The three lions which adorn the England football shirt have long presented a mystery as to their origin. Historians believe the three lions came into existence around the turn of the twelfth century when Richard I “the Lionheart” came to the throne.
When Richard I came to power his personal coat of arms was installed as the official Royal Coat of Arms of England, remaining so for the next 140 years. The ‘three lions passant guardant in pale’ featured in gold on a royal red background. Previously, there had been only two golden lions on the crest following the Norman Conquest of 1066, and only one golden lion following the succession of King Henry II in 1158.
It is believed that the lions in Richards crest were based upon the original Normandy arms, the extra lion representing the Anglo-Norman alliance. Others believe the artists simply copied the design from Normandy, who featured two lions on its crest, the extra lion being added for pure decoration.
An alternative story tells us that they are not actually lions at all, rather two Leopards combined with another from Aquitaine, a South-West French region, upon the acquisition of more territorial victories for the crown. With the Coat of Arms introduced following the Norman Conquest in 1066, the French language would have been quite common during this time. In a French coat of arms, a lion without further description is always rampant and up on its hind legs . Yet the English lion, ‘a lion passant guardant’ , in the French ufabet เข้าสู่ระบบเว็บตรง language is called a léopard . I t should however be understood that this only describes the animals posture and not its species, meaning this theory may well be flawed.
Whilst there is no definitive answer as to the number of lions featured in the crest, there is certain significance to the lions themselves. History has delivered so many heraldic lions that the actual stance of each lion has meaning in itself. The three lions featured in the crest are ‘ lion rampant guardant’ , the walking lion. The forepaw of each lion is raised, the remaining three paws firmly on the ground and the head turned to face outwards. Whilst it is widely believed the Football Association own the three lions crest this is actually untrue, permission for its use must be granted by the royal monarch of the United Kingdom.
The ten roses that appear with the three lions only featured on the football association’s crest in April 1949. The Football Association have been based in Lancaster since 1929, with the Rose of Lancaster being adopted as the official emblem of England, it’s no coincidence that this now features on the crest allowing us to determine that these are indeed roses. A question does remain however as to why there are 10 roses featured with no explanation to this ever being offered.