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Here is the Bird that never flew 
Here is the Tree that never grew

Here is the Bell that never rang
Here is the Fish that never swam

Glasgow's Coat of Arms dates back to 1866 when the Lord Lyon first granted the city its patent. The emblems depicted within the armorial bearings go back much further in history, representing legendary incidents in the life of the city's founder and patron saint, St Kentigern, or as he was more affectionately known, St Mungo, meaning "the dear one".

The Bell is believed to represent the one given to St Mungo by the Pope. Until the 16th century St Mungo's Bell played an important role in the life of the city, tolled regularly as a reminder to the inhabitants to pray for his soul. A replacement was purchased in 1641 and now lies in the People's Palace. Inscribed on it is the city's motto: "Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and praising thy name." - often shortened to: "Let Glasgow Flourish". The fate of the original bell is unknown.

The Tree - although depicted as an oak - represents the hazel branch which the young St Mungo miraculously set alight when the holy fire of the monastery at Culross was mischievously extinguished by the other boys.

The Bird represents a robin brought back to life by the young saint after St Serf's disciples had accidentally killed it and blamed Mungo.

The Fish refers to the story of Queen Langeoreth, whose husband King Rydderach Hael, suspected her of infidelity. Knowing she had given her gold wedding ring to her lover, King Hael took the ring from the knight as he slept and threw it into the River Clyde. Challenging her to produce the ring, Langeoreth sought help from the knight who, through his confession to St Mungo, was instructed by the saint to take a salmon from the river. To the king's amazement, the ring was discovered in the salmon's mouth.

The Coat of Arms and the city's motto can be seen in various guises throughout the city - inscribed on buildings, incorporated within street lamps and etched into some of the city's magnificent statuary.

The Armorial Insignia is reproduced with the kind permission of Glasgow City Council.

Reference: Retrieved from, November 2007


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