Armorial of county councils of England

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This is a list of the coats of arms of various county councils (current and former) in England.

Background[edit]

Under heraldic law in England, arms are not granted to places as such, but only to the corporate bodies that govern them. Accordingly, although arms and devices were associated with counties from the seventeenth century onward, there were no official grants until the establishment of county councils in 1889.

History[edit]

First grants[edit]

The first grant was made to West Sussex County Council soon after its establishment in 1889. The cost of the grant was defrayed by the Duke of Norfolk, titular head of the College of Arms, who was also first chairman of the county council. Further grants were made over the years, the number greatly increasing after the passing of the Local Government Act 1929 when county councils gained extra powers. Following the Second World War the majority of non-armigerous county councils obtained grants. When Durham County Council received a grant of arms in 1961 (it had previously been using the arms of the Diocese of Durham) only Hampshire County Council was left without an official grant.

Changes in 1965[edit]

Changes to local government in 1965 meant that several arms became obsolete and new arms had to be granted to Greater London, Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely and Huntingdon and Peterborough.

Changes in 1974[edit]

Local government in England and Wales was completely reorganised in 1974, with all existing county councils abolished. In their place was established a system of metropolitan and non-metropolitan county councils. Some of the non-metropolitan counties were identical or very similar in area to the previous administrative counties, and in their case they could apply for the transfer of the arms of the previous county councils by Order in Council. In some other cases, where substantial alterations were made to the county council's area, the College of Arms granted arms very similar to the previous arms, with a number of changes introduced. In the metropolitan counties, and entirely new non-metropolitan counties such as Avon, Humberside and Cleveland; new arms had to be designed. The arms of two small county councils were transferred to Huntingdon and Rutland district councils.

Changes in 1986[edit]

The six metropolitan county councils (five of which had arms) and the Greater London Council were abolished in 1986 and their arms became obsolete.

Changes after 1996[edit]

By 1995 all the remaining non-metropolitan county councils except Dorset were using official arms. From 1996 a piecemeal reform of local government meant the abolition of a number of county councils. It also recreated Worcestershire county council, who regained the use of the former county council arms. The unitary authority of Herefordshire, a county for ceremonial purposes, also gained the use of the old county council arms. Among the unitary authorities created was East Riding of Yorkshire. However this had a very different area to the pre 1974 East Riding and so was not allowed to take over the old arms. The council did obtain a grant of new arms. Rutland district became a unitary authority and ceremonial county, retaining the coat of arms that had been transferred from the previous county council. Dorset became a unitary authority in 2019, and has yet to apply for a formal transfer.

Use of the arms[edit]

The arms were granted to the councils of the county, and not to the county in general. This means that they can only be used by the council itself, who cannot allow another body or individual the use of their arms. However, many county councils have an additional heraldic badge which they can license organisations associated with the county to use.

The accepted practice is that it is permissible to illustrate the arms of a county council subject to copyright of the illustrator. In this case they should be clearly labelled as the arms of the county council.

Current[edit]

Non-metropolitan county councils[edit]

There are 25 two-tier county councils remaining in England after a series of reforms.

Council Image Granted
Cambridgeshire County Council Arms of Cambridgeshire County Council.svg Created 1976
Cumbria County Council Coat of arms Created 1974
Derbyshire County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1974; Crest and supporters added 1976
Devon County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1975
East Sussex County Council Coat of arms Created 1975
Essex County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1974
Gloucestershire County Council Arms of Gloucestershire County Council.svg Transferred 1976
Hampshire County Council Coat of arms of Hampshire County Council, England.svg Created 1992[1]
Hertfordshire County Council Arms of Hertfordshire County Council.svg Transferred 1974
Kent County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1975
Lancashire County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1974
Leicestershire County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1974
Lincolnshire County Council Coat of arms Created 1977
Norfolk County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1974; Supporters added 1992
North Yorkshire County Council Coat of arms Created 1980
Nottinghamshire County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1977
Oxfordshire County Council Coat of arms Created 1976
Somerset County Council Arms of Somerset County Council.svg Transferred 1974; Crest and supporters added 2003
Staffordshire County Council Arms of Staffordshire County Council.svg Transferred 1975
Suffolk County Council Coat of arms 1978
Surrey County Council Coat of arms Created 1974
Warwickshire County Council Coat of arms Transferred 1975
West Sussex County Council Coat of arms Created 1975
Worcestershire County Council (created 1998) Coat of arms Transferred 1998

Unitary authorities of ceremonial counties[edit]

Council Image Granted Notes
Buckinghamshire Arms of Buckinghamshire County Council.svg Not yet transferred County council, became unitary in 2020
Bristol Arms of Bristol City Council.svg Transferred 1974 District council, became unitary in 1996
Cornwall Arms of Cornwall Council.svg Transferred 1975 County council, became unitary in 2009
Dorset Arms of Dorset County Council.svg Not yet transferred County council, became unitary in 2019
County Durham Coat of arms 1974 County council, became unitary in 2009
East Riding of Yorkshire Coat of arms 1996 -
Herefordshire Arms of Herefordshire County Council.svg Transferred 1998 County council abolished in 1974, revived unitary in 1998
Isle of Wight Arms of Isle of Wight Council.svg Transferred 1975 County council, became unitary in 1995
Northumberland Coat of arms Transferred 1974 County council, became unitary in 2009
Rutland Arms of Rutland County Council.svg Transferred 1974 District council, became unitary in 1997
Shropshire Arms of Shropshire County Council.svg Transferred 1974 County council, became unitary in 2009
Wiltshire Arms of Wiltshire County Council.svg Transferred 1976 County council, became unitary in 2009

Obsolete[edit]

County councils 1889-1974[edit]

Council Image Granted
Bedfordshire Arms of Bedfordshire County Council.svg 1951
Berkshire Arms of Berkshire County Council 1961-1974.svg 1947, supporters granted in 1961.
Buckinghamshire Arms of Buckinghamshire County Council.svg 1948
Cambridgeshire (abolished 1965) Arms of Cambridgeshire County Council 1914-1965.svg 1914
Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely (created 1965) Arms of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely County Council.svg 1965
Cheshire Arms of Cheshire County Council.svg 1938
Cornwall Arms of Cornwall Council.svg 1939
Cumberland Arms of Cumberland County Council.svg 1951
Derbyshire Arms of Derbyshire County Council 1937.svg 1937
Devon Arms of Devon County Council.svg 1926, supporters and crest added 1962
Dorset Arms of Dorset County Council.svg 1950
County Durham Arms of Durham County Council 1961-1974.svg 1961
Essex Arms of Essex.svg 1932
Gloucestershire Arms of Gloucestershire County Council.svg 1935
Hampshire No arms granted
Herefordshire Arms of Herefordshire County Council.svg 1946
Hertfordshire Arms of Hertfordshire County Council.svg 1926
Huntingdonshire (abolished 1965) Coat of Arms of Huntingdonshire.svg 1937
Huntingdon and Peterborough (created 1965) Arms of Huntingdon and Peterborough County Council.svg 1965
Isle of Ely (abolished 1965) Arms of Isle of Ely County Council.svg 1931
Isle of Wight Arms of Isle of Wight Council.svg 1938
Kent Arms of Kent County Council.svg 1933
Lancashire Arms of Lancashire County Council.svg 1903
Leicestershire Arms of Leicestershire County Council.svg 1930
Lincolnshire, Parts of Holland Arms of Holland County Council.svg 1954
Lincolnshire, Parts of Kesteven Arms of Kesteven County Council.svg 1950
Lincolnshire, Parts of Lindsey Arms of Lindsey County Council.svg 1935
London (abolished 1965) Coat of Arms of London County Council.svg 1914
Middlesex (abolished 1965) Arms of Middlesex County Council.svg 1910
Norfolk Arms of Norfolk County Council 1904.svg 1904
Northamptonshire Arms of Northamptonshire County Council.svg 1939
Northumberland Arms of Northumberland County Council.svg 1951
Nottinghamshire Arms of Nottinghamshire County Council.svg 1937
Oxfordshire Arms of Oxfordshire County Council 1949-1976.svg 1949
Rutland Arms of Rutland County Council.svg 1950
Shropshire Arms of Shropshire County Council.svg 1896
Soke of Peterborough (abolished 1965) Arms of Soke of Peterborough County Council.svg 1950
Somerset Arms of Somerset County Council 1911.svg 1911
Staffordshire Arms of Staffordshire County Council.svg 1931
East Suffolk Arms of East Suffolk County Council.svg 1935
West Suffolk Arms of West Suffolk County Council.svg 1959
Surrey Arms of Surrey County Council 1934-1974.svg 1934
East Sussex Arms of East Sussex County Council 1937-1974.svg 1937
West Sussex Arms of the West Sussex County Council (1889–1975).svg 1889
Warwickshire Arms of Warwickshire County Council.svg 1931[2]
Westmorland Arms of Westmorland County Council.svg 1926
Wiltshire Arms of Wiltshire County Council.svg 1937
Worcestershire Arms of Worcestershire County Council.svg 1947
Yorkshire, East Riding Arms of East Riding County Council.svg 1945
Yorkshire, North Riding Arms of North Riding County Council.svg 1928
Yorkshire, West Riding Arms of West Riding County Council.svg 1927

Greater London Council 1965-1986[edit]

Council Image Granted
Greater London Council Arms of the Greater London Council.svg 1965

Non-Metropolitan County Councils[edit]

Council Image Granted
Avon (abolished 1996) Arms of Avon County Council.svg 1976
Bedfordshire (abolished 2009) Arms of Bedfordshire County Council.svg Transferred 1975
Berkshire (abolished 1998) Arms of Berkshire County Council 1974-1998.svg New Arms 1974
Cheshire (abolished 2009) Arms of Cheshire County Council.svg Transferred 1976
Cleveland (abolished 1996) Arms of Cleveland County Council.svg 1974
Hereford and Worcester (abolished 1998) Arms of Hereford and Worcester County Council.svg 1978
Humberside (abolished 1996) Arms of Humberside County Council.svg 1976
Northamptonshire (abolished 2021) Coat of arms Transferred 1975

Metropolitan County Councils 1974 - 1986[edit]

Council Image Granted Article
Greater Manchester Greater Manchester County Council Arms.png 1974 Coat of arms of Greater Manchester
Merseyside

Merseyside CoA.svg

South Yorkshire Arms of South Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council.svg 1978
Tyne and Wear No arms granted
West Midlands Arms of West Midlands Metropolitan County Council.svg
West Yorkshire Arms of West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council.svg 1975 Coat of arms of West Yorkshire

Sources[edit]

  • A. C. Fox-Davies, The Book of Public Arms, 1915
  • C. W. Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 1953
  • G. Briggs, Civic and Corporate Heraldry, 1971
  • The Local Authorities (Armorial Bearings) Order 1974
  • The Local Authorities (Armorial Bearings) Order 1975
  • The Local Authorities (Armorial Bearings) Order 1976
  • The Local Authorities (Armorial Bearings) Order 1977
  • The Local Authorities (Armorial Bearings) (No. 2) Order 1997[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2013-07-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "CIVIC HERALDRY OF ENGLAND AND WALES-WARWICKSHIRE".
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2010-09-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)