The Cornish Crest

The Cornish Crest which acts as the Civic Insignia depicts emblems which are important to Cornwall.  A bearded sea fisherman represents the Duchy’s maritime connections and he stands opposite a tin miner, a reminder of Cornwall’s great mineral wealth and pioneering industrial heritage.

Above the shield rests the Chough, a relative of the jackdaw with blue-black plumage and a distinctive curved red bill. The chough used to be widespread on the cliffs of Cornwall, but after many years of rarity a few birds flew over from Ireland in 2001, three of which established themselves on the Lizard and since then over 100 chicks have fledged from Cornish nests.

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Like Cornwall itself, the shield is enclosed by waves and its heart is the history and mystery of the golden roundels or bezants. Many guesses have been made about their origin, although no-one is really certain how Cornwall came to adopt such a bold graphic symbol. Nowadays 15 bezants appear arranged in an inverted triangle, but earlier Cornish emblems show them used as a border or arranged to fill a whole shield.

Among the more colourful conjectures is the tale of the King’s eldest son, captured by Saracens during the crusades. Loyal Cornishmen, it is said, helped to raise the ransom of 15 golden coins, named bezants after Eastern Europe’s Byzantium. The shield is thought to commemorate this King’s (or more properly, Prince’s) ransom, with the legend “one and all” noting a splendid joint effort by Cornishmen to save their Duke of Cornwall.

Please contact the Chairman if you wish to request permission to use the crest.