Education And Debate

How to do it: How to acquire a coat of arms

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 20 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1682
  1. John Thurston, registrara
  1. a Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine, London WC2A 3PN


The Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine was inaugurated on 2 November 1993. The new council decided that it would like a logo or badge to signify its identity and to adorn such items as headed notepaper and the president's badge of office. As registrar I was instructed to approach the College of Arms for letters-patent granting the faculty its own coat of arms.

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of accident and emergency medicine, the faculty is an intercollegiate one based on six royal colleges. The faculty has flourished, it has a steadily increasing membership, and the faculty board's examination committee holds regular examinations for fellowship of the faculty twice a year.

Achievement of arms

The first step was to approach the College of Arms in London and the duty herald, who in our case was William Hunt, Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms. He led me through the detailed process of acquiring our armorial bearings.

We submitted the articles of constitution of the faculty to Portcullis, who submitted them to the Kings of Arms. The faculty was then given permission to petition the Earl Marshal for armorial bearings. Portcullis had made it clear that the smaller the committee designing the coat of arms the better. He favoured a committee of one. In the event we formed a small subcommittee of three.

Figure 1 shows the principal elements of an achievement of arms, in this case those of the Worshipful …

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