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Flags at Heraldic Funerals

Last modified: 2004-09-18 by phil nelson
Keywords: flag | funeral practices | nobility: funeral flag |
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I missed the tail of the thread recently but thought I would throw in some notes on who was entitled to what at heraldic funerals.

Excluding helms, crests, shields, swords, targes, gauntlets, coats of arms, etc and a host of regulations on mourners, trains, assistants, palls, morning horses, horses of state, etc., etc. the following indicate the things that were permitted to be flown.

Pendant - archbishops, marquises (not within 2.5 feet of the ground), earls (not within 3 foot of ground)

Great banner - archbishops, duchesses, marques, marchionesse, countess, viscountess

Banner [square, showing arms with a fringe of the livery colours]

The banner always represents the field of the shield and assumes accordingly its tincture. The charges of the shield should be placed upon the banner without the outline of the shield and the edge against the flag-staff is considered the dexter, the figure must be turned towards it.- Fox-Davies

  • 4 foot square - dukes
  • 3 foot square - earls, viscounts, barons

Banner {unspecified size}- bishops, baroness

Banner of the Order of the Garter - every Knight of the Garter [none below the rank of a knight bannerette might have a banner]

I have found no basis yet for the house banner for armigers, Fox-Davies states that "the flag to be flown by a private person , as the law now stands, should bear that person's private arms, if he has any... A private flag should be double its height in length." However since 1947 all flags to be flown on land within the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal should be 5x3 - Woodcock & Robinson citing coat-of-arms CB21,96

Bannerols {a sort of banner purely for funerals}

  • 8 for a dukes & duchesses
  • 6 for archbishops, marquess & marchionesse, earls & countesses,
  • 4 for a viscount & viscountess, bishops, barons & baronesses

Guidon [same shape as standard but two thirds size, showed arms next to pole and rest diapered on tapering body, with rounded end not split - though Boutell shows regimental example with split end]

  • dukes, marquesses, earls, colonel of horse [might be borne by all armigers according to Woodcock & Robinson without citing source]

Standard [restricted to knights bachelor and those of higher rank, showed cross of St George, livery colours, motto, badge and sometimes crest, with slit end cut into two rounded tongues]

[never met nowadays. The term properly refers to the long tapering flag used in battle and under which an overlord mustered his retainers in battle ... these standards do not seem, except for ceremonial purposes of funerals, to have survived the Tudor period, this doubtless being the result of the creation of the standing army in the reign of Henry VIII. - Fox-Davies]
  • 11 yards - Royal battle standard; 8-9 yards - royal standard
  • 7 yards in length - dukes [or 7.5 yards
  • 6.5 yards in length - marquesses
  • 6 yards - earls
  • 5.5 yards - viscounts
  • 5 yards - barons
  • 4.5 yards - baronet [and knight banneret]
  • 4 yards - knight [bachelor]
[Standards no longer restricted to knights and above but may be used by esquires and gentlemen if painted on the letters patent but then only with rounded end]. {However I think this is then be a guidon being sold as a standard. It should be possible to extrapolate 3.5 yards for an esquire's standard and 3 yards for a gentleman's standard with 2 yards for a gentleman's guidon and 1 yard for a gentleman's pennon}.

Pennon {unspecified} [half size of guidon with similar design] - sons and daughters of peers Pennon of paternal or own coat - baronets, baronets' wife's, knights, esquires, gentlemen Pennon of quartered coat - baronets, knights Pennon of own & husband's paternal coat impaled - baronet's wife, gentlewomen husband's quarterings impaled with own - baronet's wife

Pennon of London livery companies - Freemen who have been masters or wardens

Pennon of hospital - London Freemen who have been masters or governors of hospitals

Pennon of City of London - sheriffs, aldermen, Lord Mayors

In the 17th century, every Gentleman using funeral escutcheons had to pay for a certificate from the heralds with details of the deceased and arms they bore a fee of 3 pounds six shillings and eight pence and every Gentleman not using any was to pay a fee of 40 shillings, and Esquires 6 pounds thirteen shillings and four pence (nobles etc had higher fees but Gentlemen with estates of less than 1000 marks paid no fees.

From Earl Marshal's Commissioners orders 1668
Woodcock & Robinson
Derek Howard, from rec.healdry (used by permission)