rd Gules three swords barways in pale Proper the point of the middle sword to the dexter between twelve estoiles Or a bordure engrailed Argent 4th paly of six Sable and Ermine on a canton Argent a lion rampant Azure.
Service Deo Sapere

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  1. "Grants and Confirmations of Arms Vol. L,". National Library of Ireland. p. 63. Retrieved 26 June 2022.