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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom

  • Overseas possessions
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Incorporated into : 1975 Stewartry (1996 Dumfries and Galloway)

Arms (crest) of Kirkcudbright

Official blazon

Azure, a lymphad with sails furled Argent, in the stern Saint Cuthbert seated, holding on his knees the head of the martyr Saint Oswald, all Proper.

Above the Shield is placed a Burghal coronet.


The arms were officially granted on March 11, 1921.

Kirkcudbright, was probably a Royal Burgh by 1330.

The arms are based on the device on the oldest known seal of the Burgh of which a fifteenth-century impression is known.

Using the blue and silver colours of Galloway, they show St. Cuthbert, patron saint of the town and from whom it takes its name, seated in the stern of a ship, holding the head of the martyred King Oswald of Northumbria. Oswald, a champion of Christianity, was slain in battle in 642 by Penda, King of Mercia, who fixed his head to a stake. The head of King Oswald was later sent to Lindisfarne, where it was ultimately buried with St. Cuthbert's body and, with it, transferred to the Saint's final resting-place in Durham Cathedral.

The arms were matriculated in 1921 so that they could be displayed on the front of the Town Council gallery in the parish church.

In 1927, there was discussion with the Lyon Office about the addition of a motto, but nothing was ever settled.

Arms (crest) of Kirkcudbright

Seal of the burgh as used in the 1890s
Arms (crest) of Kirkcudbright

The arms in the Coffee Hag albums +/- 1935

The arms are now used by the Royal Burgh of Kirkcudbright and District.

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Literature: Urquhart, 1974