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)

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