The Armorial Bearings of the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk



The Council was established, following the re-organisation of local government, to administer, with effect from 1st April 1974, a large area formerly administered by seven local authorities, each of which had its own Armorial Bearings.


Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Coat of Arms pdf


The new Armorial Bearings were granted following the submission to the Earl Marshall of a Memorial which is reproduced below.


They were designed by the Chester Herald, D.H.B. Chesshyre M.A., F.S.A., College of Arms, London and the design includes elements representing the varying characteristics of the Borough – the rural nature of the area on the one hand and its coastal and maritime traditions on the other.  The historic importance and predominance of King’s Lynn is reflected in the shield (not too dissimilar from the shield contained within the Armorial Bearings of the former King’s Lynn Borough Council) and the remainder of the design is symbolic of the remaining parts of the Borough.


The blazons are described as follows:


Arms: Per chevron azure and or three dragons’ heads erect and erased each transfixed through the mouth by a cross totonny fitchy all within a bordure per chevron counter-changed.


Crest: Upon a helm with a wreath or and azure upon a bollard sable roped or a seagull proper gorged with a coronet and holding in the dexter claw a cross botonny fitchy or.


Supporters: On either side a Sea Lion or supporting with the exterior leg an ostrich feather argent.


Badge: A Sea Lion or within a garland of oak leaves fructed proper.


The significance of the various emblems is described by the Chester Herald as follows:


A.        The shield is basically the arms of the ancient Borough of King’s Lynn which were recorded at the College of Arms as early as 1563.  They refer of course to the legend of St Margaret of Antioch, who has been portrayed on the Seals of Lynn since the 13th Century, and to whom the Parish Church is dedicated.  She was the Christian daughter of a pagan priest who was imprisoned for her faith.  She was devoured by Satan in the form of a dragon, but she wore a cross by whose power she was able to burst the dragon open and emerge unhurt.  Her symbol is, therefore, a dragon’s head pierced by a cross.  The per chevron division and the addition of a bordure serve to make the new shield distinct from the old one while retaining much of its medieval simplicity.


The bordure also suggests the wider boundaries of the new authority, and the new shield is composed of seven parts to symbolise the seven authorities which were amalgamated.


B.        The Seagull in the crest is an appropriate maritime reference.  It occurred as a supported in the Arms of the Borough of King’s Lynn but here it stands on a bollard in order to make it distinctive.  It is gorges with a crown or coronet like the King’s Lynn Supporter, and the lion in the crest of Downham Rural District Council.  The coronet refers to the Borough’s many royal connections.  The seagull holds a cross botonny like the crosses in the shield, and the cross crosslets in the arms of Freebridge Lynn Rural District Council.


C.        The Supporters are based on the crest of U.D.C.  The lion is a version of the lions or leopards in the English Royal Arms and its fishes tail suggests the Borough’s link with the sea.


D.        The Sea Lion occurs again in the badge, but here it is surrounded by a garland of oak leaves as a reference to the rural nature of much of the district.  Oak leaves formed part of the coronet in the crest of the former Downham Rural District Council.


Memorial submitted to the Earl Marshall:


“My Lord Duke,


I have the honour to represent unto Your Grace that pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 the West Norfolk District Council  consisting of a Chairman and Councillors was on the eleventh day of June 1973 duly constituted a Body Corporate by that name to administer as from the first day of April 1974 that area formerly administered by the King’s Lynn Borough Council; the Downham Market Urban District Council; the Hunstanton Urban District Council; the Docking Rural District Council; the Downham Rural District Council; the Freebridge Lynn Rural District Council and the Marshland Rural District Council.


That by Charter bearing the date the thirteenth day of January 1981 Her Majesty The Queen was graciously pleased to confer upon the District of West Norfolk the status of a Borough.


That by Special Resolution of the Council dated the twelfth day of March 1981, such resolution having taken effect on the fourteenth day of May 1981, the name of the Borough was changed to the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk and accordingly the former West Norfolk District Council is now the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.


That the Mayor and Councillors of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk are desirous of having Armorial Bearings established under lawful authority and I therefore as Chief Executive Officer of the said Borough Council and on behalf of the same have the honour to request the favour of Your Grace’s Warrant to the Kings of Arms for their granting and assigning such Arms and Crest and in the same patent such Supporters and such Device or Badge as they may consider fit and proper to be borne and used by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk as its Common Seal or otherwise according to the Laws of Arms.


J. McGhee

Chief Executive Officer

Dated this thirteenth day of December 1983.”


Contact Details

For enquiries please contact:


The Civics Officer, The Town Hall, King's Lynn, PE30 5DQ.  Tel: 01553 762124 or 01553 616313, fax No: 01553 776795



Last updated: 15 August 2012
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