History of the ‘Wivenhoe Badge’

The ‘badge’ is a small replica of the original Chariman’s Jewel, made in 1963 by Toye Kenning & Spencer for the Urban District Council. The UDC based the design for the Jewel on their Official Seal, presented to them in 1898 by Chairman, Alexander Barlow, but with the specific request that the Jewel have a raven incorporated into it. This Jewel cost £200 and was paid out of a donation from Mr Leslie Kemble.

The boat is a sailing smack, reflecting Wivenhoe’s connection with the River Colne, and the oyster shell because oysters had been cultivated in tidal estuaries around Colchester even before the Roman invasion.

The significance of the raven, adopted from Colchester, is disputable. The raven was flown from the mast head of the Danish Ships and was known to the coastal inhabitants of Eastern England as a ‘bird of ill omen’. However it was a custom in early history to take the emblem of your enemy if you had defeated him and make it part of your own, to show that you had taken away their power. 

Having defeated the Danes, Colchester took the raven and added it to their own badge.   The Portreeve of Colchester took the Danish raven and made it the central item in the seal of the Portreeve. (The seal can be seen at Colchester Town Hall as part of the Regalia). This seal was used as a signature of authority as few people could write in those days.

There is no Portreeeve today. For some while, Colchester employed a Harbourmaster based at Wivenhoe, until responsibility for running the Hythe as a port was ended in 2001.

Wivenhoe Sailing Club adopted the raven as the central emblem in their club burgee.