Arise Sir Knight – Homepage Who & What were knights? When & Why did knights exist? Why & How did they fight? Where in Gloucestershire did knights live and fight? Activities & Downloads! Resources & further reading! About Gloucestershire Archives
Gloucestershire Heraldry

 

Civic heraldry, Local Achievements & Coats-of-Arms


Most towns and cities have coats-of-arms with achievements.

Gloucestershire has a number of interesting heraldic achievements and arms found among the county’s nobility, its cities, towns and industrial concerns.  This is a quick guide:

Gloucestershire
The Gloucestershire coat of arms
The Gloucestershire coat-of-arms has chevrons taken from the arms of the De Clare family, who were the ancient Earls of Gloucester.  The hanging fleeces represent the county’s wool trade while the horseshoes represent the iron industry.  The motto ‘Prorsum Semper’ translates as ‘Ever forward’ and comes from the arms of the Allen family.  The crest is derived from the arms of the City of Gloucester (the main county town) while the helmet indicates an untitled rank. 

 

GloucesterThe medieval coat of arms of Gloucester

The city actually has two coats-of-arms. 

The first was granted by Henry VIII and is unusual in colour and form.  The horseshoes and nails represent the city’s iron industry, while the boar’s head refers to Richard III who gave the city its first charter.  The sword has a cap on top which also come from the King.   

The modern coat of arms of GloucesterIn 1652 new arms were introduced comprising a gold shield with the red chevrons of the Clares and 10 red dots (torteaux).  In addition, the arms had a full achievement of a crest (a lion in a castle with a sword and trowel in its paws), a pair of lion supporters, an untitled helmet and a motto ‘Fides invicta triumphat’ (Unconquered faith triumphs).  These represent the siege the city withstood in the Civil War.  These new arms were actually declared void by Charles II but the city ignored him and in 1945 the full achievement was confirmed by the College of Heralds. 

 

CheltenhamThe Cheltenham town coat of arms

Cheltenham’s coat-of-arms were granted in 1877 and represented the town as a centre for learning.  The cross represents Edward the Confessor who owned much of the land on which Cheltenham was built.  The town’s spa waters are indicated by the blue colours and also by the pigeons (a flock of these feeding at a spring led to the discovery of the waters).  The oak represents the town’s reputation as a garden town. The motto ‘Salubirtas et eruditio’ (Through health and learning).

 

The new Gloucester Rugby Club coat of armsGloucester Rugby Club

Whilst it used to use the Gloucester City coat of arms Gloucester Rugby adopted a new one in 2005. However it still includes a number of elements from the old city coat of arms such as the helmet and the two lion supporters on each side of the shield. The rugby ball image on the shield is meant to represent importance of the game and the club in the city.

 

University of GloucestershireGloucestershire University’s Coat of Arms

Gloucestershire University’s Coat of Arms draws on many historical and heraldic elements from around the county. The chevronels are from the Clare family, whilst the horse shoes are from the Tudor Gloucester coat of arms. The stags represent the Forest of Dean and the cross represents the rivers Wye and Severn, as well as the cross of Edward the Confessor first Lord of the manor of Cheltenham. The motto means “In spirit and in truth”.


What would your knightly motto be?


Some more Gloucestershire Arms

The University of Gloucestershire and Gloucester Rugby Club’s coats of arms are quite recent; drawing on local history and heraldry to express their connection to the county. By comparison, these family coat-of-arms are among the oldest in the county, tracing their origins back to the knights of the 11th century

The De Audley, De Clare, and Berkeley family coats of arms


Here are some more Gloucestershire coats of arms... And some more... And even more...

A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire   A page from The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire


All these arms are recorded in a book called "The Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire" written in the 18th century (1700s) and held at Gloucestershire Archives. The book’s author did not use the standard heraldic notation and so we do not know the colours.


Can you think of anywhere else you might find heraldry today?