The Livery Companies have a unique and longstanding relationship with the art and science of heraldry, not least because they were the first corporate bodies to be formally granted arms. Prior to the Drapers’ company being granted their coat of arms in 1439, all grants by the Crown had been to people rather than to corporate entities. Examples exist of earlier use of heraldry by corporate entities such as the City of London’s own arms devised in or before 1381. The City’s arms have never formally been granted but have been recorded at the HM College of Arms on Queen Victoria Street .
The College of Arms is part of the Royal Household and the official repository of coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descendants. Headed by the grandly titled Garter Principle King of Arms and supported by two provincial Kings of Arms, six Heralds and four Pursuivants, the work of the College is overseen by the hereditary Earl Marshall, the Duke of Norfolk. The College grants arms to eminent persons and corporate bodies including Livery companies and many of their members. The City’s ongoing relationship with the fascinating subject of heraldry can be found in this downloadable document:
The Livery Committee acknowledges this content from The City of London Freeman’s Guide published by Paul D Jagger.