The Museum of Policing in Cheshire
Feature Articles


Cheshire Constabulary ~ Coat of Arms

The modern Cheshire Constabulary was created from the merging of a number of independent and fragmented forces that had evolved from the needs of the early, and middle 19th Century.

It will be noticed that some of the badges have different types of crowns as crests; namely the Tudor Crown or St. Edward's Crown.

The Forces were named City Police or Borough Police, whereas the Original County force was titled 'Constabulary', as is the modern 'Cheshire Constabulary'. Apart from the shako badge, which showed a plain representation of three ostrich feathers with the words 'Cheshire Constabulary'. Other forces showed their individual City or Borough Arms or Devices, mounted on a background of the Star of India. There are early examples of Chester and Macclesfield Borough Forces badges, which show the arms or device on a laurel wreath Background. One of the Macclesfield badges shows the crown of Queen Victoria's reign, the heaviest badge of the Cheshire Constabulary had the three feathers mounted on a star of India background. 

The Cheshire Constabulary had no official coat of arms until 1965.

It is said that Edward the Black Prince took the badge of three Ostrich Feathers from the blind King John of Bohemia whom he defeated in battle. This badge has since been a badge of the Prince of Wales who bolds the title of Earl of Chester and perhaps this was a factor in taking the badge for the Cheshire Constabulary when it was formed.


Congleton Borough had no granted Coat of Arms.

The device used was similar to the arms of the Vintners Company. The crest is unusual as it is a representation of a play on words to make the name Congleton, namely a Conger Eel, a Lion and a tun or barrel. The Borough Police wore the device except that the crest on the helmet badge and the cap badge did not include the Conger Eel.

The crest in its complete form is shown on the belt buckle.

The badge shows a shield with a chevron and three tuns, or barrels.

congleton arms 

The Motto is rather apt for the Police by stating

"To thee be the band of comrades dedicated".


Macclesfield Borough had no granted Coat of Arms.

The Borough Police wore a device at the time of amalgamation. The device shows a rampant Lion holding a garb or wheat-sheaf and it is a composite design made from the Arms of the Earl of Derby and the Norman Earls of Chester.

The Motto for this device 

'Neither Virtue nor plenty lacking'.


Stalybridge Police wore the Borough Arms that were granted in the middle of the last century. Again the arms are composite from the arms of the local families. The crest of the arms includes the garb or wheat-sheaf of the Norman Earls of Chester. From the cap badge it will be seen that the Stalybridge badge has no surround with the force's name or a crown surmounting the badge.


The motto for the arms is 

'Nothing without Labour.'


Hyde Borough coat of arms was granted in 1882. It is based on the design of the arms of the Hyde Family and to these are added articles of local industries of that time, namely a Hatters' Bow, Cotton Sprig and Shuttle, Davy Lamp and two Picks,


The motto for the arms is 



ChesterCity Police wore the arms of the City. The arms were granted and confirmed in 1580. They are designed from two Coats of Arms, The Royal Arms and those of the Norman Earls of Chester

chester arms

The motto for the arms is 

'Let them worship God'.

Birkenhead Borough Police wore the Borough Coat of Arms was granted 1878. The Arms are from the designs of the Seals of local Governing Bodies incorporated in the Borough. The other parts of the Arms illustrate the motto

(For instance the Pastoral Staff indicates Faith).


The motto for the arms is 

'Wherever there is Faith there is also Light and strength.'

Stockport Borough Arms were granted in 1932 and it is not known what was the design of the arms the Borough Police wore prior to this date. The present arms are taken from those of Lords of the Manor of Stockport and also included are the garbs or wheat-sheaves of the Norman Earls of Chester

The motto for the arms is 

'By Courage and Faith'


Wallasey Borough Police wore the Borough Coat of Arms, which in the design shows the garbs or wheat-sheaves of the Norman Earls of Chester and the Horn of the Wirral, which is still in existence. It is said that the tenants of the of the Lords of the Wirral were responsible by virtue of their tenancy to blow the horn giving warning of approaching enemies,


The motto is perhaps ideally suited for successful police work:

'We are Bold whilst we are Cautious'.

Warrington Borough. Warrington’s first arms were and adaptation of the Borough seal. The second arms used were those granted in 1897 and continued in use up to 1974. The Mayor James Fairclough applied them for, and a Grant of Arms was issued by the College of Arms on 18th May 1897. These arms consisted of a shield of ermine bearing the six lioncels, symbolising the family of the first Lord of Warrington, Paganus de Vilars, around which was a blue border bearing eight golden covered cups representing the Boteler family which succeeded the de Vilars. The crest used was the unicorn rampant holding a flag on which were the emblems of Lancashire and Cheshire, because of Warrington's position on the borders of both counties. These arms were the Helmet plate of the Borough police force until approx. 1953.

The Motto used since 1847 is

‘Deus dat incrementum’.  ‘God giveth the increase’