Arms and motto
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.