Guidance on the design of Chapter Banners 2021

Following recent formal approval of the designs, there are to be two banner dedications in Hertfordshire Province this year (subject to Covid19 restrictions) and another one for the following year. However, it has been no easy road to travel and, in some quarters, it has caused a bit of consternation. 

It is appreciated that the following pointers do contain a depressing number of negatives or things you can’t do, but an approved design should be a fairly painless procedure if the guidelines are read and understood prior to submission. 

As a good starting point, most Chapter banners are based on those of the Lodge to which they are attached, with some Royal Arch allusion in place of the square and compasses, e.g. interlaced triangles, the triple tau, etc. These items are usually quite acceptable.

It helps on the initial submission of a design, to include an explanation as to its symbolism and how each aspect is of significance to the Chapter.

It is probably better to avoid any Latin quotes as these must be checked by a Latin scholar; Google translate is not sufficient! 

For perhaps obvious reasons Chapters should avoid dark blue as a background colour. 

The title of Hertfordshire Province may be included, but the wording should be smaller and less obvious than the Chapter Name and No. to avoid it being perceived as a ‘Provincial’ Design. The Provincial Crest should not be used for private Chapters.

The Chapter name and number must always be included prominently. To standardise designs the Name should be shown in full and the number must always be preceded with ‘No.’ (i.e. the lettering capital ‘N’, small ‘O’ and a full stop ‘.’

Chapters are highly recommended to adopt Banner designs that have no bearing on a ‘Coat of Arms’. Arms are heraldic devices borne on a shield. A Banner consists of objects combined to form a design without the use of a shield. Accordingly, designs will not be approved if they are heraldic in character or  attempt to avoid the Laws of Arms by using a corruption of a shield outline, unless with prior approval from the College of Heralds. However, a small shield carried by a knight as part of the design of a banner would generally be permitted.

The grant of Arms, which carries the right to bear them, is a Royal Prerogative. Chapters, that wish to design and assume Arms, must consult the College of Heralds before progressing further. However, the probability of receiving permission from the College is at best, remote. Don’t even think about using any part of the Royal Coat of Arms as that requires consent of the Sovereign!

Just to complete the problems associated with heraldry, no private Chapter is permitted to use the Arms of the Supreme Grand Chapter.

Whilst the above is an attempt to provide an abridged version of the notes & guidance issued by UGLE, the full version is available from the Provincial Grand Scribe E. through whom the approval of banner designs should be channeled.

As part of the ‘Hertfordshire Banner History Project’ there is an online catalogue of the Royal Arch Banners in the Province at: