John Philip Brook Brooke-Little CVO KStJ FSA FHS was an English writer on heraldic subjects. He was a long-serving herald at the College of Arms in London. He rose to the second highest heraldic office in England: Clarenceux King of Arms. He served as the society’s chairman for 50 years and then as its President from 1997 until his death in 2006.
About John Brooke-Little in brief
John Philip Brook Brooke-Little CVO KStJ FSA FHS was an English writer on heraldic subjects. He was a long-serving herald at the College of Arms in London. In 1947, while still a student, he founded the Society of Heraldic Antiquaries, now known as the Heraldry Society. He served as the society’s chairman for 50 years and then as its President from 1997 until his death in 2006. In 1952, he served on the staff assembled by the Earl Marshal to plan the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. His interest in heraldry led to his first heraldic appointment in 1956. He rose to the second highest heraldic office in England: Clarenceux King of Arms. He suffered a succession of minor strokes over his last years as a herald and during his retirement. He died on 13 February 2006 in Banbury, Oxfordshire, at the age of 78. The funeral took place on 23 February 2006, and the eulogy was delivered by Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, York Herald. The rank of pursuivant is the junior of the three levels of heraldry: Pursuivant, Pursuit and Garter King. He had three sons, Philip, Leo, and Merlin, and one daughter, Clare. His paternal ancestors, the Littles, came from Wiltshire and may be traced in the parish registers of Biddestone back to the late seventeenth century. A pedigree of his family appears in the 1972 edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry under the heading ‘Brooke-Little of Heyford House’.
In 2004, after having retired from his heraldic duties, Brooke- little lived at his Heyford house in Oxfordshire with the families of both Leo and Merlin. He continued in his heralding duties until his retirement three years later. He also continued to guide the heraldry Society after this. He still made appearances at functions of the Heraldary Society, though his role was severely limited by debilitating arthritis. In 1956, he was appointed a Gold Staff Officer of Elizabeth II and held a key co-ordination role in planning the day. He related the story of his appointment in an open letter to Sir George Bellew, the Garter of Arms, which led to the appointment of Colin Cole and Brooke- Little for the open editorial of Bellew’s book, The Epaminondas. He later sent his own children to Clayesmore School, a progressive co-educational public school in Dorset. He oversaw the process of granting arms to the school while serving as chairman of its board of governors from 1971 to 1983. His college friends included Colin Cole, later Garter. Cole, The two men refounded the dormant Oxford University Heraldry. Society in 1958. The Society was refounded in 1978, and again in 2005 and currently holds one lecture per term.