Elizabeth Roads of Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburra) is the first woman ever, after a 35-year career at the heraldry office forScotland, to be appointed herald at the Court of the Lord Lyon. The English equivalent, the College of Arms, has never had a female herald.
The individual we call a “herald” today is not the trumpet-blowing messenger of medieval stories, who served as a master of ceremony, oversaw tournaments and acted as an ambassador.
“The Court of the Lord Lyon is the heraldic authority for Scotland and deals with all matters relating to Scottish Heraldry and Coats of Arms and maintains the Scottish Public Registers of Arms and Genealogies.”
As Lord Lyon King (person) of Arms Elizabeth Roads will also be responsible for state ceremonies in Scotland.
The office of Lyon King of Arms dates from the 14th century. The position could include the much older Celtic office of royal Seanchaidh or of King’s Poet and is keeper of the royal genealogy.
The Lord Lyon is the only King of Arms in Scotland and as is the Heraldic executive and the Judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon which has jurisdiction over all heraldic business in Scotland.
Officers of Arms can be consulted on matters of heraldry and genealogy by members of the public and might represent clients at the Lyon Court.
An Act of the Scottish Parliament of 1592 gave the Lord Lyon responsibility for prosecuting as a criminal offence anyone who uses unauthorized Arms. The Court has its own Proculator Fiscal (Scotland has a different legal System for England and the U.S.) an independent official prosecutor.
In 1672 an additional Act of the Scottish Parliament authorized the creation of the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. This Register is maintained by the Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records and contains an official copy of every Coat of Arms granted in Scotland since 1672.
To access the newspaper article about Elizabeth Roads click on the Edinbugh Scotsman newspaper online edition at NEWS.scotsman.com