Arms and motto

Arms and motto of the city of Brighton and Hove
Reproduced with permission of the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor David Smith

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

d) ARMS and MOTTO: The arms of Brighton Corporation were officially granted by the College of Heralds on 14 April 1897, but a simplified and updated version with modern-style dolphins, a simplified wreath and a forward facing helmet has been used by the new borough council since April 1974. They are described as: ‘Argent, two dolphins naiant sable, a bordure azure, charged with six martlets or. And for the crest, on a wreath of the colours, two dolphins in saltire, heads downwards, sable, between as many branches of coral gules’. This may be interpreted as ‘a silver shield with two black dolphins swimming horizontally, one above the other, within a blue border containing six gold, legless swallows; the crest has a wreath and mantling of silver and black with two black dolphins, heads downward and crossing, between two branches of red coral’. The wreath rests upon a silver helmet which in turn sits atop the shield. Beneath the shield is the town’s motto In Deo Fidemus, meaning ‘In God we trust’; it was chosen by Alderman Cordy Burrows.
Dolphins were used as a symbol of the town long before the official granting of arms, and reflect the town’s dependence on the sea (possibly derived from the arms of the Scrase family, former lords of the manor). The martlets are taken from the arms of Sussex.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • Why is the motto no longer In Deo Fidemus? On the coat of arms above it is Inter Undas Et Colles Floremus. What does that mean? Is it because of the change from town to city status?

    By S Rogers (09/06/2008)
  • Does anyone have any pictures of the original coat of arms and motto?  I’ve been looking for the mosaic that was once next to the North Road swimming baths for my art project, but we think it’s long gone.

    By Eleanor (14/10/2008)
  • ‘Inter undas et colles floremus’ translates to ‘Between downs and sea we flourish’.

    By Jonathan Cohlmeyer (14/07/2009)
  • You might wish to add the following to the item on the Civic Arms –
    ARMS: Argent two Dolphins naiant on a Bordure Azure six Martlets Argent. CREST: On a Wreath Argent and Azure upon a Mount of Shingle Argent an Ancient Ship Azure oars and sail Argent a Banner flying from the masthead to the dexter Azure. Motto ‘INTER UNDAS ET COLLES FLOREMUS’ – Between downs and sea we flourish. Granted 1997 The City of Brighton and Hove was formed by the amalgamation of the Borough of Brighton and the Borough of Hove on 1st April 1997. It was granted city status in 2000. The Arms were changed from those described in the 1990 book to those illustrated with the new crest taken from the Arms of the former Hove Borough Council to reflect the amalgamation. The motto was also changed at this time.

    By Mike Rumble (11/11/2009)
  • The old coat of arms with the motto ‘In Deo Fidemus’ can be seen on the floor of the Old Town. You can visit the Old Police Cells Museum and see this (must book in advance).

    By Dr C Williams (11/04/2011)
  • My aunt has a two handled mug with the the old coat of arms on it and the opaque face of a rather aristocratic looking gentleman on the inside bottom of the mug.

    By Mike Quinton (09/10/2019)

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