Above is the coat of arms adopted by the Borough of Tynemouth upon its formation in 1849. The various bits and pieces are all pretty self-explanatory (the motto means something like ‘harvest of the deep’ – coal and fish, get it?). But what exactly do the three crowns mean?
Well, the shield which lies at the centre of the emblem was adopted due to its being that of the Prior of Tynemouth. And the story goes that the three crowns represent the three kings buried within the priory’s walls, namely Oswin, Osred and Malcolm.
The earliest of these, King Oswin, was the ruler of the ancient kingdom of Deira, that portion of Northumbria which lay between the Tees and the Humber. The northern bit, Bernicia, was at the time ruled by another individual. In 651, however, that other individual, one King Oswy, attacked the southern kingdom, sending Oswin first into retreat, then into surrender. Sending his troops home to save their lives, he then gave himself up to the enemy (or was betrayed – sources vary), was murdered by them, and interred at Tynemouth. He was later elevated to sainthood.
King Osred II became ruler of a united Northumbria in c.788-89, but soon fell himself in 790 to the previously deposed Aethelred. Fleeing into exile, he returned for another crack at the top job in 792, but was slain – probably by Aethelred’s men – before he’d had a chance to get himself organised. His murderers at least had the decency to have him buried at Tynemouth Priory.
King Malcolm III of Scotland died doing what he did best; raiding Northumbria. He was forever at it, and eventually paid with it with his life when he was defeated and slain at the Battle of Alnwick in 1093. His remains were interred at Tynemouth – though they were later reburied next to those of his wife, Margaret, at Dunfermline Abbey in the thirteenth century.
If you’d like to know more about the crest, see www.tynelives.org.uk/northsh/page2.htm