After a successful petition by the Gavinton, Fogo & Polwarth Community Council, the Lord Lyon King of Arms issued Letters Patent granting the Council a new Coat of Arms on 27th August 2009 and, on the same date, matriculated these arms on the 28th page of the 90th Volume of the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. The Letters Patent were presented by Her Majesty’s Officer of Arms, Mrs Elizabeth Roads, MVO, Carrick Pursuivant, to the Chairman of the Community Council, Mrs Margaret Bishop, in a colourful ceremony in Gavinton on 21st November 2009.
The design of the arms both reflects the long history of the area and its aspirations for the future. The background is white, the same as the arms of several families long associated with the area (Cockburn, Trotter, Gavin, Hog, Nisbet, Sinclair and Polwarth).
The main charge on the arms is a black St.Andrew’s cross (also known as a saltire) which is taken from the arms of David Gavin, who bought the Langton estate from the Cockburns in 1758 and established the village of Gavinton the following year. This reflects the fact that Gavinton is the main centre of the GFPCC area. The saltire also provides a handsome way of subdividing the field. In each of the four compartments created by the saltire is a further charge:
• In the top part, the sword with a red star on the point is
from the Gavin arms and in today’s terms represents the self-made
man reaching for the stars.
• On the left, as you look at the shield, the red cockerel represents the Cockburns of Langton, who held the Langton estate, a large part of the GFPCC area, for four centuries, and, nowadays, stands for the ‘get up and go’ attitude of the community.
• On the right, as you look at the shield, the black boar’s head with red teeth and tongue is taken from the arms of the family of Trotter of Charterhall, who have been the lairds of Fogo for many centuries. In more general terms, it represents the fact that we are a Merse community, an area frequently associated with the boar’s head (which is found, for example, in the arms of the families of Hog, Trotter, Nisbet, Gordon and Swinton among our near neighbours).
• In the lower part, is a representation of the Polwarth Thorn. This tree, an ancient hawthorn situated on what was once the village green of the now vanished village of Polwarth is widely known locally and has recently been listed in the National Inventory of Trees. In today’s terms it signifies a growing community with its roots in the soil.
The motto “By Industry We Prosper” is the same as that of Gavinton’s founder, David Gavin. It is carved above the entrance to the former village school in Gavinton and reflects David Gavin’s approach to life in the 18th Century. It is just as appropriate today.
The golden coronet of pine cones and thistle leaves is the standard one for a Scottish Community Council.
The arms are a strong visual identity for the people of the Community Council area. They are the property of the Community Council and can be used in any way the council see fit, for example, on the website, on road signs, on stationery, as blazer badges, or on souvenirs such as coasters, mugs, key rings or t-shirts
The arms will also be flown as a flag on special days throughout the year.
The granting of the coat of arms have been covered by the BBC website including a step-by-step explanation of the build-up of the arms. You can view this coverage by clicking here to go to the BBC South Scotland web pages. (Opens new window.)