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The City of Williamsburg, Virginia


Registration number 20061002A


This certifies that the heraldic arms of The City of Williamsburg, Virginia are registered as an original design and are described by the blazon below

Arms: Vert the sun in his splendor between seven billets Or, four in chief and three (two and one) in base, all within a bordure of the same.
Crest: From a mural crown Or, the figure of Minerva, vested Argent, holding in her dexter hand the mace of the city all Proper (shown upon the helm of a knight).
Mantling: Gules doubled Argent.

Supporters:''' Dexter, an artisan; Sinister, a public man.

Motto: Virtute et Labore Florent Respublicae (States flourish through virtue and toil).
Badge: The head of Minerva surrounded by a sun.


Sources

Historical note quoted from the city's website at URL https://www.ci.williamsburg.va.us/gen/history/cow01a.htm
Blazon provided by Joe McMillan

Grant

1976 College of Arms (London)

Historical note

Authentic coats of arms can display only a small number of devices. Considering the large number of items any person or corporation might wish to commemorate by heraldry, the available devices are few indeed. When the Coat of Arms Committee and the Williamsburg City Council chose to include reference to certain historic elements in the life of this city, they neither wished to, nor could, represent each element realistically. Rather, the choice lay among this limited number of ancient, traditional, and customary devices, devices which could be used to express the cardinal features of the city's history.

City Council approved the idea of a planned community, for Williamsburg was one of the earliest in Virginia. Council also approved notice of the College of William and Mary, for clear and obvious reasons, and of Eastern State Hospital, for this institution is one of the first established in the western world. Around the city lay rich plantations which gave the colony its wealth, and within and outside the city worked the artisans and public men who built and governed this colony.

To represent all of this - and a bit more -- the basic shield bears, first of all, seven gold blocks (called billets). Sited in orderly rows, four up and three down, these billets symbolize the orderly arrangement of a planned city. But these billets further tie the City of Williamsburg to our history since they appear on the arms of Governor Francis Nicholson, who planned the laying out of the city in an orderly fashion in 1699, and of King William III, after whom the city was named. In the center of the shield, lighting it all, is a "sun in his splendor," symbol of knowledge, development, and enlightenment; it is meant to stand for the beneficent effects of the College, of Eastern State Hospital, and sound government. Around the shield is a gold border representing the rich plantations around the city in its early days.

The artisan and the public man holding up the shield represent, rather than symbolize, their historic predecessors in and around this city. Above them all, and mounted on a conventional knight's helm, issues the crest with Minerva rising from a section of crenellated wall, a usual symbol for a city. Minerva is shown on the City Mace which was presented to the City of Williamsburg sometime in the middle of the 18th century. (This Mace is on display at the courthouse of 1770.) For may years the City of Williamsburg has used Minerva on its official stationery and city vehicles. Minerva's head, within a sun, will be a badge for the city to use. Under it all a ribbon curls bearing the old motto of the city, "Virtute Et Labore Florent Respublicae" (States flourish through virtue and toil.).

The patent which carries the official devisal of arms upon the City of Williamsburg bears as decoration Virginia's autumn crocus, Sternbergia lutea. The whole coat of arms serves to identify this City, to symbolize it, and to decorate its functions.

Registered by

Michael Swanson

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