This page deals with PERSONAL Coats of Arms. Arms are awarded to an individual and are not hereditary except by direct descent, hence there is no such thing as a ‘family coat of arms’. Those of the same surname may bear completely different Coats of Arms, while others of the same surname may not be entitled to Arms at all.

Thanks to Cynthia Lydiard Cannings for her invaluable inspiration and help on this subject.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Coats of Arms 1 2 3 4

Lincoln’s Inn

The gatehouse of 1518 bears the Arms of the Treasurer of the day, Sir Thomas Lovell, who in large part paid for it. He appears in Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII, during a performance of which in 1613 the Globe Theatre burnt down after a special effects cannon set fire to the thatched roof.

Lincolns Inn WC2
Tube: Chancery Lane

Lord Northcliffe

This bust of the press baron, Alfred Harmsworth, who founded the Daily Mail in 1896, the Daily Mirror in 1903, and invented tabloid journalism, sits on a memorial by Lutyens. The sculptor was Lady Hilton Young. The Arms show four bees and scrolls of paper, highlighting his work in the newspaper industry.

186a Fleet Street EC4
Tube: Temple/Blackfriars


A spider in its web is the charge of Sir Aston Webb RA, remembered on this plaque inside the gatehouse of St Bartholomew’s Church, Smithfield. He worked on the church’s restoration in the 1880s. His brother Edward was churchwarden, which no doubt helped the architect win his first major commission.

Little Britain EC1
Tube: Barbican/Farringdon

Christopher Moran

Businessman Chris Moran has spent a large part of his City fortune in restoring and extending Crosby Hall - which once stood in Bishopgate - on this site in Chelsea. The work stays true to Tudor style, but the Arms are his own, more modern ones. The Seahorse is one symbol for a trader.

Cheyne Walk SW3
Tube: Sloane Square

Thomas Sutton

Sutton - the wealthiest commoner in England - bought Charterhouse in 1611 from the Earl of Suffolk. He did not live to see it but his foundation paid for a hospital for 80 elderly gentlemen and a school for 40 boys that still thrive today. Charterhouse Square is liberally adorned with his Arms.

Charterhouse Square EC1
Tube: Barbican

Cavendish & Chesham

Lord Cavendish built the Burlington Arcade in 1819 but it was his great-great-great-grandson, Lord Chesham, who put up his family Arms in 1911. Topped by a serpent, the motto is ‘Cavendo Tutus’ (Secure in Caution). Look on the Beadles’ buttons to see different Arms; ask them and they will explain.

Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly
Tube: Green Park

Sir Robert Grosvenor

Two dogs sit at the feet of Sir Robert Grosvenor in a sculpture atop the plinth which bears these Arms of a wheatsheaf and portcullis quartered and a quote from Ruskin: 'When we build let us think we build for ever'. The Latin motto ‘Virtus Non Stemma’ translates as ‘Birth, Not Worth’.

Belgrave Square SW1
Tube: Hyde Park Corner