This week we look at a club emblem which has a traditional style but, at least in part, contains something of a surprise.
Intrigued? – then read on.
The centre of the emblem shows a quartered shield and, as indicated, this is a traditional design style which, if interpreted correctly, should give us a lot of information and, indeed it does.
But before we go down that particular avenue, let’s go back to the beginning.
Although founded in 1946, Wythenshawe Amateurs FC did not have an emblem until the early part of the 1970s.
What we see as the quartered shield was designed by long serving club goalkeeper Tex Morris, who worked for a clothing company.
As we look at the shield, the device in the top left quarter is a representation of Wythenshawe Hall. Whilst many may be familiar with Wythenshawe as a large housing development to the south of Manchester, the hall has a significant part to play in the history of the area well before the establishment of the estate.
Wythenshawe Hall was built by the Tatton family as a manor house within Wythenshawe Park in the 16th century.
There is a grand history related to the hall which makes for interesting reading but, sadly, outside the scope of these short articles. Suffice to say that the hall was donated by the Simons family to the City of Manchester “for the common good” in the 1920s and it is from that point that the housing estate originated.
For those wishing to go yet deeper into this, we can recommend making the connection between Simonsway which is a major thoroughfare in the area, and Simons Bridge which links Northenden (a part of Wythenshawe) with Didsbury.
Moving on we see a lion at the top right of the shield. As we have seen previously in this series of articles, the lion represents courage in traditional heraldry and is entirely appropriate to a football club.
Bottom left is an eagle which comes from the Roman occupation of Manchester in the 1st century AD.
Whilst the history of the City of Manchester is, quite rightly, considered to be largely dominated by the Industrial Revolution and the development of the textile history, the early history of Manchester is Roman, coming from a settlement formed in the first century AD by the River Irwell.
Students of Manchester may like to look further into this particular aspect of local history, and how the three rivers of Manchester are represented on the emblem of Manchester City FC.
The final part of the shield shows blue and white vertical stripes in the bottom right sector, which indicate the playing colours of the club.
In place of what we might traditionally see in a coat of arms, the crest is occupied by a football thus making the “trade” of the organisation clear.
And that could be that, but it wasn’t. Having used what is described above as the club emblem, it was decided to add to the emblem some years after the first design was introduced.
The addition of the red scroll with the initials of the club along with the name and year of foundation are quite straightforward, but then we get to the intriguing bit which is the addition of the supporters.
At first glance we could be excused for thinking that these represent the antelope and the lion, which come directly from the coat of arms of the City of Manchester.
Well, the lion is correct but a closer look shows that the supporter of the left hand side of the shield as we look is a unicorn – that mythical beast which is said to symbolise bravery, innocence, purity, healing powers, pride, intelligence, joy and virility in Scottish heraldry.
This raises a question as to why a symbol identified most closely with Scottish heraldry finds a place in the heraldry of Wythenshawe. In fact, it doesn’t.
The selection of the lion and the unicorn for the emblem of the football club comes directly from the aforementioned Tex Morris and derives from a nursery rhyme entitled The Lion and the Unicorn.
The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown:
Some gave them plum cake and drove them out of town.
A quite charming verse and yet another example of how, in the design of a football club emblem, all is often not as it initially appears.
With grateful thanks to Wythenshawe Amateurs President Mr. John Walker for his assistance with this article.