Our Coat of Arms
From 1677 to 1793 the Monks of Dieulouard looked after the faithful of Tardy Gate. It is for this reason that the Motto of the Parish Arms is DIEU LE WARD. Translated from Old French, this means GOD IS THE PROTECTOR.
The top left depicts the three Gold Mitres (OR), a Silver Chain with Bolt and Bit (Argent in Chevron) on a blue Background (Azure) This is taken from the Arms of Evesham Abbey in Worcestershire.
From 1075 until 1535 the lands around Tardy Gate belonged to the Monks of Penwortham Priory – a dependant Priory of Evesham Abbey.
The Mitres depict the office of Abbot, whilst the Chain with Bolt and Bit comes from a story (probably apocryphal) concerning Abbot John Tynemouth of Evesham.
Abbot John was falsely accused of immoral living. As a result, he bound himself up in chains (as atonement for any sins of his youth), locked the chains and cast the key into the river Avon. He then set off on Pilgrimage to Rome to seek forgiveness – saying that when his locked chains were loosed this would be a sign he was forgiven.
On arrival in Rome, whilst he was at Mass with the Pope, his servant caught a fish in the Tiber. Inside the fish was an identical key to the one Abbot John had thrown into the Avon! The Pope himself unlocked the chains with the key telling him that all was well and was clearly forgiven for any wrongs he may have done.
This sector of the Coat of Arms shows the Red Rose of Lancashire. No explanation is needed for this inclusion!.
The Blue over the Black at the foot of the Arms is taken from the Yellow over Blue of the Ampleforth/Westminster Coat of Arms (which in those Coat of Arms denotes the Sun over the River Thames) In the case of Our Lady and Saint Gerard’s the Blue depicts the Blue of Our Lady (Our Lady of Lourdes Parish) and the Black depicts the Black Habit of the Redemptorist Order to which Saint Gerard Majella belonged.