[Achievement – the name given in heraldry to the full pictorial representation of a coat of arms.]
No, I’m not talking about firearms but a coat of arms. One
lgbt police officers to receive one of the highest honours in the UK is
Jennifer Hilton (b.1936). She was an officer in the Metropolitan Police,
reaching the rank of Commander. After retiring from the police force in 1990
she became a Life Peer and took the title Baroness Hilton of Eggardon. Her arms
are illustrated below.
Regular readers will notice several things different about
the illustration I’ve drawn for today. First of all it’s in a plain, flat,
style with no shading or highlights. I’m experimenting with new styles and haven’t found one that works yet
so have left it in its basic coloured format. Secondly, unmarried women like
Baroness Hilton don’t use helmets in English heraldry so there is no mantling
(the flowing cloth that is usually shown billowing around the shield). Rather
than use the garland of leaves that is usually included in the achievements of
unmarried women, as in my illustration of the arms of Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, I
thought I’d surround Baroness Hilton’s arms with a representation of the
coronation robes of a baron.
As is customary I’ve also indicated the baroness’s rank by
putting a baron’s coronet at the top. As with my illustrations of the arms of
another peer of the realm, Sir Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, I’ve chosen
not to include the supporters Baroness Hilton was granted with her arms (it doesn't suit my style).
However, below is the illustration of the baroness’s full coat of arms as given
in Debrett’s Peerage of 2003.
I’ll just mention the supporter on the right of the picture, the griffin.
This is a creature widely used in heraldry and has symbolic meaning. One
meaning is that the griffin is a guardian of treasure and you often find a
griffin in the coat of arms of banks or financial institutions. Another
symbolic meaning which is appropriate for Baroness Hilton in that the griffin
is associated with justice, being the creature who pulls the chariot of
Nemesis, the goddess of justice. It’s a fitting symbol for a police officer.
Moving on to the lozenge there is another element symbolic
of the police which also incorporates Baroness Hilton’s name. Heraldry often
uses puns and visual clues. One particular pun which is encountered quite a lot
of English heraldry is the green mound, or hill, an obvious pun on Hilton. The
oak tree, symbolic of England, is surrounded by a protecting fence. This
alludes to the baroness’s career as a protector of the English public.
The two bees represent Baroness Hilton’s education. She went
to Bedale’s School and Manchester University. Both of these establishments
currently use bees, in Bedale’s school emblem and Manchester’s coat of arms, as
Suspended below the shield is the Queen’s Police Medal. This
was awarded to Baroness Hilton in recognition of her services to the police
Finally there is the motto, “Poursuivre Raison Avec
Resolution”, which translates as “To follow right with resolution”.