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The St Helens Coat of Arms

The St.Helens Coat of Arms

Following local government reorganisation in 1974, it was decided to apply to the College of Heralds for a new Coat of Arms, to incorporate those areas joining together to form the new Borough of St Helens.

A design brief was prepared by Councillor G R Parr, a Councillor for East Sutton who had training in graphic design. This was accepted and highly commended by the College of Heralds, with only a small amount of alteration.

St Helens Coat of Arms

The silver shield contains:

  • The black cross of Haydock and Eccleston and the two blue bars of Parr
  • In the top left hand corner is the red diagonal cross of the Gerards, representing Ashton and Seneley Green.
  • In the top right hand corner is the black griffin of Bold, representing Rainhill, Bold and also Whiston RDC. (These were displayed on the previous County Borough of St Helens Coat of Arms issued in 1876).
  • In the bottom left hand corner is the red cross of Pilkingtons, representing Windle.
  • In the bottom right hand corner is the red crosslet of Billinge.
  • The crest above the helmet is that of Lord Newton, representing Newton UDC and Haydock UDC.
  • There is also the addition of two red fleur de lys on the body of the Ram.
  • The supporters, a golden lion and a black griffin are differenced by seven red fleur de lys on the lion and seven black bars on the wing of the griffin, to denote the seven authorities which make up the Borough.
  • The motto "PROSPERITAS IN EXCELSIS" is taken from the Rainford Council badge of office and means "Flourishing Well".

In recent times, and particularly since the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, some local people had advocated that the motto on the St Helens Coat of Arms be changed from 'Prosperitas in Excelsis' (Flourishing Well), to 'Ex Terra Lucem' (Out of the Earth - Light).

The Ex Terra Lucem motto had been particularly prominent in 2012 due to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. The writer of the Opening Ceremony was Frank Cottrell Boyce, born locally in Rainhill, who attended local schools. Frank Cottrell Boyce had made it clear that Ex Terra Lucem was a significant influence on the development of the Opening Ceremony. It appeared to be particularly relevant to the development of the cauldron idea from which the Olympic Flame was lit.

The Opening Ceremony captured the imagination of people worldwide, but had also led many people locally to question whether we should adopt Ex Terra Lucem as the motto on our Coat of Arms in place of Prosperitas in Excelsis. It was felt that it was more appropriate to the town's history and had more meaning for local people, representing hope for the future. A number of people had raised this and requested that the Council consider replacing the motto.

A public consultation commenced on 17 January 2013 and at its meeting held on 17 April 2013, Council resolved to revert back to the original motto of 'Ex Terra Lucem'. The Coat of Arms remained the same.

Information courtesy of the St Helens Council website