The Armorial Bearings
THE ARMORIAL BEARINGS OF THE COMPANY OF WATERMEN AND LIGHTERMEN OF THE RIVER THAMES
By letters patent of Sir Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms, dated 18th September 1585 armorial bearings were granted to the Company. Although the original patent has not survived, there is a trick of the Arms at the College of Arms and another one appears in the Heraldsʼ Visitation of London of 1634. The following is the recognised blazon of the arms and has been deduced from these tricks:
Arms: Argent, in base barry wavy of six azure and argent a boat proper, on a chief azure two oars in saltire or between two cushions argent fretted gules trimmed argent tasselled or.
Crest: On a wreath argent and gules a dexter arm embowed vested argent holding in the hand proper an oar erect or.
Mantling: Gules doubled argent.
Supporters: On either side a dolphin haurient argent finned, eyed and tusked or.
Motto: At commandment of our superiors.
The design of the arms reflects the activities and trade of the Watermenʼs Company at that date (before its amalgamation with the Lightermen in 1700). The boat is a Watermenʼs skiff and the cushions emphasise the passenger carrying function of this vessel.
One of the dolphin supporters has been used recently in the grant of an heraldic badge by letters patent of Sir Colin Cole, Garter King of Arms, on 5th April 1983. This is blazoned: “In the front of an oar erect ensigned by a crown of gold, a dolphin naiant argent tusked finned and the tail also gold.