“Hilarity with Heraldry” (3)

Last time I was looking at old football club badges from the late 1950s. Many clubs back then were using the heraldic coats of arms of their town or city. A fair proprtion of the rest, though, were using animals. Bolton Wanderers and Dumbarton in Scotland are presumably slow and ponderous yet very powerful in their play:

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Derby County have a ram because of a folk song called “The Derby Ram”:

I was going to insert a link here to let you all hear the song that we sang in our junior school classes near Derby all those tears ago, but I decided not to. If you go to YouTube and search for “Derby Ram folk song” you’ll soon see my problem.

Leicestershire County Cricket team have a fox because the county was full of very keen foxhunting men and women and, indeed, children:Preston North End make use of the Paschal Lamb. “PP” stands for “Proud Preston”, who, in the 1880s, managed by the now long forgotten William Sudell, were the greatest team in the land:

Stoke City have a strange badge which, to me, features a humpless camel. Intrigued, I looked it up and it is indeed a camel. The Stoke City camel comes from an original camel featured on the badge of the nearby town of Hanley. The Hanley camel comes from the coat of arms of John Ridgway, the first Mayor of Hanley. Ridgway had his very own camel on his shield because Stoke is the home of a huge pottery industry. Indeed, Stoke City’s nickname is “The Potters”.  Anyway, John Ridgway included the camel in honour of the land of origin of the pottery industry, Egypt. You couldn’t make it up.

A few clubs have badges with birds on them. The first is West Bromwich Albion who were nicknamed “The Throstles” years ago:

A “throstle” is a dialect word in the English Midlands for a song thrush, turdus philomelos.

Albion play in blue and white stripes so that isn’t the reason for the bird. I will quote Tony Matthews, the club’s official historian:

“The club was formed in 1878 as ‘The Albion’. In 22 years the team was based at five different grounds before settling at ‘The Hawthorns’ in 1900. The new ground brought with it a new nickname ‘The Throstles’, as the song thrush was a commonly seen bird in the hawthorn bushes from which the area took its name.”

This is the effigy of a ‘throstle’ at the current WBA ground in West Bromwich. It has been rescued after renovations and is about five or six feet high.

Sheffield Wednesday came from a district of the city called “Owlerton” and played when it was half day closing on Wednesdays, rather like the Welsh team, Abergavenny Thursday. Norwich, nicknamed “The Canaries”, play in green and yellow, the latter colour always strongly denied as merely representative of the city’s main employer, Colman’s Mustard. An image search might persuade you otherwise, though:

Other teams have particular birds on their shields because of the colour of their shirts. Cardiff City are the Bluebirds, Swansea City are the Swans, Bristol City are the Robins, and both Notts County and Newcastle United, in black and white are the Magpies:

And here’s one of Notts County’s many different badges, In this case, it’s the Ladies’ Team:

Flowers are often used as badges but hardly ever in football. In rugby this is the emblem of the Blackheath Club. It shows a piece of black heather, as a kind of pun:

In Heraldry such rib ticklers are called “canting arms”. Here are the shields of families called Shelley, Wellwood and Keyes:

This is a Spanish effort representing ‘Castile and Léon’ or ‘Castle and Lion’.

The arms of the city of Oxford seems to have been heavily influenced by student drug use in the 1960s:

London Irish uses the Irish national plant and the two cricket clubs, Glamorgan and Lancashire, use the daffodil and the red rose respectively:

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Next time, badges with a story behind them.




Filed under Derby County, Football, History, Humour, Personal, Wildlife and Nature

15 responses to ““Hilarity with Heraldry” (3)

  1. I can imagine the rugby version of the ram song

  2. I have enjoyed watching rugby matches, but one day I do have to sit down and get the rules.
    That hump-less camel looked like an albino okapi to me! 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I think Coventry City also had an elephant on their badge at some time?
    One more fact – There are at least eight football teams nicknamed The Robins – Chetenham Town, Swindon Town, Bristol City, Wrexham, Altincham, Ilkeston Town, Bracknell Town and Selby Town.

    • Well, you’re certainly a good candidate for a football quiz team. I found this on a website called “The Beautiful History:
      “What about the present crest then? The dominant feature of the badge, an elephant with a castle on its back and a red and white cross on its side is a traditional symbol for St. George.
      St. George was believed to have lived in the Coventry area.
      The elephant was the mortal enemy of the dragon because a dragon’s favourite meal was supposed to be a baby elephant. St George was the dragon slayer and therefore presumably hero to the elephants.”

      St George lived in Coventry???? That sounds right…NOT!!

      • If he lived in the Coventry area it would surely be Warwick or Stratford. Coventry so common!

      • Odd team Coventry. I still can’t believe that they won the FA cup in 1987. As a Leicester fan I resented that right up until Foxes won the Premier League. I’d still like to see them win the cup though!

      • LCFC are potentially a good cup team with Vardy for speed and a great goalkeeper. They also have a good number of players who can pass the ball accurately. Lots of positives for six wins in a row, although you always need a good slice of luck with the draw!

      • Odd that the Caribou cup draw took place so soon after the final matches. I remember when I was a boy the FA cup draw was always made at Monday lunchtime and was on the wireless. If Leicester were still in the draw Dad would cycle home from work to listen to it.

  4. This is really fascinating! The origins of these badges never ceases to amaze me! You certainly have a knack for the obscure John.

  5. This is so fascinating. I keep thinking about what the people who designed and made the badges, how did their ideas come together and so on. Thank you.

    • My pleasure. I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you google “india coats of arms” and then click on “images” you can see all the wonderfully colourful heraldry of your own country.

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