A call to arms.

Now – calling all experts on Bath’s  Coat of Arms. I had an email from Jonathan Dixey – who lives in the city – and is looking for some information.

He wrote:

“Hi Richard,

I have just found your website while looking for information on the Bath coat of arms. My search led me to your piece on the twinning association webpage, through which I found the Newseum.

Many thanks for your explanation of the constituent parts. Like a lot of people who have lived in Bath all their lives (I suspect), I had no idea of the significance of any of them.

The main reason that I was looking into it was because of a school trip to the Abbey (more than 40 years ago) in which I distinctly remember being shown a coat of arms with the sword pointing in the opposite direction.

It was attached to the ceiling and I recall looking out for it on subsequent visits, but now I can’t find any evidence for its existence.

Not only do you state that the earliest example from William Smith has the sword pointing up, I also found this photo of the Abbey ceiling on the web:


Can you recommend any source of information regarding this particular example of the coat of arms, especially its age? If I’m completely mistaken about this then I’m going to have to assume that most of my schoolboy memories are unreliable!”

I am in lockdown l am afraid Jonathan but – in putting your letter out there – someone may be able to help you further. Let’s see!



  1. Richard try the College Of Arms in London, who presumably granted it to the city,God bless.Gordon BLOOR

  2. I seem to recall that I once saw a version with the Sea at the bottom and the fortress above it.

    Or did I dream it?

    Mike Godwin, Claremont Road


  3. You didn’t dream it Mike, that was the one I was remembering and apparently it’s still in the Abbey. Richard’s post prompted an email from someone who works there, solving the mystery and putting me out of my misery! The one shown here is obviously from another part of the ceiling, but it certainly confused me when I found it online. I’ll take a photo of the upside one when the Abbey re-opens and post it on here.

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