Guildford RDC

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Heraldry of the World
Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom

GUILDFORD (rural district council)

Incorporated into : 1974 Guildford

Official blazon

Arms : Per pale Azure and Sable issuant from Water barry wavy in base proper a Mount Vert thereon in front of an Oak Tree fructed a Lion chouchant guardant Or over all on a Fesse Argent three Cornish Choughs also proper.
Crest : Out of a Coronet composed of four Ears of Wheat and as many Acorns slipped and leaved set alternately upon a Rim Or a demi Lion Argent aroung the neck a Rope proper entwined therewith an Anchor fessewise Or and between the fore paws a Flaxbreaker Gold Mantled Sable and Azure doubled Argent.
Motto : 'FORTITER ET FIDELITER' - Bravely and faithfully

Origin/meaning

The arms were officially granted on May 10, 1960.

The shield is parted like that of the Surrey County Council into blue and black a reminder that the Rural District surrounds the County town. The golden royal lion lying on a hill above waves representing the River Wey are taken from the arms of the Borough of Guildford, the inclusion of these emblems indicates Rural District Council's situation and identifies its name readily, as Guildford is the only town in England bearing such a lion in its shield. The castle in the town's arms, is however, replaced by an oak tree to indicate that it is the Guildford Rural area, it also refers specifically to the present woodlands and ancient forest. The white band running across the shield represents the Pilgrims' Way, which follows the chalk ridge of the Downs across the district.

The three Cornish choughs have a triple significance, firstly they appear in the traditional arms of St. Thomas a Becket and the City of Canterbury, whether the pilgrims were travelling. Secondly they refer to the arms of Cornwall, in which one chough appears, and allude here to the ancient use of the Pilgrims' Way as a road from Cornwall for the Roman metal traders, and thirdly they appear also in the arms of one of the County's chief families, the Onslows, stated within the District.The wreath and mantling are in the principal colours of the arms, blue, black and white. The crown of wheatears and acorns is know as a "rural crown" and is used for rural districts councils. The white lion is derived from the supporters of Lord Howard of Eflingham, with a golden anchor at his neck as it appeared on his flag as Lord High Admiral in the Battle of Armada. The lion holds the unique flax-breaker crest of the ancient local family of Bray of Shere.

The motto is that of Sir Anthony Browne of West Horsley, Master of the Horse to Henry VIII, it is also appropriate to the fortitude of the pilgrims using the Way.


Literature : Information provided by the Guildford Council.

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