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Bishop's Coat of Arms


As well as the different charges* there are a many numerological references which are identified and explained in the following notes. 


* -Knots securing the tassels: Dexter* (wearer’s right) has five filaments, five being the number associated with places healing (cf. five porticos of Bethesda /Bethzatha (John 5:2)). Architecturally, Holywell’s well is distinguished by its five foils*. The sinister* has four filaments the number associated with the Evangelists.

The number of tassels simply indicates a bishop.

Bishops coat of arms.jpg


* -Ermine, the use of fur indicates a mark of dignity - The chief* is red, the Latin expresses this as caput sanguineum: the significance is that of the Welsh martyrs numbered among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the church. - The engrailed* bend*: has nine scalloped bays on the lower edge, the significance being the ninth hour (3 o’clock) the time of Jesus’ death. The upper edge having seven scalloped bays the significance being the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit or the seven Sacraments of the Church. Also and not irrelevantly that the Cathedral Church became so in the seventh year of the 20thCentury, that it was completed and consecrated in the seventh year of the previous half century, nor that seven Welsh bishops met with Saint Augustine of Canterbury to assert the distinctiveness of their church. - The triplicated gold charge* in the shield. These clarions are common to ecclesiastical arms and express symbolically the life of the Diocese responding to the call to invoke God in gratitude and praise. They are composed of gold blocks (masoned) having numerological exactness to express the date of the martyrdom of S. Richard Gwyn: The curved part being composed of 15 blocks The top part composed of 10 blocks which together give the date 15thOctober; and The curved part being 8 courses, The top part of 4 courses which give the year [15]84 Heraldry along with art generally has a taste for the figure three, symbolising the Trinity, the Resurrection on the third day and such like. -the cornucopia is seen in art as a prop held by angels containing creation’s fruits or in this case flowers, providing a botanical progression through the Diocese – the upper- i.the coastal area by Lymonium Lumilelaxflowered sea lavender; ii.Veronica spicata spiked speedwell for the Marches and; iii.Hieracium Snowdonensefor the dramatic gradients. the lower- iv.Snowdrops which are the analogue of the Feast of the Presentation or Candlemas, it was in the Temple that Simeon spoke of the first and prophesied Mary’s dolours (Luke 2:34-35) representing therefore the Cathedral Church’s dedication, ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’, v.a red rose, the national flower of England thereby representing Bishop Peter’s father, and vi.pinks, the national flower of Germany representing his mother.

VIVITE ET VIGILATE IN DEO – LIVE AND BE VIGILANT IN GOD is a quotation from Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) from a letter to the monks of S.Eucharius in Trier. The dots standing at the ends and between the words of the motto represent the number of Deaneries in the Diocese.

Bend – diagonal line or band. Symbolising defence or protection. The bishop is to defend the faith of the church and be (pastor) protector of the people. Blazon - formal description of a coat of arms, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image. A coat of arms is primarily defined not by a picture but rather by the wording of its blazon. Because heraldry developed at a time when English clerks wrote in French, many terms in English heraldry are of French origin, as is the practice of placing most adjectives after nouns rather than before. The blazon of armorial bearings follows a rigid formula. It begins by describing the field (background). The word Blazonalso refers to the specialized language in which a blazon is written, and, as a verb, to the act of writing such a description. Charge – in heraldry a charge is any emblem or device occupying the field of an escutcheon. Chief – broad band across the top of the shield. Symbolises dominion and authority (in the case of a bishop, of his diocese) Clarion - a shrill narrow tubed trumpet. The trumpet plays a role in Old Testament theophanies and assemblies of God’s people. (Numbers 10.1, Zephaniah 1.16, Isaiah 27.13, etc.) Dexter - right Engrailed - serrated Escutcheon – shield Foil – Arc or space between the cusps of the stone tracery of a window Gules – red Or - gold Sable – black Saturna – the name given to this shape of ecclesiastical hat because of its resemblance to the planet Saturn and its rings. Sinister - left Vert – green

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