BRISTOL (Gloucestershire). Gules, on the sinister side, a castle with two towers domed all argent, on each dome a banner charged with the cross of St George, the castle on a mount vert, the dexter base water proper, thereon a ship of three masts or, sailing from a port in the dexter tower, her fore and main masts being visible sable, the rigging of the last, and on each a round top of the fifth, on the foremast a sail set, and on the main-mast a sail furled of the second. And for a Crest — Upon a wreath of the colours, two arms embowed and interlaced in saltire, issuing from clouds, the dexter hand holding a snake all proper, and the sinister holding a pair of scales or. Supporters — On either side, on a mount vert, a unicorn sejant or, armed, maned and unguled sable. Motto — "Virtute et industria."
Berry and Burke blazon the arms, gules on the sinister side, a castle with two towers domed, on each a pennon all argent, the castle on a mount in the sinister base vert, the dexter base barry wavy of six argent and azure, thereon a ship with three masts, sailing from behind the castle or, the fore and main mass in sight sable on each two sails of the second. Crest — On a wreath two arms embowed and interlaced in saltire issuing from clouds all proper, in the dexter a snake vert, in the sinister a pair of scales or balance, or. Suppoi-ters — Two unicorns sejant or, on a mount vert, maned and armed sable. Motto — " Virtute et industria."
But Berry gives a note : — " The above blazon is taken from a drawing sent by the Corporation. This drawing differs in the following particulars from that of the Arms, Supporters, etc., of the city of Bristol as entered in the Visitation of the County of Gloucester, taken in 1623, viz. — In the Visitation Book, the dexter base is water ppr., in the tower near the centre is a large port, from whence the ship is sailing, and on each tower is a banner ar. charged with Cross of St George gu."
Mr L. Acland Taylor, Librarian of the Bristol Museum and Reference Library, writes me (i8th November 1898) :
" I am interested in tracing the earliest representation of the Bristol City Arms, and in accounting for the various representations of the same as used in this city. I have had some correspondence on the subject with the Heralds' College and have obtained from this source a sketch showing a ship coming out of a tower so similar to the illustration given in your work, 'The Book of Public Arms,' the difference being but slight, and in minor details.
" In addition to this sketch I have a painting certified by Mr Ambrose Lee, Bluemantle, which is stated to be taken from the earliest representation in the College records. This painting differs materially from the sketch inasmuch as the ship is sailing from between two towers, as it might naturally be expected it
would do. Mr Lee in a communication to me on the subject suggests an explanation for the differences in recorded blazons by the fact that the ' actual Grant does not exist, nor any copy of the blazon, hence the exact terms of such blazon cannot be known, and can only be approximately deduced from the various authentic representations of the Arms in existence.' Mr Lee continues : — ' At the time of the Heralds' Visitation the City Authorities would have produced their authority for the use of the Arms, but what form this
" authority " or proof took, we do not at the present time know. Anyhow it was sufficient and the arms were duly entered, probably from a copy of the original arms in the possession of the Corporation, thus a copy of a copy became recorded here, with some slight variations reproduced in each subsequent reproduction.' Mr Lee continues ' from a heraldic point of view any one of the five or six representations of the Bristol Arms which occur in the records here, tho' differing in details are equally right, but from an antiquarian point of view the oldest representation (that in the painting sent) which embodies most clearly the idea present in each of them, but more or less obscured in the later representations, viz. that of a city which is a port, out of which vessels proceed, and not (as in the stamp on your letter) a castle with half a ship seen on the sea behind \t; for this latter representation no authority exists here.'"
Original Source bookofpublicarms00foxd_djvu.txt near line 4587.