Suffolk Heraldry Society

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Quarterly 1st & 4th France and England quarterly 2nd Scotland 3rd Ireland over all a baton in bend sinister compony of six Argent and Azure. Crest: On
a chapeau Gules turned up Ermine a lion guardant
Or ducally crowned Azure gorged with a collar counter-compony and of the fourth. Supporters: Dexter a lion guardant Or ducally crowned Azure; sinister a greyhound Argent, each gorged with a collar counter-compony Argent and Azure.
Motto: Et decus et pretium recti (Both ornament and the reward of virtue).
Azure a mounted knight in full armour passant bearing on a shield Argent a cross couped Gules. In his dexter hand a lance erect. The horse proper Sable caparisoned Argent. On a chief Argent a hunting horn Sable mounted and leashed Or. Crest: between two eagles wings Or a cross patty Gules all within a coronet Or. 
Motto: Roep van de Roeper
(“Call of the Caller”)


grafton arms
PATRON 2011 - 2015
Argent a fret Sable. Crest: A Horse’s
head erased Argent between two wings Or
pellettee. Supporters: On either side a stag guardant proper, gorged with a collar flory counter-flory Or. Motto: Confido conquiesco
(“I trust and am content”)


Bedingfield arms
Quarterly 1st & 4th Ermine an eagle displayed
Gules armed Or 2nd & 3rd argent six fleur-de-lis Azure three two one a chief indented Or at the centrepoint the badge of a Baronet.

SIR EDMUND BEDINGFELD, BT. 2.6.1915 - 24.5.2011
The late Sir Edmund Bedingfeld, 8th Baronet, was one of the earliest members of the Society and became Chairman in 1978 and President in 1993. He is succeeded by his son, Henry, who is presently Norroy and Ulster King of Arms.


The Suffolk Heraldry Society was founded by Mrs Lorraine Greenoak in 1977 to encourage an awareness and interest in heraldry in all its aspects but mainly focussed in Suffolk. This county is rich in heraldry in public buildings, old houses, inns, village signs and particularly our fine churches. The Society’s booklets on church heraldry cover 500 churches, and these are continually under review. Full colour guides are now available for St Edmundsbury Cathedral and Long Melford church - see Publications.

          The origins of heraldry can be traced to the medieval battlefield where the shield was the main defence, and because knights in armour (which covered the face) were unrecognisable, the broad flat surface of the shield was used as a means of identifying friend from foe. It was decorated with a design and colours that were unique to each knight. He also wore a tunic over his armour, similarly decorated, and this was his coat of arms.These armorial bearings were handed down from father to son and thus became indications of descent as well as identity.

          Heraldry has lost its basic military purpose, but not its essential function of identification, and so is still very much alive in the 21st century. Grants of arms can be issued through the Heralds of the College of Arms to individuals and also businesses, professional and academic bodies, services and clubs.

          Our Society would welcome anyone who would like to know more about Heraldry. We have talks, run training courses, hold exhibitions and displays and visit places of heraldic interest. Each 23 April we have a formal St George’s Day dinner (see Events page).


(13TH MAY, 1924 - 10TH JANUARY, 2019)

Sir Conrad Swan, an Honorary Member of this Society, died on 10th January, this year, at the age of 94. Sir Conrad was Garter Principal King of Arms, from 1992 to 1995, when he was encouraged to retire by the Duke of Norfolk, on being diagnosed with cancer.

His family originated in Lithuania, but his father moved to British Columbia, after the First World War, and it was here that Conrad was born, on 13th May, 1924.

His interest in heraldry was inspired at an early age, and particularly when his mother brought him to England for the coronation of King George VI, in 1937. During the Second World War, he was commissioned into the Indian Army, joining the Madras Regiment and serving in India.

After the War, he returned to England and obtained his doctorate in History, at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, in 1955. Because of his interest in heraldry, which resulted in a number of written papers, he was invited to join the College of Arms, in 1962, where he was appointed Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms. In this junior office, he had some heraldic business with the Canadian Government, which led to a difference of opinion, and a row, with the then Garter, Sir Anthony Wagner (a name that still resonates in heraldry, today). Sir Conrad was clearly a man of spirit!

In 1968, he was promoted to York Herald, and, in due course, to Garter King of Arms, in 1992. He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and, in 1994, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

I first had the privilege of meeting Sir Conrad about this time, and later, I came to know him on a more personal level, finding him to be a charming and friendly individual. He was certainly very punctilious, in every way, and he could also be a trifle pedantic - which is no bad thing in a Herald.

On his retirement from the College, and living at Boxford, he took an interest in the Suffolk Heraldry Society and gave several lectures to our Members. As a result of this interest and involvement, he was made an Honorary Member. Those of us who knew him will be sad to learn of his passing. May he rest in peace.