Edinburgh

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EDINBURGH

Burgh/City

Additions: 1856 Calton, Canongate, Portsburgh; 1896 Portobello, 1920 Leith
Incorporated into: 1975 Edinburgh District Council in the Lothian Regional Council (1996 Edinburgh City Council)

Coat of arms of Edinburgh

Official blazon

Argent, a castle triple-towered and embattled Sable, masoned of the First, and topped with three fans Gules, windows and portcullis shut of the Last,. situate on a rock Proper.

[Above the Shield is placed a suitable Helmet with a Mantling Sable doubled Argent,] and on a Wreath of the Colours is set for Crest an anchor wreathed about with a cable all Proper. Motto, in an Escrol above, "Nisi Dominus Frustra". Supported, on the dexter by a maid richly attired with her hair hanging down on her shoulders, and on the sinister by a doe, [both] Proper.

Origin/meaning

The arms were granted on April 21, 1732.

Edinburgh, the Capital of Scotland, has been a Royal Burgh since the reign of King David I, dating from between 1124 and 1127.

The arms resemble, but are not identical to, the device on the earliest known seals of the City of which fourteenth- and fifteenth-century impressions are on record.

Seal of Edinburgh

Seal of Edinburgh from 1557

The first example of the arms on a shield is dated 1496 and appears on a seal of St. Giles' Church.

The principal charge is Edinburgh Castle on its rock; the red masoning, fans and portcullis denote that it is a Royal castle but the reason for the silver and black livery colours is not known.

The anchor crest is said to refer to the ex-officio title of Admiral of the Forth held by the Lord Provost.

The dexter supporter may be a Pictish princess in reference to the legend that in ancient days, during a battle, the Pictish Kings used to shut up their daughters inside the castle for safety, hence Edinburgh's former name "Castrum Puellarum"; alternatively, she may be "simply emblematical of the fair beauty of the city itself".

The sinister supporter is the doe of St. Giles, the patron saint of Edinburgh.

The Latin motto is an abridgement of Psalm 127:I: "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

Image gallery

District Council

Additions: 1975 Edinburgh City, Queensferry
Incorporated into: 1996 Edinburgh City Council

Arms (crest) of Edinburgh

Official blazon

Argent, a castle triple-towered and embattled Sable, masoned of the First and topped with three fans Gules, win­ dows and portcullis shut of the Last, situate on a rock Proper.

Above the Shield is placed a coronet appropriate to , a statutory District, videlicet:- a circlet richly chased, from which are issuant eight thistle-heads (three and two halves visible) Or; and on a Wreath of the Colours is set for Crest an anchor wreathed about with a cable all Proper; and in an Escrol over the same this Motto Nisi Dominus Frustra; and on a Compartment below the Shield are set for Supporters, on the dexter, a maid richly attired with her hair hanging down her shoulders, and on the sinister, a doe, Proper.

Origin/meaning

The arms were granted on January 21, 1975.

These are the former City arms with a crown of a district council instead of the helmet.

City Council

Additions: 1996 Edinburgh District Council
Community councils using arms : Currie, Kirkliston, Portobello, Queensferry

Arms (crest) of Edinburgh

Official blazon

Argent, a castle triple-towered and embattled Sable, masoned of the First and topped with three fans Gules, windows and portcullis shut of the Last, situate on a rock Proper.

Above the Shield is placed a Coronet appropriate to the Council of a City, videlicet:­ a mural coronet Or masoned Sable, and on a wreath of the Liveries is set for Crest an anchor wreathed about with a cable all Proper, in allusion to the maritime associations of the said Council; and in an Escrol over the same this Motto "Nisi Dominus Frustra"; and on a Compartment below the Shield are set for Supporters, on the dexter, a maid richly attired with her hair hanging down her shoulders, and on the sinister, a doe Proper.

Origin/meaning

The arms were granted on July 18, 1996.

These are the former City arms with a crown of a city council instead of the helmet.

The arms as used in the town

(images December 2016)

Arms of Edinburgh

Gate
Arms of Edinburgh

Monument
arms of Edinburgh

near town hall
arms of Edinburgh

Town hall
arms of Edinburgh

Monument in St. Giles Cathedral
arms of Edinburgh

in the town

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Literature: Porteous, 1906; Urquhart, 1974, 1979, 2001