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From A Source Book of London history from the Earliest Times to 1800 edited by P. Meadows, London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, 1914; pp. 54-56.


YEAR 1375 A. D.

The City Arms.

Beneath Pierce’s statue of Walworth in Fishmongers’ Hall is an inscription:

“Brave Walworth, Knight, Lord Mayor, yt slew
     Rebellious Tyler in his alarmes;
The King, therefore, did give in liew
     The dagger to the City armes.

In the 4th Year of Richard II., Anno Domini 1381.”


It seems that it has always been a popular belief that the weapon represented in the arms of the City is “Walworth’s dagger”; but, as Stow points out, it is intended to represent the sword of St. Paul, who was the patron saint of this Corporation.

Source. — Stow’s Survey, p. 222.

It hath also been, and is now grown to a common opinion, that in regards of this service done, by the said William Walworth against the rebel, King Richard added to the arms of this City, (which was argent, a plain cross gules) a sword or dagger, (for so they term it) whereof I have read no such record, but to the contrary. I find that in the fourth year of Richard the second in a full assembly made in the upper chamber of the Guildhall, summoned by this William Walworth, then Mayor, as well of Aldermen as of the common Council in every ward, for certain affairs concerning the king, it was there by common consent agreed and ordained, that the old seal of the office of the mayoralty of the city being very small, old, unsuitable, and uncomely for the honour of the city, should be broken, and one other new should be had, which the said Mayor commanded to be made artificially, and honourable for the exercise of eh said office thereafter in place of the other; in which new seal, besides the images of Peter, and Paul, which of old were rudely engraven, there should be under the feet of the said images, a shield of the arms of the said City perfectly graved, with two lions supporting the same with two sergeants of arms, on either part one, and two tabernacles, in which above should stand two Angels, between whom above the said images of Peter and Paul, shall be set the glorious virgin: this being done, the old seal of the office was delivered to Richard Odiham Chamberlain, who brake it, and in place thereof, was delivered the new seal to the said Mayor to use in his office of Mayoralty, as occasion should require. This new seal seemeth to be made before William Walworth was knighted, for he is not here entitled Sir, as afterwards he was: and certain it is that the same new seal 56 then made, is now in use and none other in that office of the Mayoralty, which may suffice to answer the former fable, without shewing of any evidence sealed with the old seal, which was the Cross, and sword of Saint Paul, and not the dagger of William Walworth.


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