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Arms (crest) of Belfast

Country :

  • United Kingdom
    • Northern Ireland


  • 1974 Antrim RDC (partly)
  • Larne RDC
  • Newtownabbey UDC (partly)


  • City and County Borough

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Official blazon

Arms : Party per fesse argent and azure, in chief a pile vair and on a canton gules a bell argent, in base a ship with sails set argent on waves of the sea proper.
Crest : On a wreath of the colours, a sea-horse gorged with a mural crown proper.
Supporters : Dexter, a wolf proper, ducally gorged and chained or; sinister, a sea-horse gorged with a mural crown proper.
Motto: Pro tanto quid retribuamus


The arms were officially granted on June 30, 1890.

The vair-along with the supporting wolf-is taken from the arms of Sir Arthur Chichester, the founder of Belfast as it exists today, who obtained the city's charter from James I in 1613. The ship tells of Belfast's pre-eminence as a seaport, as do the seahorses, and the bell is canting. The motto means "What return shall we make for so much?", and is a paraphrase of a verse from Psalm 116.

The arms were first used on the city's seal, made circa 1640, but were not granted until 1890.

Image gallery

Literature: Scott-Giles, C.W. : Civic heraldry of England and Wales, London, 1932; Briggs, G. : Civic and corporate heraldry. Heraldry Today, Ramsbury, 1971; Vinycomb, J. : The seals and armorial insignia of corporate and other towns of Ulster, The Ulster Journal of Archaeology vol. 1, 1894, provided by Z. W. Eisler.

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