THE MAIL recounted the study over the Barrow’s past leaders and their coat of arms written by A.L Evans in 1991.

Heraldry and the study of various coat-of-arms may seem an outdated and obsolete subject yet throughout Cumbria there are many fascinating examples.

They crop up everywhere; in stain glass windows of churches and ancient halls (as at Rydal and Conishead), on gateposts or wrought iron gates at entrances to various manors - even in the warm red sandstone of Barrow Town Hall - as well as in the glass of some windows.

Take Barrow Town Hall, for example, and the clock town in particular. How many people have seen the coats-of-arms over each face of the 12-foot diameter clock?

These are the ‘armorial bearings’ of the first four mayors of Barrow. Through clear enough, a pair of binoculars or a telescope is needed to study them in full detail.

Over to the east - facing the town - are the arms of Sir James Ramsden, supreme example of the Victorian entrepreneur. From little more than a railway clerk he became the driving force of both the Furness Railway and the development of Victorian Barrow.

Made the town’s first Mayor in 1867, he held office until 1872. The following year, he was High Sheriff f Lancashire.

His arms are the ‘pruning type’ - they contain a bee and arrows - for Barrow,’ and rams’ head for his own surname. More rams’ heads appear on the parapet on top of the tower-again remainders of Ramsden.

On the south face of the tower are the arms of a Dubley man, J.T Smith, one time managing Steelworks, director of the Iron and Steel works, who took over as mayor from Ramsden until 1875. His coats of arms contain three demi-griffins.

Also included is a chevron with an inverted V. It is unknown what its origins were. The arms also show those of William Gradwell, a true Barrowvian found on the front right of the entrance to the town hall. Tragically he was only mayor for ten months before he died.

Above these, flanking the carving of her majesty Queen Victoria, are the arms of Buccleugh and Devonshire.