Tonbridge History

The Arms of Tonbridge

TUDC coat of arms

Tonbridge Urban District Council was granted these arms by Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy Kings of Arms on 30th September 1935.

The two towers at the top represent Tonbridge Castle. The left tower is allowed to carry a ‘Lion Passant Guardant’ because the Great Seal of England was kept for some time in Tonbridge Castle during one of the visits to France of Edward I. The three chevrons on the right tower are from the arms of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester. The shield shows a bridge of five arches representing the five waterways that once crossed the High Street, three of which have now been culverted. The ship implies the importance to Tonbridge of the River Medway, particularly before the coming of the railway. The latin motto translates as ‘The good of the people is the supreme law’ (Cicero).


Wooden shield bearing the TUDC coat of arms, painted by Mr R. A. Hunt. (THS artefacts collection)

Although the 1935 arms were to be ‘borne and used for ever hereafter by The Urban District Council of Tonbridge and by its successors’, they were in fact replaced in 1976 after the new Tonbridge and Malling District had come into being. The new coat of arms can be seen on this website.