Saturday, 3 July 2021

The Belfast Arms

There is a connection between the armorial bearings of the Chichesters, Earls of Belfast and Marquesses of Donegall, and the coat-of-arms of the City of Belfast.

About four centuries ago, when prominent merchants and others of Belfast determined that a shield of arms should be adopted, it seemed obvious that inspiration should come from Lord Donegall's armorial bearings.

They felt then that they owed so much to the Lord of the Castle.

Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus neatly expressed the attitude of the burgesses towards Lord Donegall.

Donegall Arms, courtesy of European Heraldry

The Chichester coat-of-arms  ~ chequy or and gules a chief vair ~ compare with pile vair on the Belfast arms.

The Bell is included as a play upon the first symbol of the name.

The supporters are a wolf on the dexter side, and a sea-horse on the sinister.

The former seems to be taken from the Donegall arms.

The sea-horse (and crest), and the ship on the shield, allude to the maritime status and interests of Belfast.

First published in February, 2015.

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