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Name and armorial bearings

A brief word on the name of our ward
& the shield from the arms we use

A Past President, and former Garter King of Arms, the late Sir A Cohn Cole KCB KCVO TD CC, reasearched the following history for the Farringdon Ward Club:

The Club has for a long time displayed the Arms of Nicholas Faryngton, Mayor of London in the years 1308, 1313, 1320 and 1323. He was a goldsmith, and in one record at the College of Arms, he is described as a knight but does not style himself as such in his Will of 1334.

Some fifty years earlier, one William Farrindon had been, in 1281, “Shreife” of the City of London, and to him were attributed Arms similar to those borne later by the Mayor Nicholas Faryngton, who was William’s son-in-law. William Farrindon’s origins are traceable perhaps to Farringdon, a place name in Devon, which occurs also as “Ferentone”, “Ferhendone” and “Ferndon”. As “Ferhendone”, meaning “Fern clad down”, it occurs in Domesday Book.

The above mentioned William Farrindon, or William de Farindon, made his Will in 1292-4, leaving his tenements in the City of London to his son-in-law Nicholas (son of Ralph le Fevre) who thereupon it may be presumed took his father-in-law’s name and became Nicholas Farrindon, making his own Will in 1334 as “Nicholas de Farndon, Alderman” by which Will he gave and devised “Le Aldermanrie” of Farndon, ie the Aldermanship of Faringdon of which he was seised as of his own property, to John de Pulteneye, Mayor in 1330 and 1331.

It was William de Farringdon, Nicholas’ father-in-law, who gave his name to the Ward of Faringdon or “Farndone” which previously had been called the Ward of Ludgate and Newgate.

These variations of the name in City of London records make it highly likely that the Ward of Farringdon carries a name deriving from Devon, which name was there subject to similar variations from time to time.

The Arms of Nicholas Farringdon (as the name came to be) may be blazoned (ie described in the language of heraldry) as follows:

“Or on a fesse gules between fourteen cross crosslets fitchy sable three lions heads erased Argent”
In everyday language, the Arms can be described as “gold on a horizontal band of red between fourteen black crosses crosslet each pointed at its foot three lions’ heads torn off at the neck each of silver”.

Crosses appear frequently in heraldry and take many forms, generally being meant as christian symbols, and lions and lions’ heads are also popular devices, sometimes being intended to allude to the Lions “passant gardant” in the Arms of England. Whether the lions’ heads of Farringdon have this significance is a question. However, in these Arms, which are older than those of the City of London (the Cross and Sword of the City Arms dating from 1381) it is just possible that the leopard’s head (or lion’s head full-faced) used from at least 1300 by the goldsmiths of London as a hall-mark on articles of gold and silver, inspired the choice of lions’ heads in the Arms of so prominent a goldsmith as Nicholas Farringdon.

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