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The Visitation of London of 1634

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The Bowyers' Arms as recorded in the Visitation of London 1634

The visitations were the tours of inspection by the heralds, which took place between 1530 and 1688, to regulate and to register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry and of the boroughs and corporations. They were undertaken county by county and anyone using a title or bearing arms was summoned to the visitation and required to bring proof of their right to bear arms. Both the arms and family pedigrees were recorded by the heralds. Where an official grant of arms had been made, this was also recorded. Some ancient arms, whose use predated the establishment of the College of Arms, were recorded for the first time during these visitations.

The Visitation of London took place in 1633, 1634 and 1645 when the arms of the Bowyers' Company were recorded as being in use (see below).

The handwriting of the 16th and 17th centuries is some of the most difficult to decipher but the text of the visitation reads:

The Armes and Crest of the Corporation of the Bowyers of the Citty of London granted by Sir Thomas Holme Kt Clarenceau King of Armes in such manner as is above depicted by patent under his hand and seale dated 10 November 4 Henry VII and now ordered and approved in the visitation of London made 1634 Joseph Arment is Master William Hucksley (?)and Edward Brook wardens

Edmund Hales Clarke

Close inspections reveals that the arms aretricked with the colours: or - gold; g - gules (red); sa - sable (black); Ar - argent (silver); A - azure (blue). The handles of the flotes are decorated with the head of a serpent but this detail is not part of the original grant of 1488.

In our Charter of King James I, dated 21st May 1621, the ten First Assistants are listed by name. The list includes James Arment and William Hucksley who we now know, from their mention in the record of the Visitation, rose through the Court over the following thirteen years to become Master and Warden respectively.

Simon Leach
17th October 2009

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