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Chester County Press

Kennett Township to explore ideas for a coat of arms design

01/25/2022 10:47AM ● By Richard Gaw

Courtesy image             A proposal by Kennett Township Supervisor Geoffrey Gamble at the board’s Jan. 19 meeting recommended the creation of a coat of arms seal for the township.


By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

During his campaign to become a supervisor for Kennett Township in 2021, Geoffrey Gamble said that he would try to leave a significant imprint on a job that he promised would see only one six-year term.

At the board’s Jan. 19 meeting – and Gamble’s first full meeting as a supervisor – his recommendation that the township create a coat of arms seal may leave a dignified and permanent imprint on the township for years to come.

“I think that we should adopt something more sophisticated, quite honestly, to mark our history, our progress and our future,” Gamble said, referring to the origin of the township’s name, when Francis Smith, a landowner on Pocopson Creek, is said to have named the area after his birthplace in England -- the Valley of the Kennet River, a tributary of the Thames River in southern England.

Gamble referred to the graphic identities found in the coats of arms for the three original Pennsylvania counties: the County of Philadelphia’s seal featured had a sailing ship, Bucks County’s seal featured a plow, and Chester County used three wheat sheaves, called ‘garbs’ on a green field in its seal.

Throughout his presentation, Gamble referenced other coats of arms now seen in other Pennsylvania municipalities, including the design used by the Borough of Kennett Square, which he called “artistically pleasing,” as well as East Marlborough, Pennsbury and New Garden, all of which incorporate a signature element if their community in their coats of arms.

“Municipal arms should be aesthetically pleasing, simple, timeless and relatively unique,” Gamble said. “In exploring unique features in Kennett Township, the obvious choice would seem to be the Old Kennett Meeting building. The problem with this choice is that it looks like every other historic building throughout the Commonwealth, not to mention the seal of neighboring New Garden Township.”

While incorporating a mushroom into the design of the seal would make reference to the significance of the industry on the township and region, Gamble said that because Kennett Square is already known as “the mushroom capitol of the world,” incorporating a mushroom in the township’s seal may be a form of “piggy-backing” on a well-established identity. He suggested the idea of using an image of a sycamore tree, such as the one that stands next to the Township Building.

“In colonial times, a sycamore planted by a stream signified a drinkable water source,” Gamble said. “Indeed along the Red Clay Creek today in the township, sycamore trees are still found in growing abundance, no doubt descendants of their colonial ancestors. I can find very few Pennsylvania townships that have trees on their seals or arms and none with a sycamore.

“This tree, either alone or standing by the Red Clay [Creek], might be the symbol of our municipal arms.”

As for the township’s seal design, Gamble suggested that it be oval in shape, and surrounded by two oak branches in autumn colors, in keeping with the township’s existing signature font, found on its signage, letterhead and website. In addition, he also suggested that the crest include a wheat sheaf – symbolic of both Chester County and Kennet, England and include both “Kennett Township” and the year 1704, when the township was incorporated.

“My intention here tonight is not to present this for any kind of a vote, but to seek input -- be it favorable or unfavorable -- and to solicit other suggestions and ideas,” Gamble said. “Although there is certainly no urgency with respect to this matter, a real township symbol would mark a new beginning for us all, both from the theft [of $3.2 million of township funds by former manager Lisa Moore] and from the catastrophic pandemic we have just endured.

“Remember, though, the old saying: ‘A camel is a horse put together by a committee,’ and with heraldry and symbols, simple is best.”

Gamble asked those attending the meeting online to offer ideas to him on the proposed design of the township’s coat of arms via e-mail: [email protected]

In other township business, the supervisors approved the extension of an existing land management contract with The Land Conservancy for Chester County (TLC). Under the terms of the contract, TLC will provide land maintenance service for Barkingfield Park and the township’s Lord Howe and Spar Hill properties.

The board also approved the appointment of Lori Stewart to the township’s Historical Commission, who will replace Nick Popovich on the Commission. After the appointment, Gamble recommended that the township establish a space in the Township Building, “where Kennett Township’s history can be seen by the public.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].