Monday, 29th February, 1988Clare College
8.45 p.m.
DR Peter Spufford
Private Heralds
D. Mark Collins
Peter Spufford
Patrick Little
Gernit Biehler
Andrew Connell
Ross Clark
Stephen Oliver
Philippa and Gordon Wright
David Babington-Smith
John Horton
Richard Marquis-Hirsch
Thomas Knollys
Toby Wilkinson
Michael Davies
Andrew Senior
Tim Cockerill
Chloë Cockerill
Rosalind Wyke

The main published source of information for medieval private heralds is to be found in "The Complete Peerage" but DR Spufford gave a full description of these lesser known figures. We were informed how the English and French Courts baptized their Kings of Arms with wine and employed them in a diplomatic capacity or sometimes as messengers for war or as spies; they were go-betweens. Around 1400 every captain of a fortress possessed a herald but after the One Hundred Years War there were few needs for them and most had died out by the early 16th C. In the diplomatic sense, they were seen as inviolable and there was much outcry when anything happened to a herald. Otherwise their duties were ceremonial – it was gracious to send one abroad to provide panache and colour – inside deals could also be undertaken. They also performed history duties and maintained their own library; there was no formal schooling and they were trained "on the job".

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