WATERFORD CITY ARMS
Azure, on waves of the sea
in pale Or.
Crest: a lion sejant,
supporting an Irish
Supporters: Dexter, a lion
a dolphin argent
Motto: Urbs Intacta Manet
This was the Chief Herald’s specification,
sought by the Corporation in 1953, of the Watertord City Arms in full
achievement. It does not
conform exactly to the Arms that had been in use up to that time. These latter had in the chief, or upper part of the Shield, three
lions, passant gardant, in pale: the three ships occupied, then, only
the lower part of the Shield. The fact is, however, that the lions never really
belonged on Waterford's Arms. They
first appeared, and without explanation, in the reign of Elizabeth I and
remained. But Waterford's
Arms go back much further than Elizabeth I, further even than the
capture, in 1461, of three galleys from the O'Driscolls of County Cork,
an event that local historians have quoted as giving rise to the Arms. How their theory, first advanced in 1824, came to be accepted
without the support of more satisfying evidence can only he described as
The real position is that the three ships have
been used since earliest times as the traditional symbol of Waterford's
importance in the maritime world. This
is borne out by the unmistakable representations on the true Arms,
containing the ships alone, which appear in Waterford's earliest
Charters—having been copied onto them from the illuminated petitions
sent from Waterford 'praying' for the grant of the Charters. The design
was first used to preface the great Charter Roll of Richard II, executed
in Waterford in 1394, three quarters of a century before the O'Driscoll
engagement. Much later in the charters of Henry VIII (1510), Edward VI
(1548) and Philip and Mary (1556), the Shield containing the ships was
still in evidence. That
this escutcheon was the original and correct representation of the
Waterford City Arms, there is no doubt.
The motto Urbs Intacta Manet was
conferred by Henry VII in 1497 in recognition of the City's resistance
to the Pretenders, Lambert Simnel anal Perkin Warbeck, during his reign.
In 1950, to mark and commemorate the Holy Year,
the Corporation decided to replace the crest with a cross.
Extracted from Waterford, A Municipal Directory.