The country’s first civic Coat of Arms to display a full aeroplane can still be viewed on the front of the old town hall in Woodcote Road, Wallington.
But why is there an aeroplane on it? This refers to the presence of Croydon Aerodrome, London’s first major airport, in the east of the Borough. Beddington Aerodrome combined with Waddon Aerodrome to become Croydon Airport in 1920.
The Coat of Arms in full
As far as we know, this and the one at Wallington Fire Station are the only remaining Coat of Arms on display in the borough of Sutton, in their original position. It’s fascinating to uncover the rich historical symbolisms on the Wallington and Beddington Coat of Arms.
1 The coronation of a monarch
This shows an arm in armour, holding a gauntlet to be flung down in challenge to a false contender for the Crown, and relates directly to the upcoming coronation of King Charles III. The Lord of the Manor of Wallington in the 15th and 16th Century was the head of the Dymoke family. He was the hereditary Champion of England – his ceremonial role at coronations was to confront anyone who contested the new monarch’s entitlement to the throne. This role passes down to the current head, Henry Francis Marmion Dymoke, who will be seen at King Charles’s coronation.
2 The Tudor roses refer to the prominence of the Carew family of Beddington, and their connection to King Henry VIII during Tudor times.
3 The wall
This could represent the Romano-British town of Noviomagus believed by early historians to have been at Woodcote, in the south of Wallington. Otherwise, it could mistakenly be a reference to the idea of ‘walled town’. Wallington doesn’t mean this at all but derives from a settlement of the Welsh or Celts.
4 The Hannibal aircraft
The Hannibal was a luxury airliner belonging to Imperial Airways at Croydon Airport. It’s shown flying over a rising sun. It’s interesting to note that Beddington Aerodrome was additionally a training facility, and it was here that Prince Albert, later King George VI, gained his wings, while another frequent early user of the airfield was the then Minister of Munitions, Winston Churchill.
5 The flag of Surrey
The blue and gold checks pattern is derived from the arms of William de Warenne the first Earl of Surrey, who died in 1088. This pattern makes up the current flag of Surrey and is still used in the arms of numerous Surrey towns and appears in the badges or sports kits of many organisations. The flag was added to the British Flag Registry in 2014.
6 The motto
At the base it reads ‘PER ARDUA AD SUMMA’ which means ‘Through Difficulties to the Heights’.
The new Municipal Borough of Beddington and Wallington was granted its Coat of Arms on formation in 1937. It was disbanded in 1965 when it became part of the new London Borough of Sutton. The Town Hall was opened in 1934 and ceased operation in 2005. It was Grade 2 listed in 2008.
Credits – Photography: Secret Carshalton, Coat of Arms illustration: Sutton Heritage, Additional content: Wikipedia, Key Aero and Heraldry Wiki. We hope you found this peek into Wallington’s past, of interest. We’d love to hear what you think. Please leave your comments below.