That Was Jersey
Local history for everyone
There are two stories told of the origins of the badges or emblems currently used by the parishes in Jersey. Two men are named, and the emblems could have been designed by either of them alone or, as seems more likely, by one designing and the other developing the ideas.
Alfred G Wright was an artist, working at the time as art master at Victoria College. He had previously undertaken a commission from the States. He drew up the illuminated address that was presented to King George V in 1921, and it was here that the emblems were first used.
Major N V L Rybot was acknowledged to be an authority on matters of heraldry. It has been said that he designed the emblems, and that they were published for the first time in Jersey: an Isle of romance by Blanche Elliott in 1923. Some of these designs differ in detail from those used today and Rybot is believed to have redrawn them.
Whichever account is true, the emblems were not based on any earlier designs, but were designed according to the dedication of each parish church. They date from the 1920s. It seems certain that Major Rybot developed the drawings, and his description of the emblems supports this view. The parishes later adopted the emblems formally, and they are used in many instances today.
The church is dedicated to St Martin, and thus the emblem is very similar to that of the parish of St Martin. Grouville shows eight alternate bands of silver and red, including four red bands. The patron saint of Grouville is believed to be St Martin, Bishop of Tours, whose diocese included Brittany.
The emblem shows a silver fish on a blue background. There seems to be some confusion here between two saints. St Brendanís symbol was the fish, as on the St Brelade emblem, and this was because of his many voyages of discovery. St Branwalader, it is said, chose St Brelade as a base for his missionary work in the island, and he is known to have founded a number of churches, which were often credited to the more famous St Brendan.
A golden anchor on a blue background is the symbol for the patron saint of blacksmiths, and St Clement is also one of several saints attached to the sea and sailors.
According to tradition Helier, Jerseyís first martyr, was attacked by pirates armed with axes and murdered. He had lived on the rock now occupied by Elizabeth Castle and had protected his followers from attacks for several years, before the fatal blow. The crossed gold axes on a blue background commemorate this event.
The church was dedicated to St John the Baptist, but the emblem is the Maltese Cross of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. The gold cross is on a green background, as a reminder of the oak trees, which may have given the church its full name of St John of the Oaks.
St Lawrence, Bishop of Rome, was martyred by roasting on a gridiron. His symbol is always a black gridiron, here seen on a silver shield.
This church is dedicated to St Martin-le-Vieux. This occasionally leads to confusion with the parish of Grouville (dedicated to St Martin, Bishop of Tours). The parish shares the red and silver bands with Grouville. However, on the St Martin parish emblem, the three (not four) red bands are noticeably broader, and there are just seven bands, rather than eight.
The lily has long been associated with the Virgin Mary, and here it appears in silver on a blue shield. The church is actually dedicated to St Mary of the Burnt Monastery, although it is unclear why.
The patron saint of Normandy, St Ouen founded a religious centre shortly before the Viking invasions of the island. His symbol is a gold cross on a blue background, as a reminder of a vision he had of a miraculous cross.
The keys to heaven are generally associated with St Peter. Here they are silver and are crossed on a red background, surrounded by gold. The gold is a reminder of the sands that make up much of this parish.
The full dedication is to St Saviour of the Thorn. The symbol of a crown of thorns and some nails recall the Saviourís suffering. These symbols are gold, on a background of red.
The design for this emblem is based on an ancient symbol for the Trinity, showing a silver triangle, with three silver circles on a green background.
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