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Croydon's Coat of Arms

The Arms of the London Borough of Croydon

The London Borough of Croydon came into being on 1 April 1965. It was formed largely from the territory of the former County Borough of Croydon, and the Urban District of Coulsdon and Purley. The coat of arms and badge were granted on 10 December 1965.

In the pictorial language of heraldry, the coat of arms of the London Borough of Croydon recalls earliest recorded 'local government' of Croydon.

Domesday Book says that, in 1086,

"Archbishop Lanfranc holds a demesne in CROINDENE." "The Abbey of St Peter of Chertsey holds Watendone" and "The Abbey itself holds Colesdone" The Abbey of St Peter of Winchester holds Sandestede."

The Arms commemorate the three lords of the ancient manors of Croydon, Coulsdon and Sanderstead. Canterbury is represented by the flowering cross of John Whitgift and by the two crosses from The Arms of the See of Canterbury which hang from the collars of the lion and horse which support the shield. Chertsey Abbey contributes the crossed swords and keys to the head of the shield.

The black lion is from The Arms of Hyde Abbey (the later name of the Abbey of St. Peter of Winchester) to represent the Manor of Sanderstead. The shield's second supporter is from The Arms of the Earls of Surrey, the ancient feudal lords of the County of Surrey.

The coat of arms also includes references to the more recent history of the London Borough of Croydon. Thus the oak and beech trees from the arms of the Urban District of Coulsdon and Purley contributed their branches to the crest, where they appear on either side of the fountain which is taken from The Arms of the County Borough. The fountain is the blue and white disc which, in the heraldic convention, represents water, and the mural or walled crown on which it stands is the sign of municipality. The supporting lion for Sanderstead stood rampant on the Coulsdon and Purley shield, and the keys of St. Peter of Chertsey, which were held aloft on the Urban District crest, reappear on the London Borough shield.

The Motto is - Ad Summa Nitamur (Let us strive after perfection).

The Shield is white (or silver), bearing a black cross with its arms terminating in fleur-de-lys shapes, and surmounted by five gold discs. [These elements are all taken from the personal arms of Archbishop John Whitgift.] At the top of the shield are a red and blue pair of crossed swords, and a red and blue pair of crossed keys. [A sword is the emblem of St Paul; and two keys are the emblem of St Peter: these elements are taken from The Arms of Chertsey Abbey, which owned the manor of Coulsdon in the middle ages].

The Crest (on top of the helmet) consists of a 'walled' crown [symbolising a town], surmounted by a disc of wavy blue and white stripes [symbolising water, and taken from the County Borough arms], which is flanked by an oak branch and a beech branch [taken from elements in the Coulsdon and Purley arms]. The Mantling (the decorative cloth, flowing from behind the helmet) is black and white.

The Supporters (the animals holding up the shield) are a black lion [taken from The Arms of Hyde Abbey at Winchester, which owned the manor of Sanderstead in the middle ages], and a white horse [taken from The Arms of the Earls of Surrey, but also, perhaps, representing the manor of Whitehorse in Croydon]. They both wear collars (white and black respectively), from which hang spike-footed crosses [taken from The Arms of the See of Canterbury].

The Arms of the London Borough of Croydon - click picture to see large version

 Click to see larger picture of the Croydon Court of Arms

The Arms of the London Borough of Croydon

The Borough of Croydon came into being on 9 June 1883. It was formed largely from the territory of the former parish of Croydon, with the exception of the detached portion of Croydon Crook (Selsdon). It was promoted to the status of County Borough, with effect from 29 July 1889; and was enlarged, by taking in the parish of Addington, in 1928. The County Borough ceased to exist on 31 March 1965. The coat of arms was granted to the Borough on 10 August 1886, and was inherited by the County Borough. The costs of the grant were met by Alderman Reuben Barrow, Mayor 1885-6. The design of The Arms is rather crowded and fussy, typical of much Victorian civic heraldry.

The blazon (technical heraldic description) reads as follows:

'Quarterly argent and or, a cross parted and fretted gules, between three Cornish choughs proper in the first quarter, as many crosses paty fitchy sable in the second, a cross flory azure charged with three bezants fesswise in the third, and a fess embattled of the third in the fourth.

 Crest: On a wreath of the colours, upon a mount vert, a crozier fesswise or, thereon a fountain in front of a tilting spear in bend surmounting a sword in bend sinister, the whole between two tufts of rye-grass proper, banded gold.

 Motto: 'Sanitate Crescamus'.'

In standard English, this means:

The Shield is divided into quarters, with the dividing lines surmounted by a red open-work cross. The first quarter is white (or silver), with three Cornish choughs [members of the crow family: they are also known as 'beckits', and are taken from the attributed arms of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury]. The second quarter is yellow (or gold), bearing three splayed black crosses with pointed feet [from The Arms of the See of Canterbury]. The third quarter is again yellow, and contains a blue cross with its arms terminating in fleur-de-lys shapes, and surmounted by three gold discs [elements taken from The Arms of Archbishop Whitgift.] The fourth quarter is white, with a stylized representation of a battlemented wall in red [symbolizing a town].

The Crest (on top of the helmet) consists of a green hillock, surmounted by a gold bishop's crozier [representing the See of Canterbury], and above that a disc of wavy blue and white stripes [representing the waters of Croydon in general, and the Bourne Stream in particular]. This is in front of a crossed spear and sword [representing the East India Company's Military Seminary, which stood at Addiscombe, 1809-1861]; and is flanked by two tufts of rye-grass, bound with bands of gold [representing the irrigation meadows of Beddington Sewage Farm, opened by Croydon Local Board of Health in 1860, where rye-grass grew profusely]. The Wreath (the twisted cloth band on which the crest rests) and Mantling (the decorative cloth flowing from it) are red and white.

The Motto means 'Let us grow in health'.

The County Borough arms can be seen in stonework above the main entrance of the Town Hall; on the plaque (at the junction of the High Street and Surrey Street) to commemorate the widening of the High Street in 1896; on Norbury and Thornton Heath Libraries; on the front of Fairfield Halls; and on a series of small plaques, above shop front level, on the 1960s buildings along the south side of Park Street. Until their closure in 1988, both Selhurst High School for Girls and the original Selhurst High School for Boys incorporated elements of the shield from the County Borough Coat of Arms in their school badges. The Boys' badge was based on the bottom right corner of the shield whereas the Girls' badge showed all four elements.

The Arms of the County Borough of Croydon - click picture to see large version

Click to see larger picture of The Arms of The County Borough of Croydon

The Arms of County Borough of Croydon

Coulsdon and Purley Urban District came into being on 1 April 1915, and ceased to exist on 31 March 1965. It was made up of the parishes of Coulsdon and Sanderstead, with the addition of Farleigh from 1933. (Farleigh was not, however, brought into the new London Borough of Croydon in 1965.) The coat of arms was granted on 24 March 1953.

The blazon (technical heraldic description) reads as follows:

'Or, on a chevron vert, between in chief an oak tree and a beech tree both fructed and eradicated proper, and in base a lion rampant sable, five plates.

 Crest: on a wreath of the colours, a cubit arm proper, in the hand two keys addorsed in bend sinister, the bows interlaced and wards upwards argent.

 Motto: 'Ad Summa Pergamus'.'

In standard English, this means:

The Shield is yellow (or gold), with a green chevron (inverted V shape) on it. [The yellow field, and chevron pattern, are taken from The Arms of Merton College, Oxford, which has owned the manor of Farleigh since the thirteenth century. The chevron is green, to represent the Green Belt, and the hilly nature of the district, in particular the hill of Cuthraed's Dun, from which Coulsdon's name is derived.] Above the chevron are an oak tree and a beech tree [representing the wooded nature of the locality in general, and Purley Oaks and Purley Beeches in particular]. Below the chevron is a black lion [taken from The Arms of Hyde Abbey at Winchester, which owned the manor of Sanderstead in the middle ages]. On the chevron are five silver (or white) discs. [These suggest pearls, a play on the name of Purley. The fact that there are five of them indicates the five main communities of the district, Coulsdon, Kenley, Purley, Sanderstead and Selsdon.]

The Crest (on top of the helmet) consists of a forearm holding two silver keys. [The forearm is taken from the crest of the Atwood family, who owned the manor of Sanderstead in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and who are recorded in both Sanderstead and Coulsdon in the fourteenth century. The keys are derived both from The Arms of Chertsey Abbey, which owned the manor of Coulsdon in the middle ages; and also from The Arms of Hyde Abbey, which owned Sanderstead.] The Wreath (the twisted cloth band on which the crest rests) and Mantling (the decorative cloth flowing from it) are green and gold.

The Motto means 'Let us press on to the highest'.

The Arms of Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council - click picture to see large version

Click to see larger picture of The Arms of Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council

The Arms of Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council

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Saturday, 25 October, 2014

 

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