Sir Thomas Wriothesley ( // RY-əth-slee; died 24 November 1534) was a long serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the son of Garter King of Arms, John Writhe, and he succeeded his father in this office.
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:
The College of Arms, also known as the College of Heralds, is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.
John Writhe was a long-serving English officer of arms. He was probably the son of William Writhe, who represented the borough of Cricklade in the Parliament of 1450–51, and is most remembered for being the first Garter King of Arms to preside over the College of Arms. Writhe is also notable for the contention that it was he who developed the system of heraldic cadency employed by English officers of arms to the present day.
Wriothesley was born at Colatford Wiltshire. His name at birth was Thomas Writhe, and he was the eldest son and second of four children of John Writhe and his first wife, Barbara, daughter of John Castlecombe.The location of Colatford has not been identified, but it was either near Castle Combe or Cricklade.
Wiltshire is a county in South West England with an area of 3,485 km2. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The county town was originally Wilton, after which the county is named, but Wiltshire Council is now based in the county town of Trowbridge.
Castle Combe is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, about 5 miles (8 km) northwest of the town of Chippenham.
Cricklade is a small Cotswold town and civil parish on the River Thames in north Wiltshire, England, midway between Swindon and Cirencester. It is the first town on the Thames as it flows towards London. The parish population at the 2011 census was 4,227.
Wriothesley's first wife, whom he married before 1500, was Jane, daughter of William Hall of Salisbury. The pair had ten children together, though their only surviving son was Charles Wriothesley, Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary. His second wife was Anne, widow of Robert Warcop with whom he had a daughter who died in infancy. Wriothesley died "worn out with age"in London, on 24 November 1534, and was presumably buried with his family in St Giles Cripplegate. His will has never been found. His library may have stayed intact until the death of his son Charles in 1562; after that it was probably dispersed. Manuscripts of his are now to be found in the College of Arms, the British Library, and elsewhere.
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of 40,302, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne. The city is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Southampton and 30 miles (48 km) from Bath.
Charles Wriothesley was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the last member of a dynasty of heralds that started with his grandfather—Garter Principal King of Arms John Writhe.
Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.
In 1489 Wriothesley was made Wallingford Pursuivant in the private service of Prince Arthur at Wallingford and continued as such under Prince Henry.In 1491 he accompanied King Henry VII to Brittany. On 26 January 1505 he was appointed Garter King of Arms, over the heads of all the royal heralds in ordinary. Clarenceux King of Arms, Roger Machado, was an old friend of Wriothesley's father and helped push the appointment through. It was around this time that Thomas changed his original surname of Writhe to the grander one of Wriothesley, which he applied retrospectively to his ancestors. His brother William, York Herald of Arms in Ordinary joined him in this change.
Arthur Tudor was Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall. As the eldest son and heir apparent of Henry VII of England, Arthur was viewed by contemporaries as the great hope of the newly established House of Tudor. His mother, Elizabeth of York, was the daughter of Edward IV, and his birth cemented the union between the House of Tudor and the House of York.
Wallingford is a historic market town and civil parish located to the south of Oxford on the River Thames in England.
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.
As Garter, Wriothesley helped organize and took part in many great domestic ceremonies—the funeral of Henry VII, the coronation of Henry VIII, the Westminster tournament of 1511, the creation of Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy as Duke of Richmond. In 1529 he gave evidence at the divorce proceedings of Katherine of Aragon. He was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. He took the Order of the Garter to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in 1523.
The 1511 Westminster Tournament Roll is a painted roll of 36 vellum membranes sewn together. It is almost 60 feet long and 143⁄4 inches wide. The Roll depicts the joust called by Henry VIII in February 1511 to celebrate the birth of his son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall, to Catherine of Aragon, on New Year's Day of that year.
Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset, was the son of King Henry VIII of England and his mistress, Elizabeth Blount, and the only illegitimate offspring whom Henry VIII acknowledged. He was the younger half-brother of Queen Mary I, as well as the older half-brother of Queen Elizabeth I and King Edward VI. Through his mother he was the elder half-brother of the 4th Baroness Tailboys of Kyme and of the 2nd and 3rd Baron Tailboys of Kyme.
The Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348 and regarded as the most prestigious British order of chivalry in England and the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.
Wriothesley was licensed to carry out heraldic visitations, though no such visitation record has survived. Wriothesley's output as an heraldic artist was considerable and includes large parts of a great armory and ordinary of all English arms.His collections are an essential link between the heraldry of the Middle Ages and that of the later College of Arms, while his drawings of monuments anticipate the work of later Tudor heralds.
An ordinary of arms is a roll or register of coats of arms arranged systematically by design, with coats featuring the same principal elements grouped together. The purpose of an ordinary is to facilitate the identification of the bearer of a coat of arms from visual evidence alone.
Anthony Wagner has called Wriothesley's Gartership "active, prosperous and in many ways distinguished".Wriothesley's hopes of permanently asserting the primacy of his office over the other kings of arms were dashed in 1530, when Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms managed to obtain a commission to carry out visitations without interference by any other herald. After this, Garter King of Arms played no part in the visitation process.
Sir Albert William Woods was an English officer of arms, who served as Garter Principal King of Arms from 1869 to 1904. The Woods family has a strong tradition of service at the College of Arms. Albert Woods was the son of Sir William Woods, Garter King of Arms from 1838 until his death in 1842. Likewise, the grandson of Albert Woods was Sir Gerald Woods Wollaston, who also rose to the rank of Garter King of Arms and served there from 1930 until 1944.
The Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms, the heraldic authority with jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The position has existed since 1415.
Sir Anthony Richard Wagner was a long-serving Officer of Arms at the College of Arms in London. He served as Garter Principal King of Arms before retiring to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms. He was one of the most prolific authors on the subjects of heraldry and genealogy of the 20th century.
Heraldic visitations were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms throughout England, Wales and Ireland. Their purpose was to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry and boroughs, and to record pedigrees. They took place from 1530 to 1688, and their records provide important source material for historians and genealogists.
Sir William Dethick was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the son of Sir Gilbert Dethick and followed his father as Garter Principal King of Arms. Though he was adjudged a qualified armorist and antiquarian, Dethick's biography is notable for numerous instances of conflict with his colleagues and others.
Sir Richard St George was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London during the seventeenth century.
Roger Machado was an English diplomat and officer of arms of Portuguese extraction. He lived among the Portuguese merchants at Bruges in 1455.
John Anstis was an English officer of arms, antiquarian and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1702 and 1722. He rose to the highest heraldic office in England and became Garter King of Arms in 1718 after years of political manoeuvring.
John Anstis was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.
Sir Christopher Barker was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.
Ralph Bigland was an English officer of arms, antiquarian and cheesemaker. He was born at Stepney, Middlesex, and was the only son of Richard Bigland and his wife, Mary. His father was a native of Westmorland, descended from the Bigland family of Bigland, Lancashire. He should not be confused with his nephew Sir Ralph Bigland.
Thomas Hawley was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He began his career of royal service as a groom porter to Queen Margaret of Scotland from her marriage in 1503 until 1508. Although he may have been made Rose Blanche Pursuivant in the reign of King Henry VII, his first permanent heraldic appointment came in 1509.
Thomas Benolt was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. As part of his service, he was also a diplomat. He appears to have been born at Rouen, though his family had stronger links with Calais. Benolt is thought to have been raised in that city, and his brother at one time became its secretary. Thomas Benolt is reported to have served Kings Edward IV and Richard III as a pursuivant, but these claims cannot be substantiated. The first definitive evidence of his royal service is an appointment as Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary on 6 May 1504. Six years later, he was promoted to the post of Norroy King of Arms and on 30 January 1511 he was made Clarenceux King of Arms.
Stephen Martin Leake was a numismatist and long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.
John Mynne was an English officer of arms. He was the son of Henry Mynne of Gloucestershire, and son-in-law of John Writhe, the Garter King of Arms from 1478 to 1504.
William Wriothesley or Wrythe was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the second son of Garter King of Arms, John Writhe; the younger brother of Thomas Wriothesley; and the father of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton. He is a direct ancestor of 20th-century British prime minister Winston Churchill.
Robert Cooke was an English Officer of Arms in the reign of Elizabeth I. In the College of Arms, he rose to the rank of Clarenceux King of Arms, serving in that capacity from 1567 until his death in 1592–3. He served as marshal for the state funeral of Sir Philip Sidney in 1587. Cooke was accused by fellow officers of arms of granting arms to unworthy men for personal gain.
Henry St George, the younger (1625–1715), was an English Officer of arms. He was a younger son of the herald Henry St George.