The Creation of a Pursuivant and of a Herald



This is an excerpt from the book, Accedens of Armorie, by Gerard Legh.
[Some sources date this circa 1578, others circa 1597.]

Note: "Herehaughtes" was another name for heralds.

L: I pray you leave of, & shew me some other lesson. For you use me lyke a
dull scoller, to kepe me at the Christe crosse rowe, a hole wyke together:
werefore as it hath pleased you to enterlace the blason of Armes with the
knowledge of other thinges: So would I lykewise desire at this time to knowe
howe officers of Armes were firste made, And wheter they were called
Herehaughtes, as nowe they are.

G: At the first, there were certaine knightes called auncientes, suche as had
served in the warres twenty yeares at the least, who being sore brused, lamed,
and well stepte into yeares (those I say),were made by Emperours, and Kings,
the Judges of marciall actes. & of the lawes of armes, As of Conquestes, Fyeldes,
Battles, Assaltes, Rodes, Combattes, Turneyes, Encountrings, Recountrings,
Rescues, Challenges, and triumphes. These were not onely electe for their
cunninge in that behalfe, but for their vertuous life, & sage counsell. For as
Upton sayeth, they gave counselll without perill. For the which, they were of
all Estates worshiped. But in process of time, as ye see in this worlde that
there is no stay of lyfe, so they ware out. And after them succeded Herehaughtes
(which by interpretation is as much to saye as olde lords) & were so called,
for vertues of theim and honour of their service. These if they be not Civilians,
yet are they greatly priviledged by that lawe. For the lawe of Armes, is most
parte directed by the Civile lawe. Of these officers of Armes I saye, at this daye
are sondrye sortes, and that of sondry Services, and are diversly created & made,
whereof I will shewe you, beginning at the lowest, with Uptons owne wordes.
It is necessary saith he, that all estates shulde have Currours, as sure messengers,
for the expedition of their businesse, whose office is to passe and repasse on fote,
beinge cladd in their princes colours parted upright, as the one halfe white, and
the other blacke, like as the Sergeaunts at the lawe, doe give their liveries, in time
of their feast. These I saye, have the Armes of their soveraignes painted on their
boxes, the which, shoulde be fixed to their girdell, and sett on the raines of their
backe, on the lefte side. It is not permitted to them to beare the armes of their lorde,
in any other sorte, these are knightes in their offices, but not nobles, & are called
knightes caligate of Armes, because they weare startuppes, to the middell legge.
Theis when they have behaved themselves wisely, and served worshipfully in
this rome the space of seven yeres, then were they sett on horsebacke, and
called Chivallers of Armes, for that they rodde on theyr soveraignes messages.
Then were they cladd in one colour, with their garments garded of the coulours
of theyr soveraigne, bearinge their boxes, with their soveraignes Armes painted
thereon, on the left shoulder, and notels where. Theis muste be so vertuous as
not to be reprouved. For Salomon saith, an ungodly messenger, falleth into mischife.
These are made by the Herehaught of that province, by the taking of the boxe from
his girdell, and putting it to his lefte shoulder, & to see wheter he can ride, ministring
unto him a speciall othe. The knighte Chivallier humbly knelynge upon his knee, in
the which time, of receaving his othe, he shall have no Spurres on.

 

A Purcevaunte

When he hath served in that Rome seven yeares, if his soveraigne please, he
maye exalte hym one degree higher, whiche is to be created a Purcevaunte, that
muste be done with somewhat more solempnitie, an on no lesse feaste daye, then
on a Sondaye, in suche sorte as followith. The Herehaughte of armes, of the province
that he must be purcevaunte to, indued wyth his princes cote of armes with his left
hande, holdeth the Purcevante by the right hande, in the maner of a leading. The same
Herehaughte, beareth in his righte hande, a Cuppe of Silver, filled with wyne and water
commixed, and drawing nere unto his soveraigne, of whome (in the presence of many
witnesses, to this called) he asketh of his saide soveraigne, what is the name of his
purcevaunte, the soveraigne telleth the name, by the whiche name the Herehaughte
createth him, powringe on his bare hedd some of the wyne & water above spoken of.
Then he putteth over his hedd, upon his shoulders, a Cote of the Armes of his soveraigne,
overthwarte, that is to say, the manches of the Cote, to be on his brest & backe. On that
fashion shal be ware the same, as long as he is Purcevaunte, and none other wayes.
But here I leave out the othe, that should be menistred unto him, for lengthening of time.
After which othe ministred, the soveraigne geveth unto him, the Cuppe wherewith he
was created, which he beareth in his right hande, untill he come oute of the Pallace.
This Purcevaunte when he rideth muste were blacke spurres the whiche he muste
have on, at the time of his creation. And when he hath served any time, he maye, at the
pleasure of the prince, be created an Herehaughte, even the next daye after he is created
Purcevaunte, which is done in this order.

 

The Creation of an Herehaught

An herehaught, is an highe office in all his services, as in message. For as
Angels have passed from God to man, as appeareth in the Scriptures, & have
done messages of sorrowe, as of moste heavenlye and earthly joye: even so are
theis Herehaughtes messengers, from Emperour to Emperour, from Kinge to Kinge,
and so from one Prince to another, some time declaring peace, and some time
againe pronouncing warre. Theis, like Mercuri, runne up & doune, having on them,
not only Aarons surcut, but his eloquence, which Moses lacked.

Wherefore I saye, the Herehaught is not created but onely at the handes of the
prince. Before whiche creacion, he shall have his admonition, geven him by
the Secretary of the same prince, as in these ten articles hereafter followeth:

1. You shalbe readye in youre apparel of armes at all Coronations, Creations,
and Christeninges. And in all high feastes, and with all youre power, you shall
geve instructions of the same, to all officers of armes, servinge under you.

2. You shall geve your selfe to your learninge, and teache officers under you,
of all services appertaining to honour.

3. Ye shalbe expert, in betrothing of Princes and princesses, as well as in
numbringe of the people.

4. Ye shall make oft visitation, of kingdomes and provinces.

5. You shall honour knighthod, and all the actes thereof.

6. You shall not suffer one genteleman to maligne another. And railing you
shalt let to the uttermost of your power.

7. In doing of armes, and martial actes, you shall favour no partye, but make
true report.

8. Ye shalbe at all publique proclamacions, done on your princes behalfe, in
his cote of armes.

9. Ye shall not disclose the secrets of ladies or gentle woman, to any man or
woman, whatsoever you know by them.

10. Ye shal flee taverns, and hazerding.

The prince then asketh him, whether hee bee a gentleman of bloode, or of a
seconde cote Armour. If he be not, hee endueth him with landes or fees, and
assigneth unto him and his heires a congruent Armes. Then like as the messenger
is broughte in with the Herehaughte of his province, so is this Purcevant brought
in with the eldest Herehaught: Who at the commaundement of the Prince, doth all
the solempnities, as to tourne the cote of armes, settinge the manches thereof on
the armes of the said Purcevaunt, and putteth aboute his necke a coller of SS. The
one S. beinge argent, the other S. Sable.

And when hee is named, the prince himselfe taketh the cuppe from the Herehaught,
whiche cuppe is all gylte, and powreth the water and wine uppon the head of the
saide Purcevant, creating hym by the name of an Herehaught, which when the oth
is ministred, geeveth the same cuppe, that hee was created wyth all, unto the same
newe Herehaughte: who bearing the same in his right hande, maketh a larges in the
hall of his Soveraigne. For it is saide of the Philosopher, the liberall reward of a prince,
is not to be knit in a sacke, as was the cuppe, that was found in Benjamins sackes
mouthe, for the whiche, hee, and all his brethren promised bondage.

Thus ende I of the Herehaught, who taketh his name of age. Whiche as Salomon
saith is a crowne of worship.



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