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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom

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PONTREFACT (urban district council)

Incorporated into : 1974 Wakefield

Arms (crest) of Pontefract

Official blazon

Arms : Per fesse wavy Sable and barruly wavy Argent and Azure a quadrangular Castle in perspective only three of its four towers being visible on the dome of each tower Argent a Flagstaff proper and flying therefrom to the sinister a Banner Gules.
Motto: 'POST MORTEM PATRIS PRO FILIO' - Held after the death of the Father for the Son (or After the Father We are for the Son)


The arms were recorded by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, during his visitation of Yorkshire in 1584 and 1585, and a certified painting was obtained by the Corporation from the College of Arms in May 1931.

The Borough of Pontefract received its Charter of Incorporation from Richard III in 1484. On a shield divided across the middle by a wavy line is a conventional representation in white of Pontefract Castle with a red banner flying from three towers. The Castle was built by Ilbert De Lacy, Lord of Pontefract in the time of William I and it became one of the mightiest fortresses in the North. The Castle was held by the Royalists during the Civil War and was destroyed by order of Parliament. The Water in the lower half of the shield presumably represents the Castle Moat, there being no river of any importance at Pontefract, even though the name of the town may be translated as "Broken Bridge".

The motto relates to the refusal of the garrison at Pontefract Castle to surrender the Castle when called upon so to do, following the execution of Charles I in 1649. It is taken from coins struck by the garrison and was adopted as the town's motto some time after the Restoration in the reign of Charles II.

Image gallery

Literature: Information and pictures from Metropolitan District Council website.

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