Sunday, 23 October 2016

Our English readers will find this heraldic shield of some interest. It is from the German town of Bünde in North Rhine-Westphalia Germany, and it is of Hengist and Horsa. English legend has it that these were brothers, even divine twins. But in the local stories the tale is that the shield represents the union (hence the towns name Bünde which means bund or bound) of Hengist and Horsa who were local chieftains - one Saxon and one Engern (the town of Enger is 10km away - and is the where Widukind's tomb and museum can be found). This story reflects England's Anglo-Saxon origins as England was founded by Hengist and Horsa - though it is clear that Germanic tribes have always lived on these islands. I've often doubted that Hengist and Horsa were their real names - as each means 'horse' and were probably war-titles. The predominate symbol of Westphalia is of course the White Horse. Its colours are red white and green, which we find in different combinations - red/white in England, green/white in Saxony and all three in Westphalia. It is the White Horse of Westphalia, also called the 'Saxon Steed' that gave Kent in the UK its coat of arms.