Emblematically Speaking - Wythenshawe Town

Tue 27th November 2018 | Wythenshawe Town
By Stewart Taylor

Wythenshawe Town FC

Regular readers will by now be getting quite proficient at looking at the emblems of our member clubs and putting their own interpretation on what they see.

I would warrant that in many cases the interpretation would be, at the very least, a good approximation.

As we have seen, colours are important and the choice of devices displayed on a shield, or any other form of heraldic based design, normally represent something which is of significance to the locality of the club.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the Wythenshawe Town emblem and see where we end up.

The shield within a roundel is not at all unusual and often, as in this case, the wording on the roundel clearly identifies the club involved. We have seen in previous articles the significance of a shield divided into four quadrants.

What we see here is both instructive and enigmatic. Let me explain that last sentence in the context of using the emblem to establish location and purpose. The top right quadrant tells us that we are looking at a football club. Unnecessary, some may say as we know this from the wording on the roundel.

We would contend that this is a reflection of the origins of emblems, which first came about when the majority of the population could neither read nor write, so symbolic language was vital to understanding what was going on in the world in general.

We might expect that the colours selected would be significant to the club and, indeed, that is the case here, as the bottom left quadrant represents the royal blue playing colours of the club. But what about the other two devices?

As intimated above, devices on a shield in these locations are normally indicative of an aspect of the history of the town or region which is represented by the football club.

In order to research this aspect we need to know what the devices are and, clearly, we see a cockerel and a fox.

Whilst today Wythenshawe is recognised as part of Greater Manchester, the recorded history of the area goes back many centuries. Originally consisting of three townships – Northenden, Baguley and Northen Etchells – the recorded history of what we now know as Wythenshawe goes back to the Domesday Book and even earlier as the discovery of Bronze Age artefacts in the area testifies.

Careful study of the history of the area since those early beginnings shows up nothing to immediately connect Wythenshawe with either cockerels or foxes, although such animals would have been know to the local residents.

A dead end in our search for meaning then? Not at all. The answer to the significance of these devices can be found by a look at the history of the football club itself and a knowledge of modern European languages.

Many may well know that the ground occupied today, and since 1974, is named Ericstan Park.

This rather suggests that a couple of individuals named Eric and Stan were involved and this is the case as Eric was Club Secretary and Stan was Club Chairman at that time.

Not altogether informative in the quest for an understanding of the relevance of the cockerel and the fox so far but we invite the reader to consider the surnames of these two gentlemen and all will become clear.

If we were to reveal the full names of these two individuals as Eric Reynard and Stan Hahn, then that would be more than useful and would nail it for those with an understanding of the French and German languages as Reynard is French for fox and Hähnchen is German for cockerel.

So there we are, my normal trawl through what I could discover about the area from a historical perspective was in vain. The answer turns out to be much more prosaic and none the less fascinating for that.

Our thanks to Claire Knowles of Wythenshawe Town FC for pointing us in the right direction.

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