Grant of Armorial Bearings

“For the Greater Honour and Dignity of Rhyl.”

“Council Receive Coat of Arms – Chairman Hopes They Will Stir Civic Pride.”


On Monday, December 18th, 1967 at Rhyl Town Hall there was a presentation of the Grant of Armorial Bearings.  The Rhyl Journal reported:

“Rhyl Council’s new Coat of Arms was not an amusing piece of antiquarianism, said Dr Conrad Swan, Her Majesty’s Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary, at the presentation of the grant of armorial bearings to the Council on Monday.  Dr Swan said the Arms were a functional tool which would serve to identify the Council and which would also be used on the Council’s seal to ratify their most solemn undertakings.

In the prescence of Colonel P.R. Davies-Cooke, Vice-Lieutenant for Flintshire, and a large number of invited guests, Dr Swan declared patent the Letters Paters assigning and granting the armorial bearings to the Council, and presented the ornate vellum scroll, heavy with elaborate seals, bearing the Letters Patent to Councillor Vernon Trehearn J.P., Chairman of the Council.

The bearings comprise the arms depicted on a shield, surmounted by a crest and with the motto on a scroll beneath.  The basic colour of the shield is the rare heraldic tincture tenny (tawny), an orange-brown colour which represents the sandy beaches of Rhyl and is also an allusion to one of the possible original meanings of the name of Rhyl, a sandbank.  The use of tenny for a shield in a civic Coat of Arms is unique in heraldry.

On the shield is an inverted triangle of alternating silver and blue wavy bars, symbolising the sea and Rhyl’s maritime connections.  Rhyl’s nature as a seaside resort is emphasised by the heraldic ship in red which is superimposed on the blue and silver triangle and by the salmon, below the triangle, representing the growth in recent years of the sport fishing industry.

Across the centre of the shield is a heraldic representation of a hurdle fish weir in black, which is a symbolic reference to the River Clwyd, as the word Clwyd includes amongst its meanings a moveable hurdle or wattle fence.

At the centre of the crest above the shield is a medieval knight’s helmet, with the vizor closed and facing the viewer’s left, the appropriate heraldic style for an Urban District Council.

On the helmet is a wreath, originally of twisted silk, which is of the two basic colours of the Arms, tenny and silver, the wreath secures the mantling, which decoratively garlands the Arms, coloured blue and silver on the reverse, further alluding to Rhyl’s association with the sea.

The top of the helmet is depicted as a green mound or hillock, symbolising another meaning for the name Rhyl, the Welsh and English combination of “yr” (the) and “hill”.  On the mound sits a red Welsh Dragon supporting a staff flying a banner on which the Arms of the shield are represented in miniature.

Beneath the shield is the motto of the armorial bearings “Yr hafan deg ar fin y don” (The fair haven at the edge of the waves), which was the motto on the crest previously used by the council.

During the presentation ceremony in Rhyl Town Hall on Monday night, a large replica of the Coat of Arms, which had been skilfully executed by Mr John McCartan the Council’s Entertainments and Parks Director, was displayed above the stage.”

Members of the Urban District Council of Rhyl, Municipal Year 1967-8 were: Councillor V. E. T. Trehearn J.P. (Chairman), and Councillors A. Bickley, K.F. Christley, John T. Conway, W.Elwyn Conway J.P., C.C., Eric J. Davies, Vincent Davies C.C., Michael J. Dennis, Mrs C.E.M. Edwards, J. Esmor-Thomas C.C., J.C.Espley C.C., H.Harris, D.E. Hamer Jones, Francis T. Jones, F.Kelly, R.M. Owen, D.Roberts, Graham H. Roberts, Roy Turner, H.A.Weston, Emlyn Williams J.P.

Clerk of the Council was F.J. Keith Davies, LL. B.


1 Comment

Filed under 1960's, Community

One response to “Grant of Armorial Bearings

  1. Robert

    Wow. Thank you for that fascinating explanation.

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