Hoole's Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms featured on the badge of office of the Chairman of Hoole U.D.C

The Hoole Local Board of Health, the first democratically elected body to be responsible for the Civil Parish of Hoole, came into being in May 1864. It was created under reforms following the Public Health Act of 1848. One of its first tasks was to commission a seal to authenticate its deeds. It asked one of its members, Frank Palin, a surveyor who lived in Hoole Park, to come up with some designs and at its second meeting several drawings were submitted. It was reported that they finally selected “one more handsome than the rest”.

Article from Chester Chronicle 4th June 1864

In the year 2000, the Coat of Arms appeared on the front of Hoole’s Millennium Book which shows the Chairman of Hoole Urban District Council’s badge of office. It was in a setting which included both the ‘English Rose’ and the ‘Prince of Wales’ Feathers’. The Urban District Council succeeded the Local Board in 1894.

The arms of Chester, which were (and are still) three lions and one and half wheat sheaves are well known but the use of the white lion (not an heraldic one) on a red background and the indistinguishable arms on the quarter have not been traced in heraldic sources, or through the family names of Hamilton and Titherington, as may be expected from the Chester Chronicle article.

Some Hamilton family arms contain the cinque-foil (five petalled flower), but there is no evidence that Martha Hamilton used it. Her personal history, coming from Beaumaris, Anglesey as Martha Panton and marrying c.1815 the Rev. Peploe William Ward (who had to change his name to Hamilton to enable him to succeed the inheritance of his Uncle, William Hamilton) make the arms she may have owned a mystery. She out-lived her husband by 29 years and became the owner of the lands and wealth of the Hamilton family from 1854 to her death in 1883.

William Titherington was a cotton merchant from Prescot in Lancashire carrying out his business in Liverpool. He married Eliza Grace Fluitt, the daughter of a wealthy Chester family who owned Dee Hills Park in Boughton. The 1861 Census shows William and Eliza Titherington living there with 3 children and a large number of staff.

Besides being a cotton merchant, William Titherington was on the Board of the Royal Insurance Company in Liverpool; Chairman of the Birkenhead, Lancashire & Cheshire Junction Railway; held shares in the Minera Mine Company and the Queen Hotel; and set up the Rhyl Hotel Company. He was a churchman and a warden at St. John’s Church. When subscriptions opened in 1864 for the building of All Saints Church in Hoole, he undertook to furnish all of the stone required for its building, delivered to the site.

He received the most votes in the Hoole Local Board elections in 1864 and was elected Chairman. Soon after he started selling Dee Hills Park in lots and as a result Sandown Terrace, Deva Terrace and Beaconsfield Street were built. In May 1868, he was arrested at the behest of the North Western Bank for a debt of £9,150.00 and was immediately put into Lancaster Castle Prison. The subsequent bankruptcy case took 4 years to resolve when he had to pay 2d. for every 9d. owed. He resigned from the Hoole Local Board in 1868. Heraldic sources have failed to reveal which part of the coat of arms was associated with William Titherington.

The motto on the Hoole Coat of Arms, “Nisi Dominus Frustra” means in three words “Without God Frustration” and has been translated as “Without the Lord Everything is in Vain”. It is the first three words in Latin of Psalm 127 and is also the motto of the City of Edinburgh.

The late Gordon Smith, a Hoole Councillor recounted that when he was the Mayor of Chester and had to travel abroad, the Urban District Council’s Chairman’s regalia had to be worn instead of the more expensive Mayoral chain because of insurance costs.

The Coat of Arms appears on the Chairman’s badge and on a pin for his Lady, photographs of which have been taken by the kind invitation of Cllr. Alex Black serving Cheshire West & Chester Council for Hoole Ward during his year as Lord Mayor. Both are kept with the Civic Plate at the Town Hall. The Arms were also used on the covers of the Hoole Handbook produced in 1947 and the Festival of Britain Programme which took place in 1951.

Cover of the Festival of Britain Programme 1951

The Society would be interested to learn of the existence of any other examples of its use e.g. as a letterhead, in publications or even on a celebration mug or local medals?

Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, October 2018, Hoole History & Heritage Society

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