armorial achievement

armorial achievement

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 shield depicts Saint John the Baptist beneath a decorated canopy, as shown on a fourteenth century town seal used by the town lord and his portreeve. The croziers, either side of the canopy, 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 Maud, or 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 crowns, croziers, St John and his canopy are in gold. In the saint's hand is a circular medallion of red - symbolic of his martyrdom - with the Holy Lamb in white, in front of a gold cross-staff. These are all set on a background of blue, the field of the arms of the See of Wells and of the traditional arms of the Saxon kings and the hagiological colour of St Mary and St Bridget of Syon,

The shield therefore symbolises the borough's royal and ecclesiastical association.

The crest comprises a gold Saxon crown, set upon a close helm decorated with a mantling of blue and gold - Yeovil's new liveries. The crown acknowledges King Alfred the Great, owner of Kingston Manor, while the flames it encompasses represent the several devastating fires of medieval times. The black 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 gloving industry.

The crest sums up Yeovil's activities from Saxon times to the present day.

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.