Emblematically Speaking - Chadderton

Tue 6th February 2018 | Chadderton
By Stewart Taylor

Chadderton FC

This week, we look at another town Coat of Arms which is rich in detail, a close study of which reveals all.

Chadderton sits just to the north of the City of Manchester and, to many, could be considered as a part of that City.

Whilst this may be true to a point, these days we need to remember that many towns around our big cities were exactly that not too long ago. That is independent towns with their own history.

Our study of heraldic devices so far has come across a few repeating themes and we have one such in this emblem – the red rose of Lancashire – but of perhaps greater interest are two of the other devices on the shield which we have yet to come across. I introduce you to “bendlets” and “mullets”.

In heraldry, a bend is nothing to do with the geography of the M60 as it passes by Chadderton but is a general term for band or strap which runs from the upper dexter (right side) to the lower sinister (left side).

We need to recall here that the observer sees the shield front on, so what appears to the observer as top right is, in fact, top left as we look at the shield.

Given that a bendlet is simply a small bend, then what we are referring to are the two black diagonals we can see on the shield.

These devices come from the Coat of Arms of the Radclyffe family who built the current Foxdenton Hall on the outskirts of Chadderton in the 18th century.

It will come as no surprise to hear that a mullet in heraldry is nothing to do with either fish or a somewhat suspect late 20th century hairstyle favoured by certain footballers of the time. Rather, a mullet in heraldic terms is simply a star and conventionally, as in this case, a five pointed star.

This particular black mullet is pierced, so specifically derives from a spur and appears on this Coat of Arms with reference to the Assheton family, who were lords of the manor of nearby Middleton from way back in the mediaeval times.

The other devices on the shield are Griffins – a creature of legend with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle thus combining the attributes of the King of the Beasts and the King of the Air.

Griffins occur quite regularly in heraldic designs, but their presence here comes from the Coats of Arms of the de Trafford and Chadderton families.

The de Trafford family can trace their roots back to the 11th Century and, of course, the name lives on to this day in the shape of a shopping centre, which has been known to cause some horrendous traffic jams on the M60 to the west of Manchester, and various other points of interest in sporting and local government terms.

The Chadderton family is a manifestation of the de Trafford family, in that Geoffrey de Trafford took on the surname Chadderton, hence could be considered to be the founder of the Chadderton dynasty.

The shield, therefore, represents in some detail the history of Chadderton, and further study of the families referenced here is quite rewarding to get a feel of what the place was like before the Industrial Revolution.

The crest of this Coat of Arms forms not only the divide we see in representational terms but also the boundary in the history of the town if we consider the Industrial Revolution as exactly that – a revolution.

By the use of relatively simple devices in the crest we see what the Industrial Revolution brought to the town of Chadderton and what has happened, industrially, since the decline of traditional industries.

The anvil which sits atop the helm represents engineering, as this industry came to supercede the dying textile industry which is represented here by a shuttle.

The red eagle which sits proudly on the very top of the crest relates to the development of the engineering industry in the town, in the direction of the precision engineering relating to the aerospace industry and, specifically, British Aerospace.

The motto 'Labor Omnia Vincit' (Latin) translates as ‘Labour Overcomes all Things’ in a clear reference to the significance of industry in the relatively recent history of the town.

The arms were granted to Chadderton in 1955 and, clearly, much thought went into the design to leave us today with a fine graphical representation of something like 800 years of local history.

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