|Heraldry of the World|
Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
The arms were officially granted on 24th October 1976.
The basis of the shield is the arms of Newport (Isle of Wight), whose old name of Medina is perpetuated in that of the river and the new Borough. The simple design of a blue shield with an ancient gold ship with white sail on stylised waves has been the arms of Newport for at least 350 years, and is appropriate for the whole new area since the ship is indicative of the character of Ryde and Cowes, which also had a ship in their arms and device respectively. As a necessary addition, a gold "chief embattled" has been added, the crenellations suggesting the castles of Carisbrooke and Cowes. The three blue anchors on gold, seen in the County Council crest, indicate the three ports combined in the new Borough. Thus the shield denotes the Borough of Medina consisting of three ports.
Above the shield is the closed helm proper to civic arms, with its crest-wreath and decorative mantling in the basic colours of the shield, blue and gold. These are the livery colours of the de Redvers Earls of Devon, who granted the Borough of Medine its first Charter. On the wreath stands the crest. On its rock sits the heraldic sea-horse of the crest of Ryde which is also a supporter of the Isle of Wight County arms. As in the Ryde crest, it is charged with two gold stars, but has been given wings, thus making it a perfect symbol for the Hovercraft which is such an important feature of the modern Ryde. The sea-horse has been coloured all blue to accord with the general colour scheme and to match the supporters.
The sea-horse supports a staff from which flies a forked pennon of the national arms of England, the red cross of St. George on white. This recalls many associations with national institutions and figures, and is the basis of the shield used by Cowes and also the burgee of the Royal Yacht Squadron. The supporters are derived from the blue lion of the de Redvers Earls of Devon, lords of the Isle of Wight and of Medina for many generations. The last de Redvers, Isabella, one of the heiresses of William de Redvers or de Vernon, mrried the Earl of Albemarle (de Fortibus) and became Countess of Albemarle, Countess of Devon, and lastly of the Isle of Wight, keeping an almot royal court at Carisbrooke and granting many privileges to Medine. The lions are turned into heraldic sea-lions, like the sea-horses in the crest, and, again for necessary difference, they each wear a gold collar in the shape of the initial letter M, and an ancient gold crown of fleur-de-lis. This emphasises the many close links with the Crown for centuries, especially in the person of Queen Victoria, who died at Osborne, her seaside home at Cowes, where she lived for many years.
The motto is the simple sentence "Floreat Medina" - May Medina prosper.
Literature : Image and information provided by Laurence Jones