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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
NITHSDALE (District Council)
Argent, a double-headed eagle displayed Sable, beaked and membered Gules, surmounted of an escutcheon of the First charged with a saltire of the Second and surcharged in the centre with a hurcheon Or, within a bordure of the Third charged with five estoiles of the Fourth; on a chief wavy Azure, an endorse of the Fourth between dexter, the demi-figure of the Archangel Michael, wings expanded, brandishing in his dexter hand a sword all Proper and on his sinister arm an escutcheon of the First charged with a cross of the Third; and sinister, on a rock in base Proper, a double-leaved gate of the Third, triple towered, on an ascent of five steps flanked by two towers all of the First, towers arch-roofed and masoned of the Second, vanes of the Third.
Above the Shield is placed a coronet appropriate to a statutory District, videlicet:-a circlet richly chased, from which are issuant eight thistle-heads (three and two halves visible) Or; and in an Escrol under the Shield this Motto Reviresco .
Tierced in pairle reversed: 1st, Azure, semee of estoiles Or, standing on a cloud the figure of the Archangel Michael wings expanded, brandishing in his dexter hand a sword over a dragon lying on its back in base with its tail nowed fessways all Proper, on his sinister arm an escutcheon Argent charged with a cross Gules, in dexter flank an increscent, in sinister flank the sun in his splendour, of the Second; 2nd, Azure, on a rock in base Proper a double-leaved gate Gules triple-towered, on an ascent of five steps flanked by two towers all Argent, towers arch-roofed and masoned Sable, vanes Gules; 3rd, Argent, a double-headed eagle displayed Sable, beaked and membered Gules, surmounted of an escutcheon Argent charged with a saltire Sable and surcharged in the centre of a hurcheon Or; over all an endorse couped at the centre point Or.
Above the shield is placed a Coronet appropriate to a statutory District, videlicet. a circlet richly chased from which are issuant eight thistle-heads (three and two halves visible) Or, and in an Escrol under the Shield this Motto "Reviresco".
The arms were officially granted on September 23, 1976 and April 19, 1985.
The arms show in the upper part elements taken from the arms of Dumfries (St. Michael) and Sanquhar (castle).
There had been local criticism that the placing of the Dumfries and Sanquhar arms on a chief wavy in 1976 gave insufficient prominence to them and that the truncation of the former (and of St Michael in particular) was unacceptable. In 1985 the arms were thus changed and the two burgh arms were shown more prominently. The wavy division line (representing the Nith river) was omitted.
The 1975 arms:
The lower half shows the arms of Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale, with a double headed eagle, bearing a small shield with a saltire and in the middle a hedgehog. The hedgehog is a symbol for the Herries branch of the family. The bordure is based on the arms of the Burgh of Dumfries.
The motto "Reviresco" (I flourish again) is taken from the Maxwells and the burgh of Maxwelltown (incorporated into Dumfries in 1931).
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Literature: Urquhart, 1979