You may be more than familiar with the above logo, especially if you live in England and are a keen football supporter. If not, you might have heard the song written about it, which is a rare accolade, for a logo at least.
I was recently asked why the crest of the England Football team bares Three Lions, and not knowing the answer, I was curious to find out. There seems to be a cloud of mystery surrounding the history of the logo with various theories banded around.
The ‘Lion’ has been a symbol of ‘England’ since the 11th century during the rule of the Normans, and was featured on early versions of the English Coat of Arms. During this period only one lion was illustrated on a red background (which symbolised a red battlefield – even the Normans were art critics at heart).
A hundred years later a certain King Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart, ruled the throne and during his reign added a further two golden lions to the crest. The reason for this is unclear as far as I was able to discover.
Fast forward 8 centuries to 1872, at the time of the first ever competitive international football match, an emblem to represent national pride was needed and so the English Football Association made the decision to use the three lions as a symbol of ‘Englishness’.
As the Three Lions are officially a royal emblem, the FA has to seek permission of the Royal Family when they need to use it, meaning that the logo is not the sole propriety of the organisation that it represents.
You will notice that the England crest also features 10 red roses. The red rose is a symbol of the Lancaster-York peace treaty in the 16th Century, but the reason for their number is also unclear. Maybe it represents 10 out field players? Robert Green certainly wouldn’t be getting a rose from most England fans at the moment.
The lion and rose are adorned throughout the emblems and logos of other English sporting organisations such as:
Feel free to use this information to impress your mates down the pub when England take on the mighty Slovenia.