Prescot Coat of Arms: History & Meaning

By on Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prescot_Coat_of_Arms_Vicarage_PlaceIf you walk past St Mary’s Church, Prescot, and down the cobbled street towards the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Joseph’s, you’ll spy a coat of arms on the wall of number eight, Vicarage Place.

This is Prescot’s coat of arms, but only by extension – it was originally, and still is, that of King’s College, Cambridge, and its sister college, Eton.

King’s was founded by King Henry VI in 1441. In 1444, Henry granted the college his land in the parish of Prescot, thus supporting King’s College financially and making the institution the Lord of the Manor of Prescot. This established the Lancashire town’s historic links to the college, and to this day King’s College appoints every new Vicar of Prescot.

PRESCOT & KING’S COLLEGE’S COAT OF ARMS – ITS MEANING

Prescot Coat of ArmsThe coat of arms has three sections: the fleur-de-lis in the top left is a royal symbol of France, which was part of Henry VI’s kingdom, while the lion in the top left symbolises England.

The three (off-)white roses occasionally puzzle Prescotians, as Lancashire is traditionally symbolised by the house of Lancaster’s red rose. There is no real puzzle, however – the roses are a symbol of the flowers of knowledge. They also represent the purity of the Virgin Mary, a patron saint of King’s College and also the saint to whom Prescot Parish Church is dedicated.

The shield in Vicarage Place was moved from Prescot Town Hall in Market Place, which was sadly demolished in 1962. Other representations of the coat of arms can be seen around Prescot, including in the chancel of St Mary’s Church.

Photo:  Alexander P Kapp
(licensed for reuse under Creative Commons)

3 Comments

  1. John Hayes

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I think you will find that the three roses are argent (silver) which is difficult to reproduce on some surfaces and as a proud ex-pat Prescotian (and Lancastrian) have found solace that we do not have white roses on our and King’s coat of armsbut silver ones !!

    • admin

      Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 7:29 am

      You’re right – thanks for that contribution. I’ve updated the article to note that the roses aren’t actually white.

  2. Dave

    Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    This is from a historian at King’s College re the crest origins:

    ” Therefore we assign for arms and ensigns of arms in a field sable three silver roses having in mind that our newly founded College to last for ages to come whose perpetuity – we wish to be signified by the stability of the black colour, may bring forth the brightest flowers redolent of every kind of knowledge to the honour and most devout worship of Almighty God and the Spotless Virgin and Glorious Mother to whom as in other things especially in this our foundation with ardent mind we offer our heartfelt and most earnest devotion. To which also that we may impart something of Royal nobility which may declare the work truly Royal and illustrious, portions of the arms which by Royal right belong to us in the Kingdoms of England and France, we having appointed to be placed in the chief of the shield party per pale of azure with a flower of the French and of gules with a leopard passant gold.”

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