From the longer Wikipedia page 
The College of Arms or Herald's College is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on her behalf in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.
King Richard III's interest in heraldry was indicated by his possession of two important Rolls of Arms. While still Duke of Gloucester and Constable of England for his brother (Edward IV) from 1469, he in the latter capacity supervised the heralds and made plans for the reform of their organisation. Soon after his accession to the throne he created Sir John Howard as Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal of England, who became the first Howard appointed to both positions.
In the first year of his reign, the royal heralds were incorporated under Royal charter dated 2 March 1484, under the Latin name "Le Garter regis armorum Anglicorum, regis armorum partium Australium, regis armorum partium Borealium, regis armorum Wallæ et heraldorum, prosecutorum, sive pursevandorum armorum." Translated as: "the Garter King of Arms of England, the King of Arms of the Southern parts, the King of Arms of the Northern parts, the King of Arms of the parts of Wales, and all other heralds and pursuivants of arms". The charter then goes on to state that the heralds "for the time being, shall be in perpetuity a body corporate in fact and name, and shall preserve a succession unbroken." This charter titled "Literæ de incorporatione heraldorum" is now held in the British Museum.
There has been some evidence that prior to this charter, the royal heralds had already in some ways behaved like a corporation as early as 1420. Nevertheless the charter is the earliest surviving document to affirm the chapter as a corporate body of heralds. The charter outlines the constitution of the officers, their hierarchy, the privileges conferred upon them and their jurisdiction over all heraldic matters in the Kingdom of England.
The King empowered the College to have and use only one common seal of authority, and also instructed them to find a chaplain to celebrate mass daily for himself, Anne Neville, the Queen Consort, and his heir, Prince Edward. The College was also granted a house named Coldharbour (formerly Poulteney's Inn) on Upper Thames Street in the parish of All-Hallows-the-Less, for storing records and living space for the heralds. The house, built by Sir John de Pulteney, four times Lord Mayor of London, was said to be one of the greatest in the City of London.
The College of Arms website is .