Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Christian roots of the UK -Wandsworth's Coat of Arms

Wandsworth Coat of Arms
The coats of arms of many Boroughs of the United Kingdom give a clue to the Christian Heritage of our nation. Perhaps none is more enigmatic than the tearsdrops on the Coat of Arms of the London Borough of Wandsworth. Each gold square on the shield bears a teardrop representing the tears of the French Huguenots, many of whom settled in Wandsworth in 1685. Among other marks they left are streetnames which are still with us today.

In 1685 Wandsworth became a place of sanctuary for large numbers of Hugenots escaping from persecution in France. This was the year in which the Edict of Nantes was revoked and French Calvinists and other Protestants lost the right to worship according to their conscience as guided by their understanding of the Bible. Over the following decade between 200,000 and 500,000 fled France. Many of those coming to Wandsworth brought considerable weaving skills to the area.