The Armorial Bearings and Supporters of the Vale of Glamorgan County
In working out the design of the ‘Achievement of Arms’, the object was by appropriate heraldic symbolism to link the past with the present and at the same time to keep the design reasonably simple as well as distinctive of the Vale of Glamorgan.
For the Shield, the Arms of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, Ruler of Glamorgan, or rather those attributed to him, Gules three chevronels Argent, have been combined with the Arms of the de Clares, Gold three chevronels Gules, to form one Coat of Arms which is appropriate to Glamorgan and in particular Vale of Glamorgan Council in that the pile or V-shaped device issuing from the chief provides an outline of the initial letter of the Vale and its wedge shape may also be taken to be a very simple picture of a vale.
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The Supporters have been chosen by the Unicorn to stand for Barry and by the Lion for Cowbridge, these familiar devices of Heraldry featuring in the Arms of those Corporations. Each, to make it appropriate to the Vale of Glamorgan as a local authority, is crowned with a mural crown as an emblem of civic responsibility.
The Crest derives from the ‘Bear of Penarth’ combined with a ship’s mast and sail, as a reference to the Arms attributed to St. Illtyd which are of significance in standing for Llantwit Major. The tower from which the Penarth Bear emerges also alludes to Llantwit, three towers appearing in the Arms attributed to St Illtyd.
The six churches which were founded in or about Llanilltud Fawr are represented by the number of crosses on the body of the Lion Supporter.
The latter, with the Unicorn having bars round its neck for Barry, stand upon a ‘Compartment’, which presents in partly conventionalised form, the coast of Glamorgan with its headlands and inlets, beaches and cliffs; the garbs or sheaves of wheat which also appear upon the Compartment are a way of commemorating the agricultural activities of the Vale.