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On 18 October 1869, a warrant for a commission of inquiry into the state of the College was established.
The warrant issued on the behalf of the Duke of Norfolk, stated: " that it is desirable that the College of Arms should be visited, and an inquiry instituted with the view of ascertaining whether the Rules and Orders for the good government of the said College ... are duly obeyed and fulfilled ... and whether by change of circumstances or any other cause, any new Laws, Ordinances or Regulations are necessary to be made ... for the said College.
" The commission had three members: Lord Edward Fitzalan-Howard ( the Deputy Earl Marshal ), Sir William Alexander ( Queen's Counsel ) and Edward Bellasis ( a Sergeant at Law ).
Sir Bernard Burke ( of the famous Burke's Peerage ), at the time Ulster King of Arms, gave the commission the advice that the College should: " be made a Government Department, let its Officers receive fixed salaries from Government, and let all its fees be paid into the public exchequer.
This arrangement would, I am sure, be self-supporting and would raise at once the character of the Office and the status of the Heralds.
" Burke's suggestion for reform was the same arrangement that had already been applied to the Lord Lyon Court in Scotland in 1867, and was to be applied to his own office in 1871.
However unlike the Lyon Court, which was a court of law and part of the Scottish Judiciary, the College of Arms has always been an independent corporate body overseen by the Earl Marshal.
While the Lord Lyon depended on the Government for its reforms and statutes, the College has always been able to carry out changes from within itself.
The commission also drew attention to the fees, annulments and library of the College, as well as the general modernisation of the chapter as a whole.
When the commission made its report in 1870, it recommended many changes, and these were duly made in another warrant dated 27 April 1871.
Burke's recommendation however, was not implemented.

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