Yeovil's 'Coat of Arms'
This achievement of arms was granted in 1954 to mark the centenary of Yeovil’s incorporation as a municipal borough and re-granted in 1985 following the town’s achieving parish status.
The main shield depicts Saint John the Baptist as shown on a fourteenth century town seal used by the town lord and his portreeve. The croziers represent the bishopric of Bath and Wells and the Abbey and Convent of Syon whose abbess was town lord in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The crowns above them are for the Empress Matilda who placed the eleventh century ‘tenement’ of Yeovil under the protection of the parish church of Saint John; and for King John who granted Yeovil a fairs and markets charter in 1205. The Saxon crown, which rests on a civic helm, betokens King Alfred the Great, owner of Kingston manor, while the flames it encompasses are indicative of devastating fires of medieval times. The bull, with golden horns and hooves, represents the agricultural and dairy industries - a reminder of the nature of livestock markets which contributed largely to the town’s growth - while the small shield bearing a golden glove is symbolic of Yeovil’s one-time staple industry.
The supporters are components found in the arms of former manorial lords - the golden lion from the Earls of Arundel, to whom the Manor of Hendford descended from the Maltravers family, who held the lordship under William the Conqueror, and the golden horse from the Horseys of Clifton Maybank who had the lordship of the Manor of Yeovil at the time of the Dissolution when the Convent of Syon, who owned Yeovil at one time, was disbanded.
The shield borne by the lion wear displays the arms of Maltravers (black fretted with gold) and Whitemore (green fretted with gold) who held the lordship for a year under James I. The shield borne by the horse displays the arms of Phelips of Montacute who took over the lordship from the Whitemore family. The collars of ,blue with gold arrowheads are elements from the arms of Harbin of Newton Surmaville.
The motto, Industria Virtute et Labore, translates as ‘By Dilgence, Courage and Work’, the initials of the Latin rendering spelling an early form of the town’s name - IVEL.