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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom

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Metropolitan Borough of London

Incorporated into: 1965 Barking and Dagenham

Arms (crest) of Barking

Official blazon

Arms: Sable on a Pale Ermine between two Lions rampant combatant two Abbess's Crosiers in saltire Or.
Crest: On a Wreath Argent and Sable the Fifteenth Century Curfew Tower of Barking proper.
Motto: 'DEI GRATIA SUMUS QUOD SUMUS' - By the grace of God we are what we are.


The arms were granted on October 16, 1931.

Barking came into existence in the sixth century, and owed much of its early prosperity to the foundation of Barking Abbey by Erkenwald, later Bishop of London in 666. It was in fact a nunnery and grew to become the richest and most powerful in the country, numbering three queens and two princesses among its abbesses and owning vast tracts of land in the great Forest of Waltham. Edmund and Jasper Tudor were both raised and tutored at the abbey school, ironically it was Jasper's grandson, Henry VIII, who was responsible for the abbey's dissolution in 1539. The abbess' crosiers in the arms recall this great religious foundation.

The Monteagle and Cecil families both held land in Barking, the Cecils came into possession of Bifrons Estate by the marriage of the heiress Frances Gascoyne to James Cecil, Marquis of Salisbury, who took the surname Gascoyne-Cecil. One of their sons was Robert Gascoyne Cecil, the Prime Minister. Both families are recalled by the lions derived from their heraldry, the Cecils arms were supported by ermine lions and the ermine pale is probably derived from these.

The Abbey's gate-house is seen in the crest, known locally as the Curfew Tower it was used as a device by the former Barking Urban District Council. The Tower houses the rood from the Abbey and together with part of the walls is the only part of the Barking Abbey still intact. In 1870 the Gas Light and Coke Company opened the Beckton Gas Works, which was partly in Barking and on 19th May 1925, George V opened the Central Electricity Generating Board's "A","B" and "C" stations at Creeksmouth, Barking. These two industries were previously important locally and are recalled by the torches held by the lions, themselves derived from those in the arms.

The motto is a variation of that of the Abbey.Literature:

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