JOHN P.B. BROOKE-LITTLE
CVO, FSA, FSG, FHS, FRHSC (Hon)
Requiescat in pace
6 April 1927-13 February 2006
John Brooke-Little was born 6 April 1927 and was educated at Clayesmore and New College, Oxford (MA). He served on the Earl Marshal's staff from 1952-53 and as Gold Staff Officer at the 1953 Coronation. He was appointed Bluemantle Pursuivant in 1956, Richmond Herald in 1967, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms in 1980 and, finally, Clarenceux King of Arms in 1995 (he resigned from the College of Arms in 1997). In addition to his duties as a Herald, JBL held three administrative positions at the College of Arms: Registrar (1974-1982), Librarian (1974-1994) and Treasurer (1978-1995). From 1991-1997 he was also Director of the Heralds' Museum at the Tower of London (now closed). JBL took great pleasure informing people that the commonly held view that the Order of Saint Patrick was extinct was quite false since, by virtue of his position as Ulster King of Arms (which was merged with that of Norroy), he remained ex officio an Officer of the (dormant) Order and, until such time as the Sovereign chose to formally abolish the position of Ulster King of Arms or to specifically declare otherwise, the holder of that office would continue to serve as the Order's King of Arms, Registrar and Knight Attendant (the fact that the last knight had died in 1974 was of little consequence to this staunch traditionalist).
JBL served as Chancellor of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta from 1973-1977 and eventually held the rank of Knight Grand Cross of Grace and Devotion (having first been admitted to the SMOM as a Knight of Magistral Grace); he was also honoured with the Order of Merito Melitense in 1964. JBL was a Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and a Knight Grand Cross of Grace of the Franco-Neapolitan Branch of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (British Delegation) and also held the Cruz Distinguida (1st class) de San Raimundo de Penafort.
Other positions held by JBL included: Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies; Master of the Scriveners' Company (1985-1986); Chairman of the Council of the Harleian Society, President of the English Language Literary Trust (1985-1996) and Trustee of the RAF Heraldic Trust.
JBL published at least ten books including Royal Ceremonies of State; Royal Arms, Beasts and Badges; The British Monarchy in Colour; Beasts in Heraldry; An Heraldic Alphabet and Royal London.