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Sir William Woods
was an officer of arms
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:*to control and initiate armorial matters*to arrange and participate in ceremonies of state...
at the College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...
in London. He was said to be an illegitimate son of the Duke of Norfolk
Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk , styled Earl of Surrey from 1777 to 1786, was a British peer, the son of Charles Howard, 10th Duke of Norfolk and Catherine Brockholes....
and was appointed to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms
Clarenceux King of Arms is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Clarenceux is the senior of the two provincial kings of arms and his jurisdiction is that part of England south of the River Trent. The office almost certainly existed in 1420, and there is a fair degree of...
in 1831. In 1838, he was promoted to Garter Principal King of Arms
The Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms. He is therefore the most powerful herald within the jurisdiction of the College – primarily England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and so arguably the most powerful in the world...
, which position he held until his death in 1842.