The Hampshire County Council Coat of Arms
On 13 July 1992, Hampshire County Council received its grant of arms representing the county and its people.
The question of an official emblem for the County Council first arose soon after the Council’s establishment in 1889. At that time, the rose surmounted by a crown was already established as representing Hampshire.
As the 1989 celebrations of the County Council’s centenary approached, it was suggested that the Council should seek a grant of arms. This county has a long tradition of civic heraldry, and a coat of arms was therefore seen as an appropriate and lasting celebration of one hundred years of service provision by the County Council. The arms represent all aspects of the county’s history and traditions, together with the County Council’s role of providing services to the people of Hampshire.
Coat of arms
On either side of the shield stand the supporters. The lion represents Winchester’s former status as capital of England in the Middle Ages; the arms of England consist of three golden lions. This martial beast also signifies Hampshire’s traditional connection with the Army; a connection further emphasised by the crossed swords hanging from the lion’s collar. The stag represents the New Forest, the Royal hunting ground created by William the Conqueror. The naval coronet and anchor around the stag’s neck signify the county’s historic association with the sea and Royal Navy.
The crest above the helmet consists of a Saxon crown and a castle. The crown denotes the county’s links with Wessex, the historic kingdom of which Winchester was capital. The castle represents Hampshire’s important role through the centuries in the defence of the realm; a role reflected in the county’s wealth of military heritage.
The arms stand on a field of roses, representing the fine countryside of Hampshire.
The arms incorporate the rose and crown from the former county badge. This sense of continuity with the past, using emblems long associated with the county, is a vital element in the coat of arms.
The coat of arms is used mainly for formal and ceremonial purposes, and the corporate identity, which is based on the coat of arms, is used for everyday items such as on literature, vehicles and building signage.
The College of Arms is the governing body of heraldry in England and Wales. The college designs and grants new arms, and maintains records of all grants so that no duplication occurs. The County Council arms were designed by Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms, one of the officers of the College of Arms.