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Civic Heraldry of the United Kingdom
Scotland


DUNDEE (Burgh (until 1975), District Council (1975-96) and City Council (1996, ->))

From 1975-1996 part of Tayside Region.

Origin/meaning :
The arms were first recorded in 1673, granted in 1932 (Burgh), re-granted on October 2, 1975 (District Council) and again on June 3, 1996 (City Council).

The main shield shows a pot with three growing (natural) lilies. The lilies first appear on the seal of the city in 1416. The lilies as well as the blue colour symbolise St. Mary the patron saint of the city.

The two dragon supporters date from the 17th century, but their meaning or origin is not known. They may have been a symbol for trade and symbolise the sea, but there is another theory statinig that they are derived from two lions, already seen on a 15th century seal of the city showing St. Clement.

The old Burgh did not use any crown, but a plain crest showing again a white lily (see images below), in 1935 the city adopted a helmet and mantling. The Dundee District Council used the Scottish District Coronet (see below), the present City Council uses the mural crown as shown above. In all cases the crest remained the same, even though the design has changed.

The historical motto is Dei Donum (God's Gift) and has always been placed above the shield. According to legend, the city recieved its name and motto from the fact that David, Earl of Huntingdon, when returning from the Crusades sailed into a storm in the Firth of Tay. He managed to land safely on a place which, in gratitude, he called Donum Dei, which evolved into Dundee. The name, however, is of Gaelic origin and means the Hill of God (Dún Dè) or Hill of Tay (Dún Taw).

Although not officially described, the supportes have been standing on a knotted rope for many centuries. The second motto, "Prudentia et Candore" (With thought and purity), was added in 1932 and may be a further reference to the H. Mary.


The arms and seal of the Burgh before 1932.


The arms and seal of the Burgh from 1932.


The arms and seal of the District Council

Literature : Porteous, 1906; old image from Ja-Ja card; new image from here; District arms from Urquhart, 1979, 2001. New Burgh arms and seal from the Dundee Courier and Adventurer, May 1932.



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