Paisley; a Borough; no respect for Crown authority; and a city…

Personal Flag of HM Queen Elizabeth II
Though not a coat of arms - it is the personal flag of HM The Queen

Diamond Jubilee of HM The Queen

We’re coming up on a milestone in the reign of our Sovereign Lady, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, &c.*. The last milestone was Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee – the forthcoming is the Diamond Jubilee in 2010.

Jubilee Cities

With these milestones often comes a race among various towns in the United Kingdom to be the three in 2000 (or four five† in 2002) that become cities in what is now seen to be a standard competition.

The Member of Parliament for North Antrim, The Hon. Ian Paisley§, today called for Ballymena to be granted city status.

Ballymena a city? I think not.

Now, I am a native of Ballymena, the “city of the seven towers” to use the local saying, but I am opposed to my town being granted city status. I was opposed back in 2000, and in 2002 – and I remain opposed.

Arms of Norroy & Ulster King of Arms
The arms of Norroy & Ulster King of Arms.

Ballymena Borough Council would be wanting an honour from the Crown – yet it does not respect Crown authority on honours as it is. The Borough Council has a coat of arms granted in 1953. I have seen the original grant in the College of Arms in the company of the now Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, Henry Edgar Paston-Bedingfeld, then York Herald. But sometime back around 2000 the Borough Council decided that the very simple coat of arms that has been assigned by Her Majesty’s Kings of Arms, was not good enough anymore.

So they messed about with it. They brought in consultants and paid them a handsome sum of money and all that happened was something that looked like a Primary 7 class was set loose with it. The logo which you can find here – I won’t put it on this blog – now has the correct coat of arms shoved down the shield with a new part added on, I suppose it could be called a ‘chief’ but I wouldn’t dare.

It was said that the very simple coat of arms of Ballymena was too complicated – yet the Borough Council could have petitioned for an heraldic badge – as other councils in Northern Ireland have – and used that instead of the full coat of arms. Personally, I should have thought that a badge with a golden tower possibly with the green leaves of new life (that they think are in the new logo). But that would involve knowing and using the traditions of the United Kingdom. Isn’t that funny that the so-called Loyalists and Unionists won’t abide by the norms of the United Kingdom?

The heraldic badge of York Herald
York Herald's heraldic badge, an example of an heraldic badge

Changing your coat of arms without consulting the heralds is bad enough, but to do so repeatedly when this has been pointed out is tantamount to having no respect whatsoever for the authority of the Crown. I for one, will be writing again to ask that Ballymena Borough does not get city status.

A family trait

Of course, it is unsurprising that The Hon. Ian Paisley is calling for this, as he has learnt from his father who refused to come to an enquiry established by Crown authority – and Paisley senior has now ended up being made a peer – Lord Bannside.


* The &c. is in place of Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of te Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
† when there were meant to be four, one in England, Wales, Scotland – and Northern Ireland had to get two – Newry and Lisburn – some cynics would say one for the Nationalists and one for the Unionists.
§ Yes he is The Hon. Ian Paisley….

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