Leith persevere coat of arms
Official Coat of Arms of Leith

This map records the location of public images of Leith's Coat of Arms.

"Leith's Coat of Arms were granted on 27 February 1889. They show the Virgin and Child seated in a ship with a cloud above. The parish church of South Leith is dedicated to St. Mary, and the ship is for the port and its sea-going trade. The significance of the cloud is not clear; it appears that, during the discussions about the Grant of arms, the Town Clerk's suggestion that what appeared above the Virgin's head (and the ship) in an impression of an old Burgh seal was a protecting cloud, was accepted by Lord Lyon Burnett."

This form of the Leith arms has not been without controversy. The Marquess of Bute, co-author of The Arms of the Royal and Parliamentary Burghs of Scotland (1897), took great exception, saying: "We know of no case whatsoever in which the sacred Mother and Son are represented as being 'under a cloud' – an idea which we must stigmatise as being in itself peculiarly offensive … The artist who executed the official drawing … has added the further offence of not representing the cloud by the conventional convolutions prescribed for this subject by the customs of ages … but as a peculiar rounded and knobbly object, something like a small bolster knocked out of shape.

It is interesting to see the ways in which examples of the Arms differ:

Please get in touch with us at info@oldleith.org if you know of any other examples we can add to our map.

Additional references: