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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
BEDFORD (Borough council)
From 1974-1992 North Bedfordshire Borough council
Additions : 1974 Bedford RDC, Kempston UDC
- Argent an Eagle displayed wings inverted and head turned towards the sinister Sable ducally crowned and surmounted by a Castle of three tiers Or.
- Per pale Argent and Gules a Fesse Azure.
Both arms were officially recorded in 1566 and have been used since. Exemplified to the North Bedfordshire Borough Council by the Kings of Arms on December 30, 1977.
Bedford uses both arms. The arms with the eagle are used more widely however.
The castle on the eagle is taken from the oldest known seal of Bedford, dating from the 15th century. The second seal also showed the castle, but flanked by two salamanders. It also dates from the 14th century. The eagle and castle appear on the seals in 1836, but as mentioned above, are used as arms since at least 1566.
The meaning of both arms is not known. The left arms may be derived from a banner, the right may be derived from the arms of the last member of the Beauchamp family, Lords of Bedford, who was killed in 1265.
The arms as used on a JaJa postcard +/- 1905
The arms on a Wills's cigarette card, 1906
The arms in the Coffee Hag albums +/- 1935
The arms as used on a Faulkner postcard +/- 1905
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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink
Index of the site The arms and seals of the borough of North bedfordshire, published by the council in 1978.