COUNCIL ARMS

Under English Heraldic Law Coats of Arms can only be granted to the administrative bodies of a County and not the County itself. Coats of Arms of Councils are only representing the Council and therefore not the County. Therefore these arms should not be used on the Flag of Sussex, and only the Emblem of Sussex has historical context to the County of Sussex. Here is a history of the Coats of Arms of Sussex's Councils and how the Sussex Emblem has been interpreted within them. The areas governed by the County Councils, County Borough Councils and Unitary Authority are only administrative regions and are not the same as the traditional, geographical and historical county of Sussex, of which the Saint Richard's Flag is representing. Flag Institute flag registry criteria does state this as well, 'In the case of county flags, the flag must normally apply to a historical county rather than a modern administrative area'. These Coats of Arms of Sussex's Councils also show that a Blue field (background) is used on the Sussex Emblem to represent Sussex in the East of the County as well as the West of the County, unlike the modern misunderstanding where many believe that blue represents the West of the County and Red represents the East of the County.

EAST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

In 1888 East Sussex County Council was created as a result of the Local Government Act 1888, this established elected County Councils and County Borough Councils. Ever since 1585, Sussex had seperate administations for the East and West of the County and these new County Councils carried out the same functions.

Between 1889 and 1937 East Sussex County Council adopted a Coat of Arms which hadn't been officially granted by the College of Arms and therefore isn't really a Coat of Arms. The first quarter bore the traditional six gold martlets on blue from the Sussex Emblem, the second quarter consisted of gold and blue checks from the arms of the De Warenne family who were lords of the barony of Lewes, the third quarter was gold with a blue displayed eagle which was the arms of the De Aquila family who were lords of Pevensey, the fourth quarter bore the arms of the Cinque Ports which relates to Hastings being the chief Cinque Port. The usage of the Sussex Emblem on this East Sussex County Council emblem also shows that a blue field (background) was used to represent Sussex in the East of the County as well as the West of the County.

On 10th September 1937, East Sussex County Council were officially granted a Coat of Arms from the College of Arms. The Arms used the traditional six gold martlets. The gold saxon crown was used to represent the Kingdom of the South Saxons. A red field was only used to contrast against the Coat of Arms of West Sussex County Council, which had already been granted Arms with a blue field (background) 48 years earlier in 1889. A red field (background) is only the colour used to represent the County Council, and not the East of the County. A Blue field (background) with six gold martlets was used by the East Sussex Constabulary between 1840 and 1967 before the formation of Sussex Police. Blue is the only colour which should be used to represent the County of Sussex.

The Local Government Act 1972 made administrative changes to County Councils across Great Britain. In 1974 the administative boundary between East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council moved eastwards. East Sussex County Council also gained the areas governed by Brighton County Borough Council, Eastboune County Borough Council and Hastings County Borough Council. Under heraldic law, any change of area or population by 10% means a previous Coat of Arms can no longer be used. The new Coat of Arms was Granted on 29th August 1975. The Coat of Arms was differenced from the previous Coat of Arms by white wavy bar, representing the sea. This was added to represent the gaining of the coastal areas governed by Brighton County Borough Council, Eastboune County Borough Council and Hastings County Borough Council.

The Local Government Act 1992 allowed the formation of a single council in some areas of the United Kingdom, called Unitary Authorities. On 1 April 1997 a Unitary Authority was created out of Brighton Borough Council and Hove Borough Council. This Unitary Authority was independent of East Sussex County Council and later became Brighton & Hove City Council, after Brighton & Hove gained city status in 2001.

WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

In 1888 West Sussex County Council was created as a result of the Local Government Act 1888. West Sussex County Council was the first County Council in the United Kingdom to be granted a Coat of Arms from the College of Arms. The arms were granted on 18th May 1889. The Arms used the Sussex Emblem and used a Gold Chief (bar on the top) to difference it from the Sussex Emblem.

The Local Government Act 1972 made administrative changes to County Councils across Great Britain. In 1974 the administative boundary between East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council moved eastwards. West Sussex County Council also gained the area around Gatwick Airport under its administative control from Surrey County Council, which falls outside the historical boundary of Sussex. Under heraldic law, any change of area or population by 10% means a previous Coat of Arms can no longer be used. The new arms were granted on 14th January 1975. The line of partition of the Gold chief (bar) was made indented (zig-zag) instead of the straight Chief (bar) of the previous Coat of Arms. A helmet and Blue and Gold mantling topped by a saxon crown were also added. The Saxon Crown represented the area gained by West Sussex County Council from East Sussex County Council, as it was used on the East Sussex County Council Coat of Arms. Oak leaves and acorns were also added to represent the area gained by West Sussex County Council from Surrey County Council.

COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCILS

The Local Government Act 1888, allowed towns with a population of more than 50,000 to be governed by County Borough Councils. These County Borough Councils were independent of County Councils and had the same administrative powers. In 1889 Brighton and Hastings were governed by County Borough Councils and later, in 1911, so was Eastbourne.

Brighton County Borough Council's Coat of Arms were granted on 14th April 1897. The Arms bore two dolphins which have a lengthy history in Brighton, but their exact origin is unknown. The commissioners of Brighton also used two dolphins as their Coat of Arms. The commissioners of Brighton were the administrative body for Brighton in the early 19th Century. The Bordure (border) of the shield is Six gold Martlets on a blue field (background), taken from the Sussex Emblem. This shows that a blue field (background) with six gold martlets was used in the East of the County to represent Sussex as well as the West of the County.

Hastings County Borough Council's Coat of Arms have been used to represent Hastings since 1634. The Coat of Arms are a variation of the Coat of Arms of the Cinque Ports, which Hastings famously once was. The one complete lion in the centre is said to show Hastings' status as the chief Cinque Port.

Eastbourne County Borough Council's Coat of Arms were granted on 11th January 1928. The Coat of Arms was based on a previous emblem used before. The double-cotised fess (broad bar with two smaller bars either side) is from the arms of the family of Badlesmere, the stag's heads are from the arms of the Cavendish family who were Dukes of Devonshire and the rose refers to the Davis-Gilbert family. All these families were landowners in Eastbourne. The Seahorse is used to represent that Eastbourne is a Coastal Town.

The Local Government Act 1972 abolished County Borough Councils, and Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings were gained by East Sussex County Council and turned into Borough Councils. Brighton Borough Council, Eastbourne Borough Council and Hastings Borough Council all retained the Coat of Arms of their respective County Borough Council.

BRIGHTON & HOVE CITY COUNCIL- UNITARY AUTHORITY

The Local Government Act 1992 allowed the formation of a single council in some areas of the United Kingdom, called Unitary Authorities. This was instead of having a County Council and a District Council. Therefore an area would have a single administrative body, independent of County Councils and with more administative power. On 1st April 1997 a Unitary Authority was created out of Brighton Borough Council and Hove Borough Council. This Unitary Athority was independent of East Sussex County Council. On 15th February 2001, Brighton & Hove was proclaimed a city by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Unitary Authority then became Brighton & Hove City Council.

The Coat of Arms for the Unitary authority were granted in April 1997. The Coat of Arms are based on an amalgamation of the Arms of the former Brighton Borough Council and Hove Borough Council. The Two Dolphins come from the Coat of Arms Brighton Borough Council, the Coat of Arms which had been also used by Brighton County Borough Council. The Bordure (border) of the shield features six martlets on a blue field (background) taken from the Sussex Emblem. This again shows that a blue field (background) with six martlets is used in the East of the County to represent Sussex as well as the West of the County. The ship that has run ashore on a shingle beach is a 16th Century French galley and indicates the French attacks in the 16th Century on the coast of Hove, which has been taken from the Coat of the Arms of the former Hove Borough Council.