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
Was the grantee Robert's father or brother?
2. RICHARD WITHERS
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).
4. EDWARD MERLIN
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).
11. PHILIP HOLLAND
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.
12. THOMAS PRESTON
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,
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).
13. JOHN BEAUCHAMP
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.
14. JOHN WINGFIELD (1660). See York (20).
15. THOMAS HOLFORD (1663). See Windsor (25).
16. THOMAS HOLFORD
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
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).
22. PETER TOMS, R.A.
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.
23. JOHN DODDINGTON FORTH
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).
27. GEORGE WILLIAM COLLEN
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
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).
29. WILLIAM ALEXANDER LINDSAY (1882).
See Clarenceux (42).
30. THOMAS MORGAN JOSEPH, later JOSEPH-WATKIN
(1894). See Chester (34).
31. KEITH WILLIAM MURRAY, F.S.A.
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,
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).
35. CHARLES MURRAY KENNEDY ST CLAIR, MASTER
OF SINCLAIR (1949). See York (38).
36. ALEXANDER COLIN COLE, O.ST J., F.S.A.
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.