Leominster

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LEOMINSTER

District council

Additions: 1974 Kington RDC, Kington UDC, Leominster (borough), Leominster & Wigmore RDC, Tenbury RDC, Weobley RDC
Incorporated into : 1998 Herefordshire

Arms (crest) of Leominster

Official blazon

Arms : Barry wavy often Vert and Argent on a Chevron Gules between in chief two Hereford Bulls' Heads and in base a Ryeland Sheep's Head all caboshed a Pear between two Hop Cones tops downwards all between two Apples Or.
Crest : On a Wreath Argent and Gules, In front of a Castle of three towers proper two Crosiers in saltire Or and in front of these a closed Book Gules garnished Or.
Motto: 'JUSTITIA ET VIRTUTE' - By justice and virtue

Origin/meaning

The arms were officially granted on May 2, 1978.

The arms have ten alternating green and white waves. These represent the five rivers of the District: the Arrow, Clun, Lugg, Teme and Wye, running through the fields and woodlands of the area. The remaining charges on the shield show the principal agricultural produce of the district.

At the top are two Hereford bulls' faces and in base the face of a Ryeland sheep. The red chevron represents the red Herefordshire earth. On it are two hop cones, two apples and a pear.

The torse wreath and mantling are in red and white, the livery of Viscount Hereford.

The castle in the crest is for the many fortresses of this border area. In front of the castle are crossed golden crosiers for Leominster and Wigmore Abbeys. The crest is completed by a depiction of the Llyfr Coch or Red Book of Hergest, one of the most important works of celtic literature.

The motto is JUSTITIA ET VIRTUTE, meaning By Justice and Virtue.

Borough council

Arms (crest) of Leominster

Official blazon

Arms : Vert, a lion rampant Or grasping in the sinister paw a lamb argent.
Crest : On a wreath of the colours, Within a wreath of hop leaves a Herefordshire bull statant guardant proper.
Supporters: On the dexter side a representation of St. Peter proper holding in the exterior hand two keys, wards downwards and outwards, Or; and on the sinister side a pilgrim supporting his staff with his exterior hand also proper, on his hat an escallop gold.
Motto: Where Justice rules, there Virtue flows.

Origin/meaning

The arms were officially granted on June 30, 1955.

In 1954 the Borough celebrated its 500th anniversary as a borough, based on a charter from March 28, 1554. As the borough did not have an official coat of arms an application was made.

The name probably derived from a Welsh word for 'nun' and minster, meaning an abbey church. However, the golden lion in the arms was taken as a canting element instead of a nun. The lion and the lamb also play a role in a local legend on Leofric, Earl of the Mercians. According to the legend he either built or was a benefactor of the abbey or nunnery in Leominster. As Leofric was both valiant as well as pious, the lion and the lamb refer to both sides of his character.

The lamb also refers to the importance of the town as a wool production centre from medieval times until the Industrial Revolution.

The supporters are St. Peter, the local patron saint of the monastery and town since the 7th century, and a pilgrim. The pilgrim refers to St. Ealfrid, who converted King Erewald of Mercia in the 7th century. The King then founded the first monastery in the area.

The compartment and the crest refer to the fact that the prosperity of the town has been due to the agriculte of the area. This is already symbolised by the lamb, but also by the Herefordshire bull. On the crest is also a small wreath of hop leaves to indicate the importance of that crop during the centuries.

The motto is taken from an inscription on Grange Court, a former headquarter of the local guilds and built in 1634.

The arms were officially transferred to the town council in 1976.

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Literature: Image and information provided by Laurence Jones; Borough image by Andy Mabbett; Kington Times of 2 December 1955.