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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
CASTLE MORPETH (District Council)
The arms are those of the former Borough of Morpeth, granted in 1552.
The seal of Roger de Merlay I in 1166 bore a device of a floriated design upon the branches of which sat four merles - or blackbirds, probably a pun on the name of de Merlay. His son's seal was similar to that of his father. About 1255, however, Roger de Merlay III - the first of the family whose arms assumed a heraldic form - discarded this and adopted a seal depicting three gold merles flying up a blue shield. Ten years later he had the middle part of his shield painted in stripes of silver and red within a blue border upon which were eight golden merles. He thus combined upon the coat of arms the birds of his own family with the bars of the Stuttevilles, from whose family his grandmother was descended. When the arms were granted to Morpeth, he retained 'a parcel' of the arms of the 'Noble and Valiant Knight, Sir Roger de Merlay, for a perpetual memory of his goodwill towards the town' but introduced the castle turret.
The crest is that of the former Castle Ward RDC, altered to include three estoiles, for the three former authorities merged into the new Borough.
The two deer supporting sprigs of oak and standing on a grassy mound over three fish swimming in a stream give emphasis to the town's motto.
The motto 'INTER SYLVAS ET FLUMINA HABITANS' means Living among woods and streams.
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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink
Literature: Image and information provided by the council.