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Badges of Honour

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I've never been someone interested in club badges... but looking at many of the logos of these Junior teams some seem intriguing, some historically edifying, and some frankly downright baffling, and that's before we get down to some of the mottoes. In various cases it looks like the badges depict the heritage of the town and/or team which is also quite interesting if you don't know it very well. Could we have a go at people explaining the symbolism behind theirs or others badges?

Here are the first 5 from Conference A. Easthouses looks pretty self-explanatory, and Hawick's seems pretty generic unless the number of thistles has significance. There may be more to Dunbar than just a 'generic' finishing boat. Arniston and Coldstream are, well, intricate!

Arniston Rangers - "Essayez"

Coldstream - "Nulli Secundus"

Dunbar United

Easthouses Lily

Hawick Royal Albert

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Dunbar United nickname is listed as The Seasiders and I remember it being The Fishermen in the past though I’ll stand corrected if wrong but maybe that’s where it originated
In recent years Dunbar United are often referred to as The Sunny Dunny

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Coldstream's badge comes from the burgh seal of Coldstream. It dates back to medieval times. 

Please see my article in the Edinburgh City v Coldstream programme of a couple of years ago. If you're really nice to me I might condense it and repost it here for you :lol:

Arniston Rangers: "Essayez" is the motto of Clan Dundas and means "Try". I suspect the badge is the  coat of arms of the Dundases of Arniston, the local landowners. 

I wrote a series of interesting/space filling articles on club badges in the Edinburgh City programme over the last few years, including Lowland League teams. 


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The unknown history of Annan's badge!

"Annan Athletic, unlike many teams in Scotland, do not take their club badge from the town crest and this posed a bit of a puzzle for me as I couldn’t find anything to connect the flaming torch with the town of Annan. Fortunately for me however we played Annan away from home first this season and I was able to ask Annan Chairman Henry McClelland about the origins of the badge.

In the mid-1970s, possibly when Annan joined the South of Scotland League in 1977, it was decided to adopt a club crest. The young son of one of the coaches at Annan designed a badge with a flaming torch in the centre which stood for the “athletic” part of the club name Annan Athletic. The Montreal Olympics were held in 1976 and we can guess that the lad was influenced by the idea of the Olympic Torch. The designer of the badge was the young Rowan Alexander who went on to play for Morton and Queen of the South and was the manager of Gretna when they reached the Scottish Cup Final in 2006.  

Two thistles, the ancient symbol of Scotland, are also depicted on the badge while the red background and golden torch colour come from the Annan Burgh Arms which show a red saltire cross on a yellow background, taken from the Arms of the Marquises of Annandale."

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"The Burgh seal’s design came from the Seal of Coldstream Abbey which was founded in 1143 by Cospatrick, Earl of March. The site of the Abbey was close to the present day Market Square and while there are few remains of the buildings streets named Nun’s Walk, Penitent’s Walk and Abbey Road are reminders of the monastic settlement. There was a tradition that Hoppringle, Abbess of Coldstream, allowed the Abbey to be used as a crypt for the bodies of slain knights after the Battle of Flodden in 1513 and during excavations on the Abbey site in 1834 a large stone coffin and a number of bones were found.  In 1532 a Papal Legate, Antonio Carpaggio, stayed at the Abbey and issued on behalf of Pope Paul III a papal bull banning the printing of Scripture. Ironically enough in the 18th Century a printing press producing bibles was established on the site by the Reverend Dr. Adam Thomson.

The Abbey seal featured a fish with a hook in its mouth, the sun, the moon and stars and a wheel design. The fish in religious terminology is a symbol of Jesus Christ, or perhaps the fish in this instance is a reference to the name of the town “Cold-stream”. That the fish featured a hook in its mouth may also refer to Jesus’s request that his disciples be “fishers of men”. The sun, moon and stars represent the fact that Christ is Lord of All and the wheel design represented the world or perhaps just the fact that there was a mill at Coldstream.

The modern Burgh seal is half blue, the colour of the Virgin Mary to whom Coldstream Abbey was dedicated, and half green- a colour associated with local landowners the Earls of Home. The sun, moon and stars designs come from the Abbey seal as described above while instead of the circular wheel shape featured on the Abbey seal there is now a rose design which stands for the Dunbar family who had connections with Coldstream. One heraldic expert suggested that the original mysterious wheel design on the Abbey seal may just have been a primitive form of the rose symbol of the Dunbars. Instead of a hook the fish now has a cross in its mouth and this is of the same design as the cross on the Crown of Scotland.

The Latin motto “Nulli Secundus” or “second to none” is the motto of the Coldstream Guards. Raised originally by General Monck in 1650 the regiment was placed as the second senior regiment of Household Troops, as it entered the service of the Crown after the 1st Regiment of Foot Guard. The Coldstream Guards answered to that by adopting the motto “Nulli Secundus” due to the fact that the regiment is older than the senior regiment. The regiment always stands on the left of the line when on parade with rest of the Foot Guards, so standing "second to none".

The form of Crown on this particular badge shows that these arms are of a Community Council following the local council reorganisation of 1973."

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By an online search it doesn't seem to be Dundas of Arniston arms but maybe it's an old version.

Incidentally it'd appear to mean Dumbarton no longer has the only elephant in senior football.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn - "Strength Through Loyalty"

Leith Athletic - "Persevere"

Musselburgh Athletic

Newtongrange Star

Oakley United

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Musselburgh and Leith both take their badges from old civic seals- those are Mussels and Anchors on the Musselburgh crest, a suitable design for a seaside burgh. 

I use "Scottish County Heraldry" by R M Urquhart for my research. You'll find it in the Reference Section of the Scottish Library in Central Library on George IV Bridge. There's also an older book called "Scottish Burgh Seals" which is also quite good. 

The Haws one looks like a design of the Hill of Beath and a hawthorn tree. According to their website the current club take their name from previous club who were around in the 1950s. 

Why Hawthorn I can't say although it seems to have a part in Scottish folklore (according to Wikipedia): that hawthorn marks the entrance to the otherworld might make it a good tree to adopt if you're a miner! It is also known as the "Mayflower" which is echoed in the name of the old junior team Loanhead Mayflower, also from a mining area.


"In Gaelic folklore, hawthorn (in Scottish Gaelic, sgitheach and in Irish, sceach) 'marks the entrance to the otherworld' and is strongly associated with the fairies.[28]

Hawthorn trees are often found beside clootie wells; at these types of holy wells, they are sometimes known as rag trees, for the strips of cloth which are tied to them as part of healing rituals.[31] 'When all fruit fails, welcome haws' was once a common expression in Ireland."

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3 hours ago, pipedreamer said:

Hill of Beaths ground is on Hawthorn Crescent. Does Hawick Royal Albert have a military background? The crest with the cross and lion etc seems to be common with regiments etc.

The saltire and wreath on the Hawick badge is reminiscent of the cap badge of the KOSB (King's Own Scottish Borderers) so I suspect they were taken from that.

The KOSB's regimental march is "Blue Bonnets over the Border" famously played on the bagpipes on the Normandy beaches during the D Day Landings.


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5 hours ago, pipedreamer said:

Hill of Beaths ground is on Hawthorn Crescent. Does Hawick Royal Albert have a military background? The crest with the cross and lion etc seems to be common with regiments etc.

Think the name is linked to the Larkhall junior team in some way.


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Preston Athletic as promised:  

"Preston Athletic’s badge depicts the local landmark of Preston Cross.

In 1617 the town of Prestonpans was granted the privilige of holding a weekly market and an annual fair on the 2nd Thursday in October. Having been granted rights to hold a market, the people of the town with the help of the local Hamilton family erected a “Mercat Cross”. The Mercat Cross (Market Cross) in Scotland was a focal point around which  market stalls would be erected and merchants would discuss business. The first mention of a mercat cross comes in the reign of William the Lion in the 12th Century.

It is thought the cross may have been designed by William Wallace, principal master mason to King James VI and who was known to have worked in the area around Prestonpans. The cross consists of a stone pillar with a unicorn on the top, a symbol of the Scottish monarch. Surrounding the base of the cross is the cross-house and 5 crosses in Scotland are of this design- those at Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Prestonpans. The Preston Cross is unique though as it remains in its original position as it has been described as “the most handsome mercat cross in Scotland”. In 1636 the chapmen (or travelling salesmen) of the Lothians acquired the rights to the market and the cross and as late as 1851 the Ancient and Royal Fraternity of Chapmen of the three Lothians held their court at Preston Cross.

Within the Cross house a set of steps leads up to a balcony from which the “bell-man” or town crier would announce news or important proclamations. Up to the present day Royal proclamations are occasionally read out from Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross. The cross house also has a dark chambers, the “black hole”, where prisoners could be held for trial.

As well as Preston Athletic’s badge mercat cross designs can be seen on the town badge of Turriff in Aberdeenshire and the club badge of Cumnock Juniors."


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Anybody want to know about Vale of Leithen, BSC, Cumbernauld, Whitehill, Edinburgh Uni, Stirling Uni, Dalbeattie, East Stirlingshire, Selkirk, Gala and Spartans because I did articles on those as well.. 

OK- Lowland League forum for that pish! 

Also Brora, Auchinleck, Buckie and Fort William. And various Scottish League clubs. 



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