Wriothesley Garter book

Sir Thomas Wriothesleyc.1525 - c.1530

Royal Collection Trust, UK

Royal Collection Trust, UK
London, United Kingdom

Bound in brown calf, with worn gold-tooling round edges.

Sir Thomas Wriothesley, who from 1505 to 1534 occupied the post of Garter King of Arms (doyen of the College of Arms), is known to have compiled many books and rolls of arms, pedigree and precedence. This manuscript contains a variety of records on heraldic matters, especially the Order of the Garter, and heralds' fees and oaths. The manuscript is open at what may be the first contemporary view of the opening of Parliament, at Blackfriars on 15 April 1523. Henry VIII is enthroned in the middle, with three earls in front of him bearing the Sword of State and the Cap of Maintenance. To the King's left are Garter King of Arms (Wriothesley himself, wearing the distinctive tabard of a herald) and officers of the Royal Household. To the King's right are three bishops: Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, identified by the red Cardinal's hat, and William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury are seated; behind Wolsey stands Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London. The arms of Wolsey and Warham are also shown. Below these, to the King's right, sit the Lords Spiritual, nine bishops with seventeen abbots behind; to his left and on the cross-bench sit the Lords Temporal, two coroneted dukes, seven earls, sixteen barons, and the Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. The four woolsacks in the middle are a symbol of the wealth of England's wool trade, and accommodate two Chief Justices, eight judges, and four Serjeants of the law, behind whom kneel two clerks with their quills and inkpots. Behind the cross-bench, at the bar of the House (at the bottom of the page) stands Sir Thomas More, Speaker of the House of Commons, with thirteen Members of Parliament behind him.


  • Title: Wriothesley Garter book
  • Creator: Sir Thomas Wriothesley
  • Date Created: c.1525 - c.1530
  • Physical Dimensions: w222 x h308 x d52 mm
  • Type: Books & Manuscripts
  • Rights: Supplied by Royal Collection Trust / (c) HM Queen Elizabeth II 2012
  • External Link: http://www.rct.uk/collection/1047414
  • Medium: Manuscript on vellum with bodycolour and gold leaf, brush-and-pen linear work.
  • Provenance: Owned, and largely written, by Sir Thomas Wriothesley, with additions by his successors as Garter King of Arms; bought for the Royal Library in 1892

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