The armorial insignia of the city of Glasgow
The coat of arms of Glasgow incorporates a number of symbols and emblems associated with the life of Glasgow’s patron saint, Mungo. a priest of the Celtic church who lived in the 6th century and died in 603.
The elements represent miracles performed by Mungo, listed in the traditional rhyme:
Here’s the bird that never flew
Here’s the tree that never grew
Here’s the bell that never rang
Here’s the fish that never swam
The bird is a wild robin tamed by St Mungo’s old master. When it was accidentally killed by some of his disciples, Mungo took the dead bird in his hands and prayed, restoring it to life.
The tree (an oak) in the legend was a hazel branch. As a boy in the monastery Mungo was left in charge of the holy fire in the refectory. He fell asleep and some of the other boys, being envious of him, put out the fire. When he woke and found what had happened, he broke off some frozen branches from a hazel tree and caused them to burst into flames by praying over them.
The Bell may have been given to St Mungo by the Pope and after his death it was tolled throughout the city t o call the inhabitants to pray for his soul.
The supporters are two salmon bearing rings, and this is the legend copied from a pamphlet printed by the City of Glasgow District Council.
The fish with a ring in its mouth is a salmon and the ring was a present from Hydderch Hael, King of Cadzow, to his Queen Languoreth.
The Queen gave the ring to a knight, and the King, suspecting an intrigue, took it from him while he slept during a hunting party and threw it into the River Clyde.
On returning home the King demanded the ring and threatened Languoreth with death if she could not produce it. The Queen appealed to the knight who, of course, could not help and then confessed to St. Mungo who sent one of his monks to fish in the river, instructing him to bring back the first fish caught. This was done and St. Mungo extracted the ring from its mouth.
The scene is represented on the counter seal of Bishop Robert Wyschard, made about 1271.