ARMS: Argent a Quadrant Sable on a Chief wavy Azure between two Crosses of St. Cuthbert an Ancient Ship sail set Or flying Flags and Pennon of St. George.
CREST: On a Wreath Argent and Azure on a Mount Vert in front of a Long Cross pommy issuant Gules the head interlaced with an Orle Argent a Boar passant Sable armed and langued Gules.
SUPPORTERS: On either side a Lion Argent that on the dexter gorged with a Collar gemel enclosing six Mullets three being manifest Gules and standing on an Anchor fesswise the flukes inward Or that on the sinister gorged with a Collar gemel Sable enclosing six Ears of Wheat three being manifest proper standing on a Miner's Pick fesswise the head inward Or.
BADGE: A Fountain fimbriated Or and charged with a Quadrant Sable.

Motto 'NIL DESPERANDUM AUSPICE DEO' - With God as our leader there is no cause for despair.
Granted ?.

The Metropolitan Borough of Sunderland was formed by the amalgamation of the County Borough of Sunderland, the Hetton Urban District, the Houghton-le-Spring Urban District, the Washington Urban District, part of the Chester-le-Street Rural District and part of the Easington Rural District.

sunderland mbc arms
sunderland mb badge

The shield is based on that of the former County Borough of Sunderland and contains the familiar quadrant or sextant (as it is sometimes desribed) on its white field. The wavy edge of the blue chief suggests the River Wear and the gold ship is from the former Sunderland crest. The two flanking gold crosses of St. Cuthbert represent Sunderland's historic connections with the bishops and monks of Durham.
The crest is derived from the device of Houghton-le-Spring UDC, in which was a 'boar passant'. This was the crest of Bernard Gilpin, Rector of Houghton. The black boar stands on a grassy mound in which is fixed a long 'cross pommy' - a cross with apple-like knobs on the apex and arms in red. This is the ancient symbol of St. Michael, the patron Saint of Gilpin's Church and parish, one of the most important in Durham in his time. The white 'orle', or hollow shield, entwined with the cross is from the arms of the ancient Le Spring family, Norman lords of the manor.
The supporters are the white lions of the former Sunderland arms, derived from the lions of the See and Monastery of Durham. That on the left has a twin collar of red with three red stars, taken from the stars and stripes of the Washington family. That on the right represents Hetton. Its twin collar is black and represents the railway laid down by George Stephenson to carry Hetton's coal to the Wear. Between the 'rails' are three ears of wheat, representing Hetton's agricultural interests and those of Burdon and Warden Law. The gold anchor and pick are for the two main local industries, in the former Sunderland arms the lions supported these emblems, here they have been made a base for the lions to stand on. The motto, in use by Sunderland for a century, is adapted from Horace.

back to contents page
back to front page
back to index page