We are creating a short film about Cambridge and its links to kings and queens throughout history, which will be shown in our heritage centre this summer.
I’d always thought that the building above the crest on Cambridge’s coat of arms was a castle.
It seemed logical that there was a bridge on the coat of arms itself, showing the importance of the river crossing, but a castle watching over the river from above (even though our Norman castle is nothing more than a mound nowadays.)
It turns out it’s actually a second bridge!
The original grant of arms in the Guildhall makes it very clear:
Photograph by Cipher Arts Ltd.
“Gules, a bridge, in chief a flower de luce gold between two roses silver on a point wave three boats sable, and to the crest upon the healme on a wreath gold and gules on a mount vert a bridge silver mantled gules doubled silver, the Arms supported by two Neptunes horses the upper part gules the nether part proper finned gold.”
Some versions of the coat of arms make the silver bridge look extremely castle-y:
While others show the river beneath the arches and make it much clearer…
I’m sure I’ve misled several school groups about this, but at least now I know!