Crawley Coat of Arms

Wooden coat of arms, depicting lion with hammer on top of a crowned helmet. Shield below shows 9 martlets and 4 acorns. Motto reads 'I grow and I rejoice'

This hand carved coat of arms was donated by the Borough Council to Crawley Museum in 1992.

This version of the coat of arms was officially granted on February 8th 1957 and thus the carving dates back to the late 1950s.

The cross represents the position of the town geographically at the intersection of the main London to Brighton road and the Horsham to East Grinstead road.

The birds on the cross are the traditional Sussex Martlets which appear in coats of arms throughout the county of Sussex as they have done since the South Saxons first settled in this area. The fact that there are nine of them refers to the original nine neighbour hoods planned for the New Town, namely Gossops Green, Ifield, Langley Green, Northgate, Pound Hill, Southgate, Three Bridges, Tilgate and West Green.

The acorns symbolise the oak forests that once covered most of North Sussex whilst also representing steady growth.

The royal lion at the top of the coat of arms represents Manor Royal whilst the hammer it holds represents the industry situated there. The palisaded crown out of which the lion is rising comes from the crest of the now defunct Crawley Development Corporation and signifies a planned environment.

The coat of arms was modified in 1974 because of boundary changes which saw the transfer of Gatwick Airport from Surrey to West Sussex. The shield is now supported by two winged creatures, one an eagle representing the Airport and the other a winged lion because it is a British airport. The fret work on their wings and the thunderbolts they are holding represent the growing electrical and electronics industry in the town.

Underneath the shield is the Borough motto “I grow and I rejoice” which is a translation taken from Seneca’s Epistulae to Lucilius. Seneca was a Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist and humourist who wrote a series of moral guidance letters to his friend Lucilius who was the procurator of Sicily during the reign of Nero as Roman emperor. Seneca lived from 4BC to 65 AD. The motto was chosen to signify the building of a happy and expanding community.

The Coat of Arms is on permanent display in the Modern Crawley Gallery at Crawley Museum.

(Written by Steve Leake)

Characters of Crawley

Display board with images and text about 'Characters of Crawley'. These are: Ron Shaw, Romesh Ranganathan, Gareth Southgate, Stuart Harold, John George Haigh, Alfred Morris Jackaman, The Cure.

In our Modern Crawley gallery there is a board called ‘Characters of Crawley’. It gives the details of famous people associated with Crawley. These are: Ron Shaw, Romesh Ranganathan, Gareth Southgate, Stuart Harold, John George Haigh, Alfred Morris Jackaman, The Cure.

We’ve been thinking about who else should be on those boards. Who is missing?

At the museum we have our own thoughts and ideas, but we’d also like to know what you think.

Let us know in the comments!

Can you help us improve our museum?

Empty dispaly cabinet, with sign taht says "Is the museum missing items from your community? If you'd like to donate something please ask to speak to the curator."

We are aware of the fact that the content of our museum displays and the demographic of our trustees, staff and volunteers do not fully reflect the experience of people who live in Crawley. For example, most of the people in our photograph collection are white.

We must do better!

If you’d like to talk with us about how we can change things, would like to get involved in the running of the museum, or have anything related to Crawley that you’d like to donate for us to display in our permanent galleries, then please get in touch?

Candomblé ferramenta display

Image of four metal objects: double headed axe with lightning bolts; jewelled cutlass; three tridents on stand; small copper figure.

Have you been in to see our loan from the Horniman Museum yet?

Until 15th December, upstairs in our Link Gallery we have a display case with four Candomblé ferramenta.

“Ferramenta” or ‘tools’ are used in the religion of Candomblé. Each ferramenta represents a particular Orisha – a spirit or deity from the large Candomblé pantheon. Candomblé developed from the religions of enslaved African people from the 17th to late 19th century, in the Bahia region of Brazil.

West African, particularly Yoruba, religious understandings merged with other African and Indigenous American beliefs as well as Catholicism to produce a distinctive Afro-Brazilian religion which, through music and dance celebrates life and its continuance.

These four ferramenta were collected in 1998 as part of fieldwork undertaken in Brazil by Keith Nicklin, former Keeper of Ethnography at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

They are on loan to us from the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, London as part of its Object in Focus loans programme. Object in Focus gives access to the Horniman’s collections by offering objects on short term loan.

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