Arms of the borough of Amber Valley

Amber Valley

Derbyshire, England

Granted 1989

Blazon: Vert a pale wavy or within a bordure argent charged with five horseshoes sable, on a chief of the second between two lozenges a cresset sable fired proper

Crest: On a wreath of the colors the battlements of a tower proper issuant therefrom between two croizers or an oak tree also proper fructed and ensigned by a crown of fleurs-de-lis of the first

Supporters: On the dexter a unicorn argent armed and crined or gorged with a collar pendant therefrom a cross flory gules; on the sinister a leopard proper gorged with a collar gules pendant therefrom a fleur-de-lis or

Mantling: Vert lined or

Motto: Per laborem progredimur (By hard work we progress)

The pale wavy evidently represents the river Amber, while the lozenges and cresset symbolize the coal and iron industries. The horseshoes on the bordure are taken from (one of the versions of) the arms of the Ferrers family.

Arms of Desselbrunn, Austria


Granted 1985

Blazon: Vert between two flanks* striped** argent and azure a horseshoe pendant or and a well of the second, water of the third

*The term in the blazon is Flanken, which seems to be a charge specific to Germanic heraldry. They may occur with the top, bottom, both, or neither curved, but the sides are always straight. Contrast the English flaunches, which are inevitably rounded.

**This is also taken from the original blazon; “striped” is rarely, if ever, used in blazoning in English.

The horseshoe represents a local festival in honor of St. Leonard of Noblac, patron saint of horses. The well (or Brunnen) both refers to the town’s name and the legend of its founding. Allegedly, Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria had lost his way in the woods when he stumbled upon a spring. In gratitude, he founded a church on the spot, which later became the town of Tesselbrun (Tassilo’s fountain) and later Desselbrunn.

Arms of de Ferrers and de Quincy

Ferrers and Quincy

Arms of William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby (1193 – 1254) and Margaret de Quincy (c. 1218 – 1280)

From p81 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme argent six horseshoes sable and gules seven mascles conjoined 3, 3, and 1 or

I have previously discussed the disagreement over the Ferrers arms here. Ferne incorrectly refers to William as the Lord of Groby. The first Lord of Groby was William and Margaret’s grandson, also named William, who received the title in 1299 William and Margaret married in 1238 and had five children, including the heir to Derby, Robert. William previously had seven daughters with his first wife, the youngest of whom, Eleanor, later married Margaret’s father, Roger de Quincy.

Arms of Ferrers and Chester

Ferrers and Chester

Arms of William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby 1199-1247 (c. 1168-1247) and Agnes of Chester (?-1247)

From p43 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per pale baron and femme; the first argent six horseshoes sable, the second azure three garbs or

There are several competing opinions on the “true” arms of the Ferrers family. The horseshoes shown here (or some variation thereof) are usually considered to be canting arms (for “farrier”), and different authorities will argue accordingly; if the source in question takes a dim view of canting arms, the blazon given is usually “vairy or and gules.” Ferne falls into the pro-horseshoe camp, arguing that the vairy was adopted by “Henry Earle Ferrers… for the affection which he bare to his wife and her family,” which makes the horseshoe coat “their most auntient Coate, and the signe and representation of theyr service done to their Soveraigne.” (67) He also touches on the canting arms debate, saying that “those families which beare Armes alluding to their names… are both honorable and auntient.” (68)