‘For the Reward of the Good and The Dread and Terror of the Bad’ | ‘Tebeldra A Eutheg Tra Vas A Wober’
The official Penzance Coat of Arms was granted by the Kings Arms in 1934. The original Latin motto ‘Quod Improbum Terret Probo Prodest’ translates as:
‘For the Reward of the Good and the Dread and Terror of the Bad’ in English
‘Tebeldra A Eutheg Tra Vas A Wober’ in Cornish.
The Penzance Coat of Arms is made up of several elements that represent different areas of the parish:
The lamb and flag on the shield was the tin stamp used by the smelting house at Gulval village to mark its blocks of tin.
The Maltese cross, at the bottom of the shield, represents Madron and its connections with the Knights of St John.
At the top of the shield – the crossed keys of St Peter represent Newlyn and the sword of St Paul represents the village of Paul.
The importance of Penzance as a major port is represented by a ship with all guns firing; a fisherman carrying a net; and a pirate holding a cutlass. The pirate also celebrates the town’s famous association with Gilbert & Sullivan’s opera The Pirates of Penzance.
Pensans translates from the Cornish as ‘Holy Head’.
The head of St John the Baptist, patron saint of Penzance, featured on the town’s old common seal, which was adopted in 1614.
It was used as the Penzance Coat of Arms until the current Coat of Arms was adopted in 1934. The image of St John the Baptist is still used on the seal of the Town Council and on the Mayoral Chain, and can be seen on various items of street furniture throughout the town centre, such as the hanging basket posts on Causewayhead.