Thursday 16 July 2020

A reliance on Local Government

Local Government has played an important roll in the present pandemic so I thought it would be nice to pay homage to their efforts by featuring some of the heraldry that can be found in my own Local Authority area. Sadly, we don't get off to a very good start because my own Local Authority isn't armigerous. 

I live in the Borough of Telford & Wrekin; Telford and Wrekin Council is the local authority of Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The district of Telford and Wrekin was granted borough status in 2002, though the council does not ordinarily include "Borough" in its name.

Telford & Wrekin used to be a District Council and in those days (prior to it becoming a unitary authority in 1998), it was, for want of a better word, subordinate to Shropshire County Council which was armigerous. 

Arms : Erminois, three pile azure, two issuant from the chief and one in base, each charged with a leopard's face Or.
Motto: 'Floreat Salopia'

The arms were officially granted on June 18, 1896 but Shropshire County Council became obsolete on 1st April 2009 when it was replaced by Shropshire Council, a unitary authority which replaced the former two-tier local government structure in the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire.The replaced former tiers were Shropshire County Council, and five non-metropolitan district councils – Bridgnorth District Council, North Shropshire District Council, Oswestry Borough Council, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council and South Shropshire District Council. These districts and their councils were abolished in the reorganisation.

Shropshire Council continues to use the arms of the abolished County Council however, I haven't found any formal authority for them to do so (nevertheless, I am pleased that the arms are still in use and in fact, they have been adopted, by popular demand, as the banner of the ceremonial county of Shropshire).

The leopards' faces (sometimes called the Loggerheads) in these arms were adopted by the County Council in 1895 from the Borough of Shrewsbury (Azure, 3 leopards' faces Or). The heads appear on the fifteenth century seal of the Corporation but their origin is unknown. They may have been derived from the Royal Arms, or from the Arms of De La Pole, Earls of Suffolk in the fourteenth century (Azure, a chevron, and three leopards' faces Or), or arms of some local family.

The heads are often referred to as "the loggerheads". This originates presumably in the practice of carving some such motif on the head of the log used as a battering ram.

Floreat Salopia, the county's motto, means "May Shropshire flourish!" - Salop. is the standard abbreviation for Shropshire.

Details of the County Flag of Shropshire, also containing useful background information to the arms, can be found on the website of British County Flags.

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