Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winchester, Hampshire

A coat of arms

On several occasions on this blog I’ve noticed premises belonging to W H Smith, and looked at the various telling ways at which this company, one of the first multiple retailers, has decorated its shops over the years. I’ve looked at tiles, hanging signs, and even drainpipes. This time, it’s heraldry, and my post is as much a query as an observation.

A while back I passed the branch of Smith’s in the centre of Winchester and admired this coat of arms adorning the corner of the shop. I’m often struck by the ways in which buildings turn corners, and this bit of corner colour naturally caught my eye. But no one could tell me whose coat of arms this is, or was, and why it’s here. I’d love to know the meaning of the three roses, why the supporting lions are standing on the sterns of sailing ships, and why the female figure, presumably Justice with her sword and scales, is included at the top. There was no one around to ask about this on the quiet evening when I passed last year, and I can find no similar arms online. If anyone has the answer, I’d be fascinated to know.

* * *

The answer has come. These appear to be the arms of Southampton. Many thanks to the anonymous commenter who provided the information and link.


Anonymous said...

It appears to be the arms of Southampton.

Anonymous said...

And more details of the history of the arms here -

bazza said...

I cannot answer your query Philip but I note there are two red roses and one in white; Lancaster 2, York 1?
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Philip Wilkinson said...

Anon: Thanks very much for the information. I will amend the post.

aw said...

At school in Hampshire several of the books in the library carried County of Southampton book plates. Winchester being Hampshire's county town maybe Southampton was once used as the county name as in Northamptonshire and that would explain the coat of arms if they are for Southampton. If so would be interesting to know when this changed.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Ann: Thanks for your comment. Yes, there must be some historical reason like this for the presence of Southampton's coat of arms in Winchester.