Berwick Pursuivant

Berwick Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary was an English office of arms created around 1460 for service on the Scottish Marches based at Berwick-upon-Tweed. In the 16th-century there was also a Herald or Pursuivant based at Carlisle on the west border.

Charles Wriothesley

Charles Wriothesley, author of A Chronicle of England, 1485 - 1559, was appointed Berwick Pursuivant at the age of 16 in 1524.[1]

Leonard Warcup

The Scottish courtier Adam Otterburn arranged for Leonard Warcup, Berwick Pursuivant, to meet James V of Scotland on 26 June 1529. Warcup had previously been Carlisle Pursuivant, an equivalent office in the West border.[2] In August 1534, Warcup was described as newly made Carlisle Herald.[3] An old authority states that Warcup was made Berwick Pursuivant by Henry VII.[4] On 29 December 1542 the Carlisle Pursuivant was appointed to conduct prisoners from the Battle of Solway Moss into England.[5]

Leonard was the last Carlisle Herald, and held that appointment in reign of Mary I of England.

Henry Ray

While Berwick Pursuivant, Henry Ray twice met secretly with Margaret Tudor, widow of James IV, at Holyroodhouse in 1537. As an herald in Scotland he wore the English royal arms upon his breast. She told him to change his apparel and put on a Scottish cloak and hat and meet her in a gallery in her lodging.[6] He witnessed James V and his French bride Madeleine of Valois arrive at Leith on Whitsun-Eve 19 May 1537.[7] Ray was Ralph Sadler's go-between in Scotland, and he even found his lodgings. In February 1540 Ray had to argue with the Provost of Edinburgh over a billet, and a servant of Margaret Tudor told his mistress, who told the king, who ordered the Bishop of Ross to move out and make room for the English party.[8]

In March 1539, Henry Ray was in Edinburgh with the Lancaster Herald. The Duke of Norfolk sent Ray's news to Thomas Cromwell. Ray had heard a proclamation that all Scotsmen should be ready for war. A "secret friend" who was an associate of the banished Earl of Angus and an officer of the Scottish royal ordinance had told him that 16 great cannons or culverins and 60 smaller guns had been refurnished or newly made in Edinburgh Castle. All the guns would be ready 20 days after Easter. Ray had attended a sermon preached by a Friar to Mary of Guise in Linlithgow. His Scottish acquaintances told him that if England made peace with France, all three countries would be at peace.[9]

On 25 November 1542 he left Edinburgh with Somerset Herald, Thomas Trahern, accompanied by the Scottish Dingwall Pursuivant. Two miles from Dunbar Somerset was murdered. Ray and Dingwall escaped. (The murderers were said to be two English veterans of the Pilgrimage of Grace, William Leche and John Prestman) [10]

In September 1543 he took Ralph's messages to Regent Arran at Stirling Castle during the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots.[11] The war of the Rough Wooing began between England and Scotland with Henry Ray's declaration in Edinburgh on 20 December 1543.[12] Ray was rewarded £12 for delivering letters in Edinburgh in December 1551, £12 in January 1553 and £15 in February.[13] Later, Ray was detained by French troops at Dunbar on 4 April 1560 when he was bringing letters from Mary of Guise declining to end the Siege of Leith.[14] He was sometimes called Harry Berwick.[15] Gilbert Dethick wrote to him on 3 April 1565 to buy some salmon for a St George's Day feast, and addressed him as "Harry Ree, alias Barwicke Pursuivant at Armes,[16]

Richard St George

Sir Richard St George began his heraldic service at the College of Arms in this capacity in 1602.


  1. William Douglas Hamilton ed., A Chronicle of England by Charles Wriothesley, Camden Society (1875), iii.
  2. State Papers Henry VIII, vol. iv, (1836),564.
  3. Letters and Papers Henry VIII, vol. 7 (1883), no. 1079.
  4. Weever, John, Antient Funeral Monuments of Great Britain, London (1767), 427.
  5. Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 17, (1900), no. 1243.
  6. State Papers Henry VIII, vol. 5 part 4 (1836) 75-77, 79: Buchanan, Patricia, Margaret Tudor Queen of Scots, Scottish Academic Press (1985), 250-1. ISBN 0-7073-0424-5
  7. State Papers Henry VIII, vol. 5 part 4 cont., (1836), 79.
  8. Clifford, Arthur ed., Sadler State Papers, vol. 1 Edinburgh (1809), 46.
  9. State Papers Henry VIII, vol. 5 part 4 (1836), pp.153-6: Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol.14 part 1 (1894), no.635, Norfolk to Cromwell, 29 March 1539.
  10. Letters and Papers Henry VIII, 1542, no. 1140 (2)
  11. Clifford, Arthur ed., Sadler State Papers, vol. 1, Edinburgh (1809), 287-289.
  12. Merriman, Marcus, The Rough Wooings, Tuckwell (2000), 137, citing Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol. 18 part 2, no. 235; and, vol. 19 part 1, nos. 44, 46, 56.
  13. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 10, 41, 151, 159.
  14. Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 341, 345, Norfolk to Cecil: Calendar State Papers Foreign Elizabeth, 1559-1560, Longman (1865), 498, 501.
  15. Calendar State Papers Foreign Elizabeth, 1559-60, Longman (1865), 499.
  16. Catalogue of the Ashmole Manuscripts, Catologi Codicum Bodleianae, (1845), p.768
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