Monday, May 9, 2011

An English-American Coat of Arms

In an article published today, May 9, 2011, entitled "This Week In Hampton Roads History" which goes through the archives of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, the following was published this week in 1961:
Astronaut Alan Shepard’s space capsule has been given a place of honor alongside a settler, a buffalo, a crab and an Indian chief on a new coat of arms adopted by the city of Hampton. The new coat was designed by the College of Arms, official custodian of heraldry in England. Hampton is the only city in the United States to have a coat of arms designed and awarded by the ancient English court of heraldry. The crest of the seal depicts a Chesapeake Bay crab holding the capsule in its claws to denote the city’s seafood industry and the presence of NASA at Langley Air Force Base.
We won't get into all of the errors in this brief news story.  On the plus side, though, at least they use the term "crest" to correctly refer to the crest and not to the coat of arms or the entire achievement!

Looking about on the city's website, I was unable to find their fifty-year-old coat of arms, and elsewhere I was only able to find small renderings of the city's seal. This one is typical of the depictions that I could find.

The "This Week In Hampton Roads History" news item about Hampton's coat of arms can be found on-line at: http://hamptonroads.com/2011/05/week-hampton-roads-history-0

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